Known as the Central Business District, Sathorn Road is a bustling thoroughfare that contains many embassies and head offices of financial institutions, while nearby Silom Road also has bank and law offices and the head branches of multinational corporations. Lest one think it is all work and no play, this region is bordered by some of the loveliest open space in Bangkok. On the east end is Lumpini Park, with its spacious gardens, walking and jogging paths, and plenty of greenery. To the west lies the dividing line between Bangkok city and the western suburbs, the languid Chao Phraya River.
Along the Chao Phraya are some of the most enjoyable living spaces to be found in the capital. Condominiums with fantastic river vistas abound, large balconies and fresh breezes are the norm, and the views of the often exhibited firework displays and of the flashing lights of the glitziest hotels in Bangkok, like the Oriental and Shangri La, remind one of precisely why the city was known in former times as the Venice of the East.
Rivaling and even surpassing Sukhumvit for the most class and convenience, the Riverside and Sathorn area is home to hundreds of classy restaurants, pampering spas and luxury hotels, the nightlife of notorious Patpong Road, and all the treasures of Chinatown, which is a world of endless exploration by itself.
- Eat Me: International fusion meets exhibition art gallery. The rotating Thai artists gallery might not knock your socks off, but the tuna tartar, which has been written up in Frommers and the New York Times, will. 1/6 Soi Pipat 2 (off Soi Convent), 02-238 0931
- Suan Lum Night Bazaar: Developers have been threatening to close down Suan Lum for years, but the giant food plaza remains open and is Bangkok’s version of a German Beergarden. A large stage hosts nightly live bands and entertainers, while around it cluster food stalls serving up just about every Thai dish under the sun. The food is cheap and good, popular with Thais, and the competing beer companies (and their smiling beer hostesses) will ensure you don’t go thirsty. Rama IV and Witthayu intersection, Lumphini Park
- Moon Bar and Vertigo: perched 61 floors above the city on the roof of the Banyan Tree Hotel, the Moon Bar is THE place to take a guest, date, or just come to gasp at the staggering 360 degree sunset views of sprawling Bangkok. The only truly completely open air sky bar in town, Moon has won several accolades as one of the “world’s best bars” and deservedly so. 21 Sathorn Tai, 02-6791200
- Niu’s On Silom: modeled on a New York lounge, Niu’s is Bangkok’s premier jazz bar, and boasts an extensive wine cellar of over 300 brands.
Just about every form of transport serves this busy area, led by the Skytrain, with BTS stops at Sala Daeng, Chong Nonsi, Surasak, and Saphan Thaksin. The MRT runs from Lumpini Park, connecting via a short walk with the Sala Daeng BTS. There is also an MRT station at Hualamphong in Chinatown, which is the main Bangkok Railway Station serving all locations in the country from Chiang Mai all the way to Butterworth in Malaysia. From Saphan Thaksin, the Chao Phraya River ferries run often both north and south and are excellent for avoiding the traffic and heat. Destinations include Wat Arun, Chinatown, and the Khao San Rd/Banglamphu area. The A1 Airport Bus runs down Silom Road after coming through Phatumwan in central Bangkok.