Bangkok, Thailand




Silom is the nearest Bangkok gets to Wall Street with its glistening skyscrapers boasting the names of major financial institutions. The former trade quarter Bang Rak is the home to many of Bangkok's top luxury hotels including the Oriental. After nightfall, Silom's character changes considerably through the small sois between Silom Road and Surawong Road with people coming out for a good time including sleazy Patpong.

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In the 19th century, Silom was a rural farmland with rice fields, orchards and windmills crossed by canals. During this era, most of the urban life happened on the riverside, which was a busy trading quarter welcoming European merchant ships and envoys. This area, known as Bang Rak, still has a kind of European atmosphere with many exclusive colonial-style hotels and old abandoned warehouses. Silom has changed immensely with the coming of modern times. Over time, most of the canals have disappeared and turned into roads.

With Thailand's rise as an emerging economy, Silom has turned into the country's major financial centre with its banking institutions, corporate high-rises and condominiums. The district's importance as a financial and business centre has been acknowledged by the recent construction of the Skytrain and Metro line passing through the district. During the day, there is not that much to do in Silom, except when white-collar workers flock to the streets for lunch. The fusion of peoples here make this a great place for people-watching.

Silom Road by Khaosaming

Silom turns into the place to be at night, becoming a vibrant neighborhood and one of Bangkok's most cosmopolitan streets. Soi Patpong (consisting of just two small sois) is the hedonistic playground of Bangkok and generally stereotyped for its sleaziness with its so called "go-go bars". There is also the tamer side of Silom to go to and also expensive hotels catering to rich visitors - the top of the Banyan Tree Building or State Tower offer some of the best views of Bangkok.

Orientation is fairly easy as most of the attractions and happenings are along Silom Road, especially where it intersects with Rama IV Road. Heading west, Silom becomes kind of sleepy around the intersection with Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra Road. The area starts to liven up again when you get closer to the river in the area known as Bang Rak. Parallel to Silom Road lies Sathorn Road to the south and Surawong Road to the north.

General post office in Bang Rak by Lerdsuwa

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