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TalkBangkok

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  1. Thong Lor is where Bangkok’s hipsters love to hang out. It’s an area frequented by hi-so Thais and also quite a few expats, both with a deft commitment to what’s trendy. Thong Lor bustles with coffee shops, boutiques and the most modern of shopping malls. There is also a lot of upscale accommodation here, with a focus on the boutique and chic. By night, Thong Lor is home to some of the flashier nightclubs and fine dining outlets. You’ll see people dressed to the nines, traipsing from one venue to the next. Of course, looking this good comes with a price. This area is considered a touch more expensive than most, but with some of the best options for dining, clubbing and simply hanging out. This area is easily connected via BTS Skytrain stop, Thong Lor. Where to eat & drink in Thonglor Thong Lor is famous for housing extravagant concept bars. That’s what draws a lot of the word of mouth. All creatively designed by the same owner, Iron Fairies, Clouds and Fat Gut’z are simply beyond words. Each is completely unique and deserves its own explanations in our listings, but here’s just a taste – you’ll see everything from jars of fairy dust to Barbie dolls hanging from the ceilings. These spots are more for a sit-down, lounging experience. If dancing is what you’re game for, there are many nightclubs and after-hours joints in Thong Lor which even play Thai pop and hiphop. Demo, Funky Villa and Muse are the trifecta of Thong Lor groove, all within a few steps from each other. Now, there are always new hangouts popping up in this area and that’s part of its charm. The Catbird Seat is one of them, with a decadent view of the Thong Lor area and a cool interior. The Gossip is another, and this restaurant is from the same team that runs the popular Oskar Bistro on Sukhumvit Soi 11. Thong Lor has no shortage of places to hang out and enjoy a hearty meal. There is a lot of Italian, wine-bar concept spots if that’s what you’re into. Bacco is the most true-to-form choice, but there is also To Die For, Wine Republic, Wine o’clock and Wine me up. Wine me up is in the Seen Space, a concept mall. But don’t think food court grub, this mall is actually filled with a lot of neat and unique restaurants. The other stand-out is Bon Chon Chicken, a Korean chicken chain with some of the best fried chicken this city has to offer. Audrey Café & Bistro is a colonial, Victorian restaurant with a gorgeous interior and exterior. If possible, get here for afternoon tea. Looking for something outside the box? Phuket Town is exactly where you want to be but get there early, the restaurant only has six-tables. It’s in a small character house-turned restaurant and offers a distinct menu of southern Thai cooking. For more of that local flavour, you’re next stop is 100 per cent Soul Food Mahanakorn. This is where you can find some of the best Thai taste in a fine dining space. Now after all these big meals, one might crave something sweet. After You Dessert Bar offers any and every cake, ice cream and sweet you could imagine. Satisfying that sweet tooth here is a must! Hotels in Thonglor Thong Lor is known for posh long-term accommodation, but there are also many hotels here as well. Most tourists seem to gravitate to the Siam and Asoke areas, so in Thong Lor you might have an altogether different experience. The Salil Hotel Sukhumvit is a new four-star hotel on Thong Lor Soi 1. Despite being away from the main tourist drag, there is actually a shuttle to BTS Station Nana so you won’t be missing much. The Mini Hotel is as cute as a button, with only 29 rooms but a cozy and stylish experience. Another boutique option with more capacity is The Ei8ht, Thong Lor. For a longer stay, consider the serviced apartments at Centre Point Sukhumvit Thong-Lo or the Somerset Sukhumvit Thong Lor. The main attraction in Thong Lor is the hi-so way of life, with a wealth of sweet little coffee shops and novelty stores. However, if attractions are what you seek you shall also find. The Museum of Thai Pharmacy is a free activity with lots of information about the birth of herbs and natural products. There are also a few very well-known massage parlours in this area such as Leyana Day Spa and Garden and Hatthai Massage. Face Cooking School could be a good way to spend an afternoon; they offer not only Thai cuisine classes but also Japanese and Indian. Thong Lor boasts a lot of cute specialty shops on its walking streets. Most of them you will have to poke and prod your way around the area, but this could be a very enjoyable adventure. For more easy navigation, try J Avenue. This is a swanky, four-story open air lifestyle mall. These shops cater to the Japanese crowd (as the “J” indicates). Seen Space also has some options, but it’s known more for its restaurants than its shopping.
