I spent an entire year enviously scrolling through an Instagram page called “The Big Dog Cafe” before I found my way there.
After my friend Jess had visited a year before, I’d kept it in my mind, determined to go to what was basically my idea of heaven on earth. And Bangkok Day Three was when I finally managed to go there.
The Big Dog Cafe is exactly what the name suggests: it’s a cafe filled with big dogs. Advertised as costing about £5 for entry, it’s essentially a small cafe at the front and a larger room in the back filled with different dogs. Forget all of the culture and beautiful architecture of Thailand: the Big Dog Cafe might have actually been my top spot.
In reality, if you want to make the most of the Big Dog Cafe then it’ll cost you 500 baht, which is about £13, as opposed to the 200 baht that they advertise. Pay 200 and you’ll get to see two of the dogs at the front. Pay 500 and you get to go to the room at the back for an hour and a half. For that price, you also get a meal and a drink as well as dog treats to feed all of the dogs. So, obviously, that was the option that I went for.
If you’ve scrolled through the Big Dog Cafe’s Instagram feed (and if you haven’t then you really should have a look
) then you’ll know that they’ve got a range of seemingly too-huge-to-be-natural canines in there. We’re talking huskies, Alaskan malamutes, chow chows and these huge Russian wolf hound things. All of the dogs are energetic and want to play with you. They’re also incredibly dribbly, especially if you’ve got treats in hand.
Don’t expect to see all of the dogs at once, because there’s a form of routine when it comes to letting them out to play. The dogs come out in batches for about 20 minutes at a time. The staff members select a group of dogs to come into the main room and introduce them. They’ll show a few tricks, position the dogs in a way so that you can get photos with them (with treats afterwards to say thank you, of course) and generally make sure they’re all content. The dogs seemed to love the attention and were perfectly happy to receive pets and tummy strokes in return for a treat or two. After 20 minutes the dogs are led outside back to their home/main room, before the next few dogs are let in. I’m not entirely sure why they were let out in specific batches because it ranged from five dogs at a time down to a single huge, slobbery Labrador by the end of the visit.
Safe to say I spent my hour and a half in there with the biggest smile on my face. By the time I left to go back out to the main cafe, I was covered in dog hair and slobber but immensely happy.
The positive about keeping the dogs in a separate room is the obvious hygiene – because some of them malted even more than my own hair does. This meant that when we left the dogs to go back and eat, we could stroke the remaining few that were outside in the main cafe without worrying about the dogs coming after our own, human food.
On the menu was a range of traditional Thai dishes with noodles and rice. I ordered chicken noodles with veg and a passion fruit smoothie, both of which were delicious. I came away with hundreds of dog photos, a full stomach and enough dog-themed endorphins to keep me buzzing for the rest of the day.
Bangkok’s Big Dog Cafe can be found at 82 Ratchadaphisek Rd, Khwaeng Huai Khwang, Khet Huai Khwang, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10310, Thailand. Opening hours are 9:30am – 10pm every day. Find out more about the Big Dog Cafe here.