Travel 4 minutes 10 June 2024

Pangina Heals’ Bangkok: Bars, Fab Shops, Rendezvous Spots, Sexy Nights Out, and More

The MICHELIN Guide invites you to discover Bangkok through the dazzling perspective of the fabulous Pangina Heals, the international Thai drag superstar who took RuPaul's Drag Race by storm.

Pangina Heals guides you through her beloved Bangkok, a city that never sleeps, in a day, from spicy street grubs to shopping for fierce outfits, including a visit to her go-to spots for a sickeningly sexy night out.

Follow the larger-than-life drag queen as she leads us to discover her favourite spots in the Big Mango.

(© Pangina Heals)
(© Pangina Heals)

Born and raised in Bangkok, Pan Pan Narkprasert, famously known as Pangina Heals, is a force to be reckoned with in the drag world.

Before fabulous wigs and ah-mazing jaw-dropping lipsync performances, few knew she had been bullied by her peers and had battled depression and bulimia as a teenager. However, nothing deterred this Thai-Taiwanese talent as she began her artistic journey as a fine arts student in the city of stars – Los Angeles, where she honed her creative skills. Upon returning to Bangkok, she immersed herself in the city's vibrant art scene, eventually making a splash by winning a Lady Gaga lookalike contest, which earned her a trip to New York City.

With a little help from her drag friend, Sira Soda, Pangina Heals soon became a celebrated drag performer, serving lewks and serving sass on stages across Asia. Her charisma and talent led her to snatch a spot as a host on Drag Race Thailand, where she quickly gained fame as one of Asia's most beloved drag queens, often referred to as the RuPaul of Thailand. She later sashayed onto the screen in the inaugural season of RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs. the World, further cementing her status as an international Thai drag superstar.

Through her performances and appearances, Pangina Heals continues to shine a spotlight on Bangkok's endlessly dynamic cultural landscape, embodying the city's spirit of innovation and artistic expression.

Below, she breaks down her favourite spots in the Thai capital.

For street food: Soi Convent/ Si Lom
"I always go for some Isan food at Soi Convent. It's the place where my sisters and I enjoy authentic Thai food. They also have Thai sausages and mushroom soup, which I like. I love the semi-outdoorsy vibe, where you really feel your soul burning as the spices heat up your head. It's a fantastic street food place to visit in the middle of town."

In the mood for some lip-smacking, zesty, fiery Isan flavour? Head to Soi Convent and Si Lom in Bangkok for amazing options like Somtum Der (Si Lom). This cosy eatery focuses on intensely flavoured Isan dishes, including the famous Som Tam (Thai papaya salad), Larb, and Isan sausages, among others. The brand's success has led to its expansion, with branches now in New York City, Tokyo, and Taipei.

5/5 Sala Daeng Road, Si Lom, Bang Rak, Bangkok.

(© Somtum Der)
(© Somtum Der)

For a fancy Thai meal: Royal Osha
"If you want to impress your friends from overseas, Royal Osha, a Michelin restaurant that serves authentic Thai food and is decked out to the nines in terms of presentation, is the place to go."

Royal Osha, guided by the seasoned Chef Vichit Mukura, offers a sensory delight with its captivating flavours, aromas, and textures. The modern dining area features Thai artwork. The MICHELIN Inspectors recommend beginning with a cocktail inspired by the Thai Ramayana characters, then savour dishes like Tom Yam Kung Mae Nam (spicy, sour soup with river prawns infused with Thai herbs). A perfect place to woo your international guests.

99 Wireless Road, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok.

(© Royal Osha)
(© Royal Osha)

For shopping for fab outfits: Siam Center
"I usually go to Siam Center because they have many amazing Thai designers' shops. I am proud as a Thai person to wear and support Thai designers, as their designs reflect certain aspects of Thai culture that are whimsical, fun, and chic. I love street fashion, so I often wear designs from brands like I Wanna Bangkok, Theatre, and Leisure Projects. These are just a few that come to mind. They provide sexy outfits for a night out or for dancing, too."

Siam Center is your go-to for a splash of local Thai designer flair and a peek into the vibrant world of Thai street fashion. Dive into a whirlwind of colours, textiles, and styles that blend traditional Thai vibes with contemporary cool. It’s a perfect place where you can experience the joy of discovering unique fashion items that scream Thailand right in the middle of the city centre.

