Silom is Bangkok’s financial heart. Commonly referred to as The Wall Street of Thailand, it’s a place of soaring skyscrapers and modern architecture. By day, business people hurry around in expensive suits, while by night the area transforms into one of Bangkok’s most notorious red light districts. But there’s much more to the area than work and nightlife.
Visit diverse religious buildings
You may be well and truly over visiting temples, having seen Bangkok’s headline sites like the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. Don’t dismiss Silom’s religious buildings, though, as the area is home to some beauties. For starters, it’s home to one of the nation’s most sacred Hindu temples: the colourful and ornate Sri Maha Mariamman Temple. An intricately carved gopuram stands above the main entrance and there are many statues and images inside devoted to various Hindu deities. The glorious temple dates back to the late 1870s and it was built by Tamils from southern India.
Masjid Mirasuddeen is a fairly impressive piece of Islamic architecture, topped with golden domes and a rather unusual tiered minaret. Do note that non-Muslims are not allowed inside the mosque. The soulful call to prayer can be heard from the minaret five times each day. Built by French missionaries, Assumption Cathedral is also an aesthetically pleasing place of worship. Step inside and be dazzled by the high ceilings, beautiful colours, and abundance of Christian art.
Wat Yannawa is among the most unique Buddhist temples in Thailand. The base is shaped like a traditional Chinese sailing boat, with two grand pagodas standing as its masts. Wat Maha Phruettharam and Wat Hua Lamphong are other interesting Buddhist temples in Silom.
Patpong Night Market is one of the busiest tourist evening markets in Bangkok. There’s a huge selection of items to browse in the open-air setting, from t-shirts and traditional Thai clothing to exquisite lanterns, artwork, handicrafts, statues of the Lord Buddha, and trinkets. Haggling is essential! Stalls sit close together and there’s often little room to pass through the thronging crowds. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, the atmosphere makes it a great place to spend a few hours in the evening.
Off the beaten track and a whole lot less touristy than other markets around Bangkok, Lalai Sap is a great place to glimpse into regular Thai life and watch as vendors and buyers go about their day-to-day business. Hidden away down tiny backstreets, many people pass right by without knowing the market is there. With small shops, street stalls, and food areas, it offers a genuine alternative to the area’s more touristy markets.
Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute was founded in the early 1900s, originally as a centre for researching and producing vaccines against rabies. Operations expanded to produce other vaccinations. Initially called Pastura Sabha, the name was later changed to honour Queen Saovabha, who had made large donations towards the centre. Today, the centre still produces a wide range of vaccinations and it is also one of the leading research centres for snake anti-venoms in Thailand. Visitors can learn more about vaccinations in general, though the main interest for many is discovering more about snakes and seeing an assortment of reptilian creatures.
Also known as the Bangkok Folk Museum, the Bangkokian Museum offers a fascinating look into Bangkok’s past. Three restored historic houses, complete with period furnishings and décor, take visitors on a journey through the first half of the 20th-century. See how people lived during these times and the developments that took place for regular people. A series of old black and white photos of people who once lived in the houses breathes even more life into the scenes. Quiet and interesting, the small museum feels more authentic than some of the larger and flashier museums around the capital. The serene gardens make for a pleasant stroll too.
Once the home of a former Thai prime minister, M.R. Kukrit’s Heritage Home features a number of beautifully preserved teak buildings set in lovely tropical gardens. As well as teaching more about the man himself, visitors can also be engaged by his passions in the arts, music, and literature. The diverse collections are sure to appeal to anyone with an interest in history. Full of character, the museum is as much as about the arts and architecture as it is about the former political figure.
One of a small number of Bangkok galleries that focus exclusively on photography, Kathmandu Photo Gallery displays a permanent collection on the lower floor and temporary exhibitions on the upper level. While many images are the work of the owner, it is also a space for local photographers to showcase their talents. With an air of nostalgia, collections mainly look at how Thai society has changed over the years. The historic building adds to the atmosphere, with the gallery located inside an old Portuguese shop house.
One of central Bangkok’s most prized urban parks, Lumpini Park is a terrific place to escape the crowds and chaos and take some time out to relax. Lush and green, there are plentiful trees and flowers in addition to a large glistening lake. Take to the waters to pedal a swan boat or gently row around the lake to enjoy the park from a different perspective. Don’t be tempted to take a dip, though; the waters are home to monitor lizards! Pleasant walking, jogging, and cycling tracks lead around the large park, and it’s a popular evening leisure spot for locals. Evenings also see an array of fitness and leisure classes too, with people doing aerobics, dance, yoga, martial arts, and more. Call by the front of the park to snap a picture of the King Rama VI statue.
One of the most unique cafes in Silom, the large Unicorn Café still manages to be super cute despite its impressive size. Pastel colours, whimsical paintings, and cuddly kitsch abound, and the menu is equally as fairytale-esque. Lounge on a plush sofa as you dig into rainbow-coloured dishes that look and taste divine. This is certainly one of Silom’s hottest places for fans of Instagram! The cuteness overload doesn’t stop there. You can even buy a selection of cuddly toys, cushions, and more to take home with you.
Silom is home to one of Bangkok’s most famous sky bars: The Sky Bar at Lebua. On the 63rd floor of the high-class hotel, it’s one of the highest sky bars in the world. The outdoor seating area provides incredible views over Bangkok, and sunset is an especially beautiful time to visit. Made famous in the hit movie The Hangover II, the posh bar offers an extensive drinks list that includes their signature cocktail, The Hangovertini. Live jazz music often lilts through the air. Prices are, as you would expect, pretty high, and there’s a strict dress code. Moon Bar at the luxurious Banyan Tree Hotel sits on the 61st floor. With a sophisticated vibe and wide choice of drinks, it’s another great option for watching a splendid sunset over Bangkok’s glitzy skyline. Cloud 47 is a top choice for people who want the terrific views and ambience without the high price tags. The dress code is more relaxed here too.
Silom has an abundance of bars, ranging from the go-go bars and beer bars of the red light district of Patpong to more elegant places to sip on a drink. If you were ever curious about the infamous ping-pong shows, Patpong’s the place to be. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the shows are certainly intriguing! Soi Thaniya offers more of what you’ll find at Patpong, but focused more towards Japanese fun seekers. Silom is also the pulsating centre of Bangkok’s gay scene, with many bars, saunas and other LGBT establishments located on Sois 2 and 4. From English pubs to Irish bars and sultry jazz bars, Silom offers plenty of diversity at night.
There’s definitely more than enough to keep you busy in Silom!