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Bangkok/Sukhumvit

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Bangkok : Sukhumvit
Revision as of 16:22, 7 November 2006 by 203.144.143.9 (talk) (Eat)
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Bangkok/Sukhumvit

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Sukhumvit Road is Bangkok's main shopping drag.

Sensory overload at Siam Square

Understand

Sukhumvit Road is, in many ways, the center of modern Bangkok and not only the longest road in Thailand, but one of the longest roads in the world. Towards the west end you have Ploenchit Rd and Rama I Rd, but to the east it runs all the way through Samutprakan, Chonburi Pattaya and on to the Cambodian border!

The lowered-numbered sois are densely packed with shopping centers and hotels, including the gigantic Siam Paragon and the dense warren of Siam Square opposite it, while the upper sois are a popular residential area for resident expats. Soi 55, better known as Thong Lo (Thonglor) has been described by the New York Times as the "Beverly Hills of Asia", and it boasts some of the best eateries, most fashionable shops and hippest clubs in town.

The fleshpots of Nana (in Soi 4 Nana Tai, not the bigger Soi 3 Nana Nuea) and Soi Cowboy (between Soi 21, 23) are also just off Sukhumvit, as are plenty of more (and less) salubrious bars. Also, the sidewalks of Sukhumvit Road itself become a huge market carrying everything from luggage to fake Rolex watches, and then after midnight they turn into sidewalk cafes and bars full of drunken expats and freelancers.

Get in

The area is easily accessible on the BTS Skytrain's Sukhumvit line, which runs from the National Stadium through the Silom line interchange at Siam Square up to On Nut on Soi 71. A number 552 Bus from the new Suvarnabhumi Airport will bring you to On Nut BTS Station. The subway's Sukhumvit station interchanges with the Skytrain at Asoke.

The river boats running on the Saen Saeb canal, initially parallel to Sukhumvit but diverging northward as it goes east, provides a cheap alternative means of escaping the traffic jams, particularly if heading west towards Wat Saket (the Golden Mount) and the rest of the Rattanakosin area.

Note when navigating addresses off Sukhumvit that sois on the north and south sides don't line up; for example, Soi 33 is opposite Soi 24.

See

  • Siam Square (BTS Siam) would like to be the Times Square of Bangkok, and it does a pretty good job. Despite the name this is in fact a warren of small sois filled with tiny shops and restaurants, mostly catering to upper class Thais, shopping-spree Malaysians, and working ex-pats (as opposed to your usual lay-about ex-pats). If you're not up for a trip to the Gap or a $3 pink martini, it's still worth a visit just to see Bangkok-of-the-Future. The four movie theaters in the area a good night out. Less than $4 gets you a few hours in a plush old fashion theater house -- complete with airconditioning and assigned seats. Hollywood and Asian blockbusters are featured nightly, all with the required standing ovation to the king.
  • Jim Thompson House. Soi Kasemsan 2 (near BTS National Stadium), [1]. Full of silk and mystery as well as a good dose of Thai history. The infamous OSS/CIA operative and father of the modern Thai silk industry had this house assembled from six traditional Thai-style houses. The tour costs 100 baht a head, but it's the only way to see the complex. Open 09:00 to 17:00 daily, get there early to beat the heat.
  • Erawan Shrine. At the intersection of Th Ploenchit and Th Ratchaprarop. A small but photogenic and perennially packed shrine dedicated to Brahma (Phra Phrom) and named after his elephant, teak models of which are a popular donation. The shrine was originally built to appease the spirits after a series of construction accidents occurred when the nearby Grand Hyatt Erawan hotel was being built. During the day you can see traditional Thai dancing.
    • The shrine was badly damaged by an attack in March 2006 and has since reopened.
  • Ganesha shrines. In front on the Central World Plaza shopping center - not nearly as impressive as the Erawan shrine.

Do

Massage joints abound around Sukhumvit.

  • BODY Tune, Sukhumvit Soi 24 (10 mins walk from BTS Phrom Pong) and 56 Yada Bldg, Silom Rd (next to BTS Sala Daeng); [2]. A well-respected small chain offering an excellent traditional Thai massage for 350 baht per hour.
  • Praiphana, Thong Lo Soi 7 and 9, tel. +66-2-392-6518. Traditional Thai massage, oil massage and aromatherapy, nail care, no funny stuff or happy endings here. 15 minute neck and shoulder massage just 50 baht. Open 10 AM - 11 PM daily.

