* '''River City''', just over the edge in [[Bangkok/Yaowarat and Phahurat|Yaowarat and Phahurat]], is just like the expensive antique stores in Bang Rak. That district also has similar 19th century colonial-style buildings.
* '''River City''', just over the edge in [[Bangkok/Yaowarat and Phahurat|Yaowarat and Phahurat]], is just like the expensive antique stores in Bang Rak. That district also has similar 19th century colonial-style buildings.
Revision as of 21:51, 28 April 2013
Sunset over Sathorn's skyline
Silom (Thai: สีลม) is the closest Bangkok gets to Wall Street, with glistening skyscrapers all boasting the names of financial institutions. After nightfall the character of the place changes considerably though: the small sois between Silom Road and Surawong Road come alive with people out for a good time, including the infamous den of sleaze that is Patpong. The former trade quarter Bang Rak (บางรัก) is also covered here. It is home to many of Bangkok's top luxury hotels, including the Oriental.
In the 19th century, daily life in Bangkok mostly took place on and around the canals. Silom was a rural farmland with rice fields, orchards and windmills criss-crossed by canals. During this era, most urban life happened on the riverside, which was a busy trading quarter welcoming European merchant ships and envoys. This area, known as Bang Rak, still has a kind of European atmosphere with many exclusive colonial-style hotels and old abandoned warehouses. Silom (windmills in Thai) has changed immensely with the coming of modern times. Charoen Krung Road (New Road) was the first paved road of Bangkok, built in 1861 during the reign of King Rama IV at the request of foreign consuls who wanted to ride their horses and carriages. Over time, most of the canals have disappeared and turned into roads.
Silom as seen from Lumphini Park
With the rise of Thailand as a newly industrialised economy, Silom turned into Thailand's major financial centre filled with banking institutions, corporate high-rises and condominiums. Many banks, insurance companies, audit and law firms have congregated along Sathorn (เขตสาทร) as well. The district's importance as a business centre has been acknowledged by the recent construction of the Skytrain and the metro line right through the district. Their construction has not helped much as traffic congestion continues to be a serious problem in the area. At day, there actually is not that much to do here, except when white-collar workers flock onto the streets for lunch. The fusion of peoples here make this a great place for people-watching. Cigar-smoking Thai business men walk through masses of well-suited secretaries, office workers and Western expatriates. Recently, many Indians and Muslims took residence around the intersection with Charoen Krung Road.
At night, Silom turns into the place to be. It is a vibrant area that can be a little hard to describe — in the sense that it has become one of Bangkok's most cosmopolitan streets as well as one of the sleaziest. Soi Patpong is the hedonistic playground all of Bangkok is generally stereotyped for, but it actually consists of just two small sois. These so-called "go-go bars" might as well be called "takeaway brothels", but a trip to Bangkok is not complete without a visit to this surreal environment. But if you fancy something more upclass and tamer, Silom is also the place to be. Some of the expensive hotels in the area cater to rich visitors that like to talk business over a glass of wine. Having a cocktail at the top of the Banyan Tree Building or the State Tower gives some of the best views of Southeast Asia.
Orientation is fairly easy as most of the magic happens at Silom Road, especially where it intersects with Rama IV Road. Heading west, it becomes kind of sleepy around the intersection with Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra Road. The area starts to live up again when you get closer to the river in the area known as Bang Rak. Parallel of Silom Road lies Sathorn Road to the south and Surawong Road to the north.
Map of Silom
Enlarged map of Silom
By public transit
Silom Road and Sathorn Road can handily be reached using the BTS Skytrain's Silom Line. BTS station Sala Daeng is right in the middle of the action, close to pretty much all party venues. At the other side is Saphan Taksin station, which is close to Bang Rak's riverside hotels. Surasak and Chong Nonsi fill up the area in between.
There is a direct connection with Siam Square, which takes about five minutes, but if you're coming from another district, traveling will be more complex. From Sukhumvit, you'll need to take the Skytrain to Siam station and transfer onto the Silom Line. The same goes if you're coming from Phahonyothin.
The MRT metro system is a good way to reach Silom from Yaowarat and Phahurat, Sukhumvit and Ratchadaphisek. The central stop is MRT station Si Lom, that lies at the entrance of Lumphini Park. It can be used as an interchange station with Sala Daeng BTS station. Other stops include Lumphini, Sam Yan and Hua Lamphong. The metro ride from Sukhumvit or Hualamphong Train Station takes about five minutes, while the ride from Ratchadaphisek takes about ten to fifteen minutes. Trains leave every five to ten minutes, and the fare is about 16 to 41 baht.
If you're coming from Rattanakosin, Khao San Road or some areas of Yaowarat and Phahurat, the fastest way to reach Silom is by Chao Phraya Express Boat. A single trip from Chang Pier in Rattanakosin to Sathorn takes about 25 minutes and costs around 18 baht. From here, you can transfer onto the Skytrain's Silom Line and get to many destinations in Silom.
The river boat is the best way to get to and around the Bang Rak area. Si Phraya in the north of Bang Rak and Sathorn in the south are served by fast yellow flag boats. Oriental is the most centrally located, but is only served by orange-flag and no-flag lines. Wat Muang Kae is slightly north of Oriental, but is kind of a sleepy pier only served by no-flag lines.
If you happen to be in Thonburi (the area around Khlong San), you can easily take a ferry across the river. There are ferries from Klongsan to Si Phraya, from Wat Suwan to Oriental and from Sathorn across the river to the pier of the same name. Every 15 minutes a ferry leaves and doesn not cost more than 3 baht.
Due to heavy congestion and the complexity of the bus system, getting to Silom by bus can only be advised if you have a lot of time or are on a stringent budget. Being a part of Bangkok's downtown, many lines run through Silom, but finding the right one is a challenge. Ordinary and air-conditioned bus 15 comes from Phra Athit Road and then passes Ratchadamnoen Klang Road (for Khao San Road), moves along Lan Luang Road, Chakkaphatdi Phong Road and Bamrung Muang to Siam Square. From there, it continues along Ratchadamri Road and then goes all the way over Silom Road to Charoen Krung Road, the Krung Thep Bridge and The Mall Tha Phra in Thonburi.
From Yaowarat, catch bus 4 from Charoen Krung Road which goes along Rama IV Road, passing Hualamphong Train Station and the Queen Saovabha Institute Snake Farm before reaching the intersection with Silom Road. In the opposite direction, this bus will skip Charoen Krung Road, passing Yaowarat Road instead (which is a one-way traffic road).
The first line of the new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system starts at the intersection of Sathorn Road and Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra Road. There is a pedestrian walkway from Chong Nonsi BTS station to Sathorn BRT station, the first stop. From there, the line heads south along Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra Road, then follows Rama III Road along the Chao Phraya River, with Ratchaphruek in Thonburi its final destination. As a commuter line, it is not of much use for foreign visitors, unless you're going to Mambo Cabaret, Tawandang Microbrewery or a distant hotel.
Hualamphong Train Station, while technically right over the edge in Yaowarat and Phahurat, is very easy to reach from elsewhere in the district. Just take the metro to Hua Lamphong station and the station will be right in front of you. From there, getting a train is done in no time, and before you know it, you'll be heading for Ayutthaya or Chiang Mai.
Traditional sightseeing attractions are rather rare on the ground in Silom. A popular attraction is to have a drink on one of the rooftop bars with an amazing view over Bangkok's skyline. You could also head for Lumphini Park or visit one of the twice-daily shows at the Queen Saovabha Institute Snake Farm.
While Silom's skyline doesn't match Hong Kong's or New York's, the views are still worth it. A part of Bangkok's skyline, most of Silom's towers are financial institutions and office buildings. The best way to enjoy Silom's skyline is by taking a trip up the Banyan Tree Hotel or the State Tower. The 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel has the Vertigo and Moon Bar, where you can dine or have a beer with one of the most spectacular views of Southeast Asia. The State Tower iseven a few metres higher up than Vertigo — which makes it the world's tallest rooftop bar/restaurant. Due to its slightly off-centre location, the views are arguably not quite as stunning, although it gives a great view of the Chao Phraya River. See the Drink section for more information about these rooftop bars.
