Bangkok by skytrain: Phrom Phong
Updated on 12th August, 2013. First published 27th October, 2005
Number E5 on the Sukhumvit line, Phrom Phong is in the heart of an area known as 'Farang Alley' to some. Countless Western-oriented restaurants, pubs, shops and hotels are found here, and the area's large Japanese community is evidenced by dozens of hole-in-the-wall eateries serving sushi, ramen and katsu don. While it won't satisfy those seeking a 'local' Thai-style Bangkok neighbourhood, this is a lively area area notable for great English-language book shops, English- and Irish-style pubs and a very eclectic mix of outstanding food.
Directly under Phrom Phong station runs Sukhumvit Road, which has several small sois running off of both sides along its length. While some of the sois around Phrom Phong have a definite seedy element, the massage parlours and 'gentleman's clubs' often rub shoulders with classy restaurants and upscale shops.
From inside the station, exit 2 shoots directly into Emporium, an enormous mall that leans towards high-end designer wears -- think Louis Vuitton and Prada. On the 4th floor, Books Kinokuniya is one of the better bookshops in Bangkok. While not as big as the main Kinokuniya store in Siam Paragon, this branch offers a solid selection of new books. On the third floor lies the original Greyhound Cafe and the Emporium Department Store, which has everything from expensive perfume to the latest kids toys. The entire fifth floor is a mass of restaurants, delis, coffee shops, fast food outlets and even a supermarket. The next and highest floor boasts one of Bangkok's better cinema complexes.
If you skip Emporium and stroll along the elevated walkway to exit 6, you'll emerge at the gates of Benchasiri Park, a pleasant little oasis amid Sukhumvit's notorious traffic. The best time to come is late afternoon and early evening when you can join in on the group aerobics, tai-chi, basketball or lazy lounging on grassy lawns. Make sure to check out the teams playing the incredibly acrobatic game of takraw, a kind of cross between volleyball and football.
Continue west past Benchasiri to reach Soi 22, marked by a bus stop, a gang of orange-vested motorbike taxi drivers and a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Cafe at the corner. Although it's not for everyone, this is a lively soi with Indian, Japanese, French and Thai restaurants to go with massage parlours and several watering holes catering to Western expats. A standout place to eat is Govinda for its specialty Italian vegetarian dishes. With a cluster of open-air bars that sport names like Crazy Girl and Monkey, the Queen's Park Plaza is an especially raucous nightlife spot where long-term tourists, mainly middle-age and older men, come to tie one on in the evenings. If this area is your cup of tea, Citrus Sukhumvit 22 offers quality rooms with good value online rates.
Soi 20 is a lower key street with several high-end serviced apartment buildings, hotels and an international school. Notable food options here include Mexican cuisine at hole-in-the-wall Senor Pico, a solid wine selection at local chain Wine Connection, outstanding vegetarian Indian cuisine at Saras, "innovative Japanese with Californian influence" on the leafy terrace at Koi Restaurant, and Otto, an authentic German deli and restaurant. As ever in Bangkok, a handful of cheap Thai-Chinese restaurants are peppered into the mix.
Back in Phrom Phong station, exit 4 leads down to a footpath where a small group of street carts offer the usual goodies -- grilled Isaan sausage, pork-on-a-stick, fresh coffee, fruit and roti. A hole-in-the-wall curry-and-rice shop is a good choice for a spicy and cheap Thai lunch. On either side of that is 24 Inn, a midrange serviced apartment-style hotel, and Tea Etc, a modern air-con cafe that churns out milky Thai-style iced tea. Directly next to the station, Soi 24 stretches south and is home to the perennial Thai food favourite, Lemongrass, as well as Book, a great little used book store where it can feel like rummaging through an avid reader's attic.
