Bangkok’s weird, crazy theme restaurants! Kid Mai Death coffin, Unicorn Cafe & creative Thai cuisine.

go inside coffin death cafe bangkok

Death becomes her… so don’t you dare wake us from our slumber!

Why are Yukiro and I hanging out a coffin? Because Bangkok’s theme restaurants are strange and delightful. We’ll take you inside Kid Mai, a death-themed cafe…

unicorn theme cafe bangkok thailand

…and the fabulous Unicorn Cafe, which is rainbow cute overload!

For you foodies, we also explored the outstanding restaurant scene in Bangkok. Keep reading to see what we ate at Soul Food Mahanakorn and Pladib, located in the hipster districts Thonglor and Ari.

kidmai death awareness cafe

As Yukiro’s speech bubble says, “Death is a great leveler.”

If you’ve got a Gothic disposition, then you’ve got to visit the Kid Mai Death Awareness Cafe. Follow the signs to Hell, and plop down next to a skeleton on the beanbag chairs.

dr veeranut owner kid mai death awareness project

The “cafe” is run by Dr. Veeranut Rojanaprapa. However, he emphasized that Kid Mai is more of an educational space.

The professor started Kid Mai Death Cafe to celebrate all the stages of life. Located in Bangkok’s hip Aree district, this open-air attraction lets visitors participate in interactive exhibits and ponder death in a meaningful way.

bangkok weird strange death restaurant

Visitors begin by walking through a long dark tunnel with emo messages, like “Is anybody waiting for you?”

The hallway sets the mood of the fascinating project, which brings death to the forefront and encourages you to reflect on typically “taboo” themes.

death museum bangkok festivals rituals

We were intrigued by this display about end-of-life cultures around the world. The food offerings and photos highlighted a variety of rituals, from Swedish death cleaning to Indian cremation at the River Ganges.

buddhist death fans rites

In Thailand, these decorated fans are part of Buddhist funerals. Usually, the fan contains the deceased’s name, and Buddhist scriptures relating to impermanence.

kid mai death cafe menu drinks

Then, you can head to Kid Mai’s cafe area, and slurp on sweet drinks with names like Born, Elder, Painful (coated in red syrup that mimics blood), and Death. Which one would you choose?

elderly classes bangkok

Artist Becky Hawkins made this drawing about our visit to Kid Mai. She shows how the staff offers free educational classes for the elderly.

Cross-generational compassion is a major theme. Younger visitors can put on a weighted vest to understand how it feels to be in an older body.

goths going inside coffin

You can even slip into an ornate Thai coffin and have a friend slide the lid shut… to mimic the feeling of being interred underground! (I felt like Beatrix Kiddo when she was buried alive in Kill Bill.)

death cafe bangkok thailand coffin

Beware, the rise of the undead…

creepy haunted goth restaurant bangkok

How does it feel to be shut into this confined space? Hot and humid… but otherwise, we were quite at home in a coffin.

kid mai ari aree weird cafe

The “birth experience” lets you swing in a red pod, and make your way through Fallopian tubes. (Just watch out for mosquitoes here!)

buried alive coffin theme cafe

Kid Mai Death Cafe is a thought-provoking space, which encourages you to reflect on death from all angles. This Bangkok experience is one-of-a-kind, and gets our Goth stamp of approval.

comic drawing bangkok rainy season rain

During our Thailand trip, my friends and I sometimes split up to do separate activities. Becky shares this comic about how she and Naomi went looking for food, and barely missed getting caught in torrential Southeast Asian rains.

exterior unicorn cafe bangkok

Meanwhile, Yukiro and I pranced over to Bangkok’s Unicorn Cafe! You’ll know you have arrived when you see a winged unicorn statue at the entrance, with front legs raised.

unicorn cafe bangkok thailand restaurant

The interior is total unicorn overload. The magical horned creatures cover every inch of the pastel rainbow cafe.

rainbow macarons cupcakes desserts unicorn cafe

Even the sweets in the display case have horns. Our eyes popped over the cotton candy, cupcakes, and macarons that matched the fantastical theme.

unicorn themed cafe bangkok

At the Thailand Unicorn Cafe, you can also pick up themed merchandise: I got a sparkly unicorn t-shirt. Guests can also rent unicorn kigurumi (full body costumes) to become “one” with the creatures.

menu unicorn cafe, rainbow food

As you’d expect, the menu looks like a Lisa Frank 90s girl explosion. There are both savory and sweet food choices, and many of the dishes are rainbow-colored or decorated with a unicorn horn. You can also order non-themed sides such as French fries.

cute stuffed unicorn toys restaurant

At each table, you’ll find stuffed unicorn toys that you can hold while you snack. The ceiling is also strung with My Little Pony plushies.

rainbow waffles, unicorn mermaid cafe

The Unicorn Cafe brought back so many childhood feels. The over-the-top space is a favorite for Instagrammers.

unicorn cafe bangkok food sweets ice cream

While this looks like a cavity in the making, the Unicorn Cafe’s platters were actually not too sweet, and came with fresh fruit. The birthday cafe flavor of the rainbow waffles was pure nostalgia.

kawaii unicorn themed restaurant thailand

There are no genders for the bathrooms, as we are all unicorns on the inside!

