Where to Stay in Bangkok: Advice from an expat in Bangkok about the best neighborhoods to stay in Bangkok, Thailand. Overview and Recommendations for 6 of Bangkok’s Best Neighborhoods, including Siam, Old Town, Chinatown, Thong Lor/Ekkamai, Sathorn and Silom, and Bang Kachao. Includes 22 hotel listings for every budget.
We created this guide in collaboration with Gary Butler, the blogger and food obsessed cook behind The Roaming Cook. Gary currently lives in Bangkok, and we’re thrilled he agreed to share his passion and knowledge of Bangkok as our local city expert for this Where to Stay in Bangkok Guide!
Bangkok is a hectic and vibrant city, famed for its incredible street food scene, buzzing “all night” bars, rich culture … and gridlocked traffic. Despite the frenetic hustle and bustle of life in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok has something for every type of traveller, and it’s possible to find an altogether slower pace of life hidden within…if you know where to look.
Due to the city’s sheer size (Bangkok is almost six times the size of Taipei, more than seven times the area of Seattle, and just under double the area of Berlin), getting yourself oriented in Bangkok can be a bit of a challenge at the beginning. The city sits at the northern tip of the Gulf of Thailand, and is bisected east-west by the snaking Chao Phraya River. Sections of the city are divided into districts, each with their own character, pros and cons for the visitor. And as with most cities, the more central you are as a visitor, the more convenient your stay will be in relation to experiencing the best of Bangkok.
Bangkok’s major tourist attractions, including The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun are found on Rattanakosin Island in the Phra Nakhon District. This area is often referred to as Old Town and sits on the eastern banks of the Chao Phraya River in central Bangkok. In addition to hosting some of the city’s most worthy cultural sites, Rattanakosin Island is also home to Khao San Road, the famous backpacker street that has swelled over the years into a budget-friendly hub for travellers from all over the world. Because of its central location, proximity to the major tourist attractions, and affordable accomodation, many budget travelers choose to base themselves in this area.
Directly to the east of Rattanakosin is Siam (pronounced See-Am, not Sigh-Am), a central district that is perfect for the ‘shop until you drop’ set…seriously, this is the place to shop in Bangkok. Siam the gleaming heart of modern Bangkok, and stay here if you want a “downtown” environment surrounded by modern glass buildings, and plan to use public transport to get around (Siam is one of the most convenient part of the city, transportation wise, as it’s a hub for both BTS skytrain lines).
Running east/southeast from Siam is Sukhumvit Road, the city’s longest boulevard, and home to various malls, suit shops, fine dining establishments, upmarket hotels, and entertainment areas. Thong Lor/Ekkamai each make up a “soi” (street branching off from a main road) branching off of Sukhumvit Road, and have long been popular areas for wealthy Thais to enjoy dining and nightlife. Recently, Thong Lor/Ekkamai have become more popular with expatriates and other foreigners, and the area has a sophisticated, upmarket, and cool vibe, and is a great spot for food, cocktails, and cool coffee shops.
Just south of Rattanakosin is Chinatown, a buzzing market area that’s well-located for late arrivals or early departures via train, followed by the business districts of Sathorn and Silom. And running north from Rattanakosin, Phahonyothin Road takes you up past Bangkok’s biggest market, Chatuchak, and out toward the city’s regional airport, Don Mueang (Suvarnabhumi Airport, the main international airport, is east of the city centre).
Best Areas to Stay in Bangkok: Introducing the Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Bangkok, Thailand
- Siam: Modern shopping malls, pop-up shops, SE Asia’s largest aquarium, and plenty of dining and entertainment options, Siam is a convenient modern base in the Thai capital, well-located for getting around the city on the BTS Skytrain system. If you’re coming to Bangkok to shop, want a range of mid-range and upscale hotels to choose from, or simply want a convenient place to base yourself, Siam might be the best place to stay in Bangkok.
- Bangkok’s Old Town (Khao San Road Area): Perhaps the world’s most famous budget traveller area, Khao San Road in Bangkok’s Old Town is best place to stay in Bangkok if you’re traveling on a shoestring. Beyond Khao San Road itself, there are plenty of budget accomodation options in the nearby area. And this part of Bangkok is also home to some of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, including The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun.