  2. During the late 70’s, bars starting appearing on the small soi between Sois 21 and 23 in the center of Asoke. Then in 1977 a retired US airman named T.G. “Cowboy” Edwards opened his own bar on the soi and Soi Cowboy was born. Edwards came to work daily sporting a Western style shirt, large belt buckle and cowboy hat earning him the nickname Cowboy. A writer named Bernard Trink solidified the name by using it in his very popular new column throughout the 80’s and 90’s. Today Soi Cowboy is one of the most famous and popular adult entertainment areas in the world. Sitting next to the very high traffic Asoke BTS station, the bright lights of the small Soi can be seen daily by thousands. Soi cowboy is simply a small street packed with almost 30 go-go bars. The bright lights and beautiful Thai girls luring in big eyed men, is in itself an image to behold. During the day one side of the street is usually packed with office worker enjoying their lunch but the night has an entirely different vibe. Most bars on the street have some kind of happy hour to entice you for an early arrival. Inside these bars consist of girls dancing on a series of stages spread throughout the room or sitting with guests enjoying deep conversations while some have choreographed performances. Where to drink on Soi Cowboy The bars along Soi cowboy certainly vary in size and interiors. While some are like a tiny dive bars, others have elaborate stages, lights and music systems. Probably the busiest bar and most well known in recent years is Baccara. With two stages on two floors with a see through floor separating them, Baccara seems to be packed with Japanese, Koreans and Farang every day of the week. You may be overwhelmed when first entering and finding no seats available, but go to the back right corner and check upstairs, from there you can still see the entire club. Shark is just next door to Baccara and is another very popular and large bar. It has a long stage that runs through the middle of the room with tiered seating on both sides. It also has an upstairs but it only seems to be used when it gets really busy. Up the Soi a bit is home to the bar whose interior was featured in the movie Hangover 2. Tilac is another large go-go that has quite a big following and even a soft ball team. In addition to the large stage in the middle of this bar, Tilac has small stages scattered throughout, pumping loud music and plenty of flashing light….. pushing your senses to their maximum. If you are looking for something a little more low key, Cactus is sort of a dive bar go-go. This small bar consists of a long stage covering half the space, a handful of dancers and the kind of expats that can give you the history of Cowboy if you ask. Lucky Star Long Gun is the only bar on Cowboy that we have seen actual ping pong shows take place as well as a theatrical AC/DC show. Kick back with some beers and see the entertainment that one can only see in Thailand. Although there are very few ladyboys on Soi Cowboy, Cockatoo seems to be the only official ladyboy bar on the Soi that we know of. Eating at Soi Cowboy Surprisingly, there are some decent food options right in Soi Cowboy and in the close surrounding area. The Corner Bar, serves tons of Thai office workers lunch and also has a small burger stand in the corner serving burgers throughout the night. Right across from it is The Old Dutch Corner, serving steaks, ribs and other pub food. Both bars are right at the entrance of the Soi and are great places to sit in the evening and watch the beauties trickle in for work. Around the corner on Soi 23 is The Ship Inn, another pub serving food and drinks. Up Soi 23 a few minutes is a nice sports bar called The Clubhouse. Packed with TV’s and nice large booths, it’s a great place to grab a bite or get the night started. If you are up later than expected and need to soak up some of that booze, Little Italy on the corner of Sukhumvit and Soi 23 is open 24 hours and has a large menu of standard Italian dishes. If you love Italian and your budget allows, Guisto is right up the street and one of the best fine dining Italian restaurants in the city. For something a bit more local, there is a very popular outdoor Thai restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 14 called Suda Pochana Restaurant. Just across the sky bridge from Soi Cowboy, this no frills Thai kitchen draws a surprising number of tourists on a daily basis. Hotels near Soi Cowboy Although we don’t really recommend staying on Soi Cowboy, The Penny Black is a