Buy

Sukhumvit and nearby areas are the place to shop in Bangkok.

Malls

The glittering facade of MBK
  • Central World Plaza, corner of Rama I and Ratchaprarop (BTS Chidlom), [3]. Formerly the World Trade Center, this reopened in 2006 after a massive expansion and renovation, and is now probably the only mall in Bangkok that can give the Paragon a run for the money in both swank and size. Ice skating rink and a multiplex on the top floor, and contains large Isetan and Zen department stores.
  • Emporium Shopping Center , Sukhumvit Soi 24 (BTS Phrom Phong). Gaysorn's top competitor, with lower floors dedicated to brands like Louis Vuitton and Rolex, but (unlike Gaysorn) it has more affordably priced goods on the upper levels. Emporium also has a popular food court and a good selection of restaurants on the 5th floor.
  • Gaysorn Plaza, Corner of Phloen Chit and Ratchadamri Rds (BTS Chidlom), [4]. Gaysorn positions itself as Bangkok's premier luxury shopping mall: this is where you can get your fill of Gucci, Armani and Tiffany. The top floors have a good selection of antiques and Thai handicrafts, of high quality but fairly high prices too.
  • Mahboonkrong (or just MBK), BTS National Stadium, [5]. A vast and always packed mall full of tiny stalls — 2500 of them, to be exact — selling, well, everything. There's a heavy emphasis on clothing, especially the cheap and trendy teen type, but the floor devoted to electronics is Bangkok's best place to buy a mobile phone. Eternal phone has a great representative who actually speaks english ! look for the yellow sign with black writing. Gold, furniture and Thai food are also well represented, and a section of the 6th floor has been dedicated to handicrafts and souvenirs. The top floor has movie theatres and restaurants, and there's a large Tokyu department store bolted on the north side facing the BTS station. It's just across the street from Siam Square and connecting walkway through the perennially crowded Bonanza Center offers more of the same.
    • Champ. 4F (near central escalator). Known for their excellent dried fruits and Chinese-style snacks like pork floss. Prices start under B100.
  • Narayana Phand, 127 Ratchadamri Rd, between Gaysorn Plaza and Big C. A Thai handicraft center run by the government, offering a wide array of traditional crafts. Prices are fairly high and not negotiable, but clearly marked — this is a good place to see what's on offer and find out baseline prices before hitting the markets. Open daily from 10 AM to 9 PM.
  • Pantip Plaza, 604/3 Phetchaburi Rd. A six-floor shopping mall devoted to computer gear, and infamous for its pirated media (although after repeated crackdowns the bootleg trade is much more low-key than it used to be). Closes at 8 PM.
  • Siam Center, BTS Siam, [6]. One of the older malls in these parts, has a good range of eating options.
  • Siam Discovery Center, BTS National Stadium, [7]. A newer, more upmarket addition to Siam Center.
    • Loft. 3F, [8]. A large and quirky Japanese home decoration store, with among many other things, an array of bizarre plush toys on offer. Worth a browse.
  • Siam Paragon, BTS Siam, [9]. Incredibly massive shopping mall right at the heart of Bangkok, anchored by the Paragon department store and also featuring the Siam Ocean World aquarium, the largest in South-East Asia. The fourth floor has a very good (if pricy) selection of modern Thai arts and crafts, as well as a large Kinokuniya bookstore. Great eating options in the basement, including a gourmet supermarket, two food courts and a canal-lined strip of fancy restaurants.

Department stores

  • Central Chidlom, BTS Chit Lom, [10]. Upmarket department store, with good selections of pricy watches, cosmetics and clothes. Numerous eating options too.
  • Robinson's Department Store, Sukhumvit Soi 19.
  • Playground!, Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thong Lo), Soi 18, [11]. So hip it hurts, this cool black three-level cube calls itself an "inspiration store" and has artsy clothes, records, books, furniture, restaurants and (of course) a Starbucks. Note that it's a fair hike (15-20 min) from BTS Thong Lo, so consider a cab or the red bus for 6 baht during the day or the Free electric Red Limo in the evening.