Most of Silom's buildings are office buildings not meant to be visited. Heading out to take a look at these office buildings can only be recommended for those having a deeper interest in modern architecture and/or the financial sector. Some notable office buildings that dominate the skyline include the CP Tower, Empire Tower, ITF Tower and the United Center Building, but the Robot Building has to be the quirkiest.
Do the robot!
Robot Building (โรบอทบิวดิ้ง), 191 Sathorn Tai Rd (BTS Surasak). Probably one of the quirkiest buildings on the globe, the Robot Building, well, looks like a giant robot. It was designed by Sumet Jumsai in the mid-1980s and is meant to reflect the computerization of banking. It is an odd building, and Jumsai has explicitly stated that it could be regarded as a reaction against high-tech postmodern buildings common in that time. The antennas and eyes of the robot are not just for the looks, but all have practical functions. At that time no one really saw it, but now the building feels kind of retro. It is closed to the public, but you can best see it from the Skytrain somewhere between Chong Nonsi and Sala Daeng BTS stations.
Lumphini Park (สวนลุมพินี), (BTS Sala Daeng, MRT Si Lom or MRT Lumphini). 05:00-19:00 daily. A rare expanse of public greenery in the heart of the city, it was once property of King Rama VI, who issued a royal command to turn the area into a public park as a gift to Bangkok's residents. The park's symbol, a statue of its creator King Rama VI, stands at the main entrance at the southwestern corner, right opposite MRT Si Lom station. The park has a lake with boats for rent and with a cycle track around it, and is popular among early-morning fitness enthusiasts, but there's little reason to wander in during the daytime heat. The Bangkok Symphony Orchestra does, however, put on occasional performances in the winter. There are rather large lizards in the park — they are well worth a look. They tend to spend most of their time in the water of the lake. Do not get too close to one, as they can bite.Free.
Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute Snake Farm (สถานเสาวภาสภากาชาดไทย), 1874 Rama IV Rd (BTS Sala Daeng or MRT Si Lom), ☎ +66 2 252-0161(-4). M-F 08:30-16:30, Sa-Su, hols 08:30-12:00. Venom extraction show M-F 11:00 and 14:30, hols 11:00. Slideshow presentation M-F 10:30 and 14:00, hols 10:30. This institute contains a collection of poisonous snakes which are "milked" daily for their venom in order to produce invaluable anti-snakebite serum. Twice a day a venom extraction show is held, in which the announcer explains about the dangerous kinds of snakes living in Thailand and what to do when you run into one. The animals are treated professionally and the whole show is safe. If you want a picture with a dangerous snake curling around you — this is your chance.200 baht.
East Asiatic Company Building (อาคารบริษัทอีสท์เอเชียติกเก่า), (Oriental Pier). Right at the banks of the Chao Phraya River is this classical Venetian-style building from the Danish East Asiatic Company. It was built in 1901. A large share of foreign trade that came from the warehouses had to go through this building before heading for Europe. Public access is not permitted.
Old Customs House, Charoen Krung Soi 36 (Oriental Pier). Right at the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the Old Customs House is right where the 19th-century port of Bangkok used to be. Now it is a crumbling building which needs a lot of renovation to get back into a useful state, but its obvious that this grand colonial-style home was once the pride of the area. It was built in the 1880s and used to levy taxes on traders that moved in and out of Siam. It's not open to the public, but you can walk around and try to grasp the atmosphere of Bangkok in the 19th century. It was used in Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love, a Chinese movie that's worth the watch.Free.
Houses of worship
Silom lacks the impressive overload of Buddhist temples common in other districts. There are some interesting Buddhist temples, but they are no must-visit by any means. Due to the presence of the historic trade quarter, there are some European-style churches and old shophouses that can be visited. Also, the current Hindu and Muslim population has chipped in with the most important Hindu temple of Thailand on Silom Road, and there are several mosques.
Assumption Cathedral (อาสนวิหารอัสสัมชัญ), 23 Soi Oriental (Oriental Pier or BTS Saphan Taksin), ☎ +66 2 233-7120, . daily. The Assumption Cathedral is the main Roman Catholic church of Bangkok. The original building at this place was the brainchild of French missionary Father Pascal in 1809, and completed in 1821. Throughout the second part of the 19th century, the area surrounding the church played an important role for French Christian missionaries arriving in Bangkok. It is near the Oriental Hotel and the French Embassy in an area that still captures somewhat of its French history. The current church dates from the 1910s, when the building was completely reconstructed in a Romanesque style. It was heavily damaged by bombing in World War II, but was restored after extensive repairs. Its rectangular structure and red brick exterior makes it stand out from the dull white surroundings. Its interior is spacious with a high ornate ceiling. Pope John Paul II visited the church in 1984, showing the prominence of the church in the Roman Catholic community of Thailand. The only religious service in English is held on Sundays at 10:00.Free.
Christ Church (Anglican Church), 11 Convent Rd (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 234-3634, . M-F 08:30-16:30, religious services Su 07:30 and 10:00. The English-speaking international church community residing in the church actually dates from the 19th centrury, when the first Protestant missionaries came to Bangkok. At first British Anglicans came over to spread their belief, but in the late 19th century, most of the Protestant missionaries arrived from the United States. In 1861, King Rama IV gave permission for the construction of the Protestant Union Chapel around Charoen Krung Road, which was commonly known as the English Church. As Protestantism grew, a larger church was required, and in 1904, King Rama V gave permission for the construction of the Christ Church on the condition that Protestants of all nationalities or sects could use it as their house of worship. You might not believe it now, but back then this area was a farming area with canals and orchards. Due to the economic growth of the Silom area, it is now right in the middle of office buildings and condominiums. Many Christian expats and locals gather here on Sundays for the religious service. It is a beautiful white church that is also interesting for the occasional visitor. Its interior has been completely renovated in 2008, restoring the amazing stained glass windows which date from 1905.Free.
Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple (วัดพระศรีมหาอุมาเทวี), 2 Pan Rd (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 238-4007. 06:00-20:00 daily. One of only two Hindu temples in Bangkok, the Sri Mariamman Temple is actually a great experience. It was created in the 1860s by Tamil immigrants, and as with any temple found in India, it is unique, very colourful and ornately detailed. It generally is a busy temple with a constant stream of worshippers lighting incense sticks and plenty of ceremonies going on. Besides Indians, there are also Thai visitors as Buddha images stand side by side Hindu deities inside the temple. As it is the most sacred place for the Indian community of Bangkok, it is not permitted to take photos inside.Free.
Wat Hua Lamphong (วัดหัวลำโพง), Rama IV Rd (MRT Sam Yan). Rarely visited by foreigners, Wat Hua Lamphong is actually not that remarkable, but it is lively and thus gives a good insight in how the locals experience their religion. The temple has been extensively remodeled in 1996 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ascension to the throne of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). The decorations used throughout the temple consist of elephants and tiered umbrellas, which indicates that it is a royal temple. In the ordination hall, the viharn is unusual, as it is raised on a one-storey high platform. There are plenty of shrines inside the temple, one of them dedicated to King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and another one to the Hindu god Ganesha.Free.
Wat Maha Phruettharam (วัดมหาพฤฒาราม), Maha Phruettharam Rd (Si Phraya Pier). 08:00-18:00 daily. You are far off the beaten path when visiting this old monastery, but it's definitely a sight for those interested in Buddhism. The exact origin of this temple is unknown, but it is believed to have originated from the early Rattanakosin era or late Ayutthaya period. It had several names, but got its permanent name during the reign of King Rama IV, who extensively renovated it and raised its status to a third-grade royal temple. The temple takes up a vast amount of space and has an extensive courtyard. The murals inside the ordination hall show a set of Buddhist pilgrims. The large reclining Buddha is worth seeing. Thai people come over to place small bills of money next to it as they believe it brings good luck.Free.