- Chinatown: If you want a slice of what Bangkok used to look like before it transformed into a city of glass shopping malls and skyscrapers, or if you’re a foodie who can’t wait to explore the city’s famous street food scene, Chinatown is for you. Chinatown mostly has budget accommodations, along with a few cool boutique-style properties. If you’re arriving late at night or leaving early in the morning via train, Chinatown is well located to the train station.
- Thong Lor & Ekkamai: Offshoots of Bangkok’s biggest boulevard, Sukhumvit Road, Thong Lor and Ekkamai have long been popular for dining and cocktails with wealthy Thais. In recent years, it’s become more popular with foreigners as well, and has a range of sophisticated options for eating, drinking, and sleeping, plus convenient access to the BTS Skytrain.
- Sathorn and Silom: Business districts by day, these neighborhoods offer great bars and restaurants at night, plus a good range of upmarket and luxury hotels that are very affordable compared to prices in North American or European cities. Accessible via metro and Skytrain, as well as the Express Boat along the river, both are also very convenient areas to stay in Bangkok.
- Bang Kachao: Known as the “green lung” of Bangkok, Bang Kachao is actually an island within the Chao Praya River, and is perfect for exploring by bike. For those who want to get away from the hustle of the city, there are a few guesthouses and spots to stay on Bang Kachao. Otherwise, you can make it a day trip to explore all the greenery!
Siam Great Area For Shopping & Sightseeing
Do & See: BACC (Bangkok Art & Cultural Centre), Jim Thompson House, Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World, Pathum Wanaram Temple, Erawan Shrine, The Human Body Museum; Eat: Som Tam Nua; Stay: Pathumwan Princess Hotel (5-Star), Mercure Bangkok Siam (4-Star)
Siam is the modern heart of downtown Bangkok, an area in which you’ll find everything from glistening shopping malls to pop-up shops, and plenty of dining and entertainment options. If you’re travelling with kids, Siam is also home to the Bangkok aquarium and Sea Life Oceanworld (within the Paragon mall).
Siam boasts many shopping malls, including Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery and Siam Centre, as well as being within walking distance to the famous MBK mall. If shopping is your thing, or you simply want to be in a modern and buzzing area of the city, then Siam might be the best place to stay in Bangkok for you. However, be warned it gets busy, especially at weekends.
One of the best parts about staying in Siam is it’s home to the Siam BTS (Skytrain) Station, the central interchange station for the city’s Skytrain system. This means Siam is mighty convenient in terms of using public transportation to get around the city. If you base yourself in Siam, you can easily reach the shopping and bar scene at Asok and Nana, the trendy areas of Ekkamai and Thong Lor, and Bangkok’s most extensive market — the Chatuchak Weekend Market — on the Sukhumvit line. The Silom Line will take you to the business districts of Silom and Sathorn, Patpong night market (not for the faint-hearted) and down to the Chao Praya River, where you can connect to the Express Boat for rides up and down the river.
While Siam may not be the most traditional part of Bangkok, it’s a central, modern and convenient area that shows how the young and modern residents of the city spend their time.
Pathumwan Princess Hotel
Pathumwan Princess Hotel – The gorgeous rooms at this modern, award-winning hotel boast breathtaking city views and floor-to-ceiling windows. Located at the MBK Center, the hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, jogging track, and rooftop tennis court. There’s a restaurant, bar, and spa, on site. and loads of additional dining and shopping within an near MBK Center. Walking distance to Siam skytrain station, the BACC, and Jim Thompson House.
Mercure Bangkok Siam
Mercure Bangkok Siam – The stylish and clean rooms have a minibar/fridge, safe, flat screen TVs, coffee & tea making facilities, and modern bathrooms with toiletries and hairdryers. The hotel has a lobby bar and a 9th-floor international restaurant with wonderful city views, and there’s a swimming pool and fitness centre on-site. This hotel is well-located, within a 5 minute walk to the MBK Centre, BACC, Jim Thompson House, Madame Tussauds, and the Skytrain.
Happy 3 – A modern, boutique-style hotel with a saltwater pool and restaurant. Air-conditioned rooms are clean with comfortable beds, flat screen TVs, and modern bathrooms with slippers and toiletries. There are lots of convenience stores, shops and restaurants close to the hotel, and the National Stadium skytrain station is a 5-minute walk. Within a 10-minute walk, you’ll find the BACC and the MBK Centre; the Jim Thompson House is just a 2-minute walk from the hotel.
