Bangkok can be a daunting city to explore and evaluate, for Property Investors as it offers a confusing selection of neighborhoods and roads. Interestingly conventional geographical delineations such as postcodes and even districts have very little meaning in this sprawling megacity.
To make matters worse, Property Professionals and Developers use expressions such as “Central Business District (CBD)” and “Prime area” fluidly, to describe a variety of condos in different geographical locations (Many of which are technically non-CBD)!
Before tackling the question of “where”, it is important to understand “what” is the CBD. Very simply, it can be defined as:
The commercial, business and leisure center of a City
Many factors contribute toward consolidating an area’s status and position as part of the CBD. These include factors such as local infrastructure, office tower supply, mass transit lines, general transport links and even leisure options.
However Bangkok is a historical city and this wide definition of the CBD has meant that the capital has often experienced shifts in the exact boundaries of its commercial and business districts. Bangkok’s evolution as an international city, has only been made possible by it progressive attitude to modernization and urban development. This development was experienced in stages notably:
1. Historically the river was an important mode of transport and trade; therefore commercial activity concentrated around the banks of the Chao Phraya River, Charoenkrung Road and Yaowarat (Chinatown).
2. However the pressure to modernize caught-on and Bangkok faced the emergence of newer commercial, retail and residential formats. This led to the development and regeneration of Silom, Sathon and eventually Wireless/Lumpini. Shifting commercial activity to these newly developed neighborhoods.
3. The final shift occurred when Mass Transit Lines (BTS and MRT) were developed connecting large parts of the city. This has had the effect of transforming Early-Sukhumvit into a leisure and retail hub for Bangkok.
These waves of urban development and the bridging effect of the mass transit lines, has now anchored the CBD. The area now comprises of 3 key neighborhoods:
– Wireless Road/Lumpini
– Early-Sukhumvit (Nana- Phrom Phong’s Sukhumvit 24)
To be more specific “CBRE Thailand” one of the established Property Consultancies in Bangkok, defines the boundaries of the Central Business District as:
Silom, Sathon, Rama IV Rd, Ploenchit, Wireless Rd, Asoke, and the early-Sukhumvit (Sukhumvit Road up to Soi 24)
CBRE Thailand also categorizes the CBD into two distinct sections:
- Core CBD
Basically comprising of Silom/Sathon and Wireless/Ploenchit (The original CBD locations); these neighborhoods host a multitude of office towers, high-quality residential options, embassies and leisure/retail venues.
- Outer CBD
This area is made up of early-Sukhumvit which offers a vibrant business environment (I.e. Asoke) and a wealth of retail/leisure options (I.e. Phrom Phong).
On a final note, most Property Professionals agree that the mass transit lines have firmly anchored Bangkok’s city center and the prime areas have already been established and consolidated. However the city is an ever evolving and constantly developing entity; interestingly, peripheral commercial and business hotspots are emerging throughout the Capital.
Some neighborhoods have started to present appealing case studies that could result in the extension of the initial CBD boundaries. These include:
–Rama 9/ Ratchadaphisek
-Rama III/ Riverside
*This is in no way, an exhaustive list of up-and-coming areas.
It is important to note, that each area stated above is experiencing positive momentum in the form of infrastructure, commercial, mass transit and residential improvements. This demonstrates the enormous potential and lucrative opportunities Bangkok offers Property Investors!