On the business world's doorstep, this neighborhood is anyting but straight, and might well have the cheapest rents in Sathorn.
You won’t find many gleaming Sansiri projects around here. Despite the CBD location, these streets have largely avoided the development of other parts of Sathorn. Consequently, apartment choices are really varied. Mid-range options come mainly in the form of older but nicely maintained buildings like (1) The Peony (176 Soi Sri Bumphen, 02-711-9226), where we’ve found 60-sq-meter rooms going for just B20,000 a month. And you can go much cheaper than that. (2) SK Grand Sathorn (203 Soi Sri Aksorn, 02-672-9929), which has a swimming pool, gymnasium and 24-hour security, starts as little as B10,000 for 36 sq meters.
(3) Lumphini Park is just across Rama IV, making this one of the cheapest neighborhoods to live so close to the park. Stroll from one end of Ngam Duplee to the other and you might also be pleasantly surprised, thanks to leafy, well-maintained compounds like the (4) Thammasat Association (Soi Ngam Duplee, 02-286-0861) and (5) Thai Health Promotion Foundation, which offers a decent selection of public exercise equipment for all to use. But this is no neatly polished, upmarket enclave. Some of the lowest rents in Sathorn mean budget massage shops rub shoulders with after-hour dives to create an overall environment that’s far from boring.
Low, high and everything in between. Head to Soi Sri Bumphen for cheap, big-portioned Western food at (6) Trajai (3 Soi Sri Bumphen, 02-679-7889), where steak and fries will set you back under B300, while (7) Lido (Soi Sri Bumphen, 02-677-6351) has fairly standard Italian food at decent prices. There’s plenty of Thai around as well, most notably Ian Kittichai’s beautiful (8) Issaya Siamese Club (4 Soi Sri Aksorn, 02-672-9040). Our pick of the neighborhood’s street food is found outside Family Mart, where somtam, rice and grilled chicken costs a modest B70, while down the road is (9) Sun Moon (54 Soi Ngam Duplee, 02-679-7019), a slightly run-down but classic Chinese restaurant. The area’s grandest restaurant is also one of Bangkok’s most talked-about; (10) J’aime (105 Sathorn Soi 1, 02-119-4899), the new project of three-star-Michelin chef Jean-Michel Lorain. For breakfast and a strong cup of coffee, check out (11) Size S Café (Soi Ngam Duplee, 02-286-6117).
Le Petit Zinc
Don’t come looking for anywhere as cool as Thonglor. The area’s drinking scene is a mix of tourists (at (12) the Just One Sports Bar, Ngam Duplee), old-time expats (at (13) Kenny Bar, Soi Sri Bumphen), and throngs of hardcore, late-night partygoers from all walks of life (at 14 Wong’s, Soi Sri Bumphen—Sathorn’s grimy answer to Safe House). But the neighborhood gains extra points for what’s nearby. On the leafy, adjoining Yen Akard Road you’ll find the foosball-equipped (15) Le Petit Zinc (4/15 Yen Akard, 02-249-5572). Silom and all its pleasures are also just one MRT stop away, while the sophisticated crowd can be found not far up the road on Sathorn Sois 10 and 12.
Well catered by the MRT, with Lumphini station at one end of Rama IV and Khlong Toei station at the other, but lacking any BTS stations (the nearest is Sala Daeng). Though traffic can be bad, driving is a cinch with access to upper Sukhumvit from Rama IV Road., Phloen Chit from Wireless Road, and the riverside from Sathorn Road.
The area has a reputation as the Khaosan of the inner city, and not without reason. What some might see as vagrancy others call character, whether it’s the tramps outside 7-Eleven or the various singlet-wearing tourists from the (16) Malaysia Hotel (54 Soi Ngam Duplee, 02-679-7127). But this also means it’s completely devoid of the suits who’ve overtaken other parts of Sathorn. We also love the local market that happens every Saturday in the Family Mart car park, which has a wonderful atmosphere and beats any trip to Tesco Lotus.
BNH Hospital, 9/1 Convent Rd., 02-686-2700
NSIS (New Sathorn International School), Naradhiwas Rd., 02-672-2100-1
Assumption College, Bang Rak, 02-630-7111
Ngam Duplee Market, in the Family Mart car park, Soi Ngam Duplee. Open every Saturday, 10am-6pm
Tops Market, 27 Nang Linchi Rd., 02-678-7128-30