Markets

  • Pratunam Wholesale Garment District. (corner of Phetchaburi and Ratchadamri). An amazing place to shop for clothes. Although it is geared towards exporters, anyone can shop there. Everything is cheap but cheaper still if you buy 3 or more. Finding it is tricky, it is more a section of alleys all selling clothes than a real market area. Start at the North-West corner of Phetchaburi Rd and Ratchadamri Rd. Then walk west on Phetchaburi, you will see some clothing stores just go inside and start wandering, instead of exiting the way you came in, exit to the left and you should be in one of the alleys. You can also start at the Baiyoke Sky Hotel and wander south and east. The stores start closing between 5 and 6pm. The shiny new Pratunam center on the East side of Ratchadamri Rd is too new and mostly unoccupied.
  • The street market on Sukhumvit Road offers many of the same items as the Patpong night market (although usually at somewhat better prices). Haggling is generally expected. Also, many tailor shops can be found here.
  • Fuji Supermarket is a Japanese supermarket located on Soi33 and Soi 39, on Sukhumvit Road. You can buy many Japanese imported foods and snacks which you cannnot find in other supermarkets. There is a small baker, Sushi restaurant, photo shop, and Takoyaki stand in the supermarket, so you might feel like you are in the Japanese supermarket in Japan.

Eat

There is an absolutely ludicrously large selection of places to eat in and around Sukhumvit Road and its side sois (streets), although prices tend to be a little on the high side by Thai standards. With practically every cuisine in the world represented, this is the place to break your phad thai diet and sample some of the best Japanese, Lebanese, or Indian food you will ever eat.

Budget eateries

  • Foodland supermarket on Sukhumvit Soi 5 (BTS Nana, opposite Amari Boulevard) has everything you'd expect to find in a supermarket at reasonable prices -- and best of all, it's open 24 hours a day.
  • Took Lae Dee, within Foodland above. A Bangkok institution: imagine a long bar counter, only with chefs and food instead of bartenders and drinks, and a colorful cast of characters thanks to Nana Plaza across the street. The name literally means Cheap and Good and indeed basic fried rice starts at 40 baht, but the cheap Western dishes, many less than 100 baht, are what makes this place popular. The American breakfast (two eggs, ham, bacon or sausage, juice, toast, coffee) in particular is a steal at 39B between 6-9 AM, or 55B at any other time.
  • Hong Kong Noodle, Soi 10 Siam Square. Serves up cheap and tasty wonton noodles (30 baht), a selection of dim sum (20-30 baht) and more Cantonese favorites in modern if utilitarian surroundings complete with air con, table service, etc. Excellent value. Open 10 AM to 10 PM.
  • Soi 38. Not a restaurant in itself, but you'll get the best street food in Bangkok. Just sit at a table and order whatever you like from the numerous foodstalls (they'll figure out the bill for you). You can find the most delicious mango & sticky rice (khao niow ma muang) in town.
  • Between Soi 1 and Soi 3 A set of street food stalls with the best one furthest from the street. Good things to order include "Crispy fish in Chili Sauce", Tom Yum Soup and any of their Thai salads (such as mixed seafood salad). Also any Chinese-style fried vegetables is also good.

Food courts

If you want cheap food and air-conditioning, head into the upper-floor food court of most any department store. Most food courts use some variation of a coupon system, but unused coupons/value can always be refunded. Some of the better ones include:

  • Big C, Th Ratchadamri, next to Narayana Phand, 5th floor. New, bright, airy and very cheap with mostly Thai dishes as low as B20. Payment with a stored-value card.
  • MBK, 5F. Recently refurbished, cheap (less than B50 per serve) and popular, mostly Thai food. Pay by coupon.
  • FoodLoft, 7F Central Chidlom (connected to BTS Chidlom), [12]. Large and popular, a wide selection of food (Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Indian, Vietnamese) but fairly expensive with most dishes closer to B100. You receive a B1000 token on entry and pay for what you've used on exiting.
  • Garden Kitchen, 1F Central Chidlom. Hidden behind the TOPS Supermarket in the same building as the FoodLoft, offers Thai fare (and English menus!) at much cheaper prices (B20-30).
  • Emporium, 5F. Comparatively small and hidden behind the other restaurants, but cheap and often packed — at peak hours it's difficult to get a seat if you're alone. Pay by coupon, but the prices have been increasing over the past year.