Wat Yan Nawa, 1648 Charoen Krung Rd (BTS Saphan Taksin or Sathorn Pier), ☎ +66 2 211-9317. 05:00-21:00 daily, bot 08:00-09:00 and 17:00-18:00 daily. This temple originally dates from the Ayutthaya Period, when it was known as Wat Kok Khwai. It was completely reconstructed by King Rama III in the early nineteenth century, and he renamed the temple Wat Yan Nawa (Boat Temple). The main feature of this temple is the base of the temple, that is shaped like a Chinese junk with two pagodas functioning as its masts. King Rama III saw that steam ships were slowly replacing old junks, and wanted the people to remember how much wealth they had brought to Siam. In the early nineteenth century, Chinese people started moving to the area, and the temple is still popular among the Chinese community residing there.Free.
Museums and art
Bangkokian Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์ชาวบางกอก), 273 Charoen Krung Soi 43 (Si Phraya Pier), ☎ +66 2 233-7027. W-Su 10:00-17:00. This typical wooden Thai-style family house was built in 1937 and originally was the home of the Suravadee family. It was converted into a museum that gives an insight into the lifestyles of middle-class Bangkokians during World War II and the 1950s. On display are antiques, household items, a kitchen, sanitation and toilet facilities used during the war. Part of museum is devoted to maintaining the history of Bang Rak and Silom, showing the farms, canals and windmills that used to be characteristic for this area.Free.
Kathmandu Photo Gallery, 87 Pan Rd (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 234-6700, . Tu-Su 11:00-19:00. Housed in an old (but beautifully restored) Portuguese shophouse, this is probably the only gallery in Bangkok totally devoted to the art of photography. Its owner, photographer Manit Sriwanichpoom, tried to resemble the photographers' shops of old, where visitors walked in and carefully chose one of the prints on sale. The gallery on the ground floor is all about the work of the owner, while the (tiny) upper floor has changing exhibitions. There's also a book corner for those more interested in photography.Free.
King Rama VI Statue (พระบรมราชานุสาวรีย์พระบาทสมเด็จพระมงกุฏเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว), (MRT Si Lom). Located in front of Lumphini Park, the statue was sculpted by Professor Corado Feroci, an Italian sculptor that in Thailand is better known as Silpa Bhirasri. He and four Thai artists gave it the final touch on 7 June 1941, so it could be revealed on 27 March 1942. It is devoted to King Vajiravudh (Rama VI), who asked the Italian government for an artist to teach and promote art in Thailand (which at that time was seen as not able to cope with European standards). King Vajiravudh is displayed as standing in his ceremonial uniform and holding a sword. It's not a coincidence that Lumphini Park is its location: King Vajiravudh donated this large plot of land to the city's citizens by turning it into a public park.Free.
M.R. Kukrit's Heritage Home (บ้านซอยสวนพลู), 19 Soi Phra Phinit (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 286-8185, . Sa-Su 09:30-17:00. M.R. Kukrit Pramoj (1911-1995) was an important writer, lecturer and statesman and served as the prime minister of Thailand. His legacy is this complex of five teak houses that used to be his home. They are an astonishing example of traditional Thai architecture, with the oldest teak home more than one hundred years old. The surrounding garden plays an important role in the design of the property, as that's the glue holding the different houses together.50 baht.
Neilson-Hayes Library, 195 Surawong Rd (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 233-1731, . Tu-Su 09:30-17:00. Visiting a library during your trip might seem a bit odd, but this one might convince you. The library has the largest collection of English language books in Bangkok, catering to the many Western expats in the area. There is also an art gallery, a café, creative workshops and plenty of events throughout the year. Also, the European-style building from the late 19th century is of great architectural interest.Free.
Due to many rich business travelers visiting Silom, it is an excellent destination for high-class spas. Particularly well-regarded spas include Devarana Spa (at the Dusit Thani Hotel), and the eponymous operations at Banyan Tree and the legendary Oriental — the last of these probably being the most expensive in town, offering (among other things) a six-hour Oriental Romance package for two costing a whopping 16,000 baht.
BODY Tune, 2F, Yada Bldg, 56 Silom Rd (BTS Sala Daeng exit 3), ☎ +66 2 238-4377, . 10:00-00:00 daily. Well-respected small chain offering excellent traditional Thai massages.350 baht/hr.
Devarana Spa, Dusit Thani Hotel Bldg, 946 Rama IV Rd (BTS Sala Daeng or MRT Si Lom), ☎ +66 2 636-3596, . 09:00-22:00 daily. Easily the most luxury spa of the city in the Dusit Thani Hotel. There are 15 treatment rooms, including five spa suits. Expect a very professional service and a beautiful modern interior. However, if you need to ask the price you probably cannot afford it.
Historic Bangrak Food Tasting and Culture Tour, (meet at BTS Saphan Taksin exit 3), ☎ +66 8 9126-3657, . 10:00-13:00 daily. This is a culinary walking tour through Bang Rak that takes about three hours. The tour includes the tasting of seven to eight menus from five local eateries, as well as visits to local landmarks. Each participant is given a wireless earpiece for use during the tour.950 baht.
Lumpinee Boxing Stadium (สนามมวยลุมพินี), Rama IV Rd (MRT Lumphini), ☎ +66 2 251-4303. Tu, F 18:30, Sa 16:30 and 20:30. An enjoyable way to understand more of Thai culture is by visiting a Thai kickboxing (Muay Thai) match. Foreigners pay 1,000-2,000 baht depending on proximity to the ringside, while Thais can squeeze in for 230 baht. The matches take long though, and as the more interesting matches tend to happen at the end, you might want to skip the first hour.
Mambo Cabaret (แมมโบ้คาบาเร่ต์โชว์), 59 Rama III Rd (BRT Wat Darn, between Rama III Soi 57 and 59), ☎ +66 2 294-7381(-2), . Showtime 19:15, 20:30, 22:00 daily. Touted as the "queen" of drag shows, this ladyboy show performs three times a day. A show takes one hour and has all the glitz and glamour you would expect. Before it was located at Washington Square along Sukhumvit Road, but now it has moved far off to the area around Rama III Road. You can take a picture with the performers when the show ends, but you will have to pay extra. Advance booking is recommended.1,000 baht.
Ruen Thep, 286/1 Silom Rd (BTS Surasak, at the Silom Village Trade Center), ☎ +66 2 635-6313, . 20:20-21:10 daily. In the evenings you can catch this authentic performance of various forms of traditional Thai dance. It is part of the Silom Village Trade Center complex. It is advisable to make a reservation in advance.600-900 baht.
Traditional Thai Puppet Theater (นาฏยศาลาหุ่นละครเล็ก, also known as the Joe Louis Theater), 1875 Rama IV Rd (MRT Lumphini), ☎ +66 2 252-9683(-4), . 19:30-20:45 daily. The establishment of this theatre was inspired by Sakhon Yangkhieosot, or Joe Louis, who wished to preserve the art of operating Hun Lakhon Lek puppets. In operating the puppets, the puppeteers require basic skills of Khon performance as they will have to move their footsteps and hand gestures to coincide with those of the puppets. Each puppet is operated by three puppeteers, lending it lifelike movements. Hun Lakhon Lek usually performs the story of Ramakian, the Thai version of the Ramayana epic. Sakhon Nattasin is currently the only performing troupe of Hun Lakhon Lek in Thailand. The show is in Thai with translations into English, and there is a segment where the puppets interact with audience members that is popular with children. There is also a corner inside the theatre where Khon mask making is demonstrated, with a gallery of the Hun Lakhon Lek puppets and their background.3,000 baht.
Blue Elephant Cooking School and Restaurant, 233 Sathorn Tai Rd (BTS Surasak), ☎ +66 2 673-9353, . 08:45-13:00, 13:15-16:30 daily. Take classes from one of the most famous chains of Thai restaurants in the world. While the price is substantially higher than others in Bangkok, class takes place in the historic Blue Elephant restaurant, and while dining on your creations, wine, extra dishes and dessert are served. And they give you a Blue Elephant apron as well.2,800 baht.
Silom Thai Cooking School, 68 Silom Soi 13 (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 8 4726-5669, . 09:00-13:00, 13:40-18:00 daily. A quaint cooking school in an air-conditioned environment. It is very clean and the instructor will have you frequently washing your hands before preparing each dish. Cooking classes are given in the morning and afternoon. The setting is more like a dinner party rather than a classroom cooking school. Definitely worth a try.1,000 baht.
