The best places to stay in Bangkok?
Bangkok is a megacity; quintessentially Thai and multicultural all at the same time. It brings together history and modernity, reflects the past and, at the same time, takes visitors on a trip to the future.
This sprawling metropolis is full of intriguing contrasts and forever changing. Bangkok reaches to the stars, with apartment towers on the Chao Phraya River growing higher and the shopping malls getting larger and more sophisticated. The city is the ultimate trend setter. In a short time, Thailand’s capital has flourished into South-East Asia’s design and fashion stronghold.
There are five districts in Bangkok that tend to appeal to visitors. Each region has its benefits and drawbacks, its clichés, and its issues. Regrettably, many travellers are quickly weighed down by choices and book accommodation in areas teaming with other travellers. To help you narrow down your research and decide the best place to stay in Bangkok for you, I have summarised the five most significant areas of the city in this post.
Khao San Road – Best place to stay in Bangkok for backpackers
Khao San is translated as ‘milled rice and, five decades ago, it was identified locally as a great place to purchase rice. It’s now the center of the traveller and backpacker scene in Bangkok; a hub of somewhat crazed action, conjuring images of a free-flowing music festival (but with plenty of tuk-tuks).
Next to the old town to the North, Khao San Road, is situated in the Banglamphu district. Since the film The Beach landed, tourists of all types pour through Khao San Road on a daily basis. It’s perfectly set up for first-time backpackers, changing into a pedestrian zone in the evening. Offering higher peace of mind and basic rooms, the neighbourhood is a convenient starting point for many of the Bangkok attractions. Two major tourist destinations (The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew) are less than 1 mile away from Khao San Road.
In this rough, 400m-long street, there’s a plethora of low-cost lodging, places to eat, street vendors, and internet cafes. It’s vibrant, noisy, spectacular, and thrilling here. However, if you are searching for the ‘real’ Thailand, then you’ve come to the wrong place. Those travelling alone and looking for new buddies will undoubtedly find what they are searching for on Khao San Road. It’s the best place to stay in Bangkok for travellers looking to party seven days a week.
Siam – Best shopping in Bangkok
Friends of sophisticated shopping have discovered heaven in Siam. For those who have accommodation in Siam, you are within easy reach of cheap shopping centers like MBK (where you can buy pretty much everything possible), but also luxury malls like the recently refurbished Siam Discovery, Siam Center, Siam Paragon, Icon Siam and Central World. These upmarket malls offer everything from designers to recognisable European brands, such as H&M and Zara.
Furthermore, because of the BTS, Chatuchak weekend market is an easy trip away, and the Platinum shopping mall (hot insider tip for female visitors) is also relatively close. Of the five best shopping centers in Bangkok, three can be found in Siam. The best of Bangkok places to stay if you’re in the mood to spend some cash!
Riverside – Modern Bangkok
The whole riverbank of the Chao Phraya River is known as Riverside. The majority of the hotels are on the Eastern bank. If you like luxurious, peaceful hotel hotels, don’t have much time in the city, and are hoping to see a good number of Bangkok’s temples, then the Riverside is one of the top places to stay in Bangkok.
It’s worth noting that connections to public transport are limited here, and a lot of tourists rely on taxis or the Chao Phraya River ferry system (the later being the local’s choice). The ferry system takes a little bit of working out but, once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s a convenient and rewarding way to navigate the area whilst taking in some magical views of the city. The little markets attached to the ferry terminals are charming and interesting, carrying a lot of tourist gifts, alongside clothing and snacks.
China Town (Yaowarat) – Mini China in Bangkok
Before the city of Bangkok began, Chinese merchants lived on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. As the settlement grew, space was required for a royal palace. The Chinese were relocated to the South-East of the Royal Palace and it has remained their housing area ever since.
The entrance to Chinatown is highlighted by the Chinese Gate near Hualamphong Central Station. A different world appears behind the gate. Chinese writing, lanterns decorating the homes, and the common Chinese design style define China Town’s cityscape. If you are looking for places to stay in Bangkok at an affordable cost, China Town is great as accommodation is cheap. What’s more, there is no shortage of traditional Chinese food in Chinatown. In the evenings, every street comes alive with a mixture of restaurants and street vendors, all offering a great selection of tasty cuisine. You can spend hours exploring the lanes and old buildings, treating yourself to massages, browsing open-front stores and taking in the atmosphere.
Sukhumvit – Hangout with expats and eat Bangkok street food
Sukhumvit, one of Bangkok’s most contemporary and multicultural subdivisions, is situated in the central part of the city. It’s very hassle-free for public transport (BTS Skytrain and MRT subway), is loaded with street food, and is energetic at night (the famous Soi Cowboy is in this area).
Extravagant apartments, villas, cafes, bars, and clubs are everywhere in Sukhumvit. This is an area that’s very well-liked among travellers and Bangkok’s expat communities. It has a safe and familiar feel, whilst still giving you a taste of modern Bangkok. Sukhumvit is a conventional business-oriented shopping area and if you’d prefer Thai branded products or have shopping requirements, then this is a destination not to be missed. Here, you will discover much of what makes Bangkok one of the most popular travel destinations in SE Asia. And what’s more, there are a lot of vegan restaurants in this area.
About our guest writer, Kim Aroon …
Kim is a travel blogger based in Bangkok. He is also a Computer Engineer and dreamer. He often writes Bangkok related content. If you want even more help planning your trip to Bangkok (or want to learn more about the best places to stay in Bangkok), you can read his content on his blog bangkoktravelpoint.com. He loves assisting visitors in planning their trip, and does so in a friendly and knowledgeable manner