Phahurat does not get a lot of attention in guide books and there are not a lot of Western faces. I didn't see any on my most recent trip. While you might expect Little India to be a tourist trap, it is nothing of the sort. Instead it is an extremely low budget area with restaurants and dingy guesthouses for Indian businessman, the equivalent of Khao Sarn Road. It certainly feels like there is plenty of shady things going on, which only makes it more exciting!
It is located at the edge of Chinatown and is still a thriving textile center. Every moment a tuk tuk pulls up to receive a wholesale fabric delivery. Just standing around, you can envision the fortunes won or lost on these sois over the years. If you want cheap Indian food and an Indian experience in Bangkok, this is the real deal. Be warned, it is not for the faint of heart. It does not feel particularly clean. The average Westerner might have hygiene concerns about some of the vendors that exceed normal Thai expectations.
Phahurat Road runs down the heart of Little India.
Bophit Phimuk Alley separates Little India and Chinatown.
The restaurants and shops are run by Indians who speak little Thai. These baked desserts were packaged for me by an old Indian lady without using any wax paper or gloves.
There is a single shopping mall that sits in the middle of it, called India Emporium. It is filled with fabric and very crowded. India Emporium has a food court on the 4th floor with one extremely friendly and gregarious vendor who will call out to as soon as you get off the escalator and happily explain his menu and answer all of your questions.
Cheese Curry and Rice
There is a restroom inside of India Emporium that may prove useful.
If you need any fabric or want to have clothing or drapes hand made, this is the place.
The food court on the 4th floor of India Emporium
The sois around India Emporium are some of the most interesting. This is your opportunity to pay street food prices for Indian food. You will find small mom and pop selling imported Indian snacks and all kinds of incense sticks and candles and pretty much anything you can think of that is related to India.
A vegetarian restaurant
There are lots of options for roti and naan bread.
Plenty of vegetarian options
Which ones will you try?
There are a couple of interesting tea cafes behind these dessert shops.
Religious materials for sale
Little India might not be as glamorous as Chinatown, but it is worth visiting and it is a true testament to the diversity of Bangkok. It is an area of Bangkok that walks to the beat of its own drum.