At first, you may not understand this city and try to quickly pass through it, exploring the basic tourist attractions. Then you gradually start to explore and immerse yourself in this seemingly chaotic, yet intriguingly managed city.
It’s only on your third or fourth visit that you truly begin to love and embrace Bangkok for what it is, with all its smells, eclectic styles, ancient mold-covered houses, ultramodern skyscrapers, sky bars, top-notch world restaurants, parks, temples, canals, and crazy water taxis.
The right perception of the city greatly depends on the quality of accommodation and the district where you choose to stay. It would be a wise decision to share information about accommodation in Bangkok, including specific hotel examples.
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Bangkok is a massive metropolis with a population of approximately 6 million people, and when you consider tourists and Greater Bangkok with its suburbs, that number doubles. The city is divided in two by the navigable Chao Phraya River, creating incredible loops in the heart of the Thai capital. Numerous canals, including some navigable ones, lead to the river.
In Bangkok, there is an incredible variety of hotels, apartments, and hostels ranging from $10 to several hundred US dollars. From five-star hotels with rooftop pools and rooftop bars with views of the city at night to budget options with minimal amenities.
Regardless of your budget, you won’t be left without a roof over your head, and you will surely be satisfied. The impression of the city varies greatly depending on the accommodation you choose. We’ve tested it ourselves – from the cheapest apartments on Khao San to luxurious apartments with a view of the city skyline and a rooftop bar, and everything in between.
We’ve lived in all the districts listed below, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Choose according to your needs and budget.
Getting around the city is easy with taxis, which are inexpensive and will take you anywhere. Another popular way to get around the city is the SkyTrain (BTS). The Airport Link, a surface metro line, will take you from Suvarnabhumi International Airport to the city. There is also a classic underground metro (MRT) and city buses.
Bus routes also connect the main areas of Bangkok with the second airport, Don Mueang. There is no metro connection between the two airports, but there is a bus service.
Ferries run along the river, providing access to many areas of the city mentioned below.
Bangkok’s city canals are known as “klongs,” and you can also use high-speed water taxis on them – narrow, spacious boats with powerful engines. It looks quite exotic, especially if you see it for the first time. It’s very convenient if you live near such a navigable canal. We often used this mode of transportation and highly recommend it.
Sukhumvit District (Sukhumvit)
Sukhumvit is one of the most modern districts in Bangkok, known for its nightlife with trendy clubs, huge shopping centers, and a plethora of excellent hotels. This district is home to many restaurants, pubs, and rooftop bars. It is also where you’ll find the famous red-light street Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza.
If you love shopping centers and nightlife, then this is the district for you. Notable shopping centers include EM-Quartier and the trendy Terminal 21, where each floor is dedicated to a different country in the world.
Sukhumvit has many Skytrain (BTS) and metro (MRT) stations, making it easy to explore the city.
Attractions in Sukhumvit:
- Terminal 21 Shopping Center
- EM-Quartier Shopping Center
- Baan Kamthieng House Museum
- Science Museum and Planetarium
- Rama IX Park
- Benjakitti Park
- Don’t miss Octave-Skybar.
- Excellent BTS and MRT connectivity to other city areas
- A range of hotels in every price category
- Great shopping opportunities
- International-level restaurants and bars
Best Places to Stay:
- Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit 5*: An incredibly cool place with an excellent breakfast, a rooftop sky bar, and modern rooms.
- Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 4*: Modern rooms, good prices, a sky bar, luxurious breakfast, and a pool.
- Hide and Seek Hometel: An excellent budget option located near the BTS metro station, offering great rooms and a good breakfast.
How to Get from the Airport: To reach Sukhumvit district via the Airport Link metro, go to Makassan station, transfer to the Phetchaburi metro station, and travel one stop to Sukhumvit station. If you’re new to Bangkok’s metro and find it confusing, ask the station attendants, who are always available to help. They understand gestures too.
Old Town Bangkok
The old town of Bangkok is called Rattanakosin, and it is located north of Chinatown along the Chao Phraya River. Choosing accommodation in the Old Town is ideal if your priority is exploring the city’s main historical attractions and you have limited time.
Traditionally, Bangkok offers a wide range of accommodation options for tourists at any price point in this area. One noteworthy feature is the abundance of traditional Thai restaurants and cafes, giving the accommodation a more authentic feel compared to areas like Sukhumvit.
What to See in the Old Town? The main attraction of Bangkok is the Royal Palace, which houses the impressive Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), as well as temples like Wat Pho, Wat Mahathat, Wat Saket, the National Gallery, and other lesser-known points of interest.
- An incredible number of historical attractions and the most beautiful temples in Bangkok are located here.
- Traditional food stalls and shops, authentic buildings.
- Distance from BTS and MRT metro lines.
Best Places to Stay:
- Riva Arun Bangkok 4*: Excellently located on the Chao Phraya River with a stunning view of Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn).
- 1905 Heritage Corner: A beautiful hotel close to most attractions.
- Hostel Issara by D: A quiet budget option with a rooftop terrace and stunning views of the temple complex.