short time hotel right on the soi and some people do decide to stay there over night. For those with a bigger budget the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit and the Weston Grande Sukhumvit are both 5 star hotels right over the sky bridge next to Terminal 21. With all the amenities you can imagine, both of these hotels cater to the business traveler who chooses their location very carefully. Another breathtaking hotel is the Grand Millennium Sukhumvit on Sukhumvit Soi 21. Just a short walk away from Soi Cowboy, the Grand Millenium Sukhumvit can be spotted from far away due to its sail-like shape and modern allure. The Asoke Suites is a smaller, no frills hotel located just across Sukhumvit that keeps you close to the action for a very affordable price. Ramada is opening a brand new hotel right at the corner of Soi 23 and Sukhumvit. So close to Soi Cowboy you will probably be able to see it from many of the rooms. The Darjelling Boutique Hotel is a nice little boutique hotel also right in the area. If you need a break from the lights and noise of Soi Cowboy, there are many little massage shops along Sukhumvit Soi 23. For those that are too shy to venture into Cowboy alone but want to have the experience, Bangkok Hangover Tours offers to take groups to Soi Cowboy and other go-go nightlife spots. Right across the street from Cowboy is one of the newest and most popular shopping malls in Bangkok. Terminal 21 is a large and modern mall with every floor dedicated to a different city in the world and an airport theme throughout. Hundreds of small boutique shops and restaurants have made this mall their new permanent residence.
  3. Rainy season is now upon us and with that begins an increase in Dengue Fever. Every doctor will warn you that before heading to a tropical destination, there are a few mosquito borne illnesses that strike fear into people worldwide. These often include malaria, Japanese encephalitis and Dengue fever. According to the Public Health Ministry of Thailand, this year is expected to be the worst season in Thailand’s history for haemorrhage dengue fever, also know as “Break-Bone Fever.” Already this year, 39,029 people have been treated for dengue fever and 44 people have died. With those cases expected to peak during the rainy season, the Public Health Ministry expects more than 100,000 cases by the years end and more than 100 deaths. So the question remains, “How do I make it through this rainy season without getting dengue fever?” What is Dengue Fever? In order to avoid a week of misery, its best to first understand where dengue comes from. The simple answer is from a mosquito, specifically the Aedes mosquito. This small, daytime mosquito is distinctive by its black body with white stripes or spots. It often hangs out around clean, still water while looking for blood in order to get the necessary protein to lay eggs. When the mosquito bites a human with dengue fever, the virus incubates in the mosquito for a number of days and then reaches the mosquitoes salivary glands. This allows the virus to be easily transferred to the person who is next bitten by the mosquito. How do I know if I have it? The good news is that 80% of the cases of dengue fever are asymptomatic or the person only shows signs of a mild fever, which means you may never even know you have it and your body will naturally deal with it over the course of a couple weeks. However for approximately 5% of those infected, they will be in for a long week or two. The incubation time, or the time between exposure to the virus and the onset of symptoms can be anywhere from 3 days to as much as two weeks. When symptoms do start, they will often feel very similar to an ordinary fever including raised body temperature, a stuffy nose as well as vomiting or diarrhea. While these symptoms are common and hard to distinguish from any old cold, there are a few tell tale signs that should throw up some warning flags and warrant a trip to the doctor. The first sign is severe headaches. We are talking I-can’t-think-because-my-head-might-explode headaches. The second sign is that you will feel like you have been hit by a truck. Expect joint and muscle pain rivaling that of a seventy year old man. If you think you have somehow thrown your back out while doing no labor harder than eating a bowl of rice, you may need to think about visiting your doctor. Another very common symptom is eye pain. If your eyes suddenly feel like they are three sizes too big for your eye sockets and every time you look left