Bangkok by skytrain: Sala Daeng (S2)
Updated on 13th July, 2013. First published 9th December, 2005
Sala Daeng station is number S2 on the Silom line, two stops away from Siam, the main interchange station. It hovers above Silom Road in Bangrak, close to the intersection of Rama IV and parallel to Surawong Road. Simply put, this is one of the liveliest, busiest, most interesting and eclectic areas in the whole city. While it's happening during the day, Silom especially comes to life after dark -- expect a mix of locals, expats and travellers vying for space with makeshift clothing stalls, potent scents wafting from a healthy array of street food carts and music blaring from both pirated CD stalls and upcountry musicians trying to earn a few baht.
Sala Daeng is perhaps best known as the gateway to the infamous Pat Pong red light district. The seediness once seeped onto Silom Road itself, but today it has been largely pushed into the side streets and alleys between Silom and Surawong Roads by government officials keen on cleaning up Bangkok's image. If you're put off by the idea of go-go bars and "massage" parlours, don't let that stop you from exploring this area. Especially if you stick to the southern side of Silom, which we find to be the more interesting side, you'll have no idea what goes on nearby. Bangkok's best public park, the family-friendly Lumpini is also a stone's throw away from Sala Daeng station.
This station is also one of three in the BTS system that connect to the MRT (subway). The MRT station here is called Silom -- to get there from inside Sala Daeng BTS station, walk east towards exits 4 and 5, but keep going straight along the sky walk over Silom Road, then take a right at the end of the walkway and head down the stairs to the MRT station.
Lumpini Park is directly across the major intersection where Silom meets Rama IV and Ratchadamri Roads. There are no elevated walkways to the park, so the best way to reach it from Silom Road is to go into Silom MRT station and use the free walkway (to your right upon entering the station) to walk beneath Rama IV. Take the escalator on the other side and you'll emerge slap bang at the front gates to the park.
Such is the volume of people in the Silom area that you'll find quite a bit to spend your money on before you even leave the BTS station itself. Coffee and bubble tea shops, bakeries, travel offices, news stands, phone shops and ATMs are all found immediately after exiting the ticket gates.
Directly south of the station and accessible from either exit 4 or exit 2 is Central Silom shopping centre, a medium size modern mall with a high-end department store on the top floor, pricey name brand fashion boutiques and an iStudio Apple shop on the middle floors, and a host of trendy restaurants in the basement, including a Wine Connection that's extremely popular. Also in the basement, behind a mix of Western, Thai and Japanese restaurants and several bakeries is a Tops gourmet supermarket, which is handy if you're seeking Western grocery standards like a full deli and cheese bar, a hot food bar and extensive bakery.
Back inside the BTS station, if you take exit 4 and hang a U-turn at the bottom of the stairs to turn back east on the southern side of Silom Road, you'll enter a tightly packed footpath where fresh fruit and grilled meat-on-a-stick carts fight for space with makeshift clothing stalls and sit-down street restaurants. Excellent khanom Jin (Chinese style rice noodles with a fishy curry sauce and greens) and khao mun gai (Thai style Hainanese chicken rice) stalls are found almost immediately in this direction after 17:00 -- but be prepared to wait for a table. There's also a Yum Saap northeastern Thai style salad joint with an English menu in this stretch.
Continue east on Silom Road from here and you'll hit Sala Daeng Road, a narrow two-lane thoroughfare that runs south to Sathorn and the heart of the commercial and banking district. Here you'll find a great artsy coffee shop called Cafe Bangrak next to Silom Cellar Wine Shop, and across the street is Rice Bar, a tasty Korean restaurant with an emphasis on healthy food. Just south of that are a number of reputable dentist offices should you need a root canal or two. The road gets quieter the further south you go, but a couple of excellent Thai-Western fusion restaurants -- Aubergine and Eat Me -- are found down this way. The latter also hosts a contemporary art gallery considered one of the best in the city.
Smack at the corner of Sala Daeng and Silom Roads is an old school noodle shop that serves tasty and cheap kwit tieau nam all day and a street cart that hawks savoury deep fried crab and shrimp after 17:00. Continue east on Silom past Sala Daeng Road and you'll hit an Au Bon Pain before the entrance to the large and long-running Dusit Thani Hotel, and the MRT station just beyond that.
