Sukhumvit 33 is generally grouped alongside Soi 22 as one of Phrom Phong’s designated ‘sleaze sois’.
Massage parlours and hostess bars line the street, particularly at the Sukhumvit Road end, where some of the signage stops just short of pornagraphic
We’re looking at you, Honey: ‘body-to-body massage with happy ending’.
Together with a handful of street food sellers and, of course, the women who work along the soi, the clientele traipsing down Soi 33 is inevitably of the older, male, Western variety.
Plus a few Japanese chaps diving into the karaoke bars and cafes that congregate down 33’s sub sois.
But it would be erroneous to label Soi 33 as nothing more than cheap sleaze, and if you’re willing to look a little further, you’ll find a handful of great restaurants, cafes and hotels that fit more easily into the family friendly Phrom Phong aesthetic than the high jinks of the rest of the soi.
With the construction of the luxury Noble BE 33 condominium development ongoing, it’s likely that increasingly more of these charming outlets will start popping up on Soi 33, perhaps diluting the mass of bars and massage joints that many currently associate the street with.
Japanese restaurants are common on Soi 33, with many varieties of the national cuisine on offer. There’s Anego Sushi, Soba Juban, Menya Kouji and the Japanese Snack Bar. For Korean, check out Seoul Jib while Taiwanese street food can be found at the brilliant Bao & Buns at the bottom of the soi.
If it’s Thai you’re after, check out the Brainwake Cafe for delicious boat noodles, Oam Thong Thai Cuisine, Z Cafe and Ruan Songnaree while New Srifa 33 serves up Chinese too. Grilled seafood will soon be served at the currently-under-construction Captain 33.
Italian cuisine is also well represented down Soi 33 with the indomitable Peppina, Pan Pan and Basilico Pizzeria on offer. Bistro 33 offers up more general European fare while Tenderloins is a popular steakhouse.
You’re spoilt for choice with cafes and bakeries down Soi 33, with the Jaiyen ice cream cafe, Wonderwall Kaffebar, Siam Wich, The Fat Beagle and a Starbucks branch. For something a little different, check out the Kopi-O Board Game Cafe too.
As we’ve mentioned, hostess clubs line the streets of Soi 33 so you’ll have no problem finding a drink and a companion to sip it with. Popular outlets include Barfly, The Office and Mojo’s, while you’ll always find the Kangaroo Sports Bar packed to the rafters.
Japanese karaoke bars also dominate down Soi 33 but are mainly found huddled down sub sois and towards the bottom of the street near Phrom Chit Alley – look out for the Tsubaki Club, Tomoe Club, Asuka Club and Bar Kizuna. If you’re into BDSM and the like, Demonia may cater to your fetishes.
For something more mainstream, check out the Ocean Bangkok – a boutique hotel that also hosts regular events including pool parties and ladies’ nights in its ‘urban lounge’.
Soi 33 is also well stocked with hotels, hostels and serviced apartments so you’ll have somewhere to lay your head after the excess of the night before.
There’s the S33 Compact, Bless Residence and the 4* Accor-managed Bangkok Hotel Lotus Sukhumvit by way of hotels.
If you’d prefer a hostel, check out the innovative Matchbox, while you’ll find serviced apartments in Beverly 33 and CNC Residence.
- S33 Compact: 3*, coffee shop, airport shuttle.
- Bless Residence: 4*, rooftop pool, lounge, gym, airport shuttle.
- Bangkok Hotel Lotus Sukhumvit: 4*, rooftop pool, gym, sauna, 2 restaurants, concierge.
- Matchbox: Hostel, rooftop terrace.
- Beverly 33: 3*, garden, shuttle service, business centre.
- CNC Residence: 4*, gym, sauna, pool, kitchenette, sun terrace, business centre, restaurant.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the only pampering available on Soi 33 was for gentlemen callers after happy hour, but there are a also handful of establishments offering traditional massage and a couple of salons for hair and nails if you’re after something slightly less intimate.
Rakuten at the end of the soi is very popular with those keen on an end-of-the-day foot massage, while Araya and Chillax offer a spa-like atmosphere.
For salons, check out Blezz Beauty and Take Care Beauty for hair and nails. The Salon de Jin on Phrom Chit Alley and JKs will look after your hair, and the Princess Beauty Center is open for cosmetic and aesthetic procedures.
For groceries, Soi 33 boasts a Tops Daily, CP Freshmart, a 7-Eleven and a Family Mart on the corner with Sukhumvit.
Children‘s clothes and accessories can be found at Bambinina at the end of the soi, while Industique stocks furniture. There’s also a Lanocrème selling cosmetics.
The highly recommended Thai language school Baan Aksorn can be found in a meandering and quiet sub soi, just past Bistro 33, while fitness fiends will love the indoor bootcamp workout at the Energy Fitness Studio in the Nuam Complex.
If you need a laundry or dry cleaning services, check out Dry Clinique on Phrom Chit Alley and Express Laundry; or translation services at PC Translation in a quiet sub soi. Going Tour and Service, meanwhile, are an experienced travel agent.
What’s your favourite thing on Soi 33?