At first, shopping around Silom might feel a little lacklustre compared to Siam Square. Its department stores and malls are bland at best, but if you're in need of something, they are not short on supply. If you're looking for antiques, arts, handicrafts, silk, and suits, however, Silom is the place to be. Especially the Bang Rak area is good, as it's where wealthy potential buyers stay in expensive riverside hotels. Hundreds of jewellery and silver stores are lined up along Charoen Krung Road.
Don't forget the licence
Antique shopping is fun, and statues, fabrics, woodcarvings and furnitures are some of the products that might interest you. Be careful that some cultural objects need an export licence if you want to take them out of the country. This is especially the case for Buddha images, Bodhisattva images or parts of ancient monuments and prehistoric objects. Any reputable dealer should be able to give advice and get the paperwork in order. You can also contact the Office of Archaeology and National Museums (81/1 Si Ayutthaya Rd, Dusit, ☎ +66 2 628-5032) for more information.
House of Chao, 9/1 Decho Rd (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 635-7188. 10:00-18:00 daily. This mall is filled with dusty antique shops. Many of the items on sale are pure junk, but maybe you'll find that an interesting teak treasure.
Jim Thompson Store, 9 Surawong Road (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 632-8100, . 09:00-21:00 daily. The flagship store of the famous Thai silk brand, offering well-designed pieces of high quality silk at equally high prices. Spread out over four floors, this store offers the full range of Thompson's products, including lengths of raw silk.
O.P. Place, 30/1 Charoen Krung Soi 38 (Oriental Pier), ☎ +66 2 266-0186. 10:30-18:30 daily. This luxury neo-classical building is a great starting point for your antiques hunt through Silom. There are many floors with different shops selling antiques, carpets, decorations, handicrafts, jewellery, paintings, silk and many other cultural objects. The third floor is an arts and crafts gallery. The whole mall has a high-class atmosphere attached to it, so expect truly expensive objectse.
Silom Galleria, 919/1 Silom Rd (BTS Surasak), ☎ +66 2 630-0944(-50), . 09:30-18:30 daily. This mall has more than one hundred art, antique and gem stores, but it all feels a bit deserted and empty. There are plenty of art exhibitions held, Thavibu and Tang are the most interesting ones on contemporary Asian art.
Silom Village Trade Center, 286 Silom Rd (BTS Surasak), ☎ +66 2 235-8760, . 10:00-21:00 daily. Supposedly the last traditional Thai village on Silom Road, Silom Village is comprised of 15 teak houses as well as three buildings that were constructed in 1908. The compound has been converted into Thai handicraft shops, a restaurant and a hotel. It is a touristy theme market, but still a good place to look for souvenirs, handbags, handicrafts and furniture. Be aware that many items are fakes though. If you want to sleep at the hotel, these are 1,100-3,500 baht per night. Expect simple rooms for visitors on a budget. There is no breakfast or Wi-Fi included and the smell can be bad in some rooms.
Excelsior, Siam Heritage Hotel Bldg, 115/1 Surawong Rd (BTS Sala Daeng, opposite Le Meredien), ☎ +66 2 234-2399, . 09:00-22:30 daily. One of the better shops around Silom for hand-tailored clothing. It's been in business since the 1920s. An Armani-style costs around 9,500 THB.
Savile Row Company, Rose Hotel Bldg, 118 Surawong Rd (BTS Sala Daeng, behind Le Meridian), ☎ +66 2 235-4427. 09:00-21:30 daily. Another hand-tailored clothing shop that has been in the business for 40 years. Expect to pay around 9,000-13,000 baht for a suit.
Bang Rak Market (ตลาดบางรัก), Charoen Krung Soi 46 (BTS Saphan Taksin or Sathorn Pier), ☎ +66 2 250-5500. 06:00-21:00 daily. A beacon of cheapness among the luxurious hotels in Bang Rak, this is essentially a flower market. There are flowers on sale for all occasions and for every budget, including wholesale prices. There's especially a large supply of orchids and cut flowers. If you're hungry, though, there's also ample supply of meat, seafood and fruit. And there are also the usual clothing stalls available.
Lalai Sap Market (ตลาดละลายทรัพย์), Silom Soi 5 (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 231-2244. M-F 10:00-15:00. This street market caters to the many secretaries and banking employees from the surrounding office buildings in Silom. Its name literally means "vanishing money". There are plenty of goods for sale, including garments and personal hygiene products. Small accessories cost only around 50-100 baht. It's at its busiest around 13:00, when white-collar workers have lunch, so it's best to visit it around that time. It's a good food market too. In the afternoon hawker stalls sell fruits and snacks, and seafood in the evening.
Patpong Night Market (ตลาดกลางคืนพัฒน์พงษ์), Soi Patpong 1 (BTS Sala Daeng). 18:00-01:00 daily. Between the strip clubs and bars along Soi Patpong is the Patpong Night Market, arguably the mostly touristy market in all of Bangkok. It was designed in the 1980s as a modest flea market, nowadays it is probably the most visited (and least interesting) market of Bangkok. It is home to a variety of counterfeit merchandise including watches, clothing, bags, and cosmetics as well as Thai tourist products such as model tuk-tuks and kick-boxing shorts. The prices at this market are exorbitant and anyone brave enough to buy anything here should bargain extensively. Most items available at the Patpong Night Market are available for less than half the price at other locations in Bangkok.
Chamchuri Square, 319 Phaya Thai Rd (MRT Sam Yan), ☎ +66 2 746-6850(-3), . 10:00-22:00 daily. Silom's newest shopping mall still feels quite empty and spacious. It is clean and modern, though, and all the big chain stores have moved in. It caters towards the needs of the many nearby Chulalongkorn University students, so there are many book shops, ice cream parlours and other food outlets.
Silom Complex, 191 Silom Rd (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 632-1199, . 10:30-21:00 daily. Silom's largest mall is a bit quiet, but the restaurants and TOPS Supermarket in the basement aren't bad. Central is at the rear of the complex and is accessible at every level of the complex. The top floor of Silom Complex has a large electrical goods retailer and a well-stocked office supplies retailer.
Thaniya Plaza, 52 Silom Rd (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 231-2244, . 10:00-21:00 daily. Two connected malls which run along Soi Thaniya, a street which is populated predominantly by Japanese restaurants and hostess bars. The Thaniya Plaza consists almost exclusively of golf equipment shops (except for a few Japanese restaurants).
This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Under 100 baht
Over 500 baht
Fancy restaurants, cafés, noodle shops and international chain stores line the streets around Silom Road.
As Silom is a popular area with the locals, there are enough places for cheap meals. For authentic Japanese food at reasonable prices, pop into one of the many eateries on Soi Thaniya. The Lalai Sap Market has some affordable seafood stalls (see Buy).
Bang Rak defines the melting pot of Bangkok's cuisine. There are various ethnic eateries in that area, including Thai, Chinese, Indian and Muslim cuisines. But you can also find plenty of noodle shops, stewed pork with rice (ข้าวขาหมู) stalls and roasted duck with rice (ข้าวหน้าเป็ด) eateries. As this is a poorer neighbourhood, often dishes cost no more than 80 baht.
Momotarou Ramen House (ราเมนเฮาส์โมโมทะโร), 9/19-21 Soi Thaniya (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 235-0108. Simple budget eatery for some Japanese noodles. There are no English signs outside, only a white sign with red Japanese signs.70 baht.
Prachak Restaurant (ประจักษ์เป็ดย่าง), 1415 Charoen Krung Rd (BTS Saphan Taksin or Sathorn Pier, diagonally across Robinson), ☎ +66 2 234-3755, . 07:30-20:30 daily. A very small restaurant that nevertheless managed to become famous by word of mouth. The owner is currently the fourth generation running this restaurant that is more than one hundred years old. No fancy banners, or even an English sign, just good food that is well known among the locals. Ordering is no problem as the menus have pictures shown. It is famous for its duck, but get there early before it runs out. They also serve good pork dishes and noodle soup.60-150 baht.
Shin Emon, 56 Soi Thaniya (BTS Sala Daeng, one soi down from the main Soi Thaniya towards Rama IV Road), ☎ +66 2 632-8180. This Japanese restaurant specialises in Japanese curry rice, which is really delicious. They also have other Japanese dishes, such as tamako udon and ramen. The restaurant consists of a long bar at which guests sit next to each other waiting for their food.90-140 baht.