Thai restaurants

  • Once Upon A Time, 32 Petchaburi Soi 17, tel. 02-252-8629. In a dubious-looking alley opposite Pantip Plaza, but worth hunting down despite the unlikely location. The restaurant is in an old Thai house with a garden, filled with photos of classical Thai film stars, and serves very good Thai food. Check out the special rooms upstairs on your way to the bathroom. Mains 100-200 baht.
  • Lan Som Tam Nua, also known as Som Tam Paradise, Siam Square Soi 4. If Thai food isn't spicy enough or you have yet to sample som tam (raw papaya salad), check out this trendy yet very friendly and very Thai restaurant specializing in northern Isaan food. For the full-on Isaan experience, order raw mango salad (ตำมะม่วง tam ma-muang), spicy pork salad (ลาบหมู laap muu ), grilled chicken (ไก่ทอด kai thot) and sticky rice (ข้าวเหนียว khao nio) — which will cost less than 150 baht per head. No English menu, but the staff are glad to help. Warning: This is real Isaan food and thus very spicy!
  • Baan Khanitha, at 36/1 Sukhumvit Soi 23 (BTS Asoke). Well-known if mildly touristy restaurant in an old Thai house, the primary concession to Western tastes being the lack of chili. On the expensive side with most mains (esp. seafood) in the 200-400 baht range, but the food is generally excellent and the presentation spot-on. Best known for their pomelo salad (ยำส้มโอ yam som-o) and red curry with duck (แกงแดงเป็ด kaeng daeng pet).
  • Cabbages and Condoms, 6 Sukhumvit Soi 12 (BTS Nana or Asoke). Run by Thailand's Population and Community Development Association, the odd name referring to the founder's belief that condoms should be as cheap as veggies; and no prizes for guessing what you'll get after dinner instead of an after-dinner mint. The food is competent but toned down for the foreign palate, expect to pay around B300 for a full meal.
  • Lemongrass, 5 Sukhumvit Soi 24. A very good if slightly expat-oriented Thai restaurant. Pomelo salad and tom yam kung (ต้มยำกุ้ง) are both excellent.
  • Food Centre Soi 5. Simple, well visited restaurant serving Thai and western food. Thai dishes are reasonably original, with little concession to the western taste. Rapid service. Main dishes around 100 baht. On the corner of soi 5. BTS Nana.

Fusion restaurants

For Thai food with a twist, the hip districts of Siam Square (See earlier) and the H1 complex on Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thong Lo) are the best places to go hunting.

  • Bed Supperclub, 26 Soi 11 Sukhumvit, tel. 2651 3537, [13]. One of Bangkok's trendiest bar/club/restaurants with sparsely minimalistic yet jaw-dropping decor. Visiting on weekends is recommended, as you'll be treated to a 4-course surprise meal and a weekly-changing floor show. Reservations are essential (by telephone or online), as only a single serving is served nightly at 9 PM; be sure to request a bed and arrive at least 30 minutes early. Dietary restrictions can be catered for if informed in advance. But the bill for all this is steep: the 4-course meal will set you back 1000 baht plus drinks at around 200 baht a pop.
  • Greyhound Cafe, Emporium 2F, BTS Phrom Phong, and Central Chidlom 2F, BTS Chid Lom. An extremely modern restaurant of concrete and brushed steel, offering a fusionesque menu of food ranging from authentic Thai to Italian pasta to Elvis burgers. Mains usually 100 baht+, although lunch sets are quite cheap.
  • Holy Pizza, Soi 7 Siam Square, tel. 2654 6373. Siam Square at its best: hip, irreverent and innovative, with Thai pop art on the walls and thin-crust Italian pizza married to ingredients that would make the Pope blanch. Try the fairly conservative Vatican's Choice (mozzarella, Parma ham, rocket leaves; 240 baht), or get more experimental with chicken larb pizza.

Italian restaurants

Bangkok has a surprisingly large number of Italian restaurants, and the best are both very good and affordably priced (at least by Western standards).

  • Gianni, 34/1 Soi Tonson, off Th Ploenchit. One of Bangkok's best and most authentic Italian places. Formal but romantic atmosphere with shared couches and such, you'll want to dress up a little. Try the lunch sets at 270/320 baht, as dinners are considerably more expensive (figure on 1000 baht per head).
  • La Buca, Soi 1 Sukhumvit. This little Italian restaurant is possibly the most authentic in Bangkok. The Italian owner changes the Menu weekly, and a good selection of wine is available. Romantic, but on the expensive side, ranging 400-800 baht per person, without wine.
  • Ronnys New York Pizza, Sukhumvit soi 4, tel. +66-2-255-2626. Self-proclaimed as the first New York-style pizza place in Bangkok (thin crust, like in Europe, contrary to the pan pizza of the rest of America). Bring your laptop for free Wireless Internet.