or right it exacerbates your headache, than that is another sign you may have dengue. Finally, if in conjunction with these symptoms you develop a body rash, you should immediately head to the hospital. Another rule of thumb is anytime you have a fever for three days, you should go see the doc for a check up. Once arriving at the doctors it is normal to get the full check up and be questioned about your symptoms. However, if you are really worried about potentially having dengue, do not leave the office until you get a blood test because that is the only way to confirm whether or not you do indeed have dengue. Crap, I have dengue, what can I expect now? Quite simply, a long hospital visit. There is no medicine or vaccine for dengue fever, so once you have it, there is little that can actually be done. However, if the disease gets too advanced, it’s possible you can enter Dengue Shock Syndrome or haemorrhage blood from you intestinal tract. This can lead to other complication like liver failure and possibly death. So listen to your doctor. When he tells you to stay at the hospital a few nights, don’t fight him. You will be hooked up to an IV day and night and given paracetamol or acetaminophen, which is commonly sold as Tylenol. Do not take ibuprofen or aspirin as this can increase your chance of internal bleeding. If your doctor is trying to give you this, sit him down and have a serious conversation with him. I repeat, DO NOT TAKE IBUPROFEN OR ASPIRIN. When the doctor tells you to stay in the hospital, expect to stay for a number of days. Five was my magic number and was corroborated by a few friends who have also had the disease. Every morning you will have blood drawn and a visit from your doctor to update your white blood cell count, blood platelet count and kidney functions. Nurses will check your temperature and blood pressure every four hours and you will eat horrible, horrible hospital food. Typically your doctor will allow you to go home when you have not had a fever for 24 hours and your blood counts are trending towards normal. Congratulations you made it. That sounds horrible, how can I not get this? It is horrible and there are a few things you can do to decrease your chances of acquiring it. The easiest thing to do is to coat your body in mosquito repellent 24/7. It is also important to understand that if the Aedes mosquito bites during the day and is attracted to still, clean water, then you should aim to stay away from those areas or prevent those environments from occurring. There are a number of preventative measures you can take to make your home unattractive breeding grounds for the Aedes mosquito. The most obvious is to get rid of still water in your house or apartment. These mosquitoes love to hang around water holding containers such as water bottles, plant dishes and toilets. Make a concerted effort to throw water bottles away, or at the very least screw the caps on them. Plant dishes should be cleaned every other day and toilet seats should be shut. The idea is to not even let them breed as one of the reasons for this years outbreak is that the mosquitoes are breeding at hiring rates than ever. For more information on preventing Aedes mosquitoes from breeding and other information on dengue fever, check the Singapore National Environment Agency website.
  4. The Nana Entertainment plaza is a go-go bar complex in the Nana area of Sukhumvit located on Soi 4. Nana Plaza is a three floored squared shape complex with a single entrance opening up to Soi 4. It is rumored to be the largest sex complex in the world according to Wikipedia. It is one of 3 main go-go bar areas in Bangkok along with Soi Cowboy and Patpong. The history of Nana Entertainment Plaza dates back to the last 1970’s when it started out as a restaurant plaza. In 1982, the widening of Sukhumvit road forced the currently active go-go bars around Soi 16 to move their location suddenly. The handful of bars that moved into the plaza paved the way for other bars to follow. Over the next 25 years, bars slowly moved into the plaza taking it over entirely. For those that have never experienced Nana Plaza before, expect the unexpected. The entranced is packed with grabby ladyboys, food carts and tourist. All walks of life from every country imaginable venture to this area to see what can be seen few places on earth. Where to Drink in Nana Plaza It goes without saying that people coming to Nana Plaza are coming to drink and go to the bars. With more than 30 bars to choose from we are introducing some