Planning a stay on Sukhumvit?

We’ve compiled this guide of everything you need to know about Bangkok’s most popular tourist district.

Sukhumvit Road is actually one of the four major highways of Thailand.

It stretches all the way from the Cambodian border, through Pattaya, to Ploenchit Road (which leads on to Siam) in Bangkok.

Our website focuses on the central hub of Bangkok: the part of Sukhumvit that you will likely stick to for the majority of your stay — that’s everything between Sois 1-63.

The Sukhumvit Region
Click the map for interactive version.

The sois of Sukhumvit are numbered from West to East.

The odd numbers branch North-East.

The even numbers branch South-West.

For those of you planning long stays, check out the excellent resource guide Move to Bangkok.

Getting Around Sukhumvit

Sukhumvit Road is fiendishly busy in rush hour — or at most hours, for that matter.

There are four ways to get around the district:

  • In a taxi
  • On a motorcycle
  • On foot
  • On BTS

Getting Around in a Taxi

The easiest way to get around Sukhumvit is in a metered taxi.

These are instantly recognisable for their bright colours among the sea of chrome and black vehicles preferred by the natives.

A red light indicates the taxi is available.

The meter starts at 35 baht and rises by around 5.5 baht every kilometre, or 2 baht per minute when caught in traffic. By western standards, that’s dirt cheap.

Some best practices:

1. Have loose change ready.

Don’t try to pay for a taxi with a 1000 baht note.

The drivers are typically short on change and will throw a hissy fit if you try this.

2. Hail a taxi that is moving.

If the taxi is parked up and the driver is standing outside it, there’s a good chance he’s waiting for a tourist to pay an inflated fare.

Best to hail down taxis that are already on the move.

3. Always ask for ‘meter’.

Don’t attempt to agree a fee, unless you are prepared to pay more. Ask for the meter, and if the driver is not willing to switch it on, get out and wait for the next taxi.

Note: The predatory instincts of taxi drivers increase exponentially around tourist hot spots.

If you try to hail a taxi outside Soi Cowboy, you can expect the term ‘meter’ to be met with a blank stare. Tourist hot spots = mercenary taxis.

Getting Around on a Motorcycle

This is the fastest way to get around Sukhumvit’s hellish roads, and the method preferred by most working Thais.

Motorcycle taxis cut out a large percentage of traffic congestion by skipping to the front of the queues.

They start at around 20 baht for a short trip.

The downside to motorcycles?

Your personal safety.

Hold on tight and keep a fresh pair of undergarments at the ready.

Getting Around on Foot

If you prefer to get from A to B at a steady canter, there’s nothing stopping you on Sukhumvit.

Well, except three things:

  • The blistering heat, which will send your sweat glands in to overdrive.
  • The unpredictable driving, which can make crossing roads slightly hair-raising.
  • Motorcycles on the pavement, which… are motorcycles, on the pavement.

Getting Around by BTS

The Sukhumvit Skytrain stretches a whooping 22 kilometres from Bearing to Mo Chit.

If you get a chance to jump on, we suggest you take it.

The BTS offers a nice sweeping view of the city below, whilst dodging the worst of Sukhumvit’s insane traffic pile-ups.

If you plan to go to Siam, it’s a no-brainer.

Get on the Skytrain or forever hold your peace.

Journeys cost between 15-42 baht.

The Sukhumvit Neighbourhoods

Sukhumvit is a densely populated region.

You can hop one BTS station down the Sukhumvit Line and enter what feels like a completely different part of town.

Here’s our guide to each of the neighbourhoods.

Ekkamai

Gateway Ekkamai

Ekamai is an up-and-coming neighbourhood on the periphery of central Sukhumvit with a nice mix of trendy bars and eateries that’s popular with the younger expat crowd.

It’s the low-key neighbour to Thonglor, although will doubtless become more developed and busy in the coming years.

Do stay here if:

  • You appreciate being central, but with space to breathe
  • You prefer a community of expats rather than tourists
  • You like casual, ‘hip’ bars and restaurants

Don’t stay here if:

  • You’re drawn to Bangkok’s seedier thrills
  • You want to meet fellow backpackers
  • Hanging with the cool kids makes you feel old

Thong Lo

Octave Rooftop Bar at the Marriott Sukhumvit

Thonglor is the hipster heart of central Sukhumvit simply teeming with an ever-revolving roster of new restaurants, bars and clubs.

There’s an artsy vibe that chimes with young expats and Thais alongside a (sadly now depleting) street food scene.

Do stay here if:

  • You’re here to party (with your pants on)
  • You want to sample the Thai HiSo lifestyle
  • You appreciate chic everything

Don’t stay here if:

  • The younger generation get on your nerves
  • You prefer pubs to glitzy bars
  • You’re here to party (with your pants off)

Phrom Phong

Phrom Phong

Phrom Phong is one of the more affluent neighbourhoods in Bangkok. It is popular with both Japanese and Western expats.

The area is dominated by the growing EmSphere, a trio of shopping centers that shoot up around the tranquil Benjasiri Park.