Japanese restaurants

Bangkok's Little Japan is located near Sukhumvit Soi 33 and across the street at Soi 24, with BTS Phrom Phong straddling the two. There is also a smaller concentration along the lengthy Soi 55 (Thong Lo), notably the Nihonmura ("Japan Village") in Thong Lo Soi 13. (The other major outpost of Nippon is Soi Thaniya in Silom.)

  • Ichiban Ramen, Soi 24 Sukhumvit. An authentically Japanese greasy-spoon noodle joint specializing in ramen soup. A large bowl starts at 80 baht.
  • Grande Teppanyaki and Grande Ramen. Soi 55 Sukhumvit (on left, a short walk from BTS Thong Lo). Two small Japanese restaurants facing each other, popular with Thais and Japanese alike. Sub-100 baht Lunch menus particularly good value, but the beef curry with real steak (130 baht) is a deal at any time of the day.
  • Fuji. This Japanese restaurant chain can be found in Emporium, Siam Center, Central World Plaze, and Siam Paragon. A meal for two would cost about 500 - 600 baht.

Korean restaurants

While Korean restaurants can be found scattered throughout town, a particularly heavy concentration lurks in Korea Town, the informal name of Sukhumvit Soi 12's Sukhumvit Plaza (a short walk from BTS Asok). These are extremely authentic though and you may have a little trouble ordering if not familiar with Korean food.

  • Shilla. 4/10-16 Soi 22 Sukhumvit, tel. 26634296. A Korean barbeque place aimed for Koreans, with self-service bulgogi grilled at your table and a large menu featuring all the Korean favorites.

Middle Eastern restaurants

Soi 3, a short walk from BTS Nana, is known as Soi Arab for the heavy concentration of Middle Eastern businesses in the area; in some spots you will see more signs in Arabic than in Thai! Thanks to a demanding clientele and heavy competition, the food here is some of the best this side of Lebanon.

  • Al Ferdoss, 1F Schiller's Inn, 77/1-3 Sukhumvit Soi 3/1. It may have the ambience of a motel lobby (which it pretty much is), but the food here is amazing. Dips and salads (hummus, tabbouleh, falafel, etc) 80 baht a pop, kebabs 130 baht and up, and best of all is the excellent oven-fresh naan. Air-con indoors, but move outside for mint tea and some puffs of the shisha (water pipe).
  • Beirut Restaurant, Ploenchit Center B1F, Soi 2 Sukhumvit. In an unlikely location next to a supermarket in an otherwise nearly desolate shopping mall, Beirut gets negative points for ambience but serves up very good Middle Eastern fare. Basic shwarma in a pita less than 100 baht, set meals 220 baht and up.

Vietnamese restaurants

  • Le Dalat, Sukhumvit Soi 23. Two locations about a block apart and across the street from each other.

Other restaurants

  • Bei Otto, 1 Soi 20 Sukhumvit, [14]. Well-known German restaurant.
  • Big John's, Thong Lo Soi 9, tel. +66-2-712-9712, [15]. Home made Aussie pies, pasties, sausages, burgers, pasta, pizza, etc. Satellite sports, free wifi, young backpackers and affluent local Thai and expats, etc. Varied Specials on Food and inexpensive Drinks every night.
  • Bourbon Street, 29/4-6 Sukhumvit Soi 22, tel. 2259-0328, [16]. Surprisingly authentic Cajun food. Premium prices charged for dinner but the 2/3-course lunches at 230/290 baht are very good value. Second branch on Soi Tonson.
  • Check Inn 99. This place is straight out of a James Bond movie - dark and seedy with a midget doorman. Enter through a single door opening on to Sukhumvit Rd.
  • Charlie Brown's, off of Soi 11 Sukhumvit. Excellent mexican food, maybe the best in Bangkok. Native English is available here, but you have to find the place first. Just down Soi 11, turn left at the first tailor shop. Go past Cheap Charlies bar and around the corner and you will see it. 300-500 baht.
  • Great American Rib Company 32 Sukhumvit soi 36 tel. 2661-3801. Great Southern Style Ribs and Mexican food. Best ribs in town and at a moderate Price.
  • Rang Mahal, 26F Rembrandt Hotel, 19 Soi 18 Sukhumvit, tel. 2261 7100. Bangkok's best Indian restaurant, offering world-class Mughal (North Indian) food in surroundings fit for a maharaja. Fairly expensive (well over 500 baht per head), but the all-you-can-eat Sunday champagne brunch buffet at 499B is a steal. This 26th Floor restaurant also offers great views of Bangkok, call ahead for reservations and request a window view.
  • Senor Pico's, Rembrandt Hotel, 19 Soi 18 Sukhumvit. Mexican restaurant in the Rembrandt Hotel.

