Book Your Hotel in Silom Today
Silom (Thai: สีลม) is the closest Bangkok gets to Wall Street, with glistening skyscrapers all boasting the names of financial institutions. After nightfall the character of the place changes considerably though: the small sois between Silom Road and Surawong Road come alive with people out for a good time, including the infamous den of sleaze that is Patpong. The former trade quarter Bang Rak (บางรัก) is also covered here. It is home to many of Bangkok’s top luxury hotels, including the Oriental.
In the 19th century, daily life in Bangkok mostly took place on and around the canals. Silom was a rural farmland with rice fields, orchards and windmills criss-crossed by canals. During this era, most 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 (windmills in Thai) has changed immensely with the coming of modern times. Charoen Krung Road (New Road) was the first paved road of Bangkok, built in 1861 during the reign of King Rama IV at the request of foreign consuls who wanted to ride their horses and carriages. Over time, most of the canals have disappeared and turned into roads.
With the rise of Thailand as a newly industrialised economy, Silom turned into Thailand’s major financial centre filled with banking institutions, corporate high-rises and condominiums. Many banks, insurance companies, audit and law firms have congregated along Sathorn (เขตสาทร) as well. The district’s importance as a business centre has been acknowledged by the recent construction of the Skytrain and the metro line right through the district. Their construction has not helped much as traffic congestion continues to be a serious problem in the area. At day, there actually is not that much to do here, except when white-collar workers flock onto the streets for lunch. The fusion of peoples here make this a great place for people-watching. Cigar-smoking Thai business men walk through masses of well-suited secretaries, office workers and Western expatriates. Recently, many Indians and Muslims took residence around the intersection with Charoen Krung Road.
At night, Silom turns into the place to be. It is a vibrant area that can be a little hard to describe — in the sense that it has become one of Bangkok’s most cosmopolitan streets as well as one of the sleaziest. Soi Patpong is the hedonistic playground all of Bangkok is generally stereotyped for, but it actually consists of just two small sois. These so-called “go-go bars” might as well be called “takeaway brothels”, but a trip to Bangkok is not complete without a visit to this surreal environment. But if you fancy something more upclass and tamer, Silom is also the place to be. Some of the expensive hotels in the area cater to rich visitors that like to talk business over a glass of wine. Having a cocktail at the top of the Banyan Tree Building or the State Tower gives some of the best views of Southeast Asia.
Orientation is fairly easy as most of the magic happens at Silom Road, especially where it intersects with Rama IV Road. The area starts to live up again when you get closer to the river in the area known as Bang Rak. Parallel of Silom Road lies Sathorn Road to the south and Surawong Road to the north.
With the reinvigoration of Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra Road as creative and tourism hub with the addition of Mahankorn Pavillion and Cube, W Hotel , the reinvention of Empire Tower, the area around the the Chong Nonsi BTS and BRT Station is increasingly known as SOLU abbreviated from South of Lumpini.