Do stay here if:

  • You love great restaurants
  • You want to enjoy some home comforts (from the West, or Japan…)
  • You want high-end shopping

Don’t stay here if:

  • Cheap accommodation is your priority
  • You’re in Bangkok for the go-go bars
  • You prefer casual neighbourhoods and a slower pace

Asok

Soi 21

Asok is one of the main arteries of Bangkok. It pulls together some of the city’s best nightlife, hotels and restaurants.

Prices are expensive here, and square meterage per baht is reduced considerably (for both long-stay accommodation and short-stay hotels).

Do stay here if:

  • You like being central and well-connected
  • You want a good mix of restaurants and shopping
  • You prefer international flagship hotel chains

Don’t stay here if:

  • You hate getting caught in traffic (Asoke Intersection will ruin you).
  • You prefer extra space for your money
  • The cheaper the better‘ is your motto

Nana

Soi Nana

Nana is home to the Arab district and some of Bangkok’s most infamous nightlife; including the red light district.

The streets are crowded with stalls, bars and various shopping plazas. It is a popular area for both expats and tourists — especially after dark when the go-go bars spring to life.

Do stay here if:

  • You’re a raging sex tourist
  • You want cheap no-thrills accommodation (or, conversely, a night at the Landmark!)
  • You plan to party heavily, late into the night

Don’t stay here if:

  • You want to avoid Bangkok’s sleaze
  • You want a quiet night’s sleep
  • You’d prefer not to have a ‘Tourist‘ bullseye on your chest

How Expensive is Sukhumvit?

Central Sukhumvit is a bubble of affluence in the Thai capital.

By Thai standards, you’ll generally pay a premium on accommodation whether you’re here for a quick holiday or a longer stay.

While there are plenty of cheap options for the budget-conscious traveller, Sukhumvit is heavily westernised. The further you head from Sukhumvit, the cheaper accommodation and general costs of living become.

Having said that, hotels in Thailand are comparatively very cheap by international standards – where else could you have a 5* star for under $120 a night? – so it’s worth spending a little extra for some luxury if you can. Non-branded or smaller hotels are cheaper still.

Phrom Phong and Asok are considered the most expensive neighbourhoods for renting, followed by Thong Lo, Nana, and finally Ekkamai.

New condos tend to be at the pricier end of the spectrum and, while sporting the nicest furnishing and facilities, are considered small. They’re rarely pet-friendly either. Older apartments are comparatively larger and considerably cheaper per square foot although you will often have to compromise on furnishings and quality of facilities.

The truth is, you can find adequate studios for $250 a month next to huge, 280 square metre luxury condos for $2,500. It’s worth doing your homework and picking a reputable agent to ensure you get the best fit for your budget and sensibilities.

Sukhumvit Price Guide

The prices below are by no means fixed, but they offer a rough idea of what you can expect to pay during your trip.

Item Low Price Standard Tourist Price High End
All prices in Thai Baht (฿)
Pint of beer 80 100-120 150+
Cocktail 100-150 180-300 300+
Tea / Coffee 30-60 70-100 120+
Restaurant main course 40-80 100-400 400+
Hotel room 1 night 300-1000 1000-4000 4000+
Trip from Airport 15-45
(Airport Rail)
250-350
(Metered taxi)
600+
(Private taxi)
BTS ticket 15-42

Let us know in the comments if there’s any specific pricing you want to know about and we’ll get back to you!

More: 5 ways to spot a tourist on Sukhumvit

Nearby Areas of Interest

Another great reason to stay on Sukhumvit?

Its location is perfect.

Some of Bangkok’s most popular attractions are just a stone’s throw away.

Here are some of our favourites…

Lumpini Park

This beautiful park is a calming oasis away from the concrete jungle.

Spend an afternoon in Lumpini and melt away your stresses as you watch Bangkok go about its day.

It’s also home to the gigantic (and harmless) Lumpini Monitor Lizards.

Lumpini Lizard

So keep an eye on your picnic!

Nearest BTS: Sala Daeng (Silom line)

Siam / Chidlom

You can’t stay on Sukhumvit without venturing two stops further down the BTS Sukhumvit Line and arriving at Siam: the modern epicenter of Bangkok’s capital.

Cat art in Siam

Siam (and Chidlom) are lined with gigantic shopping plazas, including: CentralWorld, Siam Paragon, Siam Center, Digital Gateway, Gaysorn, Siam Discovery, MBK and the Pratunam Fashion Mall.

Don’t forget the famous Siam Square; a bargain fashion fiend’s wildest dreams come true.

These are the most highly trafficked tourist spots in the whole of Bangkok, with the exception of a certain Khao San Road.

Silom Road

Silom Road is Bangkok’s second most popular tourist destination.

It is stacked with hotels, popular bars, restaurants and coffee shops.

Patpong Market
Source: QuadSuites

The notorious Soi Patpong is available for anybody who didn’t get their sleaze fix on Soi Cowboy or Soi 4.

Silom is Bangkok’s equivalent to Wall Street by day — with many financial institutions based nearby.

For More on Sukhumvit…

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