Page last updated: 19 October, 2008
Ramkhamhaeng University Institute of International Studies (IIS-RU)
 
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How to read Bangkok addresses?

(This text is an excerpt from Lonely Planet Thailand, the probably best guide for Thailand.)

Any city as large and unplanned as Bangkok can be tough to get around. Street names often seem unpronounceable to begin with, compounded by the inconsistency of Romanised Thai spellings. For example, the street often spelt as Rajadamri is pronounced Ratchadamri (with the appropriate tones), or abbreviated at Rat'damri. The 'v' in Sukhumvit is pronounced with a 'w'. The most popular location for foreign embassies is known as both Wireless Road and Thanon Withayu (withayu is Thai for radio).

Many street addresses show a string of numbers divided by slashes and dashes; for example, 48/3-5 Soi 1, Th. Sukhumvit. This is because undeveloped property in Bangkok was originally bought and sold in lots. The number before the slash refers to the original lot number; the numbers following the slash indicate buildings (or entrances to buildings) constructed within that lot. The pre-slash numbers are arbitrarily assigned by developers. As a result, you will find the numbers along a given street do not always run consecutively.

The Thai word thanon means road, street, or avenue. Hence Ratchadamnoen Road (sometimes referred to as Ratchadamnoen Avenue) is always called Th. Ratchadamnoen in Thai. A soi is a small street or lane that runs off a larger street. So, the address referred to as 48/3-5 Soi 1, Th. Sukhumvit, will be located off Th. Sukhumvit on Soi 1. Alternative ways of writing the same address include 48/3-5 Th. Sukhumvit Soi 1, or even just 48/3-5 Sukhumvit 1. Some Bangkok soi have become so large that they can be referred to both as thanon and soi, e.g. Soi Sarasin/Th. Sarasin and Soi Asoke/Th. Asoke.

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