Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is a top tourist destination in Southeast Asia, attracting millions of visitors each year. With its diverse culture, world-famous cuisine, and endless activities, it’s easy to see why. But with so many lodging options available, it may be overwhelming to decide where to stay. In this article, we’ll explore some of Bangkok’s most popular areas to stay and compare them based on price and convenience, so you can make an informed decision for your trip.
To get a feel for the culture, you can visit the traditional neighbourhoods of Old Town or Chinatown. Here, you can enjoy cheap and cheerful guest houses or boutique hotels. For those who prefer the modern feel of a cosmopolitan city, the Sukhumvit area offers high-end hotels, shopping malls, and trendy bars. Finally, there’s the riverside area, with luxurious hotels and beautiful views of the Chao Phraya River.
No matter where you choose to stay in Bangkok, you’ll be spoilt for choices of attractions and things to do. From temples and markets to world-class restaurants and nightlife, Bangkok truly has something for everyone. So why not immerse yourself in this vibrant city and experience the best of Thailand’s capital?
Sukhumvit is a dynamic district in central Bangkok famous for its shopping and dining. The district spans from the heart of Bangkok to the eastern outskirts, and each section has its unique character. Sukhumvit features high-end accommodations, including the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok and the Siam Kempinski Hotel, as well as budget-friendly options like the Ibis Bangkok Sukhumvit 4.
- Abundant shopping options, from street markets to high-end malls.
- Wide variety of dining options, including diverse international cuisine.
- Excellent transportation links, with access to the BTS Skytrain, MRT Subway, and Airport Rail Link.
- Plenty of entertainment choices, such as nightclubs and live music venues.
- Several parks and green spaces, like Benjakitti Park and Benjasiri Park, provide a refreshing escape from the city.
- Busy and crowded in the more popular areas, leading to noise pollution.
- Higher accommodation prices compared to other areas in Bangkok.
Sukhumvit is an attractive destination not only for tourists but also for a diverse expat community from across the world. The neighbourhood is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, showcasing an Italian gelato shop next to a Korean BBQ restaurant or a traditional British pub. For authentic local flavours, head to Sukhumvit Soi 38, a street food paradise with a broad range of affordable Thai dishes. Alternatively, explore Thonglor, a trendy neighbourhood within Sukhumvit known for its fashionable restaurants and bars.
Silom is a central district in Bangkok, famous for its nightlife and cultural attractions. It is a commercial hub that has hotels and guest houses, ranging from budget-friendly to high-end.
- Convenient access to public transportation, including the BTS Skytrain
- A hub for great shopping options, such as street markets and high-end malls
- Plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars to fit every budget
- Easy access to the Chao Phraya River and its water taxi system, making it easy to explore the city’s iconic temples and landmarks
- Known for its LGBTQ scene and diverse crowd
- Can be noisy and crowded, especially during rush hour and in popular tourist areas.
- Accommodations can be pricier than in other areas of Bangkok, especially in high-end hotels.
- Lack of green spaces and parks, which might be a turn-off for nature lovers.
- Silom is also famous for its street food. You can enjoy a variety of dishes such as pad thai and tom yum goong from the numerous street food vendors lining the streets.
- The district has sites such as the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, a Hindu temple known for its architecture and carvings.
- The Patpong night market is another attraction that draws visitors with its numerous stalls selling everything from souvenirs to counterfeit goods.
- Silom also has bars and nightclubs that cater to every taste. You can find everything from live music venues to drag bars and rooftop bars with picturesque views of the city.
Khao San Road
Khao San Road is a renowned backpacker district in Bangkok known for its lively atmosphere, cheap accommodation, and street food. The area features an array of affordable lodgings, including the popular Lub d Bangkok Siam Square hostel.
- Affordable accommodation options including hostels and budget hotels
- Countless street food options with local delicacies such as pad thai, mango sticky rice, and fried bananas
- Close to famous tourist attractions like the Grand Palace and Wat Pho
- Nightlife scene with many bars, nightclubs, and music venues
- Can be very crowded, particularly during peak season
- Some budget accommodations have limited privacy and security. So you should take precautions with your belongings.