979 Rama I Rd, Pathum Wan, Bangkok.

(© Siam Center)
(© Siam Center)

For a drink or a romantic meal: Eat Me
"I usually go to Eat Me to spoil myself. The food is amazing. The cocktails, especially the passion fruit caipiroska and the espresso martini, are top-tier, and the service is amazing. It's just a nice candlelit dinner kind of situation."

Nestled in a Soi Convent side alley, Eat Me has been a culinary gem since 1998, blending global flair with local tastes. Why not kick off your evening with ultra-creative, Thai-inspired cocktails by bartender extraordinaire Pop Direkrittikul? Then, indulge in unique delights by Chef Tim Butler like mixed clams with Naem, a Thai fermented sausage, and coriander lime broth—a must-try recommended by our inspectors.

1/6 Soi Phiphat 2, Si Lom, Bang Rak, Bangkok.

(© Anuwat Senivansa Na Ayudhya/ MICHELIN Guide Thailand)
(© Anuwat Senivansa Na Ayudhya/ MICHELIN Guide Thailand)

For a quick bite: 7-Eleven
“My quick bite is definitely the boiled eggs from 7-Eleven.”

When in Bangkok, you can't miss the bright neon green, orange, and red signs of 7-Eleven. These marts are so successful that you'll often find one across the street from another all across the country. In a city that never sleeps, like Bangkok, a 24/7 convenience store such as 7-Eleven serves up something for everyone, from superglue to a variety of boiled eggs, hot cheesy sandwiches, creative rice burgers, and even fresh salads.

(© Shutterstock)
(© Shutterstock)

For a sexy night out: House of Heals
“I usually go to the House of Heals. Obviously, it's my bar, but I curated it to be a safe environment for people, whoever you are, to come and enjoy a good night without all that pretension and standing around looking at other people. Here, you take your shoes off and have a great ****ing time!”

Bangkok's nightlife is one of the most vibrant in the world, offering a playground for fun seekers where you can dance all night long, from dusk to dawn. At House of Heals, you can let your hair down to fierce drag performances, enjoying a one-of-a-kind show with dancing, live singing, runway shows, or even tucking jokes that will make your jaw (or wig) drop.

33rd floor, Renaissance Bangkok, 518/8 Phloen Chit Road, Pathum Wan, Bangkok.

(© House of Heals)
(© House of Heals)

For some me time: Lumphini Park
“I go to Lumphini Park for a nice run and to see the monitor lizards, of which there are thousands all around! It's a fun, kind of weird place; a relaxing green oasis in the middle of town where crocodile-like lizards walk around amidst people doing tai chi.”

Lumphini Park, Bangkok's first public park, is a 57-hectare green oasis where everyone comes to jog and relax. It offers outdoor leisure activities amidst flora, fauna, and a large lake. The park's history includes serving as a venue for parties and ballroom dancing. Notable features include the statue of King Rama VI. It is also a place that proves nature and the city can coexist, as dinosaur-like monitor lizards live harmoniously with people in the concrete jungle.

Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok.

(© Shutterstock)
(© Shutterstock)

For a late-night soirée and more: Beef
"My favourite would be Beef. It's another safe space of mine for bears. Those who like bears are also welcome. The music and the DJ are so much fun, and it's decorated like a sauna, which is so random, but it fits the vibe! It's fun, kinky. Or if you want to explore your kinkier side, your dark side, then go to Rush."

This hotspot in town, designed as a bathroom-themed bar with rhythms that make you sway, is situated in Si Lom Soi 4, in southern Bangkok, the most well-known LGBTQ street in Thailand. The area offers many options for a drink while people-watching or getting your groove on. Whether you fancy a hot bowl of noodles after a night out or something heartier, Bangkok’s got it all.

70-72 (4th Floor), Si Lom Soi 4 Tower, Si Lom Rd, Suriyawong Bang Rak, Bangkok.

(© Beef)
(© Beef)
CONTINUE READING: 5 MICHELIN Hotels to Stay Along the Bangkok Riverside

Illustration image: © Pangina Heals


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