Drink

The Sukhumvit road area contains more watering holes than can easily be counted, and touts are not as big of a problem here as in Patpong. However, the scene is oriented towards tourists and wealthy high-society Thais, for more of a local ambience (and local prices) head a bit north to Ratchadaphisek instead.

Beer gardens

In wintertime (recursively defined in Thailand as 'beer season'), very popular beer gardens pop up in front of Central World Plaza, serving up cold beer, hot food and loud Thai pop.

  • Beergarden. Sukhumvit Soi 7. A nice place to relax from the trouble with moderate Western music and German and other beer including wheat beer (Franziskaner). You can eat European food at the tables or just have a drink at the bar.
  • Cheap Charlie's. Soi 11. This outdoor beer bar looks like it grew out of the side of the building. Pull up a stool anywhere on the Soi and enjoy a cold one.

Microbreweries

  • Coliseum Brew Arena. Between Soi 40 & 38, Near Thong Lo (aka Thonglor) BTS Station. A large micro brewery with full stage show (costume changes, katoeys and midgets). Mostly Thai clientele, but the most flamboyant of all the brew pubs.
  • The Londoner. Soi 33. [17] Popular expat hang out, sports bar and ocasional live music in an English pub setting. Buy one get one free on Wednesday.

Clubs and bars

Thong Lor (Soi 55) and Ekamai (Soi 63) are full of trendy bars and night clubs. Mostly catering to the Thai and expat crowd.

  • Witch's Tavern Thonglor (Sukhumvit Soi 55) Between sois 8 & 10 - Bangkok's original English Pub. Live music every night. Free drinks for ladies Wednesday 5 to 9pm. At least 5 English/Irish brews on tap.
  • Escudo Thonglor (Sukhumvit Soi 55) Just past Soi 13
  • Remix Thonglor (Sukhumvit Soi 55) Just past Soi 18 in The Playground
  • Santika Ekamai (Sukhumvit Soi 63) just past Soi 9 - Bangkok's Biggest and Best Hip Hop Club. Open until 2 am. No cover charge.
  • WeZa Ekamai (Sukhumvit Soi 56) Just past Soi 21
  • Narcissus Club. 112 Sukhumvit Road Soi 23. A dance club with far too many disco balls. Paul Oakenfold's venue of choice.
  • Q Bar. 34 Sukhumvit Soi 11, [18]. A hip if rather un-Thai bar often likened to a New York cocktail lounge, renowned for its massive drinks list and always packed dance floor. Cover charge. Filled with middle-aged business men and expensive freelancers.

Go-go bars

Soi Cowboy (off Soi 21 Asoke) and Nana Entertainment Plaza (Soi 4) are packed full of go-go bars much like those in Patpong. Soi 33 is packed with hostess bars, which are more upscale than the Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza bars and do not feature go-go dancing. While the places all operate with more or less the same concept, the following two have been around for a while and are unlikely to rip you off.

  • Rainbow 4, Nana Entertainment Plaza 2F, Soi 4. Squeezes two stages into a small space, and is always packed with girls and punters. Beer 125B.
  • Suzie Wong, Soi Cowboy. Small and unprepossessing at first sight, the only hint of a Chinese theme are the cheongsams of the waitresses, but this gogo and its sister operation Sheba's across the street are famed for putting on some of the best shows in Bangkok. Beer 130B.

Sleep

Accommodation in almost all price ranges can be found within this area.

Budget

Not far from Siam Square proper is Soi Kasemsan 1. About ten minutes walk from the Siam stop on the Skytrain, or just at the foot of the National Stadium station, directly across from the stadium itself, Soi Kasemsan 1 is very convenient and quiet. Jim Thompson House is on the sidestreet one block further down Rama I Rd. There are several hotels, mainly down the left side of the street as you walk from Rama I. Here they are in order.

