If I could give Sukhumvit a makeover, I would start with urban planning.
I would rescue the Sois from drowning by placing vintage Dutch windmills to drain out the water. I would hire the Germans that built the sleek Autobahn to come fix our streets and fill in our potholes.
I would ask Singapore to manage our traffic and introduce the concept of electronic road pricing.
However, Thailand should teach all these countries to number their streets in an orderly fashion of odds and evens.
You’ve done this one right, Sukhumvit.
I would place the London Eye smack in the middle of Benjasiri Park, because a luxurious concrete jungle deserves a fabulous viewpoint. I’d filter the Klong water that runs through Sukhumvit to the color of emerald green. If I could import the water of Lake Bled, I would.
I would limit the height of buildings in Sukhumvit the way they do in Munich, or even in Koh Samui. Concrete just doesn’t tickle my fancy so much. Also, I miss seeing the sun actually set, and Bangkok has gorgeous sunsets. You’d know, if you had a high enough rooftop to view it from.
I would preserve and proudly display Thainess. I’d tone down the harsh modern aesthetic of the massive shopping malls, coffee shops and restaurants, and subtly showcase the gracefulness of the Ayutthaya and Sukhothai architecture instead.
I would remove those standard street lights, and instead adorn Sukhumvit with traditional Thai lamp posts; similar to the way the Japanese have done with their quirky lanterns in each town and neighborhood.
I’d like to see us do our part at becoming more eco-conscious. All the houses and buildings would be pushed an additional meter inwards, to make room for bicycles lanes and sidewalks. I don’t walk and cycle all that much in Sukhumvit at the moment because I make a point every day of trying to stay alive.
Trashcans and labeled recycle bins would be installed every few hundred meters. I would create more space in Sukhumvit; more public space. I would replace some of the condominiums with parks and install little Salas and hammocks underneath trees where people can enjoy a picnic and some beers with friends without having to pay for the space. Sukhumvit demands entirely too much money from us, for my liking.
In this fantasy world, I would want to have all 4 seasons make a showing on Sukhumvit, but I’d be willing to negotiate for a short winter and a lengthier summer. I want to be able to build bonfires in the winter, make s’mores and warm my hands. We’d play in the pile of vividly colored leaves in the fall, just before raking them clean. A snowy white Sukhumvit in December would look stunning.
I could think of a million things to change in Sukhumvit, but there are aspects I’d never compromise on.
I’d keep the food trucks and street food stalls, because nothing quite builds my appetite like the smell of freshly cooked meals in woks and on grills. I’d keep the labyrinthine maze of Sois, because getting lost, finding new shortcuts and discovering new streets in the process brings me the ultimate joy. I’d keep the motorbike stands that provide the most convenient way to beat the traffic. Also, I love the wind in hair effect it creates. I’d keep the graffiti on the walls, because that adds character.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, I would keep the heart and soul that makes Sukhumvit come alive.
In a fantasy world, what would you change about Sukhumvit?