Head east on Sukhumvit from exit 3 and you'll reach quiet Soi 26, which touts the exceptionally tasty Indian cuisine of Indus, and Bo.lan, a renowned (and expensive) Thai restaurant focusing on traditional recipes prepared from the finest ingredients from around the kingdom. Skip past Soi 26 to find Dasa Book Cafe, probably Bangkok's best Englis- language used book shop. Beyond that is Soi 30, worth mentioning specifically for the great value rooms at Hotel California.
On the other side of Sukhumvit Road, head east out of exit 3 and check out Soi 39 to choose from a series of international restaurants. If it weren't for Chacrit Muay Thai School, you'd forget you're in Thailand; Gold Curry Japanese-style curry house, Wil's Hawaii Cafe, Sustaina Vegetarian Cafe, Romana Italian-Spanish Restaurant, and Vanilla Cafe are among the food offerings here. Soi 39 is also home to Bodytune, a reputable Bangkok spa group with a few branches focusing on massage with a holistic aim.
Head north into Soi 39 for house-made pasta at one of Bangkok's original Italian restaurants: L'Opera. Sois 41, 43 and 45 are mainly upscale residential areas catering to the Japanese and Korean communities, but Swiss Choice Cheese Shop on Soi 43 is worth mentioning if you've a cheese craving that needs quenching. Tiny Soi 45 is home to Quince, an outstanding Mediterranean restaurant and cocktail bar known for thoughtful presentations and quality local ingredients. Just past that is the very classy Cabochan Hotel. The main draws on quiet Soi 49 are Demi Taiwanese Vegetarian Restaurant and upscale Thai on Laithai Restaurant's garden patio.
Heading back west on Sukhumvit Road out of exits 3 and 5 from Phrom Phong station, things get livelier still. Just past a massive construction project that, at time of writing, is piecing together a massive hotel, a handful of fresh flower and prepared food vendors set up near Cha by the Park, a cute little tea room with views across to Benchasiri. Next comes Soi 33/1, home to several Japanese restaurants, including Tan Tan Men, and three popular pubs: the Irish-run Dubliner, the Robin Hood and the Royal Oak (formerly the Bull's Head). This immediate vicinity is also home to the Londoner Brewpub, the only place in Bangkok that offers house-brewed English-style ales.
A bit further west on Sukhumvit lies Villa Market, a well-stocked supermarket chain that specialises in pricey Western imported goodies, including one of Bangkok's best selections of wine. Beyond that is Soi 33, a lively little street with several bars that tend to draw Bangkok's more upscale expats. Of these, the most noteworthy is The Office for its extensive selection of sports on big screen TVs, and the new Black Jazz Club. Some bars on Soi 33 are of the naughty variety; though the overall scene is not raunchy like Soi Cowboy, families might want to steer clear.
Back on Sukhumvit, you might be drawn into Chocolaterie, a swish Belgian chocolate shop and cafe. A bit further lies Soi 31, a much tamer street than Soi 33, boasting some of the Phrom Phong area's finest international restaurants. If you've a pizza or pasta craving, Bella Napoli serves some of the best Italian in Bangkok. If French-style seafood sounds good, go for the Fat Fish Bistro. Feel more like Indian? Himali Cha Cha is a 30-plus year-old restaurant with a similarly great reputation. Across from that, Cafe des Arts offers a funky French-influenced atmosphere that's perfect for chilling with a coffee or cocktail. If you're looking to stay close to all this great international food, The Eugenia and Seven are fine hotel choices.
Related readingBangkok by skytrain: Ari
Bangkok by skytrain: Chid Lom
Bangkok by skytrain: Chong Nonsi
Bangkok by skytrain: Phaya Thai
Bangkok by skytrain: Phloen Chit
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: Surasak
Bangkok by skytrain: Thong Lor
Read 1 comment(s)
Add your comment
Feature story quicklinks
- Giving back in Southeast Asia (12)
- All stories
- COPE: Helping people move on
- Epic Arts
- 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
- Lifestart Foundation, Hoi An
- Swim Vietnam
- Thai Freedom House, Chiang Mai
- The Samui Prison Project
- The SET Foundation
- Burma (7)
- Cambodia (22)
- All stories
- A Cambodian Eco-lodge
- A honeymoon in Cambodia
- Angkorian traffic woes
- Battambang weekend
- Elephant riding in Cambodia: Should you?