Take exit 2 out of the station and you'll be immediately hit by row after row of footpath clothing and phone accessory vendors in either direction. Hang a U-turn for several great hole-in-the-wall food shops that line the footpath as it heads back to Central Silom shopping centre. Go straight west out of exit 2 and you'll first pass an air-con Doi Tung coffee shop, an excellent choice for a cuppa northern Thai arabica and a break from the crowds and heat.
Just past that is the narrow Soi Convent, which shoots to the south towards Sathorn and is a go-to street for foodies in Bangkok. Here you'll find a range of large-scale air-con eateries, pubs and cafes on the east side of the soi -- some chains, such as Starbucks and Zen Japanese -- and others local institutions, including Coyote Tex Mex and Molly Malone's Irish Pub. A host of excellent noodle soup and khao ka muu (braised pork shoulder with rice) street restaurants also line this side of the soi smack in front of the big, pricey restaurants. If you want Thai food in a more spacious air-con setting, Bua Restaurant is a fine choice.
Cross over to the western side of Soi Convent and several no-frills Isaan street eateries, including Hai Som Tam Convent, churn out spicy northeastern Thai salads and soups with sticky rice to the masses every day and evening. Nearby is Seafood Tubtim, which is always packed full of locals, a testament to the fresh catches served up no-frills here. If seeking something more refined, head for the French brasserie at Indigo.
Back to Silom Road and continuing west, the clothing stalls continue but things get slightly less crowded. You'll pass CP Tower, home to a McDonalds, Pizza Company and Bookazine, a well stocked bookstore that stays open until 23:00. Tucked into a tiny, dark alley just on the western perimeter of CP Tower is a quality little seafood street restaurant with an English menu. Keep going and you'll reach Naradhiwas Road and the nondescript entrances to Lalai Sap market after a few more hundred metres, at which point you'll be close to Chong Nonsi BTS station.
Back at Sala Daeng station, take exit 3, hang a U-turn to head west on the northern side of Silom Road and you'll pass a handful of restaurants and cafes, including Noodi and its interesting menu of pan-Asian noodle soups, Bug & Bee, and one of the better coffee shops in this neighbourhood -- Coffee Society. Past that is another, smaller Tops Supermarket, another Starbucks and, yes, another McDonalds located at the corner of Silom and Rama IV Roads. Mosey around the corner onto Rama IV and you'll see the cosy Dolores Old Times Pizza and the swish Crowne Plaza Bangkok Hotel just past that. Further this way is a solid American style steakhouse/pub, Smokehouse and Grill, located at the corner of Rama IV and Surawong.
If you go straight out of exit 3 and walk west on Silom, things get even more lively, but also more sleazy. First up is Thaniya Road, which shoots north to Surawong and is home to loads of bars and clubs, including go-go bars, more standard nightclubs and the popular Irish pub, O'Reilly's. Thaniya boasts several clubs and "massage" parlours that cater specifically to Japanese people, but one good, non-sleazy exception is the Barbican, a great little pub about 200 metres in on the right side of the soi. Continue west on Silom and you'll pass a handful of chain restaurants -- Pizza Hut, KFC, Subway, Haagen Dazs -- before hitting Sports World sporting goods store in front of exit 1 out of the BTS station.
Next you'll come to Soi 4, a short strip of clubs that's usually crowded no matter what night it is. Many of the bars here tend to be of the gay variety, but remain popular with both gay and straight crowds for the thumping dance music and party atmosphere. Of all the side streets between Silom and Surawong, this is the best bet if seeking a fun but not smutty night out.
Continue west past Soi 4 and you'll hit Pat Pong itself. Fifty years ago it was a pineapple plantation but now hosts many of the bars (or their descendants) that gave rise to Bangkok's reputation as sex capital of the world. Although there are still plenty of venues offering hard core entertainment, it's been toned down over the past decade to the point that it's not uncommon to see families walking around and browsing the Pat Pong night market, one of the busiest in town and quite the tourist trap. These days, the more pronounced sleaze factor has taken root a tad north in the small alleys on either side of Surawong Road, which are easily avoided should you want to. Throughout this area, beware of the pushy touts who like to grab the arms of men and shove smutty "brochures" of naked people -- men, women, and those who fall somewhere in between -- in their faces.
