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Dumb Dave's LONG Walk to Soi Cowboy
Can't Get Across Sukhumvit & Elephant Dangers
I enjoy walking around in a city like I did all over Manila earlier this year. So I took
a walk from my Hotel Omni Towers (about 7 blocks beyond Nana Plaza) to Sukhumvit, up Sukhumvit all the way to the Soi upper 50's. I had gone far past Soi 23 to go to Soi Cowboy but I was sort of in the walking mood. Actually dumb me
I found Soi 22 and thought 23 would next. Nope, next sign I could read (most are just in Thai) had a 33 on it but didn't say Soi so I wasn't sure it referred to a Soi or something else.
The basic fact I didn't realize at first, is the street layout. Even soi's are
South of Sukhumvit and odd soi's North (if I have my directions straight). I should have realized this since I did note at Sukhumvit near Nana Plaza, its Soi 4 on Nana side and Soi 3 the other
side which is where the Grace Hotel is.
Gee... where do you cross Sukhumvit safely?
They don't seem to believe in traffic lights for pedestrians other than at a couple places far apart. One place there was a walk button but no "people lights" to say "walk" like in U.S. cities and pushing the button didn't seem to effect the traffic lights. You can't see the lights looking across Sukhumvit but the light for Sukhumvit traffic was always a blinking yellow at one place for people to cross. I realized the only way to cross is at the marked crosswalks and you just look for an opening, dash and pray you don't' get hit! Even at intersections where they have normal type traffic signals you have to watch for the constant flow of turning traffic. And for us who are use to cars driving on the right, it takes getting use to the traffic pattern with cars driving on the "wrong side of the street" from what we are use to. I'm sure it is just as confusing for an Asian on U.S. streets.
Picture Credit: http://community-1.webtv.net/OttoU/Thailand1999/
Realizing for sure that I had gone way to far, I backtracked and
made it across to the other side of Sukhumvit. Most of the streets, unless I am just blind, had no street signs anywhere telling you where you are. I passed Soi 23 without a clue and next Soi also had no sign. I spotted another farang and asking him which Soi this was and he said 21. As I backtracked again I noticed there was a big Soi 23 sign but only visible from one direction so I didn't see it before from other direction. Since Soi Cowboy is between Soi 21 and 23, I probably could have got to it from Soi 21. But I was trying to follow the directions to go to Soi 23 and then down a few blocks on your left. Which is clearly where it was and very easy to find, once you got to it! HINT for the lost new adventurer, it's the Soi with the big bright Shell gas station on the corner.
I got a lot of flames on the asfo mailing list where I was posting my trip
reports each night from my hotels, especially about me not finding my way across
a street. Such basics that are never discussed!
Why Don't You Look UP?
Duh...ok...lets see... a huge overhead rail system it
looks like with lots of construction going on. Oh.. and those big
stairways every quarter mile or so that go up to the overhead rail....and
down... to the other side of the street!
One of few repeatable comments said:
Hope you're having a great time and not struggling too much in crossing the
Sukhumvit Road .It's probably one of the only roads I have seen in my life where a divider separates the road for two-way traffic , BUT you'll be
amazed that actually at certain times one of the sides actually becomes a
two way . And a newbie while crossing one side of the road to the divider
may not bother to look both ways before crossing and will be in for a real surprise.
Keep us updated of your recent discoveries .
There is a huge amount of construction along Sukhumvit and lots of workers and construction material to walk around. Even at midnight they are working on the road and sidewalks.
On Soi 4 near Nana besides cars you have to be careful of backing up elephants. At least they have a dim red reflector on their tails.
This gives a new meaning to "tail lights!" And I had the
unfortunate experience of seeing an elephant pee. You would not want to be
near the wrong end of the elephant when such a mass amount of liquid waste is
released! Hopefully they don't aim at us faring
tourists! Fortunately I was at the "safe" end, near its head.
Bangkok Street Safety vs.
Compared to my Manila late night walks in April, my observation is that in Bangkok there were far fewer "savory characters" on the streets and far fewer street beggars.
Even the many street food venders seemed to have much more modern equipment and seemed much less in poverty than in Manila. I haven't yet seen any homeless living under bridges that was so common in Manila. Bangkok just seems like a much cleaner, safer and friendlier city than Manila or even American large cities.