Nine Design Place
Nine Design Place – A small, 9-room boutique with air-conditioned rooms featuring hardwood floors, minibars, and modern bathrooms with slippers and toiletries. The owner takes great care of the property and serves a daily prepared breakfast. This hotel operates more as a guest house, so there is no pool or fitness room, but it is well-liked by past guests. Conveniently located just a 4- minute walk to the National Stadium skytrain station, about 8-to-10-minute walk to MKB Centre and Siam Discovery.
Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam
Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam – A modern hotel with air -conditioned rooms and great city views, and a rooftop garden with even better panoramas! The hotel has a self-service laundry facility and fitness room, and offers an express breakfast and “grab and go” convenience food options. It’s well-located across from National Stadium skytrain station, and close to many restaurants, cafes and bars. Both the MBK Center and Siam Discovery shopping malls are just a 6-minute walk.
Cubic Bangkok – A top-rated hostel with both private twin and double rooms with shared bathrooms, and 3-, 4- and 6-bunk dorms. Top marks for cleanliness and comfort from past guests. Rooms are keycard-accessed, and each bed has an individual power outlet, reading light, privacy curtains and large lockers. The property features self-service laundry, theatre room, complimentary breakfast, and multiple wifi routers. 10-minute walk to National Stadium skytrain station and MBK Center.
Bangkok’s Old Town (Khao San Road Area) Great Area For Culture, Tourism, Nightlife & Street Markets
Rattanakosin Island, which sits on the eastern banks for the river in the Phra Nakhon District, is often referred to as Bangkok’s Old Town. It’s home to some of the city’s most impressive and must-see attractions, including The Grand Palace (Royal Palace), Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), and Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn). While its proximity to these attractions makes it a popular spot to stay for some travellers, it’s worth noting most of the accomodation in this area is on the budget end of the scale, with luxury properties being few and far between.
This area is also home to the famous backpacker haven of Khao San Road, a several-block stretch of road filled with budget accomodation, boozy drinks served in buckets, backpacker cafés, and ultra-cheap shopping. While you’re not going to find the ‘real Thailand’ on Khao San road, you will find plenty of cheap bars, cheap rooms, cheap food, and budget travellers to swap your travel stories with. Khao San Road is certainly not for everyone, and if you value your sleep, we suggest you consider staying on the adjacent road of Soi Rambuttri. There you’ll find a slightly more chilled-out vibe where you can sit out, relax and take it all in, which still being within a short walk from Khao San Road.
If you need some suggestions in the Khao San Road area, start off with some people watching over a Lychee Martini and some Northern Thai Cuisine at Madame Masur before heading down to the strip to see what all the fuss is about. If you’re in the mood for some authentic Thai curry with roti, make sure you make your way to Roti Mataba on Phra Arthit Road. And if Michelin-starred places are your bag, head over to Raan Jay Fai (327 Maha Chai Road), a hole-in-the-wall slash street stall that was awarded a star in 2017.
There’s no BTS or MRT (metro) at Khao San Road, and many travellers find they don’t leave the immediate area for the duration of their stay. It is very straightforward, however, to get into the city by taking the Chao Praya Express boat to Sathorn Pier, where you can connect to the BTS at Saphan Taksin. The boat pier is located on Phra Arhtit Road, a five-minute walk from Khao San.
If you plan on doing some sightseeing, then don’t miss the Grand Palace, Thailand’s most spectacular temple, which is a 10-minute stroll from the world’s most famous backpacker street.
Thanabhumi – A bright and clean 2-star hotel located just an 8-minute walk from the chaos of Khao San Rd, giving good access to the hustle and bustle, while still enjoying comfortable and quiet nights. The rooms are air conditioned and have private modern bathrooms. Guests can enjoy complimentary snacks such as cookies and muffins, fruit and bottled water 24/7. Guests have use of the common area with microwave and fridge as well. Lots of bars and restaurants are within a few minutes’s walk, as are sites like Wat Chanasongkhram and Wat Ratchanadda.
ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai
ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai – With an onsite restaurant, bar, and an outdoor salt water pool, this hotel is a bit of an oasis. The stylish and comfortable rooms are air conditioned, and come with TVs, electric kettles and hairdryers. Located just one block from Khaosan Road, there’s lots around in the way of food, drinks, and entertainment. Walk to Wat Chanasongkhram in under 5 minutes, and Santichaiprakarn Park in about 10 minutes. Wat Pho and the Grand Palace are a short tuk-tuk ride away.
