Where to stay in Bangkok, the gateway to Southeast Asia? Here are the best neighbourhoods to stay in the Thai capital!
Bangkok, Thailand’s sprawling capital, is truly disconcerting to the traveller who has just landed at the airport for the first time. Nevertheless, with a surface area extending over 1,500 km² – almost the size of Guadeloupe – finding accommodation in Bangkok will be easy. Bangkok has 9.28 million inhabitants, 19.4 million in the whole metropolitan area, 21.47 million visitors in 2016, and a tropical climate with an annual average of 82°F. The world’s most visited city, it is an exotic paradise for both luxury and budget travellers.
For your stay in the Land of Smiles, finding accommodation comes down to one question: where to stay in Bangkok? Given the fact that each neighbourhood offers quite a different vibe, we’ve compiled all you need to know about the city’s quarters to help you find the best area to stay in Bangkok.
Khao San Road
Photo credit: Flickr – Guillén Pérez
All travellers tread these paved streets of this crazy neighbourhood at least once during their stay in Bangkok. Welcome to one of the city’s most party-driven street, a symbol of international festivity – as well as sexual debauchery – in Bangkok. Everything is cheap, crowded, overexcited, noisy, and festive virtually 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This is where tourists from all over the world – pharangs as the Thai call them – come together and roam at will the area’s profusion of hotels, guesthouses, bars, cheap restaurants, shops, massage parlours, tattoo shops, night markets, fast foods, travel agencies, etc. Here, it’s West meets Asia, a playground for night owls and party animals. If this description meets your needs, this neighbourhood is probably your best choice. As a bonus, the area offers very cheap rooms and apartments for rent (from €2 per night).
Photo credit: Flickr – Ninara
Sukhumvit is one of Bangkok’s most famous and popular neighbourhoods, and the area of choice for many European and Japanese expatriates. The Skytrain stops nearby, which is ideal for going anywhere while avoiding traffic jams in a taxi or exposing yourself to the heavy load of hydrocarbon gases released by the city’s tuk-tuks. Main artery of Bangkok, Sukhumvit is a very lively neighbourhood at night.
Thanks to its network of narrow streets, the area offers a unique mixture of teeming excitement and some quieter, more peaceful corners. Choose this area to stay in Bangkok if you enjoy cosmopolitan and lively areas, and being close to shopping centres. Alos a great choice if you plan to enjoy romantic evenings or admire the city from the hotel rooftops.
Siam and Pratunam, the city centre
Photo credit: Flickr – Gürcan Özsüyek
Shopping lovers and bargain hunters, this is your stamping ground. The shopping heart of Bangkok, Siam and Pratunam are home to the city’s biggest shopping centres: the gigantic MBK, Siam Paragon, Platinum, Central World, Palladium, etc. At the opposite end of Buddhist Thailand, this is the pace to glean a thousand trinkets at the temple of consumerism. An ideal area to stay in Bangkok: located at the edge of mass tourism, close to shopping centres, and not far from the shuttle boats taking you to Sukhumvit, and Rattanakosin, the temples quarter.
Photo credit: Flickr – Harald
Here we are on the right bank, west of the Chao Phraya River. If you are looking to experience the authentic Bangkok with its countless winding canals – the khlongs – and you want to avoid the busiest areas packed with Western tourists, choose to stay in Thonburi. Though there are far fewer tourist activities on offer in the Thonburi neighbourhoods, there is one must-see landmark of the capital: the Wat Arun. It is undoubtedly one of Bangkok’s most famous temples, featured on all postcards.
Chinatown & Hua Lamphong
Photo credit: Flickr – Roberto Trombetta
Like all the world’s megacities, Bangkok has its own Chinatown. There are few hotels, which is a disadvantage, but the Chinese market is a tourist attraction in itself. The streets are busy all day and all night, and with the added advantage of there being fewer Western tourists than elsewhere in Bangkok. Near the Chao Phraya River, you will also be close to Hua Lamphong Station, the starting point for all excursions to the northern mountains – Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai – or to the southern islands. If you love Asian cuisine, this is the perfect place to find an apartment in Bangkok because you will enjoy the choice of flavours, somewhere between the delights of Thai cuisine and the wonders of Chinese food.
Photo credit: Flickr – Michael
In this city made of concrete, you will certainly love the “Central Park” spirit of Lumphini Park, where you can go for a run, relax, watch the open air gyms, or admire the lizards in the park. Lumphini is a rather chic neighborhood to stay in Bangkok with upmarket hotels for wealthy travellers, or those on business trips.
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