By Kris Spencer.
When I moved to Bangkok from America to work at an office in Sathorn (sometimes spelled “Sathon”) I considered living in areas that are popular with “farang” or foreigners, namely Phloen Chit, Sukhumvit or Thonglor. However, after looking at apartments and condos in those areas, I visited one in Sathorn and quickly choose to live there instead.
Why would I choose to do that when the aforementioned areas offer so many attractive lifestyle amenities for westerners? There were a number of good reasons to choose Sathorn.
If you work in the area and want to avoid having a long commute every day, living in Sathorn simply makes sense. I have a 10-minute walk to work, whereas if I lived in Thonglor it might take me 45 minutes or more by taxi and/or BTS Skytrain. All told, I saved more than one hour of commute time every day by living in Sathorn – that’s more time chilling by the condo pool with a cold Singha beer in hand.
What I soon found out when I was apartment shopping is that you pay more for less space in areas like Thonglor and Phloen Chit. The 7th floor apartment I found in a low-rise, doorman apartment block on a quiet, leafy soi in Sathorn offered me ample space, well-maintained facilities and a lovely view of the surrounding neighborhood for a fair price.
So what about the neighborhood? Are there grocery stores, bars and restaurants? Absolutely, and there are more popping up every day – both in Sathorn and nearby Silom. Within a short walk or taxi ride is a Villa Market and Foodland, and a Tops Market at Silom Central, the small shopping mall by Sala Daeng BTS Station – one stop away from Chong Nonsi BTS in the heart of Sathorn. Actually, another Tops Market will open soon in Empire Tower at the junction of Sathorn and Narathiwat (the heart of the CBD), making grocery gathering even easier.
There are at least two good hospitals in the area – BNH on Convent and St. Louis on Sathorn – and many drug stores. If you need an inexpensive massage, there are many respectable places in the area – ranging from corner shops to hi-so spas. And, if you need a nature fix, Lumpini Park is not far by foot, BTS or taxi.
Speaking of leafy places, Sathorn is a very green area despite being a concrete jungle too, and there are many pleasant places to dine and drink. On Soi Convent (“soi” is street or, more accurately, avenue) a street that connects Sathorn and Silom, you will find Eat Me, Vesper and Heritage Bistro, among other places. On the opposite side of Sathorn, is another pleasant, leafy street called Suan Plu that is home to fine restaurants (Kom-Ba-Wa, Uncle John), trendy bars (Small’s, Junker & Bar) and many street food options. Needless to say, there are many nice condos and apartment blocks in this area as well.
Further down Sathorn, in the heart of the CBD, are many other fine dining options nestled in quiet side streets, such as Namsaah Bottling Trust, Le Du, Kai New Zealand, Il Bolognese, Lady Brett and others. Depending on your taste, there are great places to drink wine (Opus), imported beer (M Pub) and fancy cocktails (UNCLE). Need a good brunch spot? Rocket Coffeebar and the W Hotel are popular. And let’s not forget the Dean & Deluca near the base of the new MahaNahkon skyscraper – soon to be the tallest in Thailand.
Sathorn can be hustle-bustle during the week, given the many multinational companies and embassies in the area, but it’s relatively quiet during the weekend. That’s when you will really come to appreciate the centrally located Chong Nonsi Skytrain station, which makes trips to other parts of the city relatively easy. All told, living in Sathorn makes a lot of sense if you work there, and maybe even if you don’t.
Kris Spencer is a PR consultant with Weber Shandwick and transferred to Bangkok, unexpectedly, with his wife Laura at the beginning of 2014. They are both from Detroit, Mich.