Nitan Hostel Khaosan
Nitan Hostel Khaosan – A very well-liked hostel right on the famous Khaosan Road. Rooms are either 4-, 5- or 10-bunk dorms, or a family room. Secure access by keycard, lockable compartments in each bunk, privacy curtains, reading lights, great showers in the shared bathroom facilities and a complimentary breakfast, and all day snacks. The hostel is right in the thick of it, so loads around in terms of entertainment and food. A 5-minute walk to Wat Chanasongkhram and a 15-minute walk to the ferry pier.
Chinatown Great Area For Authentic Street Food & Markets
Bangkok’s Chinatown, or Yaowarat as it’s often referred to locally (after the main road running through the area), is a paradise for street food lovers. Chinatown is made up of two main streets – Yaowarat and the adjacent Charoen Krung Road – both of which are jam-packed with street stalls, shophouse restaurants, gold shops and street food carts.
The whole area of Chinatown is buzzing day and night with locals and tourists weaving through the narrow alleyways hunting for bargains at the various market stalls in Sempeng Lane Market. It can be a little overwhelming for some, but if you’re a foodie and markets are your thing, then Yaowarat is your dream spot.
Again, there is no BTS or MRT here, but Chao Praya Express boat stops here. Take it to Sathorn Pier, where you can connect to the BTS (skytrain) at Saphan Taksin. You can also walk to the MRT’s (metro) Hua Lamphong stop in under 20 minutes. The Huam Lamphong MRT station is connected to the train station of the same name, making this area a good bet if you’re arriving late at night, or have an early train to catch.
If you do catch the boat, make sure you grab some homemade dumplings at Khanom Chip A Liang, a little street stall by Ratchawonse pier. That should keep you going to your next stop!
The food choices are endless in Chinatown, but two more recommendations include Khao Gaeng Jake Puey for Thai curries served street-style, and Ann Guay Tiew Kua Gai for some authentic fried Thai noodles. The bar scene has also really taken off in the area over the last couple of years, and Soi Nana is where it’s at. Check out Tep bar for locally-sourced drinks and cultural music, Teens of Thailand if cocktails are your thing (they even make their own syrups), and 23 Bar & Gallery for beers, good music, and a little art exhibition.
While you won’t find a lot of luxury hotels in this area, there are some decent budget options.
Shanghai Mansion Bangkok
Shanghai Mansion Bangkok – A 4-star boutique hotel with a contemporary oriental design theme. Air-conditioned rooms come with satellite TVs, electric kettles, very comfortable beds, modern bathrooms with bathrobes, slippers and toiletries. A themed onsite restaurant and bar features live jazz music, but the hotel is located on the lively Yaowarat Road, so you’ll find many food and bar options within a short walk. Wat Traimit (Golden Buddha) is a 7 minute walk, Hua Lamphong MRT station is a 10-minute walk, as is the Ratchawong Express Boat Pier.
103 – Bed & Brews
103 Bed & Brews – A small designer B&B with interesting layouts and design for the rooms. All rooms are air conditioned, have hardwood floors and tea and coffee making facilities. Be warned if mobility is an issue, one of the room layouts is a loft style, where the bed is up a ladder. Brews, both coffee and beers, can be had in the bar onsite. Hua Lamphong MRT station is just a 5- minute walk, and the recommended Tep Bar is just a minute away along with many other bars and restaurants. Temple of the Golden Buddha is just a 4-minute walk.
Norn Yaowarat Hotel
Norn Yaowarat Hotel – Operating as a hotel/upscale hostel combo, you’ll find both bright and clean standard hotel rooms with flat screen TVs, private modern bathrooms with toiletries and hair dryers, as well as shared dormitory-style bunks with reading lights, power outlets and privacy curtains. Offering daily breakfast and coffee in the cafe, the hotel has a games room and a terrace as well. Located right in the middle of Chinatown, there is tons of food and shopping around. 10-minute walk to Hua Lamphong MRT, 5-minute walk to Wat Mangkon Kamalawatan, and 8-minute walk to Wat Traimit (Golden Buddha).
