Sukhumvit Road, Thailand.
A bit more explaining, and if I use small words, I might even understand it myself!! The Sukhumvit Road. I guess I always thought it was a bit like “The High Street”, there is one in Bangkok and there is another one in Pattaya. Who knew it was the same one! Ok just me then!
Most people have heard of it, been on it, tried defying death to cross it or just looked on in wonder, but it is really a massive long highway running through Bangkok and then south following the coast mostly, and through Pattaya (of course) and down to Trat and beyond until it reaches the border into Cambodia at the Cham Yeam Border Checkpoint.
A 300 mile road following the coast. In reality it is Highway No.3 but that name does not do it any justice!! Named after a former Chief of Department of Highways, in my book Sukhumvit Road trumps Highway Number 3 !!
Usually a quiet four or five lane dual carriageway meandering on its way………sorry I lost the plot slightly then…..its a four or five lane dual carriageway of total madness !!
Running from the National Stadium in the middle of Bangkok through Bangkok itself, it is a major road, a dual carriageway, full with traffic, traffic lights, U-turns, Motorbikes,Tuk-Tuks, Taxis, Motor Bike Taxis, Street Vendor Carts and of course Pedestrians. Running overhead the Sukhumvit Road for most of the way through Bangkok, is the Skytrain, a massive Concrete structure with a Mass Transit Railway running on top, completely unaffected by the Jams Below! On the sides there are Shops, Bars, Restaurants, Hotels and even Shopping Malls.
Pavements are frequently minimal, sometimes just about blocked with stairways and escalators up to the skytrain or just about anything. Any kind of stall, or concrete structure seems to fit the bill!
Outside and inside towns it is a major artery and fast moving but, unlike a motorway, it is open for anyone to chance their arm trying to navigate along and across. And of course they do, pedestrians, motorbikes with or without sidecars, bicycles, handcarts and dogs. Occasionally, as in Pattaya, there are overhead pedestrian bridges but these are few and far between.
There is even a Tunnel along part of the Sukhumvit Road now in Pattaya, after months and months of traffic jams which seemed to go on for ever! Not quite on a par with the Mont Blanc Tunnel, it is really an underpass and misses just one road junction which is Pattaya Klang ( Pattaya Central Road). It allows the through traffic to bypass that set of Traffic Lights.
The Road was built in the 1930’s and completed in 1936 although it was not named as the Sukhumvit Road until 1950.