Sukhumvit Road - Claim to Fame
Sukhumvit Road is one of the names Bangkok is frequently associated with. Often referred to as "the Center", the road actually stretches far ahead from the center of the city through other provinces and towns. However, its beginning does mark the center of the Thai capital and is known as the major expat area.
A symbol of luxury living and all kind of entertainment, Sukhumvit may lack sightseeing, but it never lacks shopping opportunities, eating establishments and nightlife variety. Both sides of the road with sois (small streets), leading deep inside, are packed with restaurants, massage salons, beauty parlors, tailor shops, posh hotels, upscale shopping malls, and, of course, entertainment venues.
It is, probably, the most cosmopolitan area of the city, as apart from numerous tourists favoring the place, all sorts of expat communities are gathered here. Soi 12, for example, is occupied by Indian residents, while Soi Thong Lo is especially loved by Japanese expatriates.
Soi 3 is known as "Little Arabia". Most westerners living in Bangkok also prefer staying in Sukhumvit as the area turns into a business district in the daytime and is well connected with the rest of the city. There is also a certain ego-boosting factor about living in this central area, as it adds to one's status and indicates success and high income.
To meet the demand of the international public, the area has the most diverse eating places, from small outside food stalls to posh restaurants. Italian, French, English, Mediterranean, Arabic, Mexican, Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese cuisines, and steakhouses, along with numerous fast-food franchises and traditional Thai restaurants are lined along Sukhumvit Road and its sois.
There are some awesome shopping opportunities as well. Swanky Emporium Shopping Complex, as well as cozier Robinson Department Store are conveniently located along the Bangkok skytrain line and have elevated walkways leading directly into the stores.
In the afternoon and till late in the night central part of the road transforms into a market, selling all kinds of local stuff and particularly known for its fake designer goods and pirated DVDs. There are also plenty of small air-conditioned shops, where you can get custom-made clothing, including well-made designer rip-offs.
And, of course, the area is famous (and notorious) for its nightlife. Pubs, bars and discotheques are spread all over numerous sois and never lack visitors. Nana Entertainment Plaza (Soi 4) is known as Bangkok's sex mall, presenting a bunch of eye-popping go-go bars, competing to grab your attention with gaudy neon lights and incredible names.
Another place full of pick-up bars is the famous Soi Cowboy (between Asoke and Soi 23), which is particularly popular with Americans and avoided by Thais. Individual sex workers, as well as groups of female and male prostitutes and ladyboys also tend to hang around these areas.
The central stretch of the road is where all the luxury hotels are found, including 5-star Jw Marriott hotel bangkok, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Dream Hotel Bangkok, and The Westin Grande Sukhumvit along with a few less costly options.
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