How to Get to the Old Town from the Airport: The Old Town is distant from the BTS and MRT metro lines, but this doesn’t deter tourists. If you’ve chosen accommodation in the Old Town, the best way to get there from the airport is by taxi.
For a budget option, you can take bus route AE 2, which takes 40 minutes.
Getting around the Old Town is best done with tuk-tuks (local traditional motorbike taxis). Another popular mode of transportation in this area is the river trams, which run along all the major attractions.
Silom is one of our favorite districts to stay in Bangkok. Here, you’ll find the best hotels, restaurants, rooftop bars, impressive skyscrapers, Lumpini Park, and numerous shopping centers.
Silom has a well-developed network of both surface-level (BTS) and underground (MRT) metro systems, making it easy to reach other districts, including those along the Chao Phraya River and the city’s canals. It’s also easy to reach the airport.
Attractions in Silom: Silom can be compared to Manhattan in New York City, and besides skyscrapers, it features a local Central Park – Lumpini Park, where huge monitor lizards roam freely and are safe for humans. Other attractions include the rooftop bar at Lebua Hotel, where “The Hangover Part II” was filmed, but it’s better to visit the Vertigo Sky Bar, which is much cooler and ranks among the world’s best sky bars. Other well-known sky bars include Banyan Tree and King Power Mahanakhon.
In the Silom area, you’ll also find a snake farm – highly recommended for its educational value – and the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple.
- Excellent transportation links – metro, water transport.
- Best rooftop bars (sky bars).
- Beautiful parks.
- Plenty of accommodation with beautiful views of the city skyline and the Chao Phraya River.
To reach the historic city center and the Khao San Road area, it’s easy to take a taxi or travel by boat along the river and then walk a bit.
Best Places to Stay:
- Amara Bangkok 4*: Excellent value for money, a cool rooftop bar with a pool and a city view.
- Simply Sleep Hotel 3*: A new and very cozy budget hotel with modern decor. Great value for your money.
- Kinnon Deluxe Hostel Coworking Cafe: Convenient location, breakfast, and decent rooms. It has a coworking space – if you like mingling with travelers from around the world and don’t want to overpay, this is your option.
How to Get There: Getting from the airport is very easy via the Airport Link metro. Transfer to the Skytrain (BTS) and ride to Silom station or nearby stations depending on where you’re staying.
Khao San Road and Rambuttri Road
Perhaps, these are the two most famous streets in Bangkok, located parallel to each other, not far from the Old Town and the main attractions. Independent travelers usually stay here, while organized tour groups rarely visit, and there is always something going on around the clock.
In addition to Khao San Road, you can find numerous tourist agencies, ticket booking offices for travel to all corners of Thailand, as well as cafes, restaurants, and an incredible number of guesthouses and small hotels.
During the pandemic, Khao San Road underwent some reconstruction and got a facelift, and it seems that the spirit of the Khao San that was there ten to twenty years ago is gradually fading away. The Thai government seems to be persistently favoring organized tourism and affluent adventurers over budget-conscious independent travelers. At least, that’s the impression I’ve formed over the past ten years of traveling to Thailand.
Khao San is often called the “backpacker’s haven,” while Rambuttri is considered to be a bit more peaceful. However, whenever I hear “Rambuttri,” I always remember a British couple who ruined our night with their drunken antics. Nevertheless, this area is ideal for those who love the tourist buzz and proximity to Bangkok’s main classical attractions.
A visit to Khao San Road is a must in any case—it’s a legendary street in the Thai capital, and Bangkok just wouldn’t be Bangkok without it. If you prefer a quieter atmosphere without the noise and rowdiness of backpackers, you can find accommodation on the nearby streets.
Attractions near Khao San Road
Near Khao San Road, you’ll find Bangkok’s main attractions, including the Royal Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha; Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha; the National Museum; Wat Mahathat; Wat Saket, also known as the Golden Mount; the Giant Swing, and Democracy Monument.
All of these places are easily accessible on foot or by tuk-tuk for a small fee.
Advantages of the Area
- Vibrant nightlife with good bars and restaurants
- Accessibility to major attractions
- Affordable and diverse accommodation options
- Can be noisy
- No metro; transportation is primarily by taxi
Best Places to Stay
- BED STATION Khaosan: A very modern and clean budget hostel near Khao San Road with a pool and a good billiard table.
- Villa De Khaosan by Chillax 5*: A great place just a 5-minute walk from Khao San Road with a rooftop pool and excellent value for money, with good reviews.
Getting There from the International Airport
The most time-efficient and cost-effective way is by taxi.
This is an unofficial name for the area, but it is widely recognized among tourists and locals alike. The area is located on both sides of the Chao Phraya River.
It is considered one of the most attractive areas to stay in Bangkok. There are local markets, the Chao Phraya River with its scenic views, the opportunity to explore the city via river trams (ferries), plenty of tourist accommodations, and apartments for locals. You’ll also find many stylish and memorable hotels.
Attractions in the Riverside Area
Along the Chao Phraya River, you’ll find many beautiful attractions, including Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn; the Royal Palace; Wat Pho; Siam Icon shopping center; Asiatique the Riverfront night market; and the famous flower market right by the Chao Phraya River near Chinatown.