Edoya (ร้านอาหารอิโดยา), 1F, Charn Issara Tower I Bldg, 942/51 Rama IV Rd (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 233-0232, . M-Sa 11:30-14:00, 17:30-23:00, Su 17:30-23:00. One of Bangkoks oldest and most reputable restaurants that has received visits from the Japanese Ambassador. A warm, friendly and traditional style.Lunch sets 190 baht, meals 300-1,000 baht.
Ichimonji (อิชิมอนจิ一文字), 9/34 Soi Thaniya (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 235-7889. Buried in the depths of the soi, this is a typical Japanese-style pub and eatery. Their set meals are decent value, and English menus are available.150-250 baht.
Harmonique, 22 Charoen Krung Soi 34 (Oriental Pier), ☎ +66 2 237-8175. M-Sa 11:00-22:00. While much more well-known by tourists than in the past, it still has a unique atmosphere set in a courtyard with three quaint town houses on the background. It's food could best be described as a mix between Thai and Chinese cuisine.450 baht.
Queen of Curry, 49 Charoen Krung Soi 50 (BTS Saphan Taksin or Sathorn Pier), ☎ +66 2 234-4321. 10:00-22:00 daily. Known as one of the best restaurants of Bangkok, don't expect grandeur or expensive bills here. This modest restaurant lacks any appearance, you might even see children do their homework in the back. But the customers rave about the food, which is stunning. They really are the queen of curries, which can only be described as some of the best in Thailand. With great service for a small price, this is a true gem, though more and more foreigners seem to know about it. You must try the green chicken curry, or pick one of the recommendations from the menu.150-300 baht.
Red PInn, 120/20 Soi Pramote 3 (BTS Surasak, walk about 200 metres into Maha Sak Rd, then take a right into the first small street on the right), ☎ +66 2 235-80-41, . 11:00-22:00 daily. This home cooking restaurant has some nice peasant food from around the world, including Northern Europe. Besides being a restaurant, it is also a nice place to kick back a German lager. There are some big screen TVs, a pool table and free Wi-Fi. Also, they also have rooms available for 1,100 baht/night.150-680 baht.
Souvlaki, 114/14 Silom Soi 4 (BTS Sala Daeng, before Telephone Pub), ☎ +66 2 632-9967(-8), . 11:00-01:00 daily. One of the few Greek restaurants in Bangkok, this serves some reasonably good food, including a somewhat odd shaped souvlaki and lots of ouzo.150-250 baht.
Spanish On 4, 78-80 Silom Soi 4 (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 632-9955, . Su-Th 11:00-01:00, F-Sa 11:00-02:00. Spanish On 4 is a new Spanish tapas restaurant, the sister restaurant of the popular Tapas Cafe in Sukhumvit Soi 11. This new restaurant has a striking black terazzo bar that dominates the downstairs dining room. At the back end of the bar are food displays with some of that day's tapas dishes on display and Spanish cured hams hanging overhead. There are open kitchens both downstairs at the end of the bar and upstairs at the back of the main dining room. You can order a full meal, or have a quick snack to go with your drinks. There is a dance floor and upstairs terrace bar.Lunch sets 220+ baht, full meals 400-550 baht.
Sushiko (ซูซิโค), 9/11-12 Soi Thaniya (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 255-9505(-4). 11:00-00:00 daily. A decent mid-range eatery right in the middle of the Japanese Thaniya neighbourhood. The interior looks neat and modern and is in a typical Japanese style. There is no English sign outside.120-700 baht.
The Chao Phraya riverside hotels (see Sleep) have the usual splurge restaurants with overpriced menus, although The Oriental's dinner buffet (2,000+ baht) is acclaimed.
Baan Khanitha, 69 Sathorn Tai Rd (BTS Chong Nonsi and taxi), ☎ +66 2 675-4200(-1), . 11:00-23:00 daily. The entrance lined with thousands of fairy lights sets a nice atmosphere for what is inside. There is an excellent menu of traditional Thai food that is either served inside or out in a small garden courtyard. They also have an excellent wine cellar. Since 2009 it has been rated as one of the best Thai restaurants in Bangkok.1,000-1,500 baht.
Eat Me Restaurant (ร้านอาหารอีทมี), 1/6 Phiphat Soi 2 (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 238-0931, . 15:00-01:00 daily. Well known among visitors in Silom, Eat Me is kind-of the Bed Supperclub of the area. It is a cosmopolitan restaurant with a slick modern design. Their menu is eclectic with something for everyone. Expect some of the best and freshest fusion dishes of Bangkok. They also have an extensive wine list, which comes at a price though.1,500 baht.
Naj (นาจเอ๊กเคว็สสิทไทยคุยซีน), 42 Convent Rd (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 632-2811(-3), . 11:30-14:30, 17:30-23:30 daily. An amazingly luxury restaurant that has a traditional Thai atmosphere and beautiful decoration. The house once belonged to an aristocratic family and dates back to the era of King Rama V. They have modern Thai and Thai-inspired dishes, which you can eat either inside or in the garden. You might want to pick a wine from their underground wine cellar. But of course, all this comes with a hefty price tag.3,500 baht.
Zanotti, 1F, Saladaeng Colonnade Condominium Bldg, 21/2 Sala Daeng Rd (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 636-0002. 11:30-14:00, 18:00-23:30 daily. A very chique Italian restaurant. Its service and food is definitely good, but it is a tad expensive compared to what you get for it at other luxury restaurants.2,500 baht.
There's more to Silom's nightlife than just Patpong, but can a visitor say they've been to Bangkok without at least a quick peek into the 'Pong?
Patpong Night Market
You might want to take a deep breath and down a few shots before heading into the insanity of Patpong (พัฒน์พงษ์), which in fact consists only of two small sois (Patpong 1 and Patpong 2). It's a short walk from BTS Sala Daeng station, deserted by day but jam-packed and overflowing in all directions by night. The throngs of middle age tourists shopping for sarongs and chopsticks just makes the sex shows going on in every open door seem that much more surreal.
Prepare to be harassed by touts armed with laminated 'menus' of acts you can order up. If you follow the touts, you might end up spending a ton of money on drinks to watch sad looking girls perform unhygienic acts with various garden-party accessories (lawn darts, ping pongs, etc etc) in one of the upstairs bars. While seemingly cheap at first, be prepared to pay thousands of bahts when the girls flock to you with drinks in their hands, as you'd have to pay for them. The bill comes to you within minutes and the dispute could become violent.
If you instead try one of the bars on the lower level, you can safely watch girls dancing on stage, but will occasionally be asked by one of the girls if you could buy her a drink. She will get upwards of 50% of the drink price as a bonus and will join you at your table for some conversation in exchange. As a rule of thumb, only trust bars that already have a fair number of customers; a drink should not cost more than 130 baht or so. Note that all the go-go bars in Patpong close by 01:00 sharp!
It must be said that Patpong has changed remarkably over the years. While it used to be just a sleazy den of go-go bars, the last years a lot of visitors came to the area just to see what the fuss is about. It is not unusual to see families walk through the area with their children in the early evening. The locals found a way to make money from this new group of curious tourists: an enormous night market stocked with overpriced souvenirs that takes up the whole road and even spills over to the surrounding area (including Silom Road). See the Buy section for more information on the night market.
King's Castle III, Soi Patpong 1 (BTS Sala Daeng, left side of Soi Patpong 1 if coming from Silom Road). 19:00-01:00 daily. The place to go gawp at kathoeys (ladyboys) strutting their stuff. Prepare to tolerate a few invasions of personal space, but it's all in good fun. No surprises on the bill.Drinks 100 baht.
Soi Thaniya in the harsh glare of day
Soi Thaniya is Patpong for the Japanese; you might be excused for thinking you've ended up in Shinjuku when you see the plethora of signs in Japanese and kimono-clad girls beckoning you in. Most bars and clubs are off-limits to Westerners (except for the occasional British pub), but some of the restaurants aren't bad for a serve of Japanese food and some beer or sake to wash it down.
