Where To Stay in Bangkok

A Guide to the Best Areas in Bangkok to Stay

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My name is Patrick, I'm originally from Sydney (Australia) but grew up in England (my second home) - and I love exploring cities (and writing about it!)

I work online in marketing, which gives me the opportunity to travel around the world full time.

So while I am away, I keep this blog updated with full travel info. I tend to stay in a city for a few months at a time, to really get to know it - then I write guides on it.

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Where To Stay in Bangkok - A Guide to the Best Areas in Bangkok to Stay

Bangkok is a huge city, with over 8.2 million people and spans 606 square miles. So when you are booking a trip to Bangkok, how do you know where to stay? Well this guide will explain all and give tips for each area.

The Areas of Bangkok:

Officially Bangkok is split into 50 districts (with a total of 169 sub districts) but for this article we will go over what most tourists will encounter (around a dozen areas).

Siam Square

If you had to pick the center of Bangkok, Siam is where you would mark it.

This is where you can find the best shopping malls and hotels, and is the entertainment center of Bangkok. It is also known as the as the "SoHo" or "Shinjuku of Thailand.

Siam Square includes the areas of Ratchaprasong and Phloen Chit Road.

Stay in Siam Square if you...
  • Are visiting with kids (it is family friendly)
  • Want great access to everywhere else in the city
  • Like nice hotels
  • Enjoy shopping
  • Want to be in the center of Bangkok
Avoid Siam Square if you...
  • Want a wild nightlife scene on your door step
What to do in Siam Square area
  • Has the huge MBK Center shopping mall - get all your electronics here
  • Lots of luxury brands and hotels here
  • Home to Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (BACC) Read about it on Wikipedia
  • Jim Thompson House - a nice museum about an American who helped shape the Thai silk industry

Sukhumvit

Sukhumvit Street In Bangkok
Sukhumvit Street In Bangkok

Sukhumvit is an upmarket area with upmarket hotels and restaurants. You can also find nice nightclubs and great nightlife here here.

Soi Cowboy (little street full of around 40 'adult' bars) and Nana Entertainment Plaza (+ its gogo bars) can be found here.

There are no big tourist attractions (apart from its nightlife) in Sukhumvit, but you should still go for a wander in this area.

What to do in Sukhumvit area
  • Terminal 21 shopping mall is here - check it out to see how it is designed with famous landmarks from all over the world
  • Museum of Thai Pharmacy
Stay in Sukhumvit area if you...
  • To be close to BTS
  • Like walking
  • Like good nightlife, want to be close to bars, enjoy partying
  • Want to be near go-go bars
  • Like a more "adult" themed night
  • Want upmarket hotels and restaurants
  • Enjoy shopping
  • Like access to the BTS Skytrain
Avoid Sukhumvit area if you...
  • Want to avoid walking (things here are spaced out)
  • Want to avoid the seedier bars

Silom Road / Sathorn Road

Silom Area In Bangkok
Silom Area In Bangkok

During the day this is Thailand's financial heart and is known as the "Thai Wall Street", however when the sun goes down it turns into Bangkok's main party district. It is here that you can find famous gogo bars like the Patpong district (also known as Thailand's Red Light District).

You can find some great street food here too.

Stay in Silom if you...
  • Love nice restaurants
  • Like the busy nightlife
  • Want to be close to the Red Light District
  • Good access to BTS and MRT (Metropolitan Rapid Transit)
Avoid Silom if you...
  • Hate traffic - this area always has lots of traffic
  • Do not want to be near the Red Light District

Rattanakosin / The Old Town (also spelt Ratanakosin)

Rattanakosin Area In Bangkok
Rattanakosin Area In Bangkok

This is in the "Old Town" part of Bangkok, and it is where you can find many famous landmarks like the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.

It is a royal island on the east bank of the main river that runs through Bangkok (Chao Phraya).

Lots of big festivals are celebrated in Sanam Luang Square.

Stay in Rattanakosin if you...
  • Want to easily find lots of boutique hotels
  • Love sightseeing
  • Want to be close to main landmarks
Avoid Rattanakosin if you...
  • Want good public transport links! It really sucks here when trying to get public transport

Khao San Road

Just north of Rattanakosin is where you can find Khao San Road (KSR), which is Bangkok's backpacker's hub!

The actual Khao San Road is only 400m long, but is famous all over the world.

This area is famous with backpackers and budget travellers.

If you have ever seen the film "The Beach", then you will recognise Khao San Road.

Things to do in Khao San Road area
  • This is a great area to explore back streets
  • Get some great food in the night food market
  • Phra Sumen Fort - This is a bright white building, built in 1883 to defend the city in case of a river attack. More info
  • Wat Chana Songran and Wat Bowonniwet - two Buddhist temples
Stay in Khao San Road area if you...
  • Want to party all night long
  • Are a backpacker
  • Are after cheap, backpacker accommodation
  • Want to meet other backpackers
  • Like crazy nightlife atmosphere
Avoid Khao San Road area if you...
  • Want a good nights rest

Chinatown (Yaowarat)

Yaowarat road is home to Bangkok's Chinatown

You can find many temples, shrines and street markets in chinatown. It is a bit of a crazy place, always a bit hectic, but that is part of its charm.