of our favorites and most popular. Upon entering the Plaza on the left side it is difficult to miss Lollipop. A great place to grab a beer and start off the night. Pro-tip: beers on the patio outside are just 90 baht. This is a great place to hang and people-watch before entering the nude area. Rainbow 4 isn’t the biggest amongst the bars, but it may be the most popular. With probably the highest number of attractive girls and the most of them, it definitely draws a big crowd especially the Koreans and Japanese. Choreographed shows can be found in some of the clubs for those that want a bit more entertainment value. The most popular is probably Angelwitch which also has another branch in Pattaya. Angelwitch has somewhat of a leather and whip theme and some of the shows are actually quite entertaining. Next door in Spankys they also have short shows including a shower in the middle the bar. On the third level Las Vegas has certainly put some effort into offering professional dance routines. Mocked after a Vegas casino, Las Vegas attempts to bring the glamour of Vegas to the Plaza. Another interesting bar on the third floor of the plaza is Billboard. A very large space fully equipped with a rotating go-go stage and claims to have Bangkok’s biggest Jacuzzi. In the location that was formerly Hollywood Carousel, this updated bar has helped bring life back to the third floor. For those of you looking for the truly unique, Nana Plaza takes the cake for ladyboy bars. On the ground floor is Obsession, a nice little bar where you will be really questioning if it’s possible for them to be so beautiful. On the third floor is Cascade, a large bar with a huge runway where aggressive ladyboy will work hard to sit with you. Where to Eat at Nana Plaza Clearly Nana Plaza isn’t known for its dining. The only popular and somewhat famous option is the Nana Burger sold right at the entrance of the Plaza. They usually sell these burgers pretty late into the night so you can use this as an excuse for why you want to go…. The Nana Burger is just so good! Also, there are some mean shawma options just outside. Both beef and chicken are delicious. We recommend buying more than 1. Hotels near Nana Plaza If your goal is to maximize every minute you can at Nana Plaza during your visit, we have come up with a list of hotels that are the closest to this venue. If an hour or two suffices for your “stay” there are several short time hotels within the plaza mainly on the third floor. We don’t list them but ask around and you are sure to find them. For a longer stay of a whole night, the Nana Hotel is right across the street and also home to Nana Liquid Disco in case you are not done drinking at 2am. Another large size hotel is Rajah Hotel just up Soi 4 a little ways. Both Nana Hotel and Raja are pretty full service hotels and make for a nice place to stay. For those of you that are funded by a Fortune 500 company, the JW Marriot is only a block away on Sukhumvit Soi 2 and is a top hotel even by Bangkok’s high standards. Cash in those points and impress the ladyboy of your dreams. Another very popular large hotel is the Landmark Hotel right around the corner on Sukhumvit Road. This hotel is absolutely massive with many shops and restaurants throughout. The Dynasty Inn is certainly a popular option for those looking to indulge in the Nana Plaza fantasy world. Staying here will also gain you a free ride down to Pattaya to their other branch. Some of the cheaper options up the street a bit are the Nana Royal Mansion, White Orchid and Nap Inn. All budget hotels within a 5 minute walk of Nana Plaza.
  5. The Sukhumvit area of Bangkok is essential the capital’s city centre. While it may be somewhat void of traditional tourist and cultural attractions, Sukhumvit and it’s many sub-sois are rich with a colorful mix of shopping, eating, drinking, sleeping and nightlife, catering to just about every taste and budget imaginable. While being home to some of the country’s most fashionable bars, luxury malls, top end hotels and award winning fine dining, Sukhumvit is perhaps most infamous for its seedy nightlife, with distinct red-light districts found at Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy, as well as several smaller pockets of beer bars, hostess bars, karaoke clubs and massage parlous in areas such as Soi 22 and Soi 33 in Phrom Phong. Sukhumvit really does have a bit of everything, from the sleazy to the sophisticated, from the trashy gogos of Soi 4 to the trendy hi-so hangouts of Thong Lor, from the bustling