The Unicorn Cafe may be well-known at this point, but it was surprisingly good and worth visiting if you’re in Bangkok.

drawing thailand bakery breads

Now, for some non-themed restaurant reviews!

Bangkok is now known as a world-class food destination, with everything from Michelin-starred eateries to street food. Naomi Rubin drew this scene from a delicious French bakery that we visited.

cute cafe black white line drawing

Becky Hawkins captures a charming Bangkok cafe interior. There’s an enormous variety of excellent food in this city, at all price points and from all regions of the world.

Soul Food Mahanakorn exterior

We wanted to focus on creative Thai cuisine, run by young chefs in the hippest districts of Bangkok.

Soul Food Mahanakorn was highly recommended to me, and lived up to its reputation for serving authentic, street food inspired dishes.

thai izakaya street Soul Food Mahanakorn

The cozy restaurant is inspired by the flavors of regional Thai cooking. There’s an impressive wine and cocktail selection, and the ingredients focus on organic and fair-trade sources (such as small farms in northeast Thailand).

food menu Soul Food Mahanakorn bangkok

Soul Food Mahanakorn is a wonderland of flavors, which makes you realize the depth and variety of Thai cooking (going far beyond what you’ll find on a typical takeout menu!)

We adored the grilled sea bass wrapped in banana leaf, and tender smoked duck larb. The egg dish is Yam Makrua Yao, a smoked eggplant salad with soft duck eggs and a flavorful sauce.

Jarrett Wrisley owner bangkok restaurant

Restaurant founder Jarrett Wrisley sat down with us to chat about his passion project. Becky Hawkins made this sketch of the American food writer, who opened up one of the most soulful Thai restaurants in recent years.

bangkok michelin star restaurants

Onto spicy mains, such a pork belly curry with a side of organic rice. The execution is not too heavy, using local herbs and spices with finesse to bring out the flavors.

thai food dishes drawing

Naomi Rubin drew the aftermath of our meal — you can tell that we enjoyed every bite, and somehow managed to finish all the plates!

No wonder Soul Food Mahanakorn is recommended by the Bangkok Michelin Guide. For a truly memorable Thai dinner, make a reservation here and raise a glass to Jarrett for us.

Pladib restaurant ari aree

In the hipster neighborhood Ari / Aree, we were warmly welcomed into Pladib, a restaurant set in a modern space.

Pla Dib does fusion in a fresh way — marrying Thai tradition with Japanese and European influences. The dishes are presented without fuss or over-seasoning, which lets the quality of the raw fish and organic produce do the talking.

baking oven sketch

Naomi Rubin sketched the pear-shaped wood oven in the back. Pladib is a popular spot for locals to hang out, and share wood-fired pizzas. The space also brings in art exhibits and DJs.

pla dib  ปลาดิบ bangkok

A fresh coconut paired nicely with grilled octopus with black mayo, and creamy mushroom ravioli.

bangkok hip creative hipster restaurants

The melt-in-your-mouth grilled duck salad turned out to be one of my favorite duck dishes of all time!

eating shrimp girl comic

Becky Hawkins illustrates the joys of eating fresh shrimp, and sampling Pladib’s farm-grown vegetables.

trendy restaurants ari bangkok pla dib

We couldn’t decide between the lemon or dark chocolate tart — so we got both, plus lots of berries and extra ice cream.

Pladib is an inventive, modern Bangkok restaurant that I think you’ll love.

mae yui bangkok restaurant food

Bangkok’s Ari / Aree area has become a food and art hotspot. My friends and I had multiple meals at Mae Yui. We ate the food so fast that there are no photos, but Naomi Rubin made this delectable watercolor.

ari aree hipster neighborhood bangkok

Aree’s hipsters love to hang for hours at Mae Yui restaurant, which features a home-style Thai menu. The dishes are nostalgic favorites prepared with a light touch. Our favorites included the tuna salad with Thai spices and herbs, creamy Thai ice tea, and fresh passion-fruit sorbet.

google touring bird bangkok travel tips

If this story makes you hungry to visit Bangkok, then you can find more of my tips about the city here on Touring Bird. I featured a Totoro theme cafe, and other fabulous eateries in Thailand.

