Bangkok by skytrain: Thong Lor
First published 22nd September, 2005
The first in our series of "Exploring Bangkok by Skytrain" series -- with a new station to be added every Friday afternoon (just in time for the weekend). We cover everything from restaurant and bars to little-known art-cafes, and they're all walking distance from Bangkok's BTS Skytrain.
Thong Lo station is right on the edge of one of the more Westernised areas of Bangkok, reflected by the many pubs, bars, shops and restaurants catering to expatriate tastes sprinkled here, but the soi also has many distinctly Thai spots. Thong Lo station is the sixth from Siam Square, or E6 on the Eastern Route. The fee here depends on where you're coming from, but will never be more than 40B.
Thong Lo station lies at a four-way intersection. Branching off of either side of Sukhumvit is soi 38 to the south and soi 55 (aka Soi Thong Lo) to the north. During the day, the only soi of any note is Thong Lo, but from around 4 pm, the area comes alive.
Directly under the station lurks some of the best street food in the city. The mouth of soi 38 is renowned for its selection and quality of dishes which appear on carts once the sun goes down, luring loads of hungry diners. Some favorites are khao moo daeng (rice with red pork) and khao niaow ma muang (mango with sticky rice and sweet sauce). Opposite on the north side of Sukhumvit, you'll find a friendly young woman selling one of the best examples of khao na moo (rice with pork and vegetables) around. She's usually sold out by 8 pm, so get there early! Next door is a stall selling khao na gai (rice with chicken), which is basic but quite good. Most dishes around here cost 20 to 40B per plate.
If you're looking for something a bit more upscale, try Face Restaurant (02 713-6048), about 50m into soi 38 on the left. Inside you'll find a funky lounge and beautifully decorated Thai and Indian restaurants. The food is outstanding and the service great, with Western prices to match. Phone ahead for reservations and dress appropriately -- no shorts or sandals. Another upper-end choice, although more palatable to the wallet, is Duilio's, a decent Italian restaurant just a short walk west of the station, and about 120m into soi 49.
Heading down into Thong Lo, a few stalls on the left hawk fresh fruit ranging from ordinary red apples and hands of bananas to more interesting local fare like bright pink dragon fruit (kaew mung korn) or furry red rambutans (ngaw). Several stalls also sell Thai snacks like barbecued pork (moo ping), roasted bananas (gluay ping) and the delicious but horrendously fattening rotti (dough baked with sugar, banana, condensed milk and eggs).
Down about 50m on the left is The Barber Room, a cluttered barber shop staffed by a rag-tag group of friendly older men who will cut your hair, shave your face and even clean and trim your ear and nose hairs, all for 80B-150B, depending on what you get done. A proper salon a few doors down for women offers everything from a basic wash to a whole new look for 150B-500B.
Further down, just past the first of many 7-11s, you'll find Plan Net, a well-run internet shop. Prices are a bit higher (40B per hour) than some other places but the air-con is refreshing, the computers are fast and the staff friendly. Outside a small coffee kiosk serves good java (iced or regular) for 20B - 35B per cup to sip while you surf.
Thirty metres beyond Plan Net is Grand Ramen, a Japanese noodle shop. Again, the prices are a bit higher (50B - 140B) than a bowl of soup from a street stall but the portions are huge and you get a cold towel and tea with your order. The Japanese Katsu Curry is delicious.
Across the street from Plan Net you'll see a group of motorcycle taxis, always on the lookout for a fare. Just wave your hand and one of them will zip across the street to pick you up. These guys might be the cheapest in the city - the 2.5 km trip to the other end of the soi is only 20B. They're usually pretty fair, but use this price as a guide to how much they should charge you.
If zigzagging between lines of cars belching fumes isn't your thing, try catching the small red bus that stops just outside Plan Net - a few constantly circle Thong Lo. They depart roughly every 15 minutes, to be replaced by a twin that pulls up behind it, and putt along at a leisurely pace. When you see where you want to get off, press the buzzer and jump when they (sort of) stop. If you're more than 5'8", you might find it a bit constricting, but the flat fares are only 4B for Thais and 5B for foreigners. Don't fret - at 1B, it's the least-offensive double pricing in Thailand.
Use your preferred method to get further down Thong Lo and explore this interesting area a bit further.