Near the corner of Pat Pong and Silom Roads are two more Tex Mex joints, Patty's and Sunrise Tacos; if deciding between the three, Coyote has the best but most expensive food, Patty's is lively but has a slightly raunchy feel, and Sunrise is open 24 hours. The night market atmosphere continues westward for a good distance from here; expect knock-off Diesel T-shirts, hats made out of Coke cans, cheesy lanterns with pictures of elephants and the rest of the typical array of crap that you'll also find at MBK. Then, as if out of nowhere, comes Bangkok Christian Hospital.
Immediately past the hospital is Soi 6, which is home to a host of Japanese restaurants and a handful of far more low-key bars with open-air patios. You'll find a good nibble of sushi here, but the best Japanese food around is probably further west at Takeitei Restaurant, near the corner of Naradhiwas Road, which offers a great lunch buffet.
The entire area around Sala Daeng station is also home to countless massage parlours and spas, but choose wisely as many of these offer a bit more than just a plain old Thai massage (and we don't mean aromatherapy). It's not too difficult to decipher between a clean, reputable spa and a seedy massage parlour, but one very good, non-seedy spa in this vicinity is Body Tone, located near exit 5 out of the BTS station. Otherwise, try Health Land a 15-minute walk or five-minute taxi ride away on Sathorn Road.
Related readingBangkok by skytrain: Ari
Bangkok by skytrain: Chid Lom
Bangkok by skytrain: Chong Nonsi
Bangkok by skytrain: National Stadium
Bangkok by skytrain: On Nut
Bangkok by skytrain: Phaya Thai
Bangkok by skytrain: Phloen Chit
Bangkok by skytrain: Phrom Phong
Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchadamri
Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchathewi
Bangkok by skytrain: Sala Daeng (S2)
Bangkok by skytrain: Sanam Pao
Bangkok by skytrain: Saphan Taksin
Bangkok by skytrain: Surasak
Bangkok by skytrain: Thong Lor
Read 1 comment(s)
Add your comment
Feature story quicklinks
- Giving back in Southeast Asia (10)
- All stories
- COPE: Helping people move on
- Helping Phuket's children in need
- Helping Siem Reap's rubbish dump families
- Helping Singapore's transient workers
- Helping the Karen of Burma
- Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam
- Lifestart Foundation, Hoi An
- Thai Freedom House, Chiang Mai
- The Samui Prison Project
- The SET Foundation
- Burma (6)
- Cambodia (21)
- All stories
- A Cambodian Eco-lodge
- A honeymoon in Cambodia
- Angkorian traffic woes
- Battambang weekend
- Elephant riding in Cambodia: Should you?
- Great places to stay in Siem Reap
- Is Preah Vihear safe to visit?
- Koh Rong: Trouble in paradise?
- Kompong Cham escape
- Northeast Cambodia in photos
- Oh Poipet!
- PEPY:Sustainable Cambodian tourism
- Phnom Tamao Wildlife Refuge
- Sihanoukville beaches lure expats
- Spas, shopping & seers in Siem Reap
- The best islands in Cambodia
- The best places to stay on Cambodia's islands
- The Death Highway
- Trekking the Cardamoms in Cambodia
- Which Cambodian island is right for you?
- Why you should go to Cambodia
- Indonesia (13)
- All stories
- A funeral in Toraja, Sulawesi
- Climbing Rinjani
- How to hire a boat in Indonesia: Without drowning
- Learn to surf in Bali
- Medewi: A great Bali getaway
- Mountain biking in Bali: A ride in the woods
- The Gili islands: Which is the right one for you?
- Ubud bird watching: From waterhens to witchcraft
- Ubud shopping guide
- Village trekking in Tana Toraja
- Weekend in Nusa Penida
- Yogya's student scene
- Laos (15)
- All stories
- Best budget rooms in Luang Prabang 2013
- Elephant trekking in Laos
- Exploring Laos' Bolaven Plateau
- Huay Xai to Pak Tha by slowboat
- Is Lao Airlines safe to fly?