You’ll find me all over — I wrote almost 700 articles about insider spots, in dozens of worldwide cities. I hope you’re enjoying this travel resource so far (it’s a project by Google Area 120).

undead goth emerging from coffin

And that’s the final nail in the coffin, for these “Bangkok bitches”… until I come back again!

For more alternative Bangkok travel tips (boutiques, hotels, restaurants etc), you can see all my Thailand stories (from my trips in 2013 and 2018).


Hail Horus! Ancient Egyptian temples Edfu & Kom Ombo, Nile felucca boat tour, Luxor hot air balloon ride.

horus statue egypt bird god statues

Hail Horus, falcon-headed son of Osiris and Isis!

My head still spins when I recall all the epic activities we did in Egypt, thanks to Travel Talk Tours. Today, we’ll explore the temples of Edfu and Kom Ombo — home to bird gods and mummified crocodiles.

At the end, I’ll announce my next destination… it’s somewhere French-speaking, and you can follow along on my Instagram @lacarmina

(Outfit details: Heart bag by Lola Ramona, long black skirt Charli Cohen, and Ghoul Gang top from Unique Vintage. I’m hiding from Ra (the sun god) with my Gottex Belladonna hat from UK Swimwear.)

hot air balloon ride egypt

When I said we did a lot of wild experiences in Egypt, I wasn’t exaggerating. We’ll go up, up and away in a hot air balloon over Luxor and the River Nile…

felucca tour nile river egypt

… and sail on the Nile in a felucca, or Egyptian traditional wood boat.

sailing on nile cruise tour

Let’s begin on the River Nile, which flows north through Egypt. I’m wearing a Cryptic Apparel cropped sweatshirt with a winged Egyptian goddess print: perfect for the occasion.

I was tempted to Photoshop out the foot next to Yukiro, but decided to leave it in…

egyptian sailor nile boat ride

… as it was this foot that was doing the hard work, in steering the felucca! This Egyptian sailor was a master of multi-tasking: he expertly worked the canvas sail and tiller (long stick that turns the rudder) against the wind, while puffing on a cigarette.

sailing river nile egypt travel talk tours

I’m glad we got to experience this ancient form of sailing, which is a gentle ride over the Nile’s waters. Feluccas are still used today by locals, and you’ll see their white sails gliding peacefully over the river.

But I want to be a pirate… Instead of a puffy shirt, I wore a Cryptic Apparel top and skirt by Charli Cohen.

late ancient egypt architecture

Onward to the temples. Our Travel Talk Tours group went by bus to Kom Ombo temple in Aswan, and our guide taught us about the history beneath these columns.

The Greco-Roman influences indicate that this was built in Ptolemaic times (the last era of ancient Egyptian civilization) — much like Philae temple, which we also saw.

egypt hieroglyphs aswan komombo

In these times, Egyptian medicine was the most advanced in the world. Our guide pointed out some intriguing medical carvings that depict surgical instruments, and two goddesses perched on birthing chairs.

crowning pharoah egypt coronation kom ombo temple

Kom Ombo temple’s layout stands out for being perfectly symmetrical. This design includes two matching entrances, hypostyle halls and chambers.

The eastern part is dedicated to the crocodile-headed god of the Nile. The western axis is the domain of Horus, the bird-headed deity.

 The Temple of kom ombo

I’m striking a dramatic pose in front of one of the most striking reliefs in Kom Ombo. The carvings show one of the later Ptolemies being crowned as pharoah by Sobek and goddesses.

ancient egypt ankh arms

The rounded figures also reveal that this is a late-period temple (compare this to the stiff poses and fabrics of Abu Simbel). Note how even the ankhs have arms!

temple kom ombo horus sobek

Traveling with a tour let us easily see many sites all over Egypt, and learn fascinating aspects about each place. At Kom Ombo, our guide pointed out an ancient graffito, and reliefs that were later defaced by Coptic Christians.

lion goddess sekhmet egypt

Check out the curves on Sekhmet, the fierce lion-headed goddess. According to the tales, she’s the greatest warrior as well as as goddess of healing, and her breath formed the desert. (Sekhmet is a solar deity, hence the circle over her head).

kom ombo pharoah sobek coronation relief

The bas-reliefs at the Temple of Kom Ombo are remarkably well preserved.

kom ombo mummified crocodile museum

Don’t miss out on the Crocodile Museum next door (or as the sign said, “Crocodile Mus.”) We weren’t allowed to take photos, so you’ll have to imagine a giant glass case with dozens of mummified crocodiles!

