Welcome to the trendiest neighborhood in Bangkok. It’s a place to see and be seen. Business owners want a shop here because the walk-in traffic alone could be enough to sustain a company, while certain Bangkokians believe the address lends them cache.
One could certainly live in the neighborhood and never leave, as you would want for nothing. While Thong Lor is known for having the hippest bars, restaurants and clubs, it also has ample grocery stores, international schools, spas, nail and hair salons, hospitals, gyms and cultural centers. In fact, the area just opened an urban garden.
Of course, you have to pay for all this convenience and quality. Rents on newly built condominiums have escalated to 220,000 baht per square meter, though there are certainly older buildings with cheaper rents in the area. Another drawback is traffic, as there is Skytrain access at the front of the Soi Thong Lor (Sukhumvit Soi 55), but the area is so popular at night and parking remains inadequate, meaning a long wait is not unusual unless your destination is within walking distance of the BTS.
The neighborhood offers access by khlong taxi during the day near the end of the soi, adjacent to Phetchaburi Road, though it still requires a walk to get to Soi Thong Lor.
The dining and nightlife is truly world-class here, but a renter or buyer must consider the location and whether it is near a pulsating club that will stay open late most nights.
The residents and most of the patrons in Thong Lor tend to be expats and Thais educated abroad. There is a particular accent on the Japanese, as the country accounts for over half the foreign investment in Thailand, so you will see many shops cater to their tastes.
New condos continue to mushroom in the area, and there are a number of serviced apartments in prominent locations along Thong Lor as well. The neighborhood was once known for airy houses ensconced behind a tangled warren of sub-sois, but the recent trend is to convert these to restaurants or bars.
Thong Lor features abundant shopping options, with a focus on boutique shops throughout the neighborhood. It is perhaps unique in Bangkok for such a hip area not to have a mall anchoring it, but Thong Lor has several smaller community malls sprinkled liberally throughout the neighborhood, and the locals seem to prefer it that way.
The Thong Lor neighborhood refers to not just the area branching off from Soi Thong Lor, but also the area south of Sukhumvit Road. Sukhumvit Soi 38 is rightly known for its late-night street food options, but the soi also has several fine housing options along with a
community tennis court. Sukhumvit Soi 36 is home to several luxury condos, but the sub-sois again offer some more intermediate-budget options.
Art galleries and cultural centers give the area a touch of panache, but most people living in Thong Lor do so because they want a touch of the finer things in life.