  • Big John's Backpacker Youth Hostels Sukhumvit Rd. Soi 55 (Thong Lo), Soi 9 tel. +66-2-712-9712, email: [email protected] [19]. Australian run. Airconditioned dorm beds from 140 baht per night, airconditioned private rooms from 410 baht per night, including free wifi and a bar/restaurant which is open 24 hours offering farang comfort food, Thai/fusion favourites and a lot more. Free Internet for guests and free wifi for all. Enjoy the friendly, more cosmopolitan, fashionable (not sleazy) part of the city.
  • Royal Nana 21/4 Soi 4 Sukhumvit Rd. t: (02)656-7577-9. Standard double room with A/C runs 600 baht per night. Turn into a small alley off Soi 4, across from 7-11. The rooms are quiet, clean, pleasantly decorated, and serviced daily. Decent bathroom with hot water, refridgerator, in-room safe, & tv. Wood and tile floors. A good budget option, centrally located near Nana station, esp if you are not bothered by nearby hotspots for sex tourism, and staying in a hotel that does also offer an hourly rate.
  • Muangphol Mansion, 931/9 soi Kasemsan 1, t: (662) 219-4445, f: (662) 216-8053, [email protected], faces onto Rama I, but enter from Soi Kasemsan 1. Internet and a 24 hour restaurant on the ground floor.
  • Reno Hotel, 40 Soi Kasemsan 1, t: (662) 215-0026-7, 612-3096-7, f: (662) 215-3430, [email protected] Breakfast is included at this clean, remodeled hotel. There is a nice pool in the nothing-fancy patio area. The rooms on the front are dark and a bit noisy. Rooms by the back or pool are very pleasant. The friendly staff provide laundry, checked luggage, and a travel desk. 780-1100 baht (980 baht will get you a nice air-con double with TV and balcony).
  • White Lodge, 36/8 Soi Kasemsan 1, t: (662) 216-8867, 215-3041.
  • A-One, Soi Kasemsan 1 (on the right). A-One also offers WiFi access for anyone toting their laptop- 24 hours of access at 100 baht for guests, 150 baht for walk-ins. The rooms hover around 600-700 B, and are functional, if less than inspiring.
  • Wendy House, Soi Kasemsan 1. t: (662)-214-1149, (662)-214-1150. A bit cheaper, this hotel is very popular and seems to fill up quickly. International phones and phone cards and Internet are available in the lobby. The PCs are configured for English, Swedish, and Japanese.
  • Patumwan House, Soi Kasemsan 1 (the high-rise to your left as you reach the bend in the road), t: (662) 612-3580-99, f: (662) 216-0180, [email protected] This is mainly a residential apartment building with some studios or one-bedrooms for rent. There is a security card entry and elevator. Definitely not a backpacker place. 1000-1200 baht for a studio with air-con, TV, and full-size fridge. (300 baht weekly discount and larger rooms/suites available).
  • Bangkok City Inn, 43/5 Rajdamri Rd., Pathumwan Bangkok. A comfortable 2 star hotel, has air-conditioning 24hour reception, cable tv, etc. Located in the back streets near the Central World Plaza.
  • Soi 1 Guesthouse, 220/7 Sukhumvit Soi 1 Bangkok, Thailand.Tel: +(66)2-655-0604.[20] An excellently located English speaking hostel that supplies the uninitiated "budget" visitor to Thailand with some great resources, cleanliness and full Air-conditioned comfort. No curfew. Offering Strong Signal Free WI-FI. 24 hr Bar Thai Restaurant and Internet(1 baht a minute). Beds from 250 baht.

Mid-range

There are many good quality but cheaper places on Sukhumvit road. It is possible to book on a weekly basis and get a large discount at many places. A quick search on the internet will give you lots of options and the quality is quite high.