Photo by Gary Butler, Used with Permission
Thong Lor Great Area for Upscale Shopping & Dining
Thong Lor is located off Sukhumvit Road on Soi 55 (A “soi” is the local name for the side streets off major roads). It’s where you’ll find the so-called ‘HI-So’ kids – local slang referring to wealthy, fashionable Thais – hanging out. These days, however, more and more expats are frequenting this clean, modern and sophisticated area of the city, as well. If you’re into jazz bars, upmarket dining, and boutique clothing stores, then Thong Lor might be the best place to stay in Bangkok for you!
If you’re looking for great dining and drinking spots, Thong Lor won’t leave you wanting. The Commons, which has an excellent choice of Thai and Western food all under one roof, is a great spot to start, then head for a drink at the always busy Rabbit Hole (125 Soi Sukhumvit55 – there’s no sign on the outside) or The Iron Fairies to hang with the cool kids.
Thong Lor also boasts one of Bangkok’s best rooftop bars: The Octave in The Marriot Hotel. With happy hour from 5 to 7 every day, it’s a great place to start the night off with a two-for-one Thai cocktail at sunset.
If you venture off Soi 55, the nearby Ekkamai Road (Soi 63) has some exciting ventures popping up as well, and if you’re into coffee, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Ekkamai Macchiato, with its Thai-Ethiopian blend; the industrially-inspired Ink & Lion Cafe; and Nikko cafe are all great options, to name just a few. Ekkamai has transformed into a cafe-hopping paradise recently, so be sure to add it to your itinerary.
In terms of convenience and getting around from here, the BTS (skytrain) Sukhumvit Line stops here at Thong Lo and Ekkamai stations. The shiny Emporium Mall is just one or two BTS stops down at Phrom Phong if you need a little air-conditioned retail therapy, and Siam is six or seven stops away.
Adelphi Forty-Nine – One of the top-rated hotels in the entire city, rooms here are air-conditioned and equipped with flat screen satellite TVs, electric kettles, and modern bathrooms with bathrobes and slippers. The suites even have a washing machine in the room, perfect after navigating the city in Bangkok’s notorious heat. There’s an international bar and restaurant on site, plus a swimming pool and fitness center. Located an 8-minute walk to the Thong Lo skytrain station, the hotel also has a complimentary shuttle. Lots of designer shopping, food and restaurants nearby.
Volve Hotel Bangkok
Volve Hotel Bangkok – A relatively new and modern 4-star with clean and contemporary rooms and large windows, providing lovely city or garden views. Sleek rooms have satellite flat screen TVs, coffee and tea making facilities, and gorgeous modern bathrooms with toiletries and slippers. The onsite restaurant and bar serves an international menu. A 5-minute walk to Thong Lo skytrain station, and lots of food and bar choices nearby; the nightlife area of Thonglor is just a 10-minute walk.
Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit
Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit – A 5-star with a rooftop bar providing endless city views. Even if you don’t stay here, it’s worth popping in for a drink. The hotel features a swimming pool, fitness facility, yoga classes, and full spa services. There are 3 on site restaurants with menu choices of Indian, Asian Fusion, Seafood, Steak and Western. Plenty of shopping, restaurants and bars nearby, and the hotel offers a shuttle to a local shopping center. A 5-minute walk to the Thong Lo skytrain station and 10 minutes to the popular nightlife area.
Sathorn and Silom Great Area for Street Food, Night Market, and Less Touristy
Sathorn and Silom At-A-Glance
See & Do: Patpong Night Market, Convent Road Street Food, Eat: The Sky Bar, Issaya Siamese Club, Prachak Roasted Duck, Street Food on Convent Road (Silom Road); Stay: Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn (5-star), Evergreen Laurel Hotel Sathorn (4-star), Parvena Hotel Sathorn (3-star)
Tickets & Tours: Taste the Magic of Bangkok: Private Guided Night Tour
Financial hub by day, bar and restaurant hotspot by night, Silom and Sathorn are two of Gary’s favorite areas in Bangkok.
Home to some of Bangkok’s best luxury hotels at very affordable prices (by western standards) and the beautiful Lumphini Park, Silom also contains some of the city’s best bars and restaurants. While still somewhat touristy, Silom and Sathorn are not nearly as busy or tacky as some parts of Sukhumvit road.
