Photo: Bright lights, big city.

Bangkok is so big, we’ve split it up into areas, select one of the below for detailed accommodation and food listings in that area. Sights and general overviews for Bangkok as a whole can be found via the icons above. Don’t know where to start? Read an overview of Bangkok’s different areas.

Bangkok by skytrain: Surasak

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Number S5 on the Silom line, Surasak station doesn't have a great deal to offer in terms of tourist attractions or nightlife, but it does boast a low-key atmosphere and is only one stop from the central express boat pier along the Chao Phraya River. The station is located near the west end of Sathorn Road and borders the financial and business district of Bangkok which is mostly occupied by corporate offices and schools.

In the southern shadow of the station and reachable via exit 2 is King Royal Garden Inn, a well-worn but solid budget hotel that's something of a centre of life in this area. Outside King Royal's front doors are a 24-hour minimart, a handful of street vendors and a covered eating area offering cheap street standards like khao kha muu (roast pork and rice), khao mun kai (chicken and rice) and som tam (papaya salad).

Right next to King Royal is the most noticeable building in the station's vicinity: the restored colonial mansion that's home to the famous Blue Elephant Thai restaurant and cooking school. Well known for exporting Thai food and culture overseas, Blue Elephant is a great place to enjoy fantastic (but pricey) Thai cuisine, and as a bit of history, the building itself was was once home to the Thai Chamber of Commerce before being chosen by World War II Japanese generals to house their Bangkok central command centre. On the other side of Blue Elephant is the brand new (as of late 2012) Eastin Grand luxury high-rise hotel, which is accessed via its own walkway above exit 4.

Continue east on Sathorn past the Eastin Grand and you'll find a roofed cafeteria style Thai restaurant and coffee shop before reaching the imposing St Louis Hospital and its related Catholic cathedral and school buildings. There's an Au Bon Pain on the first floor of the hospital in case you're in need of a sandwich, and a small but colourful market sets up in a corner of the hospital parking lot on weekends during daylight hours.

Directly across the road from St Louis Hospital you'll see Bangkok Christian College, one of the oldest schools in the city at almost 160 years. There actually isn't much to see due to the high gates and tight security, but it explains the crowds of uniformed youths running amok in this area when school lets out in the afternoon.

Directly east of the Bangkok Christian College on the opposite corner of Pramuan Road is the Embassy of Burma. If you turn north onto Pramuan and continue straight, you'll emerge onto the western side of Silom Road after less than a kilometre, and if you walk east one block from here you'll hit Sri Mariamman Hindu temple on the right. This unique temple is well worth a peek, and a clutch of quality Thai barbecue stalls are found across the road on Silom Soi 20. Several solid, albeit pricey Indian restaurants are also found in this area of Silom along with a bunch of spas and accommodation, including Lub d Bangkok Silom.

If we rewind back to the corner of Sathorn and Pramuan Road, you could go north but take the first left onto pleasant Si Wiang Road rather than heading straight to Silom. Large trees offer shade from the sun along Si Wiang, and a handful of quality restaurants can satisfy your appetite. On the south side of the road is Sweet Basil; T: (02) 234 1889, a Vietnamese restaurant open for lunch and dinner, the mid-range Ban Chang Thai restaurant a bit further down the road, and Baan Somtum, an excellent northeastern Thai spot just past that. If you find all of the above too expensive, a footpath restaurant also serves up spicy northeastern Thai soups and salads near the corner of Pramuan.

A right at the end of Si Wiang Road if heading west (or exit 1 out of the BTS station and then a right) brings you to Surasak Road itself, which is a narrow and rather ordinary thoroughfare that runs north for about a kilometre before also emerging onto the western side of Silom Road. Surasak Road is mainly home to uninteresting office buildings, but it is home to one of Bangkok's best hostels: Saphai Pae.

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Location map for Bangkok by skytrain: Surasak

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