Silom Soi 2 and 4
Sois 2 and 4 are the centre of gay nightlife in Bangkok, although these days Soi 4 packs in a mixed crowd with plenty of bars that aren't gay by any stretch of the imagination. On weekends Soi 4 is cordoned off and a valid ID is (theoretically) required to enter, though rarely enforced. Across Surawong Road is Soi Twilight, Bangkok's largest gay go-go bar strip.
The Balcony (เดอะแบลโคนี), 86-88 Silom Soi 4 (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 235-5891, . 17:30-02:00 daily. This is probably the most popular gay pub of Bangkok. They have a friendly staff and beer is reasonably priced. A great place for people-watching
DJ Station/Soi 2 Bars, 8/6-8 Silom Soi 2 (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 266-4029, . 21:00-02:00 daily. Down Soi 2 are a cluster of bars, all with set drink prices (150 baht for most cocktails) and loud dance music. There is a bag check with a very safe and reliable record at the mouth of the soi, security and ID check, and free wi-fi. Most of the smaller bars are patronized mainly by Thais but can be a fun for groups of foreigners with open-minds. DJ STATION is at the end of the soi and requires a cover charge (150 on weekdays with 1 free drink, 300 on weekends/holidays with 2 free drinks). DJ Station is the most famous gay nightclub in Bangkok and busy almost every night, starting with a ladyboy show at 23:30. Jam-packed on weekends, do not enter if you're even slightly claustrophobic. Most drinks are 150 baht as of 12/24/12 (be careful with spirits, the bartenders don't measure anything and tend to over-pour, sometimes badly), or buy a bottle of spirits from 1,000 baht up and get free mixers. Spread over three levels, the ground floor has a big dance floor, the second floor has two main rooms- each with a bar. The one overlooking the dance floor attracts "moneyboys" and their admirers (but these are by no means the majority) while the other room, which adjoins the smoking balcony, attracts expats and bar "regulars." The third floor is the place to escape if you can't move (if you can get there) and has another smoking balcony. Opening hours vary, but it usually closes around 02:00-03:30.Entry fee 150-300 baht including 1-2 drinks (DJ Station only).
G.O.D. Club (จี.โอ.ดี.), Siri-Orr Place Bldg, 80/18-21 Silom Soi 2/1 (BTS Sala Daeng, next to Nooddi restaurant in a small alley between Silom Soi 2 and Soi Thaniya), ☎ +66 2 632-8033. 21:00-05:00 daily. G.O.D. is short for Guys on Display, and that's basically what the whole place is about. It is an alternative to DJ Station and usually stays open until 05:00 or later (though closing times vary). It attracts a crowd that wants to party till late in the night, as it only begins to get going between 01:00 and 03:00. It suffers regular closures for unknown reasons, check with locals if it's open before making plans.Entry fee is 300 baht, including 2 drinks.
Luminous, 78/80 Silom Soi 4 (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 632-8390. 21:00-02:00 daily. Luminous is a famed hip-hop bar spread over three floors, yet somewhat small. For a first time visit or once-in-a-while visitor, this place is a good find. However, if you go there too often, you may find their repertoire of songs somewhat repetitive. Cocktails are not remarkably special and prices are about average for the area. Comfy seats downstairs as well as on the third floor. Or take a seat outside, where tables make a good spot to people watch.
Tapas Room Club (ทาปาสรูมคลับ), 114/17-18 Silom Soi 4 (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 234-4737, . 20:00-02:00 daily. This is more of a groovy club than a Spanish snack joint, with two stylishly decorated floors and a peoplewatching terrace. The music is house with a Latin twist. It is popular among hip straight people, and sometimes even local celebrities make themselves be seen.100 baht.
Telephone Pub (เทลลีโฟนผับ), 114/11 Silom Soi 4 (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 234-3279, . 19:00-02:00 daily. Another one of Silom Soi 4's gay bars with a karaoke bar upstairs.
Bars and pubs
Barbican (เดอะบาบริแกน), 9/4-5 Soi Thaniya (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 234-3590, . 11:30-01:00 daily. A favourite among Bangkok's expatriates, this British-style pub is in the middle of the Japanese neighbourhood! Don't expect anything classy here, but its relaxed atmosphere does make for a nice visit. Besides beer, they also have simple dishes that can be ordered. Mains start for around 200 baht. In the early evenings they have "happy hour", so don't expect a seat at that time.
Duke of Wellington (ดุ๊กออฟเวลลิงตัน), GF, United Center Bldg, 323 Silom Rd (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 234-2875, . 10:00-01:00 daily. For nice live bands and good service, try this authentic English-style pub. The beers and food are a little pricey by Thai standards, but the place at least has free Wi-Fi. Happy hours on weekdays are between 17:00-20:00, and noon-20:00 on Saturdays & Sundays.
Molly Malone's Irish Pub, Sibunruang Bldg, 1/5-6 Convent Rd (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 266-7160(-1), . 09:00-01:00 daily. Formerly the Irish Xchange Pub, this is quite a large Irish pub with two floors. Its large expat audience mostly sips Guinness, but there are also other beers on tap. Excellent daily lunch buffets and daily Happy Hour specials. Also an All-You-Can-Eat 'Sunday Roast' from noon to 19:00. Satellite TV sports and live music area are available, and free Wi-Fi.
O'Reilly's Irish Pub, 62/1-4 Silom Rd (BTS Sala Daeng exit 1), ☎ +66 2 632-7515(-19), . 11:00-01:00 daily. It is on the corner with Soi Thaniya, but actually still located along Silom Road itself. Live music starts around 21:00. At Tuesdays and Thursdays, Johnny Deschamps, a kind of Thai Frank Sinatra performs, while Wednesdays are taken by the band Vertigo with their blues, pop and soul sound.
Tawandang Microbrewery (โรงเบียร์เยอรมันตะวันแดง - พระราม 3), 462/61 Rama III Rd (BRT Phraram 3), ☎ +66 2 678-1114(-6), . 17:00-01:00 daily. Not a bar, but a very popular German microbrewery, mostly among upper-middle class Thais. It also has good food at reasonable prices, and a good stage show with many acts and fun music. It can be hard to find, but is well worth the trip. Most taxis will know this place, just ask for the "Rong Beer Yereman" (German Beer Hall) and they should understand. Also only a few stops on the new BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) from Chong Nonsi (ask fellow passengers where to get off). Reservations recommended, especially on weekends.
Note that fairly strictly applied dress codes apply to all of the following, so no flip-flops, shorts or sleeveless shirts.
Bamboo Bar, Oriental Hotel, 48 Oriental Rd (Oriental Pier), ☎ +66 2 659-9000, . F Sa 11:00-02:00, Su-Th 11:00-01:00. Jazz lovers will want to stop by the Oriental's famous bar, which is surprisingly small and intimate, for classy colonial surroundings, live music and a Cuban cigar. Needless to say, at 250 baht a Singha here will be the most expensive beer you'll find in Bangkok. Dress code applies: no shorts, sleeveless shirts, slippers or sandals.
Hu'u, 1F, Ascott Sathorn, 187 Sathorn Tai Rd (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 676-6677. 17:00-01:00 daily. The latest branch of this ultra-chic superhip bar-restaurant from Bali, offers Bangkok's tallest bottle rack and a 30-page menu of bizarrely named but well made cocktails. This is a place where the socialites of Bangkok make themselves be seen. Expensive at over 200 baht for most drinks.
Sirocco and Sky Bar (The Dome), 63F, State Tower, 1055/111 Silom Rd (BTS Saphan Taksin or Sathorn Pier), ☎ +66 2 624-9576, . 18:00-01:00 daily. The world's tallest rooftop bar/restaurant, a few metres higher up than Vertigo — but due to its slightly off-centre location, the views are arguably not quite as stunning. This is in fact a complex of a number of expensive restaurants, including the Mediterranean-flavoured Sirocco, but the cheapest option for just a drink is the fully outdoor Sky Bar, complete with a live jazz band most nights. Prices are steep, with one beer costing 350+ baht, while cocktails are 450+ baht.