  • The Davis. 88 Sukhumvit Soi 24, [21]. Run by massage parlour magnate-cum-politician Chuwit Kamolsivit, this is one of the best deals in Bangkok: a new fully equipped luxury boutique hotel at midrange prices, as low as 1400 baht/night for a month's stay (although shorter stays will set you back more). Each room is furnished differently yet tastefully. The primary negative is the location deep down Soi 24, quite a hike (15-20 min) from Sukhumvit itself.
  • Grace Hotel. 12 Soi Sukhumvit 3 (Nana), tel. 2254-9021. Located in Soi Arab, excellent Middle Eastern and Indian food can be found nearby.
  • Majestic Suites. 110-110/1 Sukhumvit Road (corner with Soi 4) [22]. Reserve by emailing [email protected] Rooms from 1250-1950 baht/night. This hotel is directly around the corner from Nana Entertainment Plaza and one of the very nearest to the Nana BTS. Hotel is modern and facilities and service are first rate and a bargain, but larger people may find the "single studio" 1250 baht rooms are small. There is ample space for 100 baht more in the "single superior" rooms. The hotel rooms are very well maintained and have in-room safes. Not to be confused with the newer/pricier (beginning at 2990 baht) Majestic Grande nearby on Soi 2.
  • Royal Asia Lodge, 91 Sukhumvit Soi 8. [23] 1170 baht/night. About 800m from Sukhumvit Road, so a little quieter and cheaper than others, however there is a complementary tuk-tuk service that runs to Sukhumvit Road 24 hours a day.
  • Ever Rich Inn (sometimes spelt Everich Inn), 113 Sukhumvit (between Soi 5 and Soi 7 across the road from the Landmark Hotel) Phone: +66 2253 4250. A nice, small, quiet and clean hotel only metres from the escalator to Soi Nana BTS station (very convenient). The best and largest rooms are at either end of the building (either facing Sukhumvit or facing north) as these have windows. Romes with window are about 1500 Baht, rooms without window are 200 Baht cheaper.

Splurge

Bangkok's luxury hotels are concentrated on and near Sukhumvit Rd. Your options include:

  • Amari Boulevard, Sukhumvit Soi 5 (BTS Nana). [24] Distinctively triangle-shaped and conveniently located 4* hotel with two wings, the Krung Thep wing being newer, better and pricier than the older Siam wing. Room rates US$80 and up.
  • Amari Watergate, 847 Petchaburi Rd. [25] Modern 4* hotel with all the facilities you'd expect, including a few restaurants good enough to draw non-guests (esp. the American-style Henry J. Beans bar/restaurant downstairs; try the chicken fajitas!). A stone's throw off the beaten track in Pratunam, across the Saen Saep canal from Sukhumvit. Room rates US$80 and up.
  • Grand Hyatt Erawan, 5 Star hotel at 5 Star prices. But if you are visiting the Erawan Shrine on the corner you should take a look at the hotel. The lobby is very impressive. Spassos, a popular upscale lounge/bar is located in the lower level. If there's more than one person per room, it is worth the extra $20/night for the "club room" as you end up with a better concierge and free breakfast.
  • Holiday Inn Bangkok, 971 Ploenchit Road (BTS Chid Lom), tel. +66-26561555, [26]. Opened in May 2005, this sparkling new hotel in contemporary Thai style is amazingly swanky for a Holiday Inn and the location is very central. Small but sufficient gym and pool. Rooms from US$85 are good value.
  • Inter-Continental Bangkok, 973 Ploenchit Road (BTS Chid Lom), tel. +66-26560444, [27]. The lobby of this hotel is among the most extravagant in Bangkok if not the world. Very central location and all the facilities you'd expect, but the rates are US$130 and up.
  • JW Marriott Hotel, 4 Sukhumvit Soi 2, [28]. Marriott's flagship in Bangkok, right next to Nana Plaza (which explains the colorful clientele). Opened in 1997 and decorated in Thai style, complete with bellboys wearing pith helmets and funny pants. Room rates from US$100 and up.

Contact

Sukhumvit is packed with Internet cafes offering access at rates as low as 1 baht per minute, but the following stand out from the crowd.

  • TNET, Ploenchit Rd (BTS Chid Lom). Squeaky-new clean and airy Internet cafe offering zippy broadband Internet access for 40/70 baht for 1/2 hours.
  • True Urban Park, Siam Paragon 3F (BTS Siam), tel. +66-2-610-8888. Built by Internet-mobile-cable conglomerate True at a cost of $1 million, this is not just an internet cafe, but also a flower shop and bookstore, complete with iPod listening stations with sonic bubbles hanging over your head and a live DJ. Try the Iced Cafe Mocha.
  • True Thonglor, Soi 55 (Thonglor), Soi 10. Also built by Internet-mobile-cable conglomerate True this is no joke internet cafe either.