- Great places to stay in Siem Reap
- Is Preah Vihear safe to visit?
- Koh Rong: Trouble in paradise?
- Kompong Cham escape
- Northeast Cambodia in photos
- Oh Poipet!
- PEPY:Sustainable Cambodian tourism
- Phnom Tamao Wildlife Refuge
- Sihanoukville beaches lure expats
- Spas, shopping & seers in Siem Reap
- The best islands in Cambodia
- The best places to stay on Cambodia's islands
- The Death Highway
- Trekking in Virachey National Park
- Trekking the Cardamoms in Cambodia
- Which Cambodian island is right for you?
- Why you should go to Cambodia
- Indonesia (13)
- All stories
- A funeral in Toraja, Sulawesi
- Climbing Rinjani
- How to hire a boat in Indonesia: Without drowning
- Learn to surf in Bali
- Medewi: A great Bali getaway
- Mountain biking in Bali: A ride in the woods
- The Gili islands: Which is the right one for you?
- Ubud bird watching: From waterhens to witchcraft
- Ubud shopping guide
- Village trekking in Tana Toraja
- Weekend in Nusa Penida
- Yogya's student scene
- Laos (16)
- All stories
- A breeze through Luang Prabang
- Best budget rooms in Luang Prabang 2013
- Elephant trekking in Laos
- Exploring Laos' Bolaven Plateau
- Huay Xai to Pak Tha by slowboat
- Is Lao Airlines safe to fly?
- Laos' vanishing elephants
- Luang Prabang escape
- Muang Ngoi Escape
- Photos of Luang Prabang, Laos
- Pi Mai Lao in Luang Prabang: In 1999
- Southern Laos by scooter
- Temples in Luang Prabang
- The Gibbon Experience
- The Phonsavan adventure
- Vientiane's Chinatown
- Malaysia (7)
- Singapore (9)
- Thailand (72)
- All stories
- 10 Bangkok galleries worth a look-see
- 10 Thai treks aside from Chiang Mai
- 24 Hours in Bangkok: Sukhumvit to Siam Square
- 5 Southern Thai towns to lose time in
- A Thai homestay in Ayutthaya
- A weekend in Phra Phradaeng
- A weekend on Ko Samet, Thailand
- An extra day in Krabi
- Andaman Sea island hopper
- Ayutthaya temple tour
- Bangkok for art lovers
- Bangkok's Charoen Krung Road
- Bangkok's Thonburi: exploring the west side
- Brilliant Bangkok
- Chiang Dao getaway
- Chiang Mai's temples
- Corruption in Thailand
- Eating on the edge
- Elephant's World Kanchanaburi
- Exploring Lamphun
- Exploring the Lungs of Bangkok
- Far southern Thailand: Go or not?
- Five days in Khao Lak, Thailand
- Floating markets around Bangkok
- Highlights of Chanthaburi province
- How to do Khao Yai National Park
- Khao San Road safety and scams
- 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 Tao for non-divers guide
- Ko Yao: the islands you're looking for
- Learning Muay Thai in Bangkok
- 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
- Roll your own Kanchanaburi
- 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
- Sorting out Suvarnabhumi Airport
- Staying at a Thai monastery
- Thai islands for nature lovers
- Thai islands to lose yourself on
- Thai visa FAQ
- Thailand tsunami wrap
- Thailand's Mae Khlong market
- Thailand: Where to from here?
- The best beach on Ko Samui
- The best places to stay on Ko Kut, Thailand
- The bridge over the River Kwai festival
- The road to Sangkhlaburi
- Travelling through north-east Thailand
- Trekking in Thailand
- Trisara -- decadent luxury at its best
- Two days in Kamphaeng Phet
- What is the best beach on Ko Tao?