Story by Greg Jorgensen
Related readingBangkok by skytrain: Chid Lom
Bangkok by skytrain: Chong Nonsi
Bangkok by skytrain: Phloen Chit
Bangkok by skytrain: Surasak
Bangkok by skytrain: Phrom Phong
Bangkok by skytrain: Saphan Taksin
Bangkok by skytrain: Sanam Pao
Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchathewi
Bangkok by skytrain: Phaya Thai
Bangkok by skytrain: Sala Daeng (S2)
Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchadamri
Bangkok by skytrain: Ari
Read 2 comment(s)
Add your comment
Feature story quicklinks
- Giving back in Southeast Asia (19)
- All stories
- Angkor Hospital For Children
- Blue Dragon Children's Foundation
- COPE: Helping people move on
- Epic Arts
- Free the Bears Laos
- Gibbon Rehabilitation Project
- Helping Phuket's children in need
- Helping Siem Reap's rubbish dump families
- Helping Singapore's transient workers
- Helping the Karen of Burma
- Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam
- Khlong Toey Music Program
- Lifestart Foundation, Hoi An
- MyME Yangon
- Soi Dog Foundation
- Swim Vietnam
- Thai Freedom House, Chiang Mai
- The Samui Prison Project
- The SET Foundation
- Burma ()
- Cambodia (9)
- Indonesia (4)
- Laos ()
- Malaysia (1)
- Singapore ()
- Thailand (38)
- All stories
- 10 Thai treks aside from Chiang Mai
- 31 Thai islands
- 5 Southern Thai towns to lose time in
- Andaman Sea island hopper
- Chiang Mai's temples
- Corruption in Thailand
- Far southern Thailand: Go or not?
- Great Thai food blogs
- Ko Mun Nork: a nearby paradise
- Ko Pha Ngan 7-day detox:Colonic fast
- Ko Pha Ngan's best beaches in 2013
- Ko Phi Phi on a budget
- Ko Yao Noi or Ko Yao Yai?
- Motorcycling the Chiang Rai loop
- Narathiwat: residence of good people
- Navigating Bangkok: The BTS Skytrain
- Phuket by night
- Phuket for kids
- Phuket heritage walk: Car parts to saris
- Phuket's secret beaches
- Planning around Thailand's civil unrest
- Should I book for the full moon party?
- Should I cancel my Thai holiday? No.
- Should I cancel my trip to Thailand? No.
- Soi Thong Lo, Bangkok
- Thai islands for nature lovers
- Thai islands to lose yourself on
- Thai visa FAQ
- Thailand tsunami wrap
- Thailand's Full Moon Party
- Thailand: Where to from here?
- The best beach on Ko Samui
- Trekking in Thailand
- What is the best island in Thailand?
- What's a good beach on Ko Pha Ngan?
- What's a good beach on Ko Samui?
- Which beach on Ko Samui?
- Which island in Trang?
- Vietnam (5)
- Accommodation guides (3)
- Travel with kids (7)
- Opinion & advice (17)
- All stories
- 10 reasons to do an adventure tour
- 10 reasons to travel independently
- A year's worth of travel for 2013
- Christmas and New Years in Southeast Asia
- Do I need reservations for my holiday?
- Evil man of Krabi
- Fifteen tips for a great holiday in Asia
- Getting a cheap airfare to Asia
- Great river trips in Southeast Asia
- Hotels should never charge extra for WiFi
- Long distance buses in Southeast Asia
- Mass tourism in Southeast Asia
- Nine Asian upcountry hideaways
- Planning a Gap Year? Some advice.
- Ten Southeast Asian trips for 2008
- Ten thoughts on ten years with Travelfish
- Where is the best place in Southeast Asia for ...
- How do I? (7)
- Cycling Asia (12)
- Health and safety (5)
- Money and finance (4)
- Diving guides (4)
- Photo essay ()
- Guest blog (2)
- General (15)
- All stories
- 10 Christmas days in Asia we're yet to have
- 10 dumb things I've done while travelling
- 34 ways to travel greener
- Asian animal experiences
- Call me Mr Massage Magic
- Chefs Without Borders
- Flying is fun!
- Mr Golden
- On being a travel writer
- Teaching ESL in Asia
- The 211 country honeymoon
- The Boxing Day Tsunami: 5 years on.
- To Teach or Not to Teach
- Travel writing scholarship 2012
- Tuk to the Road Charity ride
- Book reviews (5)
- Interviews (8)
- Explore Bangkok by BTS (18)
- All stories
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ari
- Bangkok by skytrain: Asok
- Bangkok by skytrain: Chid Lom
- Bangkok by skytrain: Chong Nonsi
- Bangkok by skytrain: Mo Chit
- Bangkok by skytrain: National Stadium
- Bangkok by skytrain: On Nut
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phaya Thai
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phloen Chit
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phrom Phong
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchadamri
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchathewi
- Bangkok by skytrain: Sala Daeng (S2)
- Bangkok by skytrain: Sanam Pao
- Bangkok by skytrain: Saphan Taksin
- Bangkok by skytrain: Siam
- Bangkok by skytrain: Surasak
- Bangkok by skytrain: Thong Lor
Sign up for Travelfish Burp!
Our weekly wrap on Southeast Asian travel.
Click here to see a recent newsletter.