restaurants and hookah bars of Soi Arab to the cool, quiet cafés of Ekamai, from the late night stalls of Nana, peddling pirated DVDs and cheesy T’s to Terminal 21 of Asoke, selling the latest gadgets and catwalk fashion. The skyline is an orgy of soaring office towers, luxury hotels, modern condo buildings and concept shopping malls, while down below street hawkers sell deep fried insects and noodle soups, tailors and massage shop girls hustle for trade, and neon lights guide the way to a night promising lots of ‘only in Thailand’ moments, amongst the sinful nightlife venues. Though Sukhumvit is know best for its array hotels, restaurants and electric nightlife, it still has activities to offer during the day, with venues to explore such as the Thailand’s Creative & Design Centre, the Emporium shopping centre, and the Kamthieng House Museum. Sukhumvit is where many of the city’s expats and well-to-do Thai’s call home, with a number of the residential sois of the area carrying a very cosmopolitan vibe. The area also has its serene spots and peaceful hideaways such as amongst the calming statues of Benjasiri Park, or the peaceful paths of Benchkitti Park, with excellent public transport links throughtout, well served by several BTS and MRT stations, expressway intersections, and with hundreds of taxis day and night. Drinking & Nightlife on Sukhumvit The nightlife of Sukhumvit is pulsating, seedy, cosmopolitan, trendy, alternative and constantly evolving. Whether you are looking for a quiet late-night drink with friends, to rock out to a live band, watch the latest sports events, dance to international DJs, or desiring a night of drunken debauchery, Sukhumvit has it all. Sukhumvit is well known for its seedy beer bars and gogos, with Soi 4 & Nana Plaza best described as sleaze central in Bangkok. Every night around eight in the evening the Nana Entertainment Plaza lights up with a collage of neon signs advertising scantily clad ladies in themed gogo bars such as Angelwitch, Lollipop, Hollywood, and Carnival (the latter popular for its mechanical bull). This three-storey open courtyard of raunchy bars is also well known for its line up of bikini-clad ladyboys, with bars such as Cascade and Obsessions offering the chance to really open your mind and test you gender spotting skills. Further down Sukhumvit Road you’ll discover Soi Cowboy, open since the early 1970’s, this strip of glitzy gogo bars has a slightly more laidback feel than Nana or Patpong. Popular with both western and Asian tourists, this is a place where fun-hungry middle-aged men bar-hop along venues such as Shark, Baccara and Cockatoo (the streets only ladyboy bar), ogling young locals dressed in bikinis and fantasy outfits. Other notorious raunchy venues of Sukhumvit include the artist bars of Soi 33 and the beer bars of Queens Park Plaza on Soi 22, as well as numerous other racy venues lining many of the odd numbered sois from Nana to Asoke. Sukhumvit’s network of sois and alleys are also home to a number of respectable clubs that attract top name international DJs. Areas such as Soi 11 and Soi 55 in Thong Lor, are home to venues firmly on Southeast Asia’s clubbing map. The Bed Supperclub is one of the sexiest, sleekest clubbing spots of Bangkok, offering both trendy dining and an imaginative dancing experience, combing art gallery and theatre with a European style super-club. Q Bar, found almost next to Bed Supperclub in Soi 11, is a somewhat darker and trendier experience, with a very urban, cosmopolitan vibe. Q Bar prides itself on having an extensive drinks menu with over 50 different kinds of Vodka, 20 tequilas and 50 whiskey brands, with a few Cuban cigars thrown in to help compliment you choices. Insomnia on Soi 12 is the sister club to Pattaya’s popular late-night venue of the same name. The Bangkok version has an underground feel to it, with strobe lights and large platforms helping to achieve an epic feel, staffed by a team of attractive girls and top DJs. For those looking for a more relaxed drink or traditional tavern experience, Sukhumvit has a wealth of American sports bars, brit pubs, Irish bars and other popular expat hangouts. Bully’s Bar is one of Soi 4’s quieter venues, but well liked for its homely feel. Gulliver’s Sukhumvit is a laid back pub with excellent pool tables, Bourbon Street, recently relocated to Soi 63, is known for its Creole food and live music, while Brew has one of the best selections of beers and ciders in Thailand, with over 100 different labels and a mission statement