China is very close to Thailand, so their Chinatown is unlike any other Chinatowns elsewhere in the world!

Tuk Tuk
Tuk Tuk

Their main shopping street (Sampaeng Lane) is huge, and always very busy.

Like Chinatown? The nearby Phahurat Road is home to Bangkok's Indian community, known as Little India.
Things to do in Chinatown in Bangkok
  • Find Chinese goods, foods and drinks
  • Go to the huge flower market here
  • Get some Chinese food (Chinese Noodles)
  • Get lost in the backstreets
Stay in Chinatown (Bangkok) if you...
  • Are a backpacker
  • Want to take lots of interesting photos
  • Want Easy Access to Nice street food
  • Like a nice busy atmosphere on the streets
  • Want cheap accomodation
Avoid Chinatown (Bangkok) if you...
  • Hate Noisy, chaotic areas - it can be very busy
  • Hate finding hotels - there are not too many accomodation options here so it can be a struggle to find somewhere
  • It is a bit run down
  • No Skytrain Access

Riverside

On the west bank of Chao Phraya River you can find Bangkok's Riverside. This area is quieter. You should go here to grab a canal tour and check out Wat Arun, the Royal Barges National Museum and its floating markets.

Things to do in the Thonburi / Riverside / Chao Phraya Riverbank area
  • Visit Wat Arun
  • Visit the Grand Palace
  • Visit Wat Pho - the temple of Reclining Buddha
Stay in Riverside if you...
  • Want great views
  • Don't mind spending more money for more luxury
  • Want a romantic feel
  • are looking for 5 star hotels
  • Like to be in a more chilled out part of the city
Avoid Riverside if you...
  • Want cheap accomodation

Pratunam

Pratunam Street In Bangkok
Pratunam Street In Bangkok

This is the fashion market (retail and wholesale) hub. You can find the second tallest building in Thailand here (Baiyoke Tower II) and Victory Monument (which is a transportaion hub - if you get a coach it'll probably be from here)

Stay in Pratunam if you...
  • Cheap restaurants and cheap food
  • Like to be able to visit markets that are open 24/7
  • Want Cheap accommodation
Avoid Pratunam if you...
  • Want easy access to BTS (it is 15+ min walk away)
  • Hate traffic (this area always is congested)

Ratchadaphisek

Ratchadaphisek Area In Bangkok
Ratchadaphisek Area In Bangkok

Ratchadaphisek is up in the northeastern part of Bangkok. It has in recent years become very popular entertainment district, with clubs, theatres, karaoke bars, bowling alleys, shopping complexes such as The Esplanade, cinema complexes, a night bazaar, and night markets.

There are also lots of seafood restaurants here, as well as massage parlours (brothels).

The nightlife is very good here. The "Royal City Avenue" (or RCA) is here, which is a pedestrian only street with lots of nice clubs, and because the licensing laws are a bit different here they can open until 2am (one hour later than other clubs in Bangkok). The clubs on RCA are generally very big, with many huge rooms.

Dusit

This is the political heart and administrative centre of Thailand, and looks somewhat European. There are big green gardens, wide avenues and nice palaces here.

This district does have very good public transport links.

There are not many tourists staying in this area - budget travellers will stay in the nearby Khao San Road, and those who want a nicer hotel will stay in the also nearby Sukhumvit district.

Phahonyothin

Phahonyothin / Viphavadi Rangsit Road is in north Bangkok. This district is where you can find the huge Chatuchak Weekend Market and get some bargains. It has over 8,000 stalls selling absolutely everything you could ever think of.

Ramkhamhaeng

Along Ramkhamhaeng Road lies a vast residential area with big shopping malls and amusement parks (like Safari World). Each neighbourhood has its own distinct character, but Hua Mak and Bang Kapi stand out as lively areas with many students from the universities.

Lat Krabang / Suvarnabhumi Airport

Suvarnabhumi
Suvarnabhumi

This area is close to the BKK Bangkok Airport. You can find lots of hotels (from budget to expensive), but there isn't much to keep you entertained here.

Things to do near the Suvarnabhumi Airport
  • Mega Bangna (shopping mall)
  • Boran Bang PLI Floating Market
Stay in Suvarnabhumi Airport area if you...
  • Need to be near airport
Avoid Suvarnabhumi Airport area if you...
  • Want to have any fun or be close to anything

More resources and sources for you to check out: 1 & 2.

Image sources: Siam Square.

Date Posted
January 17th 2018
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I'm an Australian who has lived in Europe for most of my life. I work online, travelling with my laptop, working online and exploring cities for months at a time.

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