In Defence of Thonglor

Thonglor gets a bad rap occasionally.

“It’s full of hipsters!” “…not what it used to be” “Changes every 5 minutes!”

Sound familiar?

While all of these things are probably true – hell, it’s a hipster paradise – the gentrification of Thonglor isn’t to be feared.

It should be embraced.

Soi 55 and its surrounding sois that make up the neighbourhood of Thonglor are the epitome of “bustling.” Restaurants and bars with their saturated smells, colours and noise spill onto the streets and swim with the street vendors while hi-so Thai millennials and Japanese expats navigate the flower sellers and endless stream of taxis and motorbikes.

If you throw enough s*** at the wall…

New restaurants and bars pop up often, often by the same owners, trying out different concepts to find what sticks with the in-crowd.

It’s the neighbourhood of reinvention.

And while luxury developments in the area are definitely on the increase – HQ Thonglor condominium completed earlier this year, for instance – it’s not quite at the levels of Phrom Phong or Asok just yet. Gleaming white palaces of consumerism à la EM District have not yet hit this corner of Sukhumvit.

The restaurants and bars opening and reinventing themselves down Soi 55 are simply small business owners trying to strike a chord with Bangkok’s coolest crowd. Who can blame them?

This generation basks in novelty.

While this year it’s craft beer, who knows what the trends of next year, or even next month will bring?

Necessity is the mother of invention.

It looks like Thonglor is the mother of reinvention, then. With the necessary sole purpose being to survive.

Livin’ in a hipster paradise

And so to one of the Thonglor critics’ biggest complaints: there’s a lot of hipsters at this end of town.

That may be true.

Personally, I’ve had too much exposure to the beard-toting, skinny jean-wearing, craft beer-nurturing hipsters of London’s Shoreditch to be too phased by this brand of Asian ‘rebel’.

But at the end of the day, who cares? They certainly don’t.

Do we let the hi so wealthy Thai grandmas put us off our shopping at EmQuartier? Hell, no! Or how about the yummy mummies with yappy dogs in tow at K Village Farmer’s Market? Oh HELL, no! And what about the charming gentlemen sexpats turning us off a night out in Nana? Oh HE… actually, they do put us off a bit.

Wherever you go in Sukhumvit you’ll be faced with a brand of personality that simply doesn’t tickle your pickle.

But that’s OK.

Chances are, you’re not tickling their pickle either.

Find what you love

Yes, that old chestnut.

The brilliant thing about Thonglor neighbourhood is that it’s simply teeming with drinking, dining and doing options.

Yes, you’re not going to like everything.

But you might like something.

OK, you might hate the pretension of the Iron Fairies cocktail bar; but how about a few pints in the Flann O’Brien’s instead with the premier league on TV?

If the Asian fusion cuisine at the Supanigga Eating Room isn’t for you, you could do far worse than the Isaan cuisine at Soul Food Mahanakorn.

If you’re bored of drinking overpriced cocktails at ground level, then get yourself up to the 45th floor of the Marriott on Soi 57 and plonk yourself down for a Singha at Octave – their much loved rooftop bar.

Say what you will about Thonglor, but you can’t fault the number and variety of options on offer in the area.

Maybe hating it says something more about the hater than the area itself.

Something to think about. Me? I’m off for a sake at Bottoms Up. Chin Chin!

Image is of the Octave Rooftop Bar at the Marriott Sukhumvit