to ‘educated people about good beer’. Where to Eat on Sukhumvit As with the nightlife, eating around Sukhumvit is totally down to budget and taste, with just about every cuisine and price range available, much a tribute to the wonderful mix of cultures and ethnicities which have been drawn to the area over the years. From international restaurants to fast food chains, rusty noodles stalls to sophisticated fine dining halls, eateries can be found everywhere along Sukhumvit Road, at the entrances of grand hotels, tucked away quiet sois and on just about every major street corner. Soi Arab is one of the highlights of the Sukhumvit cuisine scene with a delicious mix of shawarma and kebab stalls dotted amongst fabulous Middle Eastern restaurants. Al Ferdoss is one of the larger restaurants of the street, serving traditional Arabic food, as well as being one of the few restaurants of the soi that also serves alcohol. Naser Elmassry is one of the most dazzling eateries of Soi Arab, with lots of outdoor seating and a VIP room with hookahs. Other notable restaurants in the soi include Nefertiti Restaurant, serving traditional Egyptian fare, Shahrazad Restaurant, with an outdoor BBQ and waitresses dressed in pink uniforms, and Al-Hussain Restaurant, offering a mix of Indian, Arabic and Thai food. Sukhumvit is Bangkok’s go-to area for western food, with pub grub available in just about all the numerous taverns and sports bars such as Bully’s Bar and The Robin Hood, and many other international restaurants from takeaways to fine dining. For a real taste of back home, Ronny’s New York Pizza serves slices and pies in the middle of Sukhumvit Soi 4 until the early hours of the morning, while Bangkok Burger Company in Thong Lor offers gourmet burgers in a chic setting. For Mexican, Sunrise Tacos in Asoke is a firm favourite, a somewhat tacky joint popular for serving affordable burritos and tacos 24/7. Popular European restaurants include Bei Otto, with 20 years experience serving high-end German cuisine, Chez Pape, with a menu of affordable French dishes in a Parisian brassiere style setting, and Tapas Café tucked Soi 11, serving tasty Spanish snacks to a backdrop of flamenco and Spanish guitar tunes. Thai street food is everywhere, from BBQ sticks of pork and chicken, to bowls of noodle soup and Pad Thai, served all hours of the day and night, some of the areas around the low numbered sois of Sukhumvit are snack heaven, with 10’s of hawkers lining the pavement around the busy bars. Cabbages & Condoms is one of the more interested Thai restaurants of Sukhumvit, a kitsch and colorful eatery with a moral concept to promote safe sex through its non-profit HIV/AIDS charity. Soul Food Mahanakorn in Thong Lor is a chance to experience the best of Thai street food in a clean, comfortable and sophisticated setting, while The Orient on soi 49 has over 30 years experience serving home-cooked Thai dishes to the Bangkok masses. Where to Stay & Hotels on Sukhumvit Sukhumvit accommodation options are as diverse as anywhere in Bangkok, from cheap guesthouses and hostels to luxury five-star inner-city resorts. Budget travelers are attracted by the cheap and easy public transport links, while luxury and business tourists are attracted by the excellent shopping and offices, with all those in-between drawn in by the variety of dining and nightlife. Sukhumvit isn’t Khoa San Road, there are far fewer super low cost rooms to be found here than the myriad of budget stays at backpacker HQ, but places such as Bed Bangkok Hostel in Soi 1, offer dorm beds and shared rooms, while aging hotels such as Nana City Inn and Nap Inn on Soi 4, and Honey House on Soi 22, have rooms well under the 1000 THB mark. Sukhumvit is most popular for its boutique and mid-range hotels, with rooms and residences offering comfort, luxury and style at affordable prices. Le Fenix in Soi 11 has already become a landmark of this popular street, with cool interior décor, a somewhat futuristic design, and surprisingly cheap room options. Two streets down in Soi 13 you’ll find Citrus Sukhumvit 13, a hip, contemporary hotel, catering to both business and leisure tourists. For a resort style stay, Livingstone’s Lodge on Soi 33 is set in a former private residence, with 26 unique rooms and a pool, tavern and restaurant, all set around a quaint courtyard. For something a little more classy, the Rembrandt Hotel on Soi 18 has 407 luxury guest rooms in a quiet location, just moments from the all-action spots, while the Bless Residence on Soi 33 offers both