V9, 37F, Sofitel Hotel Bldg, 188 Silom Rd (BTS Surasak), ☎ +66 2 238-1991, . 17:00-02:00 daily. This wine bar on the 37th floor gives an excellent view over the Silom business district. It looks like being in a wine cellar and on offer are a fantastic selection of wines (either by glass or bottle). Prices are cheaper than you might expect, there are good bottles for around 1,200 baht. Music is hip and there's a good service. It also functions as a restaurant serving tapas-style small dishes of fusion meals.
Vertigo and Moon Bar, 61F, Banyan Tree Hotel Bldg, Sathorn Tai Rd (MRT Lumphini), ☎ +66 2 679-1200, . 17:30-01:00 (weather permitting). This aptly-named named bar and restaurant is actually located outside on the roof (61 stories high), giving you staggering views of Bangkok at night. Drinks at the bar are fairly expensive (beer 240 baht, cocktails 350 baht, plus 10 percent service charge), but it's definitely worth the experience. Dinner at the restaurant, on the other hand, is not worth it — a course of pretentious European food will set you back around 4,000 baht/head.
This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Under 1,000 baht
1,000 baht to 2,500 baht
Over 2,500 baht
Most of the hotels in Silom are four or five-star hotels catering to business travellers. Most splurge hotels can be found along Silom Road and Sathorn Road. The Bang Rak area at the Chao Phraya River has some of the world's best hotels, including Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La (another contender for this title is The Peninsula, right at the other side of the river in Thonburi).
Due to high property values, dorm rooms, which are pretty much unheard of elsewhere in Thailand, are becoming the norm here for budget travellers. Ngam Duphli Road used to be the heart of Bangkok's backpacker scene, and was a lively area with dozens of guest houses. As Khao San Road took over, this road has gone significantly downhill and most guest houses there have turned creaky and dusty.
HQ Hostel Bangkok, 5/3-4 Silom Soi 3 (Phiphat Rd) (BTS Chong Nonsi, next to Bangkok Bank Headquarters), ☎ +66 2 233-1598, . HQ Hostel Bangkok is a boutique accommodation for backpackers and budget travelers ideally located in the middle of Silom. It is within walking distance of all major attractions and the transport network. Rooms include air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi and internet-connected computers.1,300-1,700 baht, dorm 330-599 baht/person.
Lub d Bangkok, 4 Decho Rd (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 634-7999, . This hostel is designed by famous hotel designers. It offers 8-bed dormitories, ladies-only dormitories, private rooms for 1-2 people and normal double bed hotel rooms with a private bathroom. All rooms are clean, comfortable and have air conditioning. There's a TV room, free Wi-Fi and free use of the nine internet terminals and luggage storage. There are do-it-yourself laundry services for around 60 baht. The colourful bar offers breakfast, snacks and beverages until midnight (2 beers for 100 baht). Booking is cheaper if done via the web compared to walking in.1,100-1,500 baht, dorm 350-400 baht/person.
Malaysia Hotel, 54 Soi Ngam Duphli (MRT Lumphini), ☎ +66 2 679-7127(-36), . The Malaysia Hotel used to be an institution in Bangkok: it was the city's most famous budget accommodation. Those days are long long gone, as now it turned into a seedy gay pick-up hostel with massage parlour. Their 119 rooms are a decent value though, as they are fairly large and have air-conditioning, hot-water bathrooms, Internet access and a swimming pool.800-1,500 baht.
New Road Guest House, 1216/1 Charoen Krung Rd (BTS Saphan Taksin, between Soi 34 and 36), ☎ +66 2 630-6994(-8), . checkout: 12:00. Nice guest house with many services to offer. The dorms are really nice and extremely cheap for what you get. Desk staff is not amazing, they seem somewhat unsure of whether or not they have rooms/beds available a lot of the time. Ask twice if they aren't clear. In a fairly quiet area. They offer plenty of tours around Thailand. Free Wi-Fi is provided. Closest street food is about 500m down the road, it's a long walk to get anywhere. The nearest BTS station is about 1km. Dorms 160-250, Other rooms up to2,500 baht.
Sala Thai Daily Mansion, 15 Soi Saphan Khu (MRT Lumphini), ☎ +66 2 287-1436. Probably the best guest house in the Soi Ngam Duphli area with 15 small, but clean, basic rooms. It is at the end of a very quiet soi. Rooms are private, but toilets and hot-water showers are shared. Nice rooftop terrace too.300-600 baht.
Saphai Pae, 35 Surasak Rd (BTS Surasak), ☎ +66 2 238-2322, . Saphai Pae is one of the biggest hostels in Bangkok. It is eight storeys high and can accomodate over 200 guests in a ladies dorm and a mixed dorm. The dorms have high quality mattresses, big lockers, air-conditioning, hot water, and free Wi-Fi in every room. There is also an internet lounge, a laundry room, a television room, a café/bakery (06:00-20:00 daily) and restaurant (06:00-00:00 daily). Private double rooms are also available.1,300-1,500 baht, dorm 330-390 baht/person.
Take a Nap, 920-926 Rama IV Rd (MRT Sam Yan), ☎ +66 2 637-0015, . A clean and comfortable hostel or budget hotel. It lies along Rama IV Road, which can be noisy at night due to the massive amounts of traffic. It is not a party hostel, so stay quiet at night. Rooms have a modern bathroom with hot showers. Free Wi-Fi and free use of two internet terminals is offered, as well as do-it-yourself laundry services (200 baht) and luggage storage.1,150-1,500 baht, dorm 350 baht/person.
WE Bangkok, 122 Sathorn Soi 12 (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 635-2217, . Only opened recently and is slowly building up a reputation among laid-back packers. It is a great hostel to relax and meet other travellers. The dorms are comfortable, clean, air-conditioned and each bed is provided with a personal charging point and reading light. There are multiple computers that are free to use and the hostel provides free Wi-Fi. The staff speaks English very well and is always willing to help. The hostel also has a rooftop bar where people can enjoy the skyline and socialise.dorm 300 baht/person. (13.732275,100.528673)
T.T. 2 Guest House, 516 Thanon Sawang, Maha Phruttharam, (From the train station walk south on Thanon Charon Krung until you cross a small canal/bridge, take the next left onto Thanon Si Praya, walk under the freeway and turn left at a burned out building onto Thanon Sawang, walk through the narrow section under a big tree and keep going til you see the sign on your left.), ☎ +66 (0) 2236-2946. checkout: 12:00. It's pretty close to the train station, but somewhat tricky to find, hidden up a street with residential complexes and some abandoned burned down buildings. You'll feel like you can't be in the right place until you're right there. Staff is very helpful, but insistent that it is a "family" establishment. The building is CLOSED from midnight to 5:00am, so be sure you're in before then otherwise it will be a long night. They ask that you leave your key at the desk before you go out as well. If you want a quiet place to sleep it's cheap for that. Clean but very basic bathrooms, free reasonably fast wifi. Seems to have a ton of rooms and not a lot of people in them, good if your usual places are booked.double/twin fan room 300 baht.
Bossotel Inn, 55/8-14 Charoen Krung Soi 42/1 (BTS Saphan Taksin or Sathorn Pier), ☎ +66 2 630-6120, . In a rather quiet dead-end street, that ends at the Shangri-la Hotel, it is close to Silom Rd, the river, and various public transport networks. Rooms are nice and clean, and feature air-conditioning and a fridge. The hotel has a pool and a spa, and prices include breakfast.1,400-2,000 baht.
De Arni Bangkok, 68 Surawong Rd (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 235-7373, . The rooms offers air-conditioning, an Internet connection, mini-bar, fridge and safe. Some of its amenities include dry cleaning, laundry services and ample parking spaces. There is also a restaurant.1,280-3,840 baht.
LUXX, 6/11 Decho Rd (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 635-8800, . This boutique hotel offers the holistic concept with its 13 individually designed rooms and suites. Rooms are designed as studio units equipped with cable television, coffee and tea making facilities and mini bar. Suites are structured as one bedroom units with stylish outdoor views, LCD-television, personalised DVD players, mini-kitchen and sofa corners. All rooms have Wi-Fi, and bathrooms with hot and cold water.1,800-3,200 baht.
Mandarin Plaza Hotel, 178 Surawong Rd (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 235-1760(-79), . The Mandarin Plaza Hotel is a mid-range Bangkok accommodation. This three-star hotel has 175 air-conditioned rooms, all of which have cable television, refrigerator and mini-bar. It has a restaurant named Bua Luang that serves authentic Thai cuisine.1,300-2,000 baht.