- Laos' vanishing elephants
- Luang Prabang escape
- Muang Ngoi Escape
- Photos of Luang Prabang, Laos
- Pi Mai Lao in Luang Prabang: In 1999
- Southern Laos by scooter
- Temples in Luang Prabang
- The Gibbon Experience
- The Phonsavan adventure
- Vientiane's Chinatown
- Malaysia (6)
- Singapore (9)
- Thailand (70)
- All stories
- 10 Bangkok galleries worth a look-see
- 10 Thai treks aside from Chiang Mai
- 24 Hours in Bangkok: Sukhumvit to Siam Square
- 5 Southern Thai towns to lose time in
- A Thai homestay in Ayutthaya
- A weekend in Phra Phradaeng
- A weekend on Ko Samet, Thailand
- An extra day in Krabi
- Andaman Sea island hopper
- Ayutthaya temple tour
- Bangkok for art lovers
- Bangkok's Charoen Krung Road
- Bangkok's Thonburi: exploring the west side
- Brilliant Bangkok
- Chiang Dao getaway
- Chiang Mai's temples
- Corruption in Thailand
- Eating on the edge
- Elephant's World Kanchanaburi
- Exploring Lamphun
- Exploring the Lungs of Bangkok
- Far southern Thailand: Go or not?
- Floating markets around Bangkok
- Highlights of Chanthaburi province
- How to do Khao Yai National Park
- Khao San Road safety and scams
- Ko Mun Nork: a nearby paradise
- Ko Pha Ngan 7-day detox:Colonic fast
- Ko Pha Ngan's best beaches in 2013
- Ko Phi Phi on a budget
- Ko Tao for non-divers guide
- Ko Yao: the islands you're looking for
- Learning Muay Thai in Bangkok
- Motorcycling the Chiang Rai loop
- Narathiwat: residence of good people
- Navigating Bangkok: The BTS Skytrain
- Phuket by night
- Phuket for Kids
- Phuket heritage walk: Car parts to saris
- Phuket's secret beaches
- Planning around Thailand's civil unrest
- Roll your own Kanchanaburi
- Should I book for the full moon party?
- Should I cancel my Thai holiday? No.
- Soi Thong Lo, Bangkok
- Sorting out Suvarnabhumi Airport
- Staying at a Thai monastery
- Thai islands for nature lovers
- Thai islands to lose yourself on
- Thai visa FAQ
- Thailand tsunami wrap
- Thailand's Mae Khlong market
- Thailand: Where to from here?
- The best beach on Ko Samui
- The best places to stay on Ko Kut, Thailand
- The bridge over the River Kwai festival
- The road to Sangkhlaburi
- Travelling through north-east Thailand
- Trekking in Thailand
- Trisara -- decadent luxury at its best
- Two days in Kamphaeng Phet
- What is the best beach on Ko Tao?
- What is the best island in Thailand?
- What's a good beach on Ko Pha Ngan?
- What's a good beach on Ko Samui?
- Where to stay at Railay Bay, Thailand
- Where to stay in Sukhothai?
- Where to stay on Ko Samet, Thailand
- Which beach on Ko Samui?
- Which island in Trang?
- Vietnam (31)
- All stories
- A short break in Nha Trang
- A Weekend in Can Tho
- Being fed Fido: Eating dog in Vietnam
- Buying a touring motorbike in Vietnam
- Con Dao escape
- Do nothing and see the best of Hanoi
- Doing the DMZ from Hue
- Exploring Kon Tum
- Exploring Vietnam's Mekong Delta
- Ha Long Bay conclusions
- Ha Long Bay for backpackers
- Ha Long Bay for budget-busters
- Ha Long Bay for flashpackers
- Hanoi escape
- Hanoi or Saigon?
- Hoi An -- Walking over the dragon
- How to do the Dien Bien Phu loop
- How to enjoy your time in Vietnam
- How to pick a good Ha Long Bay cruise
- Is the Hoi An culture tour worth it?
- Motorbike Vietnam's Central Highlands
- One day in Hanoi
- Responsible shopping and eating in Hoi An
- Saigon's top 10 cafés
- Sapa or Bac Ha?
