The stretch of roadway known as ‘Thanon Pan’ has become one of Silom’s most eclectic side streets
It may not be long—anchored by the Embassy of the Union of Myanmar on Sathorn Road at one end, and Silom Road’s Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu temple at the other—but the connecting street known as Thanon Pan has been, among other things, a long-time favourite for fans of vegetarian Indian food. Nowadays however, with galleries, coffee shops, and bars moving in, this tree-lined road is drawing a somewhat hipper and more cosmopolitan crowd.
One of the first buildings you’ll encounter, coming from the south end of the street (at Sathorn Rd), is Sethiwan Tower which is home to Launchpad, an 800+ sq.m modern co-working space, with high-speed internet, private offices, and different sized meeting rooms. Other facilities include a recreation area, with sofas, video games, and ping pong tables, and the in-house café Brush, which provides everyone their much needed daily caffeine kick.
For more caffeine, and seriously good grub, head across the street to Luka Café & Casa Pagoda. This concept space combines an eclectic furnishing store—Casa Pagoda—showcasing stylish and timeless interiors inspired by European industrial design, with a cozy, cool coffee shop—Luka Café—serving modern Western comfort food using local and organic ingredients. Favourite menu items include the savoury French toast (B250) with bacon from Sloane’s, and the Grilled cheese sandwich (B210), with sautéed mushroom, chorizo, and raspberry ketchup. Coffee lovers will appreciate that they use Thai grown beans, while tea lovers will find and extensive selection of single origin and blended imported teas from Malou Tea Atelier.
While Luka is a great brunch spot, the place to go for a fancy dinner is two houses over at Opus. Nestled at the back of a short sub-soi, this Italian wine bar and restaurant (open since 2009) serves up fine Italian cuisine completed by an impressive wine list. One of the latest additions to Pan Road is Mikys Cocktail Bar, located just in front of Opus. Helmed by Italian mixologist Michele Montauti (previously of J. Boroski, and House on Sathorn), this new nightlife hotspot features a streetside outdoor courtyard area, and a lengthy backlit bar where the expert staff concoct creative cocktails.
Another recent opening, hidden down another small sub-soi, is Le Blanc bakery. With freshly baked goods ranging from walnut and raisin breads, to classics such as Danish pastries, croissants, and baguettes, this very popular Japanese-run bakery was an instant hit in its new location (having moved from its previous home on Sukhumvit Soi 39).
For healthier food and lifestyle options walk back to Pan Rd, cross to the opposite side, and look for the leafy residential sub-soi that is home to Suananda Vegetarian Garden & Ayurveda Wellness Centre. Open since 2009, this homey garden café serves healthy vegetarian and vegan meals—following a holistic approach—and offers yoga classes, workshops, and Auyrvedic herbal massages.
As you progress closer and closer to the Indian temple at the top of the road you’ll come across an array of Indian restaurants with a focus on vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Long-time favourites include Chennai Kitchen, and the hole-in-the wall A-Ma (look for the flags out front).
Another newbie to Pan Road is Printa Café, offering all-day breakfasts and Western comfort food—think eggs Benedict, pulled pork sandwiches, fish and chips, and pasta. What’s interesting, however, is that the space also serves as a showroom for brand eyeglasses. You can try on some different frames while enjoying a great cup of coffee.
At the top of the road (the Silom end) be sure to make a stop at the Kathmandu Photo Gallery. Open since September 2006, this exhibition space and specialty bookshop is located in a lovingly-restored pre-war shophouse. It’s run by famed photographer Manit Sriwanichpoom, whose work is displayed downstairs while different exhibitions—mainly by rising local photographers—are hosted on the first floor.
Finally, you’ll arrive at the Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu temple, also known as Wat Khaek (Indian temple). Built in the 1860s, it’s one of the oldest and most important Hindu temples in Thailand, and boasts a strikingly colourful façade with innumerable carved images of deities. Within the complex the main shrine is dedicated to Sri Maha Mariamman, the goddess of protection and mercy, while others are devoted to Bramha, Ganesha, and Vishnu. One of the major religious ceremonies taking place at the temple is Navratri, a colourful, 10-day festival usually held in October, in which the image of Sri Maha Mariamman is paraded through the streets on the last day of the festival.