The cold-blooded creatures are huge and black-skinned, with rows of sharp teeth — very Gothic death metal. The “mus” also features crocodile art that honors Sobek.

egypt giant ankh carvings

As vampires say, “drink from me and live forever”… or as the Egyptian carvings reveal, “eat the ankh and enter into eternal life!”

egyptian poses tourists travelers

By now, Yukiro and I are well-versed in the art of striking Egyptian poses.

edfu temple entrance pylon

Next, Travel Talk Tours drove our group to Edfu Temple, which also dates back to the Hellenistic period in Egypt.

Edfu’s magnificent pylon (decorative entrance) was one of the largest in Egypt. The gigantic carvings show ruler Ptolemy VIII vanquishing his enemies, while Horus the Elder looks on.

tour temple edfu egypt interior

Edfu Temple is dedicated to Horus, son of Osiris, the god of the underworld. Inside, this spooky staircase looks like a pathway to the afterlife.

edfu egyptian temple carvings aswan

Our guide took us into the inner chambers, and showed us the various forms of Egyptian writing (demotic, hieratic, hieroglyphic). We also saw an unusual carving of Isis breastfeeding young Horus.

edfu temple inside shrine boat

We peered into the Sanctuary of Horus, which houses a ceremonial barge and altar used in rituals.

egyptian horned god satan baphomet

Quite a few horned ones graced these walls.

Banebdjedet, the ram-headed god, became known as the “Baphomet of Mendes,” as he was worshiped in the ancient city of Mendes. The Satanic Baphomet figure was based on his horned appearance.

horus statue edfu temple

Yukiro blends in with the bird-god. We’re enthralled by the rich imagination of the Egyptians, who dreamed up an animal-headed pantheon.

courtyard temple edfu egypt

Edfu’s builders had a knack for drama. Imagine wandering through these tall outdoor passages, in ancient times.

egyptian temple tour aswan

So far, I’ve shown you the wonders of ancient Egypt. However, we also got to see day-to-day life in the cities today.

egypt women in burkas

While on the bus, we passed by this gathering of locals in the streets.

aswan local market egypt

We took a gander at Aswan market, where locals go to buy daily necessities.

egyptian man motorcycle

This Egyptian man’s tricked out motorbike has Mad Max vibes.

spice market aswan egypt

Many of the stores sold spices. We eyed the mounds of coriander, cardamom, cinnamon and more.

cleopatra coffee, egyptian aswan coffeeshop

Wouldn’t you like to stop by for a cup of Cleopatra Coffee?

cat statue souvenirs egypt

Most of the markets are geared to tourists, and the vendors sell “made in China” trinkets. I avoided these shops, and instead, picked up a local, handcrafted robe and sheath dress made from Egyptian cotton.

(I wrote other insider, hidden tips for Cairo on Touring Bird, the new Google Area 120 site — including a Fair Trade Egypt boutique.)

view aswan city night

View of Aswan at night, from our hotel room. We weren’t able to spend much time here, as there was yet another early wake-up call…

aswan balloon flight egypt

We left around 3:30am, and took a van and boat to this field. The early start was worth it… for a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Luxor!

egypt hot air balloon rides

I had never flown in a hot air balloon before, and was excited that Travel Talk offered this as an optional excursion in Egypt.

Passengers can only bring a small bag and iPhone (no DSLR cameras). The basket is divided into several standing areas, each holding about three people. At take off and landing, you must brace yourself and hold on to the ropes — but otherwise, it’s a smooth ride.

luxor hot air balloon ride safe

Yukiro found it ironic that Pokemon’s Team Rocket claimed to be “blasting off at the speed of light” in their hot air balloons… when in fact, the process of inflating the envelope and getting off the ground took quite a while!

view egypt desert from hot air balloon

The pilot adjusted the burner flame and repeated a single joke over and over, as we slowly flew higher into the sky. Below, we could see the ruins of temples, and stretches of desert that reminded me of an alien planet.

hot air balloon luxor safety

I’m happy that I finally got to experience riding a hot air balloon, and in Egypt of all places. Everyone relaxed and took in the 360 aerial views of Luxor.

ride hot air balloon egypt

The winds were in our favor that day, and we glided over the Nile.

Touching down was a bit bumpy, but we were in safe hands and a van was right there to drive us back.

horus bird temple egypt edfu

A final hail to Horus, also known as “he who is above.”

And now, “Team Rocket’s blasting off again…”  I’m happy to be returning to Quebec City and Montreal this week! If you have any travel tips for French Canada, please let me know — and you can follow along the journey on my Instagram @lacarmina