If I Could Give Sukhumvit a Makeover

viaBangkok’s article as seen on “What’s On Sukhumvit”
Photo Credits: Armaan Sachdev

If I could give Sukhumvit a makeover, I would start with urban planning. I would rescue the Sois from drowning by placing vintage Dutch windmills to drain out the water. I would hire the Germans that built the sleek Autobahn to come fix our streets and fill in our potholes. I would ask Singapore to manage our traffic and introduce the concept of electronic road pricing. However, I would hire Thailand to teach all these countries to number their streets in an orderly fashion of odds and evens. You’ve done this one right, Sukhumvit.

I would place the London Eye smack in the middle of Benjasiri Park, because a luxurious concrete jungle deserves a fabulous viewpoint. I’d filter the Klong water that runs through Sukhumvit to the color of emerald green. If I could import the water of Lake Bled, I would. I would limit the height of buildings in Sukhumvit the way they do in Munich, or even in Koh Samui. Concrete just doesn’t tickle my fancy as much. Also, I miss seeing the sun actually set, and Bangkok has gorgeous sunsets. You’d know, if you had a high rooftop to view it from.

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I would preserve and proudly display Thainess. I’d tone down the modern design of massive shopping malls, coffee shops and restaurants, and subtly showcase the gracefulness of the Ayutthaya and Sukhothai architecture that welcomes the sunlight into the buildings. I would remove those standard street lights, and instead adorn Sukhumvit with traditional Thai lamp posts; similar to the way the Japanese have done with their quirky lanterns in each town and neighborhood.

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I’d like to see us do our part at becoming more eco-conscious. I would push all the houses and buildings an additional meter inwards, to make room for bicycles lanes and sidewalks. I personally don’t walk and cycle all that much in Sukhumvit because I make it a point to stay alive each day. I would consciously place trashcans and labeled recycle bins every few hundred meters. I would create more space in Sukhumvit; more public space. I would replace some condominiums with parks and install little Salas and hammocks underneath trees where people can enjoy a picnic and some beers with friends without having to pay for the space. Sukhumvit demands entirely too much money from us for my liking.

In a fantasy world, I would want to have all 4 seasons on Sukhumvit, but I’d be willing to negotiate for a shorter winter and a lengthier summer. I want to be able to build bonfires in the winter, make smores and warm my hands. A white Sukhumvit in December would look stunning. I want to play in the pile of vividly coloured leaves in the fall, just before raking them clean.

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I could think of a millions things to change in Sukhumvit, but there are aspects I’d never compromise on. I’d keep the food trucks and street food stalls, because nothing quite builds my appetite like the smell of freshly cooked meals in woks and on grills. I’d keep the labyrinth maze of Sois, because getting lost and finding new shortcuts and discovering new streets in the process brings me the ultimate joy. I’d keep the motorbike stands that provide the most convenient way to beat the traffic. Also, I love the wind in hair effect it creates. I’d keep the graffiti on the walls, because that adds character. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I would keep the heart and soul that makes Sukhumvit come alive.

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