The nice thing about Silom and Sathorn is there’s something for everyone here. Rooftop bars like The Sky Bar at The Lebua State Tower and high-end restaurants, such as Issaya Siamese Club, are great for those wanting to inject some luxury into their stay. If casual is more your scene, Convent Road has a great street food scene. And if you’re seeking something a little more local, you can’t miss the hundred-year-old Thai restaurants like Prachak Roasted Duck in Bang Rak. In fact, the Bang Rak area of Silom is where you’ll find some of the best food in the whole city!
Both areas are accessible by the BTS Skytrain and the MRT underground metro, as well as the Chao Phraya Express Boat at Saphan Taksin. This makes both a great choice for those who want to get around the city using public transport.
Silom and Sathorn are great areas to stay in Bangkok for anyone looking for a solid blend of upmarket and affordability.
Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn
Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn – A luxury choice with elegant rooms equipped with flat screen satellite TVs, coffee & tea making facilities, safes, bathrobes and slippers. Enjoy amazing city views from the infinity pool, meals in either an international or Chinese restaurant, or snacks and cocktails at the bar onsite. A fitness facility and spa services are also available. Guests enjoy direct access (via 3rd floor skybridge) to the Surasak skytrain station.
W Bangkok Hotel
W Bangkok Hotel – Contemporary and stylish rooms have luxurious beds with high-quality linens, fridges, and gorgeous bathrooms with bathtubs and showers. Boasting 5 onsite bars and restaurants offering a range of cuisine, a full spa, fitness center, yoga classes, and an outdoor swimming pool. Located an easy 5-minute walk to the Chong Nonsi skytrain station, and a 15-minute walk to the Patpong Night Market and Convent (Silom) Road. Lots of bars, restaurants and shopping nearby.
Evergreen Laurel Hotel Sathorn Bangkok
Evergreen Laurel Hotel Sathorn – Spacious, air-conditioned rooms are clean and comfortable with flat screen satellite TVs, and coffee and tea making facilities. The hotel features a relaxing rooftop pool, a well-equipped fitness center, a restaurant and bar. The Patpong Night Market is just a 10-minute walk, passing the street food haven of Covenant (Silom) Road. It’s a 5-minute walk to the skytrain (Chong Nonsi station) and 15-minute walk to Lumpini Park.
Triple Two Silom
Triple Two Silom – A 4-star boutique offering sleek air-conditioned rooms with hardwood floors and modern bathrooms. Each room has a flat screen TV and DVD player, and the hotel has an extensive list of free movies for guests to borrow. There is a restaurant on site and guests have free access to the pool and gym at the adjacent sister hotel. A 15-minute walk to the Patpong Night Market, and 10 minutes to Chong Nonsi skytrain station. Lots of bars, cafes shops, and restaurants within a short walk.
Amber Boutique Silom
Amber Boutique Silom – A charming value option with clean and comfortable rooms with large windows, flat screen TVs, and modern bathrooms, complimentary water, tea and coffee facilities. A 10-minute walk to Chong Nonsi skytrain station, 15 minutes to Patpong Night Market, and less than 5 minutes to Sri Maha Mariamman Temple. Plenty of restaurants and shops within a short walk from the hotel. Past guests have suggested requesting a room on an upper floor.
Parvena Hotel Sathorn
Parvena Hotel Sathorn – Bright and cozy air-conditioned rooms with flat screen TVs, electric kettles, fridge, and modern private bathrooms. There is no restaurant on-site, but many 7-11 convenient stores and other shops, bars and restaurants nearby. As the hotel is not located close to the skytrain, it offers a complimentary shuttle service within a 3-km area; Lumpini Park, Sathrom Quay, both the MRT and skytrain, and some shopping centers can be reached this way.
Bang Kachao is a Great Area For Cycling and Hiking
Bang Kachao At-A-Glance
Do & See: Cycling, Hiking; Eat: The Bangkok Treehouse, cafes; Stay: Check VRBO or AirBnb
Tickets & Tours: Bangkok Jungle Bike Tour: Morning or Afternoon Trip
Bang Kachao is not on many people’s itinerary when they are planning a trip to Bangkok, but we think it’s high time that changes. Known as The Green Lung, this area is still somewhat off the tourist radar, but that’s slowly starting to change as this beautiful part of Bangkok starts to get more coverage.
Bang Kachao is on its own island in the Chao Praya River, and is an urban oasis to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s the perfect spot for those looking to get away from it all. The Green Lung is accessed by boat from Khlong Toei Pier, where you can pick up bicycles to explore the island, riding through towns and fields up to elevated cycle lanes through the forest. It’s a world away from the noisy city!