Advantages of the Riverside Area
- Some of the best hotels in Bangkok are located here.
- Easy access to attractions along the river via speedboats or river trams.
Best Places to Stay
- Riva Arun Bangkok: A charming and pleasant hotel located near the river with a fantastic view of Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn.
- The Peninsula Bangkok: A magnificent 5-star hotel with no compromises for those who can afford a luxurious stay. In addition to its brilliant location and view, it has a spacious pool for relaxation after urban excursions. In Bangkok, a hotel with a pool is a crucial option, believe me.
- Avani+ Riverside Bangkok 5*: A superb hotel with a rooftop panoramic pool and an incredible city view. The breakfast is just as fantastic as the view.
Getting There from the International Airport
The Riverside area stretches along the winding river, so there are many ways to get to different locations. The optimal way is to take the BTS Skytrain along the riverbank and exit at the nearest station, Saphan Taksin. From there, you can reach any place by river tram or speedboat.
From the international airport, you can take the airport metro and then the BTS Skytrain or take a taxi.
Chinatown is an endless maze of street markets, vibrant colors, neon signs in the evenings, street food galore, and several genuinely cool hotels and budget hostels for backpackers. In short, Chinatown is all about chaos and exoticism!
The Chinatown district runs along the river and is conveniently accessible from the Riverside and Silom areas. There are two new subway stations here, providing quick access to the modern part of Bangkok. Another advantage is the river transport, allowing you to easily reach major attractions such as Wat Arun, the Royal Palace, and Wat Pho. The main railway station of Bangkok is also nearby.
Attractions in Chinatown
In Chinatown or its immediate vicinity, you can find Wat Traimit, Sampeng Lane market street, the Red Chinese Gate, Yaowarat Road, and Wat Mangkol Kamalawat. From here, you can easily reach the Old Town by the river, and the Silom district is also quite close.
Advantages of Chinatown:
- Good transportation options with the subway, speedboats, and river trams (ferries).
- Proximity to the central railway station if you’re traveling to other provinces in Thailand.
- Plenty of nearby attractions.
- The best street food.
Best Places to Stay
- The Unforgotten B&B: A very cozy and affordable hotel with a fantastic location.
- W22 by Burasari: A pleasant hotel with a rooftop terrace and excellent value for money.
Getting to Chinatown
Chinatown is part of the central historic area of Bangkok. You can get there by river transport, the underground subway (MRT) to Hua Lamphong station (railway station), or by buses #7, 8, 37, 49, 75. You can also take a tuk-tuk or a taxi.
If you’re taking the subway, you’ll need to walk to Yarowat Rd, where you’ll see the large Chinese gates at the entrance. Google Maps can be helpful for navigation.
If you’re traveling by river transport, disembark at Tha Ratchawong pier (Pier #8), which is right next to Yaowarat Rd.
If you’re coming to Chinatown from Wat Pho, you can easily walk there in about 30 minutes. Plan your city route wisely to save time and money.
This is Bangkok’s main shopping district, located in the city center. Don’t confuse it with the historic center or the Old Town—they are different locations.
Siam stretches from Rama I Avenue to the Chulalongkorn University campus and from Phayathai Rd to Henri Dunant. Staying here is convenient if your main goal is shopping. From here, it’s close to the city’s attractions via the metro in just 15 minutes.
Siam is very noisy, and the hustle and bustle continue 24/7, so it’s not the best place to relax and enjoy the city. There are many skyscrapers and big hotels with pools and rooftop terraces. Many hotels have sky bars, so pay attention to the accommodation descriptions. Siam is home to attractions like Siam Ocean World, Jim Thompson’s House, and a couple of museums.
Attractions in Siam
The main attraction in Siam is the shopping centers. Considering Thailand’s attitude towards shopping as a form of religion, these malls are practically landmarks! The most famous ones include MBK, Siam Center, Siam Discovery, Siam Paragon, CentralWorld, and Pantip Plaza, a huge electronics and tech shopping center.
Other attractions include the museum-like house of the famous planter and patron Jim Thompson, Siam Ocean World aquarium, Madame Tussauds Museum, the center for art and culture, Erawan Shrine, and Pathum Wanaram Temple.
Advantages of the Siam District:
- The best district for shopping.
- Several attractions and museums.
- Convenient access to public transport via the BTS Skytrain.
- Many trendy restaurants and cafes.
Best Places to Stay
- Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok: A top-class hotel with pools and bars! Excellent location with direct access to Siam Paragon Center.
- Daraya Boutique Hotel: A very beautiful new hotel in a quiet location, with pleasant rooms and clean accommodations.
- Siam Stadium Hostel: A budget-friendly place to stay right in the city center and directly next to the BTS Skytrain station. Clean rooms and breakfast included.
From the international airport, it’s best to use the Airport Link (airport metro) to the terminus. Then transfer to the BTS Skytrain and go to Siam station.
Siam also has three other BTS Skytrain stations nearby: National Stadium, Ratchathewi, and Phya Thai.
You can take a taxi, but keep in mind that traffic jams can be an issue during working hours. So, if you don’t have much luggage, the metro is faster and cheaper.