Bangkok Best Neighbourhoods: 6 Areas To Immerse In The City’s Charms
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is one of the favourite tourist destinations in the world. It doesn’t take long to know why the city is so well-loved by many. This is a diverse city that offers action and surprises at every turn. However, deciding where to stay for a perfect Bangkok trip can be daunting, given that it is over 2 times bigger than the size of Singapore.
In this article, we will show you the 6 best areas to stay in Bangkok depending on your travel profile. Read on to find the best neighbourhoods to stay in the Thai capital.
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Best neighbourhoods for budget travellers, history and cultural buffs:
1. Old City (Khao San & Rattanakosin)
Location: bordered by the Chao Phraya River to the west and Chinatown to the south
Transport options: Express boats, buses or taxis. The BTS Skytrain and MRT systems do not cover this area. From downtown, take the BTS to Saphan Taksin station and transfer onto the Chao Phraya Express Boat. Bus 53 can be used for sightseeing around Rattanakosin and costs about 0.30 SGD (6.5 THB).
Home to an impressive collection of ancient religious and architectural treasures, Rattanakosin is Bangkok’s historic centre. Most of the city’s must-see sights are located here. For a glimpse of Thailand’s most honoured sites, visit the Royal Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho.
On the northern part of Rattanakosin is Bangkok’s backpacker haven – Khao San Road. Filled with cheap guest houses and everything a budget traveller could wish for, this is the place to soak in the city’s lively charms. Besides tourist sights, a great way to experience local life is to visit the many markets here. Shop till you drop at Thailand’s biggest clothing wholesale Bo Bae Market. Or head to Bangkok’s largest wholesale and retail fresh flower Pak Klong Talad market, just south of the giant reclining Buddha at Wat Pho.
Our favourite accommodation picks in Old City:
1) Sala Rattanakosin
Chic boutique hotel offering the city’s best views, situated along the Chao Phraya River banks.
- Address: 39 Maha Rat Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
- Price: from 140 SGD per night
2) Baan Noppawong
Exclusive small hotel set in an elegantly restored 19th century colonial home.
- Address: 114 Soi Damnoen Klang Tai, Khwaeng Wat Bowon Niwet, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
- Price: from 106 SGD per night
Best for cultural buffs, gourmands and travellers seeking an authentic feel of Bangkok:
2. Yaowarat (Chinatown)
Location: located west of Silom and southeast of Rattanakosin
Transport options: The nearest MRT station to Chinatown is Hualamphong station, a 20-minute walk away. Take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Rachawongse pier for the best way to reach central Chinatown.
If you love to eat, explore heritage sites or feel the pulsating vibes of ‘real’ Bangkok, Yaowarat is the place for you. Better known as Chinatown, Yaowarat is known for its mouth-watering street food, legendary temples and museums, and congested roads. As the world’s largest Chinatown, this is where you can find almost everything related to the Chinese. Hawkers peddling everything from imported toys to antique chinaware, Chinese gold traders, dim sum joints and seafood restaurants are just some of the gems you will discover while wandering your way through the main road and its hidden side-alleys.
Marvel at the world’s largest gold statue at Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha). Check out the ancient Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, Bangkok’s largest Chinese-Buddhist temple, which was founded in 1872. The Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Center is also an interesting site to know more about the history of Bangkok Chinatown.
Our favourite accommodation picks in Chinatown:
1) Shanghai Mansion Hotel
Award-winning luxury boutique hotel right smack in the middle of Chinatown, housed in a restored 1892 building. Tantalise your tastebuds with the best of Thai and Chinese cooking at Red Rose Restaurant on its second floor.
- Address: 479-481 Yaowarat Rd, Khwaeng Samphanthawong, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
- Price: from 95 SGD per night
2) 103 – Bed and Brews
Tastefully furnished boutique hotel co-owned by local celebrities. Soak in the old-school street scene as you chillax in its in-house cafe full of retro charm.
- Address: 103 Soi Nana, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok
- Price: from 55 SGD per night
Best for the keen shopper waiting to suss out Bangkok’s fashion trends:
Location: Bangkok’s modern downtown core along Ratchaprasong and Phloen Chit Road
Transport options: The BTS Siam station is a central interchange station here. Both Siam and National Stadium stations have walkways connected to major shopping malls in the area.
Undoubtedly, Siam is the shopping paradise of Bangkok, where some of the city’s most popular shopping centres such as MBK Center, Siam Discovery Center and Siam Paragon reside. If vintage charm isn’t your cup of tea, you might be better off exploring Siam, Bangkok’s answer to Tokyo’s Shinjuku or Taipei’s Ximending. With its diverse mix of shops, cafes, restaurants and entertainment catering to a wide range of budgets, it’s little wonder why Siam is so popular.
Fancy a fashionable and lavish shopping experience? Then make your way to Siam Paragon. MBK Center, Bangkok’s most famous shopping mall, is the mall to be for the entire clan with its intriguing range of products housed in the huge 8-floor 2,000-shop complex. Feel at home as you explore a first-of-its-kind shopping experience in Bangkok at Siam Discovery Centre. In between shopping, make pit-stops at quirky cafes such as Mermaid Castle Cafe and Little Zoo Cafe in Siam Square.
Our favourite accommodation picks in Siam:
1) Hua Chang Heritage Hotel
Enjoy the best of both (modern and vintage) worlds by staying in this contemporary hotel decorated with traditional Thai elements. Conveniently located within a 5-minute walk from MBK Centre, Siam Paragon and Jim Thompson House.