So far, the island has avoided mass development, so you get a real sense of how life in the capital used to be before the shopping malls and the skyscrapers took over the city skyline. On the weekend there’s a floating market in the middle of the island where you can get some excellent Thai food as well as fresh fruit and vegetables grown on the island. A few coffee shops are starting to pop up in Bang Kachao as well, so getting your morning latte fix won’t be an issue!
There are a couple of small guesthouses on the island, and one two-story boutique hotel called The Bangkok Treehouse where you can take in the views of the island from the rooftop bar while sipping on an ice-cold beer or cocktail at sunset.
Still Wondering Where to Stay in Bangkok?
If you’re still not entirely sure where to stay in Bangkok, we’ve tried our best to summarize our recommendations from this Bangkok neighborhood guide!
- Budget travellers in Bangkok should stay in the Khao San Road area or Chinatown. Both have a good range of affordable accomodation ranging from dorm beds in a hostel, to pretty nice 3-star hotels and guesthouses. If you’re looking for a backpacker party scene, the Khao San Road area is a good bet, although you can stay in one of the many hotels off the strip if getting a good night’s sleep is important to you!
- Luxury travellers in Bangkok should stay in Siam, Thong Lor/Ekkamai, or Sathorn/Silom. All of these neighborhoods have a great selection of upscale hotels from small brands to international chains, and you can generally find places at much less than what you’d pay in Europe or North America.
- Those coming to Bangkok to shop should stay in Siam. This is the undisputed heart of Bangkok’s shopping scene, and you’ll find everything from massive shopping malls to small pop-up shops.
- Thong Lor/Ekkamai and Sathorn/Silom are the best areas to stay in Bangkok for nightlife. In both areas, you’ll find plenty of great restaurants and bars, including rooftop bars with great views of the city, and quirky ground-level cocktail bars worth exploring.
- If you are arriving in Bangkok late at night via train, or are leaving early in the morning on a train, Chinatown is the closest place to stay near the train station. While it’s mostly a budget accomodation area, there are also some cool boutiques worth considering.
- If you plan on using public transportation to get around, Siam, Thong Lor/Ekkamai, and Sathorn/Silom are great options as they are well connected to the Skytrain and/or Metro system.
- For those who crave greenery, consider staying on Bang Kachao, Bangkok’s “green lung” island in the river. Otherwise, make a point of exploring this beautiful island by bike during your stay in Bangkok!
How to Get Around BangkokPublic Transportation
The most popular and convenient way to get around Bangkok is the Skytrain (BTS) and the underground metro (MRT). The Skytrain has 2 lines, Silom Line (east/west), and Sukhumvit Line (north/south) which connect to each other at Siam and Asok stations. The MRT also has two lines, blue and purple. You can connect the metro and Skytrain at Sukhumvit (MRT) and Asok (BTS) stations.
Most tourists will not use the MRT underground, as the skytrain is much more convenient. Also, there are two different ticketing systems, so a BTS pass is not valid for travel on the MRT. There are handy passes available for both, so figure out which one you’ll use the most. A one-day, unlimited use pass on either the BTS or MRT is 120 Baht (~$3.68 US). You can also purchase single journey tickets if you don’t plan to use public transportation that much. Single tickets start at 15 Baht (~$0.45 US) and go up incrementally, depending on how many stations your ride is.
Chao Phraya Express boats are another part of the Bangkok public transportation system. There are three routes: green, yellow and orange. Tickets range in price from 13 Baht (~$0.40 US) to 30 Baht (~$0.92 US) and can be purchased at the Piers. The BTS connects to the Chao Phraya Express via Sathorn station.Tuk Tuk
Tuk Tuks are a quintessential Bangkok experience! The best part is that they’re everywhere, and very easy to get. Price is technically based on distance, but agreeing to a firm price before you get in is a must. As a tourist, you will no doubt be given a ‘tourist’ price, so haggle a little bit, but don’t go too crazy – they’re still trying to make a living, after all! At the end of the day, it’s still a pretty cheap ride, but try and knock it down a bit before you agree; if it’s 30 baht, ask for 20; if it’s 100 baht, start at 70.
