International House Bangkok is located in the centre of what is arguably one of the most interesting districts in all of Bangkok: Silom (Update: We moved to a brand new location in Nana/Asok area, Sukhumvit 13, February 5th 2018). Silom, which is Thai for windmill, has a long history dating back to the mid-19th century and the days when Bangkok was much more of an agricultural community. It was part of a large and important irrigation system, a main part of which was the windmill from which the area earned its name. Nowadays Silom is anything but agricultural. Sometimes called the “Wall Street of Thailand”, it is home to innumerable skyscrapers, offices, and businesses. But, as we’ll see in this blog post, there are also plenty of other, more recreational, reasons to come to Silom.
As businesslike as Silom can seem during the day, once the sun sets you will see a totally different side to the area. Skybars, such as Cloud 47 and LeBua, start to come alive and fill the sky with bright colours and music. Clubs, like DJ Station and Ce La Vi, open and boast an impressive attendance any night of the week. And finally, the famous (or maybe notorious) Patpong night market sets up and welcomes a horde of tourists who can be seen trying their hand at haggling with the Thai merchants. If you’re interested in nightlife it is certainly worth your time to spend two or three evenings in Silom. With all the options listed above (and more) in such a compact area, Silom definitely gives Sukhumvit a run for its money!
Perhaps high-energy nightlife isn’t your cup of tea. Don’t worry! Silom has other, calmer attractions as well. If you’d like to explore a bit of Thai history and culture, you can find a few interesting spots on Silom road. The first is Mariamman Temple. Built in the 1800s by Indian immigrants fleeing British rule in their country, Mariamman Temple is a beautiful, extravagantly colourful, and intricately ornamented Hindu temple. You can come to tour and photograph the temple for free, or spend a few baht to purchase some lovely flower arrangements from the vendors out front.
Silom also boasts several unique museums, including: the Kathmandu Art Gallery, the Bangkok Folk Museum, and the Bangkok Seashell Museum. If any of these strike your fancy, take a day trip to Silom and check them out!
As a gourmand, Silom is a fantastic area to explore! Bangkok as a whole is very multicultural, but thanks to Silom’s business and financial leanings, it attracts a larger concentration of foreigners than many other parts of the city. As a result, you’ll easily find Thai, Indian, Lebanese, Turkish, American, Irish, Japanese, and Chinese restaurants all within only a short walk from the school. And, in fact, the famed Smokin’ Pug American barbeque restaurant (currently ranked #6 in Bangkok on Trip Advisor) is only a five minute stroll down the street as well. The IH Bangkok teachers routinely invite students out to dinner during the week to show-off a little bit of what Silom has to offer. And believe me, nobody ever goes home disappointed!
The charms of Silom certainly don’t end there. If you enjoy shopping, Silom Complex is a standard size shopping mall sure to provide any basic items you may need, and Lumphini Park is a 10 minute walk down the street if you desire a breath of fresh air. Additionally, you’ll find many schools on the street in addition to International House. For example: Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Thani Culinary School, Japanese and Thai language schools, and the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences. Neat! Finally, at certain times of the year, Silom is becomes hub for some of Thailand’s most interesting events. During the hot season, the street closes and becomes a pedestrian-only area throughout the afternoon to host an expansive street market. And in April, when Thai New Year comes around, Silom is the busiest, most fun area to play in the country-wide water fight.
Come and explore Silom! It’s right outside the school, so it’s the most convenient thing you can do before or after your classes at International House. The teachers and staff at International House are all very knowledgeable about the area, so if you have any questions or would like recommendations for activities in the area, don’t hesitate to ask!
Until next time!