What to Do in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Neighborhood
When visitors to Bangkok want to feel in the center of the action — perhaps as a way to reenter urban life after a beach vacation in Phuket or chilling out in the jungle of the Golden Triangle — Sukhumvit is often the neighborhood they head to. It’s a convenient, central area for exploring the rest of the city, and there’s a sense of vibrancy here, with restaurants, cafes, and people-watching as the main draws, along with the area’s sparkling new shops and shopping centers (a common destination for locals, who escape to the cool air-conditioned malls in Bangkok’s sweltering heat and humidity).
Add to the mix a population of expats from around the world that make Sukhumvit their homebase, and you get one of Southeast Asia’s most dynamic, international and welcoming neighborhoods. Here, a guide to what to see and where to go in a day or two.
Stop in to this casual, bright and airy lunch spot in between exploring the neighborhood for both western cuisine (pizza, Caesar salad, sandwiches) and Thai specialities like Kra Prao Kai (chilli and basil stir-fried chicken with fried egg and jasmine rice). There’s also house-roasted coffee for early morning sightseeing fuel.
An entire afternoon could be spent at this high-end mall, where, aside from a huge range of shops (there are outposts of everything from Alexander Wang and 3.1 Phillip Lim to Calvin Klein and Vilebrequin), you’ll find top-tier food options. Try Cafe Chilli for fresh Thai stirfrys and soups.
Bookworms can spend hours browsing through the large collection (over 18,000 titles) of second-hand books here, which range from biographies to texts on Buddhism. And when you’re finished, take a tea break and a try a pastry from the store’s cafe.
Sukhumvit Soi 38 Night Market
The night market at Sukhumvit Soi 38 offers a vibrant street-side food scene, where pedestrians line up for local delicacies including fat rice noodles, mango sticky rice, and pathong ko (Thai doughnuts) with pandan leaf custard.
End the day by heading to the 54th floor of the Marriot Hotel for an evening drink at this rooftop stunner, where the 360-degree views provide instant Instagram fodder. Try and make it for Octave’s happy hour for great deals on drinks (a rarity at the nicer bars in Bangkok).
Although it’s not technically in the neighborhood, this Sukhumvit-adjacent newcomer (opening in May) is shaping up to be the most exciting hotel opening in years. The 222 rooms occupy the top floors of the super-modern Central Embassy building, allowing for sweeping views of downtown Bangkok. There will also be four dining and drinking options, including the Penthouse Bar & Grill — a three-level entertainment complex with a cocktail lounge, VIP room and a fine dining restaurant.