- Address: 400 Phayathai Rd, Khwaeng Wang Mai, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
- Price: from 126 SGD per night
2) BaanSu Hostel
Experience superb Thai hospitality in this cosy 7-room hostel perfect for small family getaways. Accessible to all the action in town yet far enough for some peace and quiet.
- Address: 661 Soi Phaya Nak, Khwaeng Thanon Phetchaburi, Khet Ratchathewi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
- Price: from 53 SGD per night
Best for party goers and travellers seeking the finer things in life:
Location: Bangkok’s prime commercial district
Transport options: Accessible by both the MRT (Sukhumvit station) and BTS (Asoke station). Connect to the Airport Rail Link to Suvarnabhumi International Airport from Phetchaburi MRT Station just 1 stop away.
As the longest road in Thailand, Sukhumvit is a cosmopolitan district filled with hip clubs, bars, lavish hotels and modern air-conditioned malls. Discover lush day spas, atmospheric cafes and trendy restaurants hidden in its many adjoining ‘sois’ (sub-streets) alongside Bangkok’s infamous red light districts Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy instead of traditional tourist attractions.
Stay around the Asok intersection for easy access to both the BTS and MRT systems, as well as the interesting airport-themed Terminal 21 shopping mall. Filled with girly bars and gaudy Irish pubs and shady massage parlours, this area is for those who are seeking naughty nightlife. Well-heeled travellers are perhaps better off partying your way through upscale cocktail bars in central Sukhumvit between soi 33 and 55 (Phrom Phong / Thonglor). Thonglor is also home to numerous stylish cafes frequented by affluent hipsters, so it’s a great place to see and be seen.
Our favourite accommodation picks in Sukhumvit:
1) Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit
Luxury 5-star hotel in the heart of downtown Bangkok. Connected to a skybridge with direct access to Asoke BTS Skytrain, Terminal 21 shopping mall and a stone’s throw to Sukhumvit MRT station.
- Address: 250 Sukhumvit Rd, Khwaeng Khlong Toei, Khet Khlong Toei, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
- Price: from 252 SGD per night
2) Playhaus Thonglor
Theatre-themed boutique hotel right smack in the middle of hippy Thonglor. Fanciful rooms modelled after 4 plays—Romeo & Juliet, Mary Poppins, Aladdin and Thailand’s See Pan Din. The house bar is modelled to resemble a backstage dressing room.
- Address: 205/22-23 Sukhumvit Soi 55, Bangkok
- Price: from 53 SGD per night
Best for the budget shopper:
Location: located near Siam and surrounded by Ratchaprasong and Petchaburi roads
No BTS or Skytrain systems, but there are plenty of taxis, tuk-tuks and buses connecting it to other parts of the city. The closest BTS stations are Chidlom and Ratchathewi.
Famous for its wholesale fashion factory outlets, street markets and bazaars, Pratunam is a budget shopping haven. From apparel, footwear, accessories, leather goods, electronics to handicrafts, Pratunam has it all. Put Baiyoke Gallery Fashion Mall and Pantip Plaza IT Mall on your list if you are looking to purchase electronics at amazing prices. Head to Platinum Shopping Mall for an air-conditioned version of the renowned Chatuchak Weekend Market. Or shop like a local at one of Bangkok’s busiest markets, the Pratunam Market.
Our favourite accommodation picks in Pratunam:
1) Novotel Bangkok Platinum Pratunam
Contemporary 4-star hotel situated directly above Platinum Shopping Mall and a short walk to Pratunam Market and CentralWorld
- Address: 220 Phetchaburi Rd, Khet Ratchathewi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
- Price: from 145 SGD per night
2) Glow Pratunam Bangkok
Modern hotel in the heart of Pratunam. Conveniently located across the road from the popular Platinum Shopping Mall, with cosy rooms to rest in after a long day out shopping.
- Address: 919 Phetchaburi Rd, Khet Ratchathewi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
- Price: from 103 SGD per night
Best for the sophisticated traveller:
Location: Bangkok’s Central Business District (CBD)
Transport options: Great accessibility with the many BTS and MRT stations in Silom.
As Bangkok’s CBD, Silom may seem like a boring built-up area prevalent with foreign embassies and high-rise commercial buildings at first glance. But venture beyond the main road, and you will find cool cafes, modern art galleries and street food joints lining the quiet sois. Seek respite from the congested cityscape in Lumphini Park, the city’s largest and most gorgeous green lung. Thereafter, enjoy a delicious Thai meal at one of the fine restaurants in Silom. Or if you dare, check out Thailand’s latest architectural landmark, the Mahanakhon SkyWalk, a hair-raising glass-bottomed observation deck boasting the city’s most epic views at 314 meters high.
Our favourite accommodation picks in Silom:
1) SO Sofitel Bangkok
Lavish design hotel overlooking Lumphini Park. Easy access to the city’s top attractions with Lumphini MRT station just 200 metres away.
- Address: 2 N Sathon Rd, Khwaeng Bang Rak, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
- Price: from 249 SGD per night
2) Red Planet Surawong Bangkok
Sleek value for money hotel with clean and comfortable rooms.
- Address: 169/10 Thanon Surawong, Suriya Wong, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
- Price: from 39 SGD per night