Bangkok Area Guides
Sukhumvit Road is best described as Bangkok’s leading commercial district. One of the four major highways of Thailand and indeed one of the longest roads in the world, it stretches from Bangkok to Trat.
Unlike Silom and Siam that are renowned for their sleaze and shopping credentials, Sukhumvit has a bit of everything; sleaze, sophistication, serenity and a lot of social activity – on a number of levels. This is a place where soaring tower blocks blend with street stalls and international five-star hotels back onto Thai shophouses.
Sukhumvit is home for many of the city’s expatriates, enjoying a cosmopolitan reputation, it comprises Thai, Asian and western faces. On top of this there is a huge variety of dining and nightlife venues and plenty in the way of novelty 'Thailand moments' (Nana and Soi Cowboy).
The interlocking sub sois are laden with independent businesses, galleries, shops, spas and bars but cultural and historical attractions are a bit thin on the ground around the area, which has succumbed to a certain degree of urban development. Well connected to the MRT and BTS stations, avoiding the traffic and getting out of Sukhumvit to soak up some sights is easily done.
Sukhumvit, in many respects is an evening place with its immense choice of restaurants, hotels and nightclubs. However, there are still plenty of daytime activities to occupy your time. These include the Thailand’s Creative & Design Centre (TCDC) library and exhibition space at the top of the Emporium Shopping Centre, parks and traditional Thai homes – Kamthieng House, for example.
While Patpong is perhaps the most notorious of Bangkok’s nightlife zones, Sukhumvit is the most eclectic and for a lot of the city’s residents, the most popular. An evening in Sukhumvit could involve anything from cocktails at a fabulous rooftop bar, dancing the night away down in one of Soi 11’s internationally renowned clubs, or enjoying the company of some exotic Thai women down Soi Cowboy.
The area is laden with European-style watering holes and traditional British pubs, hugely popular with Bangkok’s expat scene and the places to head for a pint of draft beer and a packet of crisps. Further down the road, past Soi 38 and beyond is the sub district of Thong Lo, an area frequented by high-so Thais and Bangkok’s media-set. The bars there are distinctly retro and display a more individual style.
Soi Cowboy, named after the cowboy hat-wearing American who opened the first bar along the street, is a laid-back affair when compared to Nana Plaza or Patpong. Promoting a more playful, carnival like alternative, Cowboy attracts both male and female customers. Further up the road towards Sukhumvit Soi one is Nana, an 'exotic' area laden with go-go bars and street-side drinking shacks, always an interesting zone to observe. Read More...
In terms of hotels, serviced accommodation and guesthouses, Sukhumvit rules supreme, with a rich tapestry of spaces to rest your head while in Bangkok. The scope of accommodation choices stretch from five-star hotels to the affordable, no frills – does what it says on the package-style rooms. In between these extremes expect to sample funky boutique residences and fully-equipped 'service apartments'.
Among the best know hotels are Ambassador Hotel Bangkok, Amari Boulevard Bangkok, the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit and the Westin Grande Sukhumvit.
Many visitors choose Sukhumvit due to its proximity to the skytrain, its vast choices of night and daytime pursuits, and of course the extensive list of accommodations on offer. In short, this is where the action happens. Well connected to surrounding areas, Sukhumvit comes highly recommended to those who enjoy the hyped-up feeling of being smack back in the middle of the city. For those who prefer a bit of respite from the chaos of Bangkok, edging further towards On Nut BTS, Sukhumvit becomes more residential and suburban. Read More...
Sukhumvit is lacking in traditional Thai tourist attractions and although places of cultural interest are present they take a more contemporary face, pushing new ideas of Thai culture and creativity. The TCDC plays host to fashion and art exhibitions and also features a library popular with the city’s creative set.
Benjasiri Park offers a welcome dose of greenery in which to relax and enjoy the surrounding serenity, while educational tourism flourishes at the Bangkok Museum of Science and Planetarium. The main draw of this area is its abundant eating, drinking, shopping and accommodation choices. Read More...
The choice of restaurants and food styles in Sukhumvit is best reflected by the number of nationalities that live in the area. Basically, you can eat pretty much whatever your heart desires – be it Japanese, Mediterranean, Indian or Middle Eastern. From fine dining to fast food Japanese-style, price ranges vary and allow you the option to dine decadently one night followed by something more understated and economical the next.
Similar to New York, it has an assortment of areas that are devoted to other cultures' cuisine. Soi 11 has a slew of Indian restaurants, while Nana has its fair share of Middle Eastern and Lebanese eateries, and this area is known as Little Arabia. Thong Lo, a popular area with Japanese expats has decent selection of Japanese restaurants. As with most things in Sukhumvit, you have to venture away from the main road into the sub sois to find the good stuff. Read More...
Sukhumvit's shopping is sprawled out and you'll have to do some leg work to get the goods. The Emporium – Bangkok’s original mega-mall and Sukhumvit’s consumer palace, with every international brand known to man leads the way, while Thong Lo features many independent traders running quaint and funky boutiques and is a good place to pick up stuff that you will not see anyone else wearing about town.
Where Sukhumvit begins (at the end of Ploenchit Road, Ratchaprasong junction) is just two stops from Bangkok’s major shopping district, Siam. This means that boarding the skytrain from anywhere in Sukhumvit will lead you to the malls of Siam in less than 20 minutes.
For a more al fresco shopping experience, Nana has a lot of street-side shopping, with various goods, including all your counterfeit classics. Read More...