- What is the best island in Thailand?
- What's a good beach on Ko Pha Ngan?
- What's a good beach on Ko Samui?
- Where to stay at Railay Bay, Thailand
- Where to stay in Sukhothai?
- Where to stay on Ko Samet, Thailand
- Which beach on Ko Samui?
- Which island in Trang?
- Vietnam (31)
- All stories
- A short break in Nha Trang
- A Weekend in Can Tho
- Being fed Fido: Eating dog in Vietnam
- Buying a touring motorbike in Vietnam
- Con Dao escape
- Do nothing and see the best of Hanoi
- Doing the DMZ from Hue
- Exploring Kon Tum
- Exploring Vietnam's Mekong Delta
- Ha Long Bay conclusions
- Ha Long Bay for backpackers
- Ha Long Bay for budget-busters
- Ha Long Bay for flashpackers
- Hanoi escape
- Hanoi or Saigon?
- Hoi An -- Walking over the dragon
- How to do the Dien Bien Phu loop
- How to enjoy your time in Vietnam
- How to pick a good Ha Long Bay cruise
- Is the Hoi An culture tour worth it?
- Motorbike Vietnam's Central Highlands
- One day in Hanoi
- Responsible shopping and eating in Hoi An
- Saigon's top 10 cafés
- Sapa or Bac Ha?
- Saving Vietnam's bears
- Street food safety
- The DMZ: Traveller tactical briefing
- Travel tips for Tet in Vietnam 2013
- Two Wheels & Ricefields: A review
- Which is the best street food tour in Hanoi?
- Accommodation guides (21)
- All stories
- 2005 Top guesthouses in Bangkok
- 2005 Top guesthouses in Chiang Mai
- 2006 Top guesthouses in Hanoi
- 2006 Top guesthouses in Phnom Penh
- 2006 Top guesthouses on Ko Phi Phi
- 2006 Top Luang Prabang guesthouses
- 2008 Top Bangkok airport guesthouses
- 2008 Top Luang Prabang guesthouses
- 2008 Top spots on Phu Quoc Island
- 2009 Top guesthouses in Bangkok
- 2009 Top Phnom Penh guesthouses
- 2011 Best places to stay in Kuala Lumpur
- 2011 Best places to stay on Ko Phi Phi
- Best places to stay in Hanoi 2012
- Cheap Phuket guesthouses & hotels
- Five special hotels in Cambodia
- Ko Lipe's best budget guesthouses 2012
- The best hostels in Bangkok 2014
- The best places to stay on Ko Chang, Thailand
- The changing face of Khao San Road
- Where to stay on Koh Rong Samloem
- Travel with kids (7)
- Opinion & advice (15)
- All stories
- 10 reasons to do an adventure tour
- 10 reasons to travel independently
- A year's worth of travel for 2013
- Beach hideaways in Asia
- 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
- 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
- How do I? (11)
- All stories
- Bangkok to Ko Samui, Pha Ngan & Tao
- Bangkok to Siem Reap
- Catching a train in Thailand
- Catching a train in Vietnam
- Cheap flights with Discovery Airpass
- Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
- Crossing the Cambodia Laos border
- Ko Chang to Phu Quoc Island
- Siem Reap to Ko Chang
- Stops between Bangkok & Chiang Mai
- Visa run from Thailand to Burma
- Cycling Asia (13)
- All stories
- 24 hours in Bangkok
- An Angkor cycling guide
- An introduction
- Battambang, bamboo trains & guides
- Confessions of a "cheating cyclist"
- Cycles of all sorts
- Ha Long Bay independently
- Ko Samet Vs Pattaya
- Muay Thai night
- Phonsavan and Luang Prabang
- The hills of Vietnam
- The road less travelled
- Tubing in Vang Vieng
- Health and safety (6)
- Money and finance (4)
- Diving guides (6)
- Photo essay (3)
- 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 (16)
- All stories
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ari
- 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: 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.