Rip-roaring Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok’s great boulevard of dreams and schemes, is the city’s longest thoroughfare. Stretching 490 kilometres to the Cambodian border, it is also one of the longest roads in the world. For most visitors, Sukhumvit’s first, hyperactive mile-and-a-bit might be more than enough — a glorious overload of humanity, shops, flaming woks and voluntary insomnia. Rice paddies and patrician estates bordered Thanon Sukhumvit (its proper name) until the 1960s. For Thai novelist and composer S.P. Somtow, the aristocratic enclave there, where he spent his childhood was, “our remote little island kingdom on Sukhumvit Road”. [2003]

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