- Located outside the city’s main public transportation networks, making it more difficult to reach other areas of Bangkok without calling a taxi or tuk-tuk
Khao San Road is popular with backpackers and anyone looking for a fun atmosphere. Shops selling souvenirs, clothes, and other trinkets, as well as small bars and restaurants line the street. Khao San Road has an abundance of street vendors offering inexpensive tattoos and piercings. While this can be an exciting experience for some, you should be aware of the risks involved in getting a tattoo or piercing in a non-professional setting.
The Old Town neighbourhood in Bangkok is a cultural and historical hub, with museums, temples, and traditional architecture waiting to be explored. While it offers a quiet atmosphere compared to other areas, it may not be as convenient for accessing popular tourist attractions.
- Old Town is home to Bangkok’s most significant landmarks, including the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew.
- The area has a charming, old-world vibe, with narrow streets, historic buildings, and traditional shophouses to explore on foot.
- If you’re a culture enthusiast, there are plenty of museums and art galleries well worth a visit, such as the Museum Siam and the National Museum Bangkok.
- For foodies, the street food in Old Town is fantastic, with many vendors offering traditional Thai dishes and snacks that are both delicious and affordable.
- The area can be quite crowded, especially around popular tourist sites like the Grand Palace, which can detract from the experience.
- Some parts of Old Town are rundown and dirty, with uneven pavement and lots of traffic. It’s important to watch your step.
- The neighbourhood is relatively far from other popular Bangkok neighbourhoods like Sukhumvit and Silom, so getting around can be a bit of a hassle. However, taxis and tuk-tuks are readily available.
- There are limited options for nightlife in Old Town compared to other areas of the city, so if you’re looking for a party scene, you might want to head elsewhere.
- Check out the Baan Bat community, a small village in the heart of Old Town famous for its handmade monk’s alms bowls.
- Don’t miss the opportunity to take a boat ride along the nearby Chao Phraya River, where you’ll get to see Bangkok’s skyline and some of the city’s most famous temples.
The Siam district in central Bangkok is a modern, upscale area known for its luxury shopping and entertainment. It offers access to public transportation and a convenient location for getting around.
- The area boasts many high-end shopping options and top-notch entertainment venues, including the popular Siam Paragon shopping centre and the Bangkok Art and Culture Center.
- Public transportation in the area is excellent, with the BTS Skytrain and MRT subway system providing easy access to other parts of the city.
- Siam is a central location, making it a convenient base for exploring other popular areas of Bangkok like Sukhumvit and Silom.
- Staying in this area can be high-priced compared to other parts of the city.
- The area can get crowded, particularly during peak tourist season, which makes getting around and enjoying the area’s attractions more challenging.
- Siam is also home to several luxury hotels, including the Siam Kempinski Hotel and the InterContinental Bangkok.
- The area is known for its modern, sleek architecture and energy, with many skyscrapers and lively public spaces.
- Despite being a bustling city centre, Siam also offers a few green spaces, including the scenic Lumphini Park.
The Riverside area of Bangkok is known for its luxurious accommodations and views of the Chao Phraya River. However, it also has some drawbacks to consider.
- Stunning views of the Chao Phraya River, with many hotels offering balconies and riverfront views.
- Luxury accommodations with high-end amenities, including spas, rooftop pools, and fine dining restaurants.
- The area offers a peaceful atmosphere, making it a great choice for a romantic getaway or a relaxing vacation.
- Convenient location for exploring other parts of Bangkok, with many popular tourist attractions nearby, including Wat Arun and the Grand Palace.
- Expensive compared to other areas of Bangkok, with few budget-friendly options available.
- Limited street food and nightlife options compared to other areas.
- The area can be quiet at night, which may not be ideal for those seeking a livelier atmosphere.
- Heavy traffic during peak tourist season, making it challenging to get around.