spacious studios and lavish one-bedroom suites, with chic décor and an up-market European feel about the place. Dominating the Sukhumvit skyline is a collection of monumental luxury hotels, not only aimed at VIP guests, but also with rooms affordable to those looking for a treat. The Landmark Hotel has been pleasing business and leisure travelers for over 20 years, also well known for its street-side coffee shop, perfectly situated for some serious people watching. Not far away, The Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit is one of Bangkok’s largest and most upscale hotels, close also to the Majestic Grande Sukhumvit, where modern décor and technology is married with traditional Thai hospitality. The JW Marriott Hotel is one of the areas grandest hotels, with all the room and building facilities you could desire, including huge event spaces and an award winning café. Tourist attractions around Sukhumvit There are few traditional tourist attractions around Sukhumvit, with only a small number of temples and museums, and even fewer historical buildings and monuments. This hasn’t stopped it becoming one of the busiest tourist destinations in the city, with such a wealth of diverse cultures and exotic Thai street scenes that it acts as a living museum in itself. With so much frantic activity happening along stretches of Sukhumvit the area’s beautiful parks act as a welcome escape from the Bangkok hustle. Benchakitti Park covers 130 rai of land, with a huge lake and lots of pathways, as well as dedicated cycling and jogging tracks. Benjasiri Park is another serene hideaway, with beautiful gardens and stunning statues to walk amongst, as well as active sports courts and workout areas for keep-fit fanatics. For art and education the Thailand Creative & Design Centre is a mecca for graphic design and arts, acting both as a fascinating exhibition space and a contemporary education center, with over 16,000 books, films and media on various design related topics, and state-of-the-art equipment and resources. Ardel’s Third Place Gallery has on-going modern art exhibitions, highlighting contemporary and experimental Thai artist in an atmospheric three-storey loft. For those looking for something a little more geeky, the Science Center for Education & Planetarium takes a holistic approach to learning, with exhibitions and shows covering science, technology, and astronomy. Sukhumvit’s only real museum of note is the Kamthieng House Museum, a 160-year old traditional teakwood house and one of the city’s best example of a traditional Northern Thai home, exhibiting indigenous crafts and customs of ancient Thailand. Shopping on Sukhumvit Road Though the area has less malls than Siam and Pratunam, Sukhumvit Road could well be considered one giant mall, with street stalls, tailors and department stores filling the large gaps between the air conditioned shopping complexes. Terminal 21 is Bangkok’s hottest new mall, opened in late 2011 this lifestyle mall is sat at the Asoke intersection, with an array of shops, boutiques and eateries, and each level uniquely themed and fashioned on a famous area of the world, from the Fisherman’s Village of San Francisco to the Istanbul Market Town. A further stop along the Sukhumvit line and you’ll discover The Emporium, a glamorous hi-so mall with a walkway connect it directly to Phrom Phong BTS station. The Emporuim is a luxury shopping paradise, with plenty of international fashion brands and designer stores, selling exclusive lines to the fashion conscious and trendy gear for the young hipsters. Also in Phrom Phong is K Village, a more intimate lifestyle shopping complex with around 50 shops and boutiques and 30 bistros and eateries, set around a tropical garden. Home to a number of funky fashion shops, sophisticated street stores and a bevy of unique boutiques, Thong Lor has gain a reputation as the ‘Beverley Hills of Asia’, most of which is centered around Soi 55. Standout locations include J Avenue and Penny’s Balcony, both popular for their trendy and alternative clothing stores. The highlight of the areas street shopping is the Sukhumvit Night Market, a tourist oriented street bazaar running for most of the way between Sukhumvit Soi 3 and Asoke. Here you’ll find all kinds of accessories and knick-knacks, from t-shirts and tazers, to fake sunglasses and counterfeit watches, with lots of street food and beer stalls playing tourist friendly tunes for those looking to burn the midnight oil.
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