Montien Hotel, 54 Surawong Rd (MRT Sam Yan), ☎ +66 2 233-7060(-9), . Built at the same time as the Dusit Thani Hotel and looks like it. Some rooms offer a clear view (and muffled noise) of Patpong, immediately opposite, which seems to account for much of the clientele. While in a nice traditional style, the rooms are somewhat overpriced though.3,000-4,800 baht.
Narai Hotel, 222 Silom Rd (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 237-0100, . Great value for money, as the rooms are luxury with flat-screen televisions, free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and nice views over the city. Services include a huge breakfast as well as room service.1,800-3,600 baht.
Silom Avenue Inn, 284/11-13 Silom Soi 22/1 (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 2-238-4680(-7), . Silom Avenue Inn is a small but relatively luxury hotel. It looks stylish, and while it is a budget hotel it is comfortable with spacious rooms.1,000-1,500 baht.
Silom City Hotel, 72 Soi Prachum (BTS Surasak), ☎ +66 2 635-6211, . The 70 guest rooms have lots of amenities, including air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, a personal safe, a music-system, colour TV, fridge and minibar. Breakfast is included.1,500-3,200 baht.
Banyan Tree, 21/100 Sathorn Tai Rd (MRT Lumphini), ☎ +66 2 679-1200, . A five-star spa resort in the middle of the city, worth visiting even if only for the Vertigo and Moon Bar at the top. It has a reputation for being one of the most luxurious hotels in Bangkok.3,900-27,000 baht.
Saladaeng Colonnade Serviced Apartment, 21 Soi Saladaeng, Silom Road (It takes just a 5-minute walk from lodge hotel to get to the BTS Skytrain (Saladaeng Station) and MRT underground system (Silom Station). The Airport Link System (Makkasan Station) is also nearby.), ☎ 66 (2) 636 0131 - 2 (fax: 66 (2) 636 0130), . All rooms are equipped with high-speed internet connection, flat-screen TV, stereo system and DVD player. Facilities and services include outdoor swimming pool, sauna, fitness room/gym, 24-hour concierge and security.Rates start at 2,500.00 THB.
Dusit Thani Hotel (โรงแรมดุสิตธานี), 946 Rama IV Rd (MRT Si Lom exit 2), ☎ +66 2 200-9000, . One of Bangkok's grand old hotels with an excellent location in Silom. The 21-storey tower with a distinctive golden spike was Bangkok's tallest when opened in 1968, with frequent restorations it has aged gracefully .6,100-28,600 baht.
Holiday Inn, 981 Silom Rd (BTS Surasak), ☎ +66 2 238-4300, . Another luxury hotel, the hotel consists of rooms in two towers. The rooms in the first tower are better than in the second tower. It has a big lobby room and spacious rooms with flat-screen TVs.3,000-4,500 baht.
Centre Point Silom, 1522/2 Soi Kaysorn 1 (Charoenkrung 50) Charoengkrung Road (BTS Saphan Taksin), ☎ +66 2 630 6345, . This 26-story hotel**** on top of a shopping centre offers very spacious rooms with large bathroom, kitchen facilities and washing machine/dryer. Ask for a room with river view, which is simply stunning. Large breakfast buffet and swimming pool included; massage, hair and beauty salon etc. are available also. It is conveniently located a five-minutes walk to BTS and river express, everyday a small but busy market takes place around the building.from 3,190 baht.
Lebua at State Tower (เลอบัวแอทสเตททาวเวอร์), State Tower, 1055/111 Silom Rd (BTS Saphan Taksin or Sathorn Pier), ☎ +66 2 624-9999, . This five-star, all-suite luxury accommodation gives you a glimpse of the most dramatic views of Bangkok. Rooms range from large (66 sq. m.) to huge (266 sq. m.). The Lebua Tower Club suites provide free in-room movies on demand, access to the Tower Club lounge (free drinks and snacks) and a free mini-bar (sodas only). This hotel also has free Wi-Fi. The Sky Bar, characterised by the spectacular Dome rooftop, is the world's highest outdoor bar/restaurant, with a panoramic view of Bangkok and the Chao Phraya River.6,500-18,000 baht.
Mandarin Oriental (โรงแรมแมนดารินโอเรียนเต็ล), 48 Oriental Rd (Oriental Pier), ☎ +66 2 659-9000, . Ranked highly amongst the finest hotels in the world, it is known particularly for its superlative service. Prices are consequently on the steep side; even the cheapest online rates are rarely below 8,000 baht a night. Sumptuously decorated in old-school Colonial style. The hotel is on the east side of the river with Oriental Pier, its own Express Boat stop.8,000-250,000 baht.
Pan Pacific Hotel (โรงแรมแพนแปซิฟิคกรุงเทพ), 952 Rama IV Rd (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 632-9000, . The rooms are luxurious, and the service is better than some of the more expensive hotels. Breakfast is large and varied. There's a gym on the 24th floor.3,400-27,000 baht.
Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside, 2074 Charoen Krung Rd (Wat Rajsingkorn Pier), ☎ +66 2 688-1000, . This is a good luxury hotel with great views over the river and a friendly staff. A downer is its slightly out-of-the-way location, but it is ride beside the express boat pier and there is a free shuttle boat to the Skytrain.6,200-22,000 baht.
Royal Orchid Sheraton, 2 Charoen Krung Soi 30 (Si Phraya Pier), ☎ +66 2 266-0123, . This is a luxury hotel at the banks of the mighty Chao Phraya River. It is close to River City shopping mall and the express boat.3,750-7,200 baht.
Shangri-La, 89 Soi Wat Suan Phlu (BTS Saphan Taksin or Sathorn Pier), ☎ +66 2 236-7777, . Definitely also a five-star hotel, but not quite as superlative as The Oriental or The Peninsula (in Thonburi). The Shangri-La partly makes up for it with its excellent location next to both the Skytrain and the express boat.5,100-5,700 baht.
Sofitel, 188 Silom Rd (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 238-1991, . This 38-storey property is on the lower reaches of Silom Road. Rooms have a safe deposit box, minibar, satellite/cable TV and in-room high-speed internet with a fantastic view of Bangkok from ceiling to floor window. The V9 wine bar inside the hotel is a great visit.3,600-8,600 baht.
Tarntawan Place (ทานตะวันเพลส), 119/5-10 Surawong Rd (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 238-2620, . Only 150 metres from Soi Patpong 1, this luxury hotel is well worth it. The 24-hour breakfast service caters to those who'd like to sleep through the morning after a night of partying.2,700-4,500 baht.
Tawana Bangkok (เดอะตวันนา), 80 Surawong Rd (BTS Sala Daeng), ☎ +66 2 236-3738, . This hotel has an ideal location, right in the middle of all the action, but without the noise. It is well-maintained and the staff is friendly and helpful. Interesting features are the outside swimming pool and fitness centre. The only downer is that they charge extra for Wi-Fi access.2,500-4,500 baht.
Triple Two Hotel, 222 Silom Rd (BTS Chong Nonsi), ☎ +66 2 627-2222, . An innovative and unique boutique hotel with 75 luxury rooms providing high quality, individual service in a relaxed atmosphere. They cater to both leisure and business travelers (with conference rooms).2,500-5,800 baht.
Finding Wi-Fi in Silom is just as easy as finding a girl in Patpong. Nearly every hotel has free Wi-Fi for their customers (except, perversely, some of the more expensive ones, where you have to pay extra), or available for everyone in the lobby. Many of them also have Internet terminals available. If you're just visiting, many cafés and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi, including the Duke Of Wellington and Molly Malone's.
If you like the go-go bar scene at Patpong, you might want to check out Soi Cowboy and Nana Entertainment Plaza in Sukhumvit, or the enormous "massage parlours" of Ratchadaphisek.
The superhip nightlife also continues at Sukhumvit with trendy clubs and restaurants like Bed Supperclub and Long Table.
River City, just over the edge in Yaowarat and Phahurat, is just like the expensive antique stores in Bang Rak. That district also has similar 19th century colonial-style buildings.
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