An area guide to life in Sukhumvit

The lowdown

Sukhumvit has become a neighbourhood in demand. The name is given to the areas that frame Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok that was once a huge expanse of green land before developers eyed up its potential. A continuation of Rama 1 Road and Ploen Chit Road, Sukhumvit Road is one of the main thoroughfares of Thailand. Starting in Bangkok, some 400 kilometres later it arrives in Trat Province that borders Cambodia.

It is also the name of one of the two branches of the BTS Skytrain network. Setting off at Mo Chit in the north of the city, then running through Siam the main interchange station, before gliding high above the traffic on Sukhumvit Road from Nana station through to the end of the line at Bearing. The BTS Skytrain provides an efficient and reliable means of getting around the city. Many of the condominium and apartment buildings provide a shuttle service to the station for their residents’ convenience.

One of the main reasons that the bright lights of Sukhumvit have become so popular is its convenience and accessibility to the rest of the city. Also it is filled with amenities meaning that for some people there is rarely reason to leave. Workplaces, schools, shopping malls, hotels, hospitals and countless evening entertainment options are all dotted on and off this main artery.

Daily life

Whilst Sukhumvit has its fair share of shiny high rise buildings dotted along the mass transit networks, the area’s excitement is down to the mix of a variety that live side by side. It is easy to spend twice, if not triple, as much on a freshly brewed espresso served in a trendy artisan coffee outlet than a bowl of noodles slurped at a street table. Sukhumvit does have a bit of a name for itself as a party destination. However, these are concentrated in certain areas such as Thong Lo and Nana, so it is easily avoidable if you are looking for a quieter life. 

The throbbing traffic of Sukhumvit Road may appear to rarely cease as residents make their way around this part of Bangkok, but don’t be fooled in thinking that Sukhumvit is always busy. Head off the main thoroughfare to discover the sub Sois and you will be greeted with quietness, greenery, with plenty of places to stop for a bite to eat or to quench your thirst in an independent venue or one of the area’s community malls.

There is endless shopping in Sukhumvit. Phrom Phong has welcomed new glitzy shopping malls meaning that many of those living in this part of town have little need to travel to the shopping mecca of Siam. Filled with brand names, high street chains not to mention an abundance of eateries. If you are looking for independent shops and boutiques, these tend to be situated on the sub Sois and involve a bit of research before heading out.

Where to live

Responding to demand, particularly amongst the expatriate community, much of Bangkok’s residential development is focused in Sukhumvit that can be divided into lower, mid and upper Sukhumvit. Brand new studio boltholes, standalone houses in compounds, vast sized apartments, and refurbished shophouses can all be found here. You simply need to be decide what you are looking for and what your priorities are in order to narrow down the choice, although your budget is likely to dictate where you end up. Dead end Sois are favoured due to their quietness. 

Brand new condominiums continue to spring up all over Sukhumvit despite the land supply being squeezed. For those looking for a larger floor space, then an older apartment building is probably your best bet since they were built when land was not such at a premium. The newer buildings will come with a range of modern facilities from rooftop pools, designated working areas to the latest fitness equipment, but often space is sacrificed due to escalating land prices.

Similar to anywhere in Bangkok, prices vary depending on vicinity to mass transit networks, but also the age, size, upkeep and facilities of the building will naturally be influencing factors. Being close to work is often a priority for residents to avoid the traffic and for the same reason families tend to opt for accommodation close to their children’s schools.

Benjakitti Park
Benjakitti Park

Lower Sukhumvit

The area loosely named as lower Sukhumvit includes the sub Sois around the stations on the BTS Skytrain network Nana, Asoke to the border of Phrom Phong. Lower Sukhumvit benefits from being very central and residents embrace the ease of daily life that it brings.  

Asoke is considered to be the most popular place to live in Bangkok as it enjoys not only the BTS Skytrain station but also the MRT station of Sukhumvit. This gives residents a diverse choice in getting around the city in all directions. Heading north up Sukhumvit Soi 21, the main road of Asoke, runs the MRT station to Phetchaburi. This has brought with a number of new condominiums that are clustered in this area taking advantage of the infrastructure it provides. Plus you can connect to the Airport Rail Link at Makkasan station for a quick journey to Suvarnabhumi Airport. Asoke is also home to one of the area’s main parks, Benjakitti Park. 

Mid Sukhumvit

Moving along the BTS line past Phrom Phong towards Thong Lo and Ekkamai is mid Sukhumvit. Much of the residential developments of Phrom Phong are concentrated on Sukhumvit Soi 24 that has the green space of Benjasiri Parkis on its doorstep. This Soi is lined with towering condominiums and apartment buildings of varying price tags all the way until Rama 4. It is a similar story on the other side of Sukhumvit Road where residential addresses on Soi 39 embrace the vicinity to Phrom Phong’s extensive shopping and dining options.

Thong Lo draws those who want the status that comes with living in this buzzing part of the city. In addition to families who want to take advantage of the area’s schools that spill into Ekkami. The Japanese have a long history of migration to Thailand. The fourth biggest community outside of Japan is in Bangkok with many living in and around Ekkamai. This has resulted in a huge selection of Japanese food for Bangkokians to get stuck into.

Upper Sukhumvit                         

As demand for living in Sukhumvit has increased over the years, developers have started building along the BTS line to keep up with demand. At Phra Khanong BTS station and beyond past On Nut prices are lower. There are numerous big scale condominiums with smaller sized units for those looking for a pied-à-terre during their working week or simply those wanting to enjoy everything that Sukhumvit has to offer but may not have the budget of lower or mid Sukhumvit.

street food Eating and drinking

It is impossible to keep up with the new entrants on the eating and drinking scene. Thong Lo is famed for its nightlife, but there are choices all over Sukhumvit. From street food stalls that pop up throughout the day and evening. The latest in Western cuisine or food from anywhere else in the world for that matter. You could easily dine somewhere different every day without having to eat the same thing twice. The food courts of the shopping malls or community malls provide a good starting point if you are unsure on what you fancy.

Nana is known for its middle eastern cuisine that is concentrated on Sukhumvit Soi 3, and Sukhumvit Soi 11 has a party reputation due to the array of drinking and eating spots on offer. If Japanese food is what you are looking for, then head to Ekkamai for a unbeatable choice.

From Nana to Thong Lo there are hotels with bars perfect for sundowners. Drinking holes all over Sukhumvit include rooftop bars, pubs, places to watch the latest sports, to stools on the street. You won’t be hard pressed to find something to suit your mood.

Why should I live in Sukhumvit?

  1. Everything is within arm’s reach. You may find that those who live in Sukhumvit can have a slightly parochial view on the area. But there is good reason for this as all ranges of amenities, food and entertainment options are right on their doorstep. 
  2. Many businesses have offices along Sukhumvit. This make it an ideal place to live too. A short commute to work is attractive, and for some this is a walk – a true luxury in any city. 
  3. The endless choice in accommodation. As so much of the residential development is situated in Sukhumvit, there is a vast range in size, style, quality and location. With so much choice it can be hard to narrow it down so check Thailand Property to whittle it down.