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Sathorn Road and its immediate skyscraper-studded surrounds are a somewhat soulless meld of embassies, office towers, top hotels, restaurants and a few minor sights. Many travellers who make their way to this area are actually here to visit the immigration office. Sathorn Road hit the headlines in 1999 when a Burmese dissident group seized the Burmese embassy along the busy road and took a number of hostages. The drama ended the next day when the Thai authorities flew the gunmen to safety on the Burmese border in return for releasing the hostages. In 2010 it was also one of the areas affected by political violence, but calm prevails today.

While Sathorn is predominantly a business district, and most restaurants and bars cater to that kind of clientele, a few venues are worth checking out if you are in the neighbourhood, particularly the vertigo-inducing rooftop bars and restaurants -- one actually called Vertigo. One hotel of note is the gorgeous Sukhothai, where a long-running chocolate buffet is a hit with expats and tourists alike. The hotel is popular with visiting Australian prime ministers, officially because of the proximity to the embassy rather than the chocolate brunch, but we're not entirely sure.

Right at the other end of the accommodation spectrum is Soi Ngam Dupli. In days gone by, Ngam Dupli was Bangkok's original backpacker destination and while today there are still a few decent places to crash, most lodgings are pretty rundown, frequented mostly by the same people who stayed here decades ago. It was quite badly affected by the 2010 unrest.

The staff of most hotels are unfriendly and unhelpful, posing the chicken-and-egg question of whether tourists look elsewhere because of the surly staff or the staff turn surly because all the tourists go elsewhere. Either way, ageing buildings cater to an aging clientele who are perhaps more familiar with the owners and staff.

A street that's a bit of an anomaly in the Sathorn area is Soi Narathiwat, which is lined with some fabulously cheap and hip restaurants with a student vibe. This is a great spot for one of those great soft-shelled crab in black pepper and beer meals, though probably not worth travelling across town for.

The western end of Sathorn is served by BTS Skytrain stops Surasak and Saphan Taksin. From the latter you can easily hop on a boat to explore the hotels across or along the river, or a ferry to shuttle you the half-hour or so upriver to Banglamphu, where you can get to Khao San Road and other major tourist sights such as the Grand Palace.

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Text and/or map last updated on 30th October, 2013.

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