Exploring the BTS: Sanam Pao & Ari
The Sanam Pao BTS station is N4, part of the Sukhumvit Line. For a station just four stops past Siam it’s one of the few that really is hardly worth getting off. Its designation, N4, is about the most exciting part of the stop.
Then again, if you happen to be in the market for a new vehicle because you’re getting tired of cramming into the busy Skytrain and would rather spend your time sitting a few metres below in barely moving traffic, then the area around Sanam Pao has a number of car dealerships. It also has the respected Phaya Thai 2 hospital and the Second Battalion military base. So the soldiers are at least close to decent medical facilities if the need arises.
Sanam Pao is also right on Phahon Yothin Road, one of the main thoroughfares of Bangkok.
The next stop heading north is the Ari BTS station. Although there is nothing of great cultural interest, the area is best visited in the later afternoon, or early evening due to the preponderance of street-food places. Heading north from the station to soi 7 a visitor will see the heart and soul of the area with numerous street-food stalls selling anything and everything you ever imagined in culinary terms. As most people know, Thais eat out, a lot. These street stalls are popular with families and especially with people coming home from work.
Although there is no standout attraction in the Ari area, it is noticeable that many of the residential lanes and sub-sois, while they have condo blocks and apartments, are still full of trees. It’s a green area, one of the few left in central Bangkok. This makes the area a pleasant one to wander around, even if it is only to check out the various condo blocks or wonder at how the capital could be so much better for general living if trees in adundance were again allowed to flourish.
There is, on soi 7, a hotel-restaurant called Reflections. Many people might recognise it, not because of having been there previously, but simply because it has been the backdrop for many music videos and television commercials.
Coming back to the Ari BTS area, on the east side of the station is the Muaray Center. This is just another shopping mall which boasts a Fitness World on the top floor. Further along is the IBM building.
As with so many of the BTS station located four or more stops away from the Siam interchange, there’s never a great deal to really draw a curious tourist. Yet, each stop offers a little glimpse of the prosaic Bangkok.