In this area, check out the Asiatique Night Market, a popular shopping and entertainment destination along the riverfront. The market features over 1,500 boutiques, restaurants, and bars, as well as a nightly light and sound show. Also, you can take a riverboat cruise along the Chao Phraya River to see the city’s iconic landmarks illuminated at night, including Wat Arun and the Grand Palace.
Chatuchak in northern Bangkok is a popular destination for budget-conscious travellers. The area is teeming with affordable guest houses and budget hotels, including the well-known Poonchock Mansion. You will find plenty of shopping opportunities, including the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market.
- Budget-friendly accommodations are plentiful
- Convenient location for exploring other parts of the city
- The Chatuchak Weekend Market offers a wide range of shopping options
- The area gets densely crowded, particularly during peak tourist season, which can be overwhelming.
- While there is affordable lodging, luxury accommodations and dining options are limited compared to other areas. But there are still upscale options for those who don’t mind paying a bit more.
You can explore the many side streets and alleys of the Chatuchak district to discover hidden gems, such as small cafes and shops. You can admire the street art throughout the district. The colourful murals provide a striking contrast to the otherwise chaotic atmosphere of Chatuchak.
The Yaowarat district in Bangkok is a hub of street vendors, gold shops, traditional medicine shops, and Chinese restaurants.
- Chinatown has endless options for authentic Chinese cuisine, from steaming bowls of noodle soup to succulent seafood dishes.
- The area has numerous historic and ornate Chinese temples, including the famous Wat Mangkon Kamalawat.
- Chinatown’s night market has a lively atmosphere and a wide range of products, including Chinese herbs, clothing, and souvenirs.
- You can immerse yourself in Bangkok’s Chinese community and learn about its customs and traditions.
- The area can get very crowded, especially during festivals and holidays like Chinese New Year, which may be overwhelming for some visitors.
- Some parts of Chinatown can be noisy and chaotic, making it challenging to navigate for some.
- Due to the narrow and congested streets, traffic can be slow, and walking may be the best way to explore the area.
- There are limited attractions and activities beyond food and temple hopping.
You can explore the district’s hidden alleys, which are filled with street art and hidden gems. One such gem is the Thai-Chinese Cultural Center. Here, visitors can attend events and learn about the fusion of Thai and Chinese cultures. And the district’s serene Wat Mangkon MRT Park iss a tranquil retreat amidst the chaos of Chinatown.
Comparing the Areas
When choosing where to stay in Bangkok, it’s important to consider your budget, interests, and proximity to the places you want to see. Here’s a rundown of some of the best areas.
- Siam, Silom, and Riverside offer luxury accommodations and high-end shopping. In Siam, you’ll find upscale malls like Siam Paragon and CentralWorld. Silom is home to the iconic Lebua at State Tower and the Patpong Night Market. Riverside is where you’ll find some of the city’s most luxurious hotels, with stunning views of the Chao Phraya River.
- For affordable accommodations and cultural experiences, check out Old Town, Chinatown, and Chatuchak. In Old Town, you’ll be close to historic sites like the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, as well as the backpacker hub of Khao San Road. In Chinatown, you’ll find a lively street food scene and ornate Chinese temples like Wat Mangkon Kamalawat. Chatuchak is home to the massive weekend market of the same name, where you can find everything from vintage clothing to handmade crafts.
- If you’re on a budget, Khao San Road is ideal. This backpacker district is packed with budget accommodations, street food, and nightlife.
- For an unforgettable nightlife scene, Sukhumvit, Silom, and Riverside are the places to be. In Sukhumvit, you’ll find everything from rooftop bars to nightclubs like Sing Sing Theater. Silom is home to Bangkok’s famous gay nightlife scene, as well as upscale cocktail bars like the Bamboo Bar. Riverside offers a relaxed atmosphere, with riverfront bars and restaurants like the iconic Asiatique.
- Finally, if you’re in town for business or attending a conference, Silom is a well-connected area with plenty of accommodations.
No matter where you choose to stay, visiting Bangkok is an unforgettable experience. Don’t miss the chance to explore this world-renowned city and all it has to offer!