As a piece of advice, we’d suggest not using tuk tuks during rush hour as they are windowless, and sitting in traffic in the heat is not particularly comfortable.Taxi
Taxis in Bangkok can be hit or miss. You’ll be fine if your hotel has ordered one for you, but if you flag one on the street confirm with the driver that the meter is on. Tipping is not necessary, and decline any extras your driver suggests, like a guided tour or promises to take you to a secret location.
How to Get From Bangkok Airport to the City Centre?
Bangkok has two airports; Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang international airports. All major airlines will fly into Suvarnabhumi, so if you are traveling from the USA, Canada or Europe, chances are you’ll land there.
From Suvarnabhumi there are three options to get in to the city center: taxi, train, and bus. We suggest you forget the bus unless you are on a very tight budget, as it takes a long time and can be difficult to locate.Trains From Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to Bangkok City Center:
Taking the train is a good option for a solo traveler as it only costs 45 baht (~$1.35US) to Phaya Thai at the end of the line. There, you can connect to the BTS Skytrain, and take the Skytrain to your hotel. For the train, head to the bottom floor of the Airport.
Note that the train station is classed as outside the airport. Therefore the money exchange stalls, especially Super Rich and Happy Rich, offer much better rates than anywhere at the airport. In fact, the prices at these booths are better than the banks in the city, so if you need to exchange a little cash, Gary suggests getting it there.Taxis from the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to Bangkok City Center:
Taxis from the airport are inexpensive compared to Western countries. Go to floor one, get a ticket, and you will get a meter taxi anywhere in the city for no more than 500 baht (~$15US), including tolls and a 50 baht airport surcharge. A great option if you’re getting off a long-haul and just want to get to your hotel!
Thanks to Gary, Our Bangkok Expert
We (Geoff and Katie) have spent a fair amount of time in Bangkok over the years, especially when they lived in Asia. But passing through a city as a tourist – even for a few weeks – is not the same as getting to know it as a local, which is why we’re so happy Gary agreed to share his expertise and knowledge of Bangkok as an expat living in the city, and serve as our collaborator on this post!
Gary’s Bio is below, and you can learn more about him on his website The Roaming Cook:
Ever since I first stepped foot in Thailand back in 2009, I’ve been in love with the country, the people and of course the food. I traveled back at least once a year on holiday until two years ago, when I left my old life in London to set up full time in Bangkok. During my travels to Bangkok, I always tried to stay somewhere unique, giving me a different experience of this astonishing city every time I visited. Since moving here in 2015, I’ve resided across the Chao Phraya river from the center of town, in the Western suburb of Thonburi, which has a much more local, quieter feel to it. In this post, I want to share my experiences of the various areas that make up Bangkok and help you find the perfect spot to stay.
A Note About Our Hotel Recommendations In This Where to Stay in Bangkok Neighbourhood Guide
Our hope with this Where to Stay in Bangkok Guide (and our Where to Stay in Hanoi, Where to Stay in Shanghai, Where to Stay in Beijing, Where to Stay in Taipei Guides…you get the idea) is to make it easy to find the best area to stay in Bangkok for your particular travel style, goals and budget. Bangkok is a massive city, and each neighbourhood and area of the city has it’s own unique vibe, level of convenience, and pros and cons for visitors. It’s definitely worth figuring out where you want to base yourself, where you want to explore, and how to get from A to B during your time in Bangkok, and we hope this guide helps.
As we hired a local expert (Gary) to write this guide and impart his knowledge about Bangkok, we’re a bit limited in terms of hotel knowledge. While Gary spent years coming back to Bangkok, as a local he (of course) doesn’t live in a hotel. Because (much to our disappointment) we’re not descendants of 19th-century railway barons living off bottomless inheritances, it’s a bit impractical for us to personally try out each hotel listed here. Instead, we’ve tried to find the highest-rated hotels in each neighborhood, and ones we’d actually consider booking ourselves. Basically, we put in the research for you, and chose the places we personally would want to stay, and the places we felt we’d be comfortable recommending to a friend or family member, across different budget ranges.
Really, we want to help you have a fantastic vacation to Bangkok, and to be able to do so without spending hours on the internet, reading reviews and cross-checking locations on a map. Hopefully we’ve succeeded…but please don’t blame us if we haven’t – at the end of the day, we expect you’ll check the most recent reviews and specific conditions in the city, using our listings as a starting point and framework, and choosing then selecting the best hotel and area to stay in Bangkok for your own trip!
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