Photo: Bright lights, big city.

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Bangkok by skytrain: On Nut

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Number E9 on the Sukhumvit Line, On Nut was the furthest out of the new BTS stations to be added back in 2010, and it's a prime example of how the Skytrain is revitalising the outlying areas that it reaches. Before the BTS arrived, this area was a sort of backwater chiefly defined by local neighbourhoods with charming old wood homes and ugly concrete shophouses. Since On Nut station opened, more than a dozen enormous condominium buildings have been constructed, and new restaurants and hotels are popping up like dandelions in the springtime. The transformation is far from complete -- expect to see ongoing construction here -- but On Nut increasingly has something to offer both the traveller and the expat seeking affordability and a non-touristy setting.

Exit 3 takes you straight down to a motorbike taxi stand in front of the imposing Ideo Condominium, one the area's many examples of how so many modern Bangkokians live. Continue south from here then take a left into Soi 89 and after a few hundred metres you'll reach Baan Cedarburg, a homely guesthouse with cheap dorm beds and private rooms down a charming local street.

Immediately surrounding the BTS station you'll find plenty of food and shopping options to suit all but luxury tastes. Directly accessible through exit 2 is an air-con Tesco Lotus shopping plaza, which features not only a giant Lotus supermarket but also several chain restaurants, a cheap and clean Thai food court, book stores, phone shops and clothing stalls. Head north for a short distance from exit 2 and you'll reach the Imm Fusion Hotel, a budget spot with a midrange hotel personality.

Don't fret the BTS station isn't haunted.
Don't fret the BTS station isn't haunted.

On the other side of the street, immediately out of exit 1, is a large open-air market with stalls selling everything from som tam and grilled chicken to Vietnamese style spring rolls to fresh coffee. Several vendors also sell clothing, phone accessories and pirated DVDs for dirt cheap. Head north from here and you'll pass a couple of small coffee shops before hitting Soi 79, which is home to a few Thai eateries and De Maria Wood Fired Pizzeria.

Continue north and you'll reach On Nut Road (aka Sukhumvit Soi 77) itself after a short stroll. Take a right into this colourful, bustling thoroughfare and you'll be immediately swept into a cramped footpath lined with vendors selling fresh fruit and flowers along with curries and stir-fries for takeaway, northeastern Thai-style sausages, coconut sticky rice with mango and much more. If you can manage the crowds, this is an excellent area to graze on local nibbles. If you prefer to shop in more spacious air-con confines, a Big C shopping plaza is a short walk past the footpath market.

On the other side of On Nut Road you'll find a similarly vibrant atmosphere with several hole-in-the-wall food shops and newsstands. This stretch is also home to at least a dozen cheap dentist offices. Continue east along On Nut Road and you'll pass attractive traditional Thai wood homes in the shadow of brand new high-rise condos.

The only real attraction in this immediate area is Wat Mahabut and the Ghost of Mae Nak shrine, tucked along the Phra Khanong canal at the end of On Nut Soi 7. Along the way, stop in at one of the many fortune tellers to see what might await you on the horizon. Although it can also be accessed from Bang Chak, Punnawithi or Udom Sok BTS stations further south, Rama IX Gardens is a reasonable taxi ride from On Nut station, though it's too far to walk.

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