- Saving Vietnam's bears
- Street food safety
- The DMZ: Traveller tactical briefing
- Travel tips for Tet in Vietnam 2013
- Two Wheels & Ricefields: A review
- Which is the best street food tour in Hanoi?
- Accommodation guides (19)
- All stories
- 2005 Top guesthouses in Bangkok
- 2005 Top guesthouses in Chiang Mai
- 2006 Top guesthouses in Hanoi
- 2006 Top guesthouses in Phnom Penh
- 2006 Top guesthouses on Ko Phi Phi
- 2006 Top Luang Prabang guesthouses
- 2008 Top Bangkok airport guesthouses
- 2008 Top Luang Prabang guesthouses
- 2008 Top spots on Phu Quoc Island
- 2009 Top guesthouses in Bangkok
- 2009 Top Phnom Penh guesthouses
- 2011 Best places to stay in Kuala Lumpur
- 2011 Best places to stay on Ko Phi Phi
- Best places to stay in Hanoi 2012
- Cheap Phuket guesthouses & hotels
- Five special hotels in Cambodia
- Ko Lipe's best budget guesthouses 2012
- The changing face of Khao San Road
- Where to stay on Koh Rong Samloem
- Travel with kids (7)
- Opinion & advice (14)
- All stories
- 10 reasons to do an adventure tour
- 10 reasons to travel independently
- A year's worth of travel for 2013
- Beach hideaways in Asia
- Do I need reservations for my holiday?
- Evil man of Krabi
- Fifteen tips for a great holiday in Asia
- Getting a cheap airfare to Asia
- Hotels should never charge extra for WiFi
- Long distance buses in Southeast Asia
- Mass tourism in Southeast Asia
- Nine Asian upcountry hideaways
- Planning a Gap Year? Some advice.
- Ten Southeast Asian trips for 2008
- How do I? (11)
- All stories
- Bangkok to Ko Samui, Pha Ngan & Tao
- Bangkok to Siem Reap
- Catching a train in Thailand
- Catching a train in Vietnam
- Cheap flights with Discovery Airpass
- Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
- Crossing the Cambodia Laos border
- Ko Chang to Phu Quoc Island
- Siem Reap to Ko Chang
- Stops between Bangkok & Chiang Mai
- Visa run from Thailand to Burma
- Cycling Asia (13)
- All stories
- 24 hours in Bangkok
- An Angkor cycling guide
- An introduction
- Battambang, bamboo trains & guides
- Confessions of a "cheating cyclist"
- Cycles of all sorts
- Ha Long Bay independently
- Ko Samet Vs Pattaya
- Muay Thai night
- Phonsavan and Luang Prabang
- The hills of Vietnam
- The road less travelled
- Tubing in Vang Vieng
- Health and safety (6)
- Money and finance (4)
- Diving guides (6)
- Photo essay (3)
- Guest blog (2)
- General (15)
- All stories
- 10 Christmas days in Asia we're yet to have
- 10 dumb things I've done while travelling
- 34 ways to travel greener
- Asian animal experiences
- Call me Mr Massage Magic
- Chefs Without Borders
- Flying is fun!
- Mr Golden
- On being a travel writer
- Teaching ESL in Asia
- The 211 country honeymoon
- The Boxing Day Tsunami: 5 years on.
- To Teach or Not to Teach
- Travel writing scholarship 2012
- Tuk to the Road Charity ride
- Book reviews (5)
- Interviews (8)
- Explore Bangkok by BTS (16)
- All stories
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ari
- Bangkok by skytrain: Chid Lom
- Bangkok by skytrain: Chong Nonsi
- Bangkok by skytrain: Mo Chit
- Bangkok by skytrain: National Stadium
- Bangkok by skytrain: On Nut
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phaya Thai
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phloen Chit
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phrom Phong
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchadamri
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchathewi
- Bangkok by skytrain: Sala Daeng (S2)
- Bangkok by skytrain: Sanam Pao
- Bangkok by skytrain: Saphan Taksin
- Bangkok by skytrain: Surasak
- Bangkok by skytrain: Thong Lor
Sign up for Travelfish Burp!
Our weekly wrap on Southeast Asian travel.
Click here to see a recent newsletter.