WHERE TO STAY IN BANGKOK FOR FIRST TIME VISITORS? A GUIDE TO THE BEST HOTELS AND NEIGHBORHOODS
Wondering where to stay in Bangkok? In which area should I sleep to visit Bangkok? Here is a guide to the best places to stay in Bangkok, with the best neighborhoods and hotels to stay in and adapted to your travel style. The capital of Thailand is a huge city where it’s not easy to find your way around, especially when it’s the first time you go there, and before you go there you will need to familiarize yourself with the names of the different districts and transport options to get around. Each district of Bangkok has its own atmosphere, advantages and disadvantages.
If you don’t know where to stay in Bangkok, this guide can help you plan your stay in the Thai capital, depending on your preferences and what you are looking for: if you want to discover its magnificent temples, go shopping, or enjoy its nightlife, or if you want to search or sleep in Bangkok for one night only because it’s only a gateway to another destination in Southeast Asia, here are the best places to sleep in Bangkok with a selection of the best rated accommodations on Booking for your stay to go smoothly.
(To get money off your first Airbnb stay in Bangkok, use this link)
If you don’t want to waste time reading everything, you can use the link below to book a hotel in Bangkok:
Here is a map of the best neighborhoods in Bangkok to stay in, with the main attractions indicated by colored icons:
Where to stay in Bangkok: the best neighborhoods
- Banglamphu (Khaosan Road)
- Chinatown (Yaowarat)
- Siam Square
- West bank of Chao Phraya River (Thonburi & Khlong San)
- Near Suvarnabhumi Airport (Lat Krabang district)
Where is it? Located north of the old city, along the Chao Praya River, Banglamphu is close to the main attractions of the old city (Rattanakosin). It’s also home to the most famous pedestrian street in Southeast Asia: Khao San Road.
Why stay in Banglamphu/Khao San Road? This is the ideal place if this is your first time in Thailand, you are a solo traveller and you arrive in Bangkok without having booked a hotel (many cheap guesthouses). You will find everything you need to prepare for your next trip in Thailand or the rest of Asia: exchange offices, hairdressers, book and travel accessory shops, agencies that can take care of your excursions, ticket reservations and obtaining visas…
It’s also a great place to party, with a pretty crazy atmosphere. You can meet other travellers, make friends over a beer and share good tips. If you want to visit Bangkok’s most spectacular tourist attractions, it’s also a good base because most of them are located nearby.
A word of advice: do not stay in Khao San Road itself (much too noisy), but in the adjacent streets like Soi Rambuttri, which is quieter. There are some nice hotels and cheap guesthouses.
Advantages: hotels and guesthouses among the cheapest in Bangkok, everything you need to organize your trip, nightlife (full of bars and nightclubs), easy access to other travellers, close to the Chao Phraya River and Bangkok’s must-see tourist sites.
Disadvantages: Khao San Road is quite noisy and full of tourists, with quite a few young drunk travellers in the evening. This part of Bangkok is not served by the MRT or Skytrain BTS and you will be dependent on buses, taxis, tuk-tuks or boats (the pier is not far away). The place may not seem authentic.
Things to do in Banglamphu / Khaosan Road:
- Visit Bangkok’s main tourist attractions: The Grand Palais, Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Bowonniwet Vihara, Bangkok National Museum.
- Take the boat to Chinatown, the Grand Palais or Wat Arun (across the Chao Praya River).
- See a Thai boxing match at Rajadamnern Thai Boxing Stadium.
- Going out in the evening at the Lava Club
- Eat fried insects (grasshoppers, scorpions…)
- Buy souvenirs at a low price
- Enjoy the festive atmosphere of Khao San Road in the evening
- Take a look at Phra Sumen Fort, a fort built in 1783 with an octagonal bunker and a white exterior, in a small park.
Transportation: To get there from downtown Bangkok, you will need to take a taxi, tuk-tuk or bus. The nearest Skytrain station is 5km from Khao San Road (Siam, National Stadium and Ratchathewi). From these you can take a taxi or a tuk-tuk. Otherwise, take the BTS to Saphan Thaksin and then take the boat to the Sathorn pier. From Khao San Road, the proximity of the Chao Phraya River allows you to reach Chinatown, the temple district.
» RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN BANGLAMPHU & KHAOSAN ROAD:
- Low budget: Mr.2 Hostel & Cafe’ | Great café nearby, located 10 minutes walk from Khaosan Road.
- Mid-range: Thanabhumi | apartment-hotel well located in the Khaosan district while being away from the noisy streets, some rooms have views over the canals
Where is it? Founded around Yaowarat Road, the main artery, Chinatown is located west of Bangkok, along the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River, south of the Grand Palais. Chinatown is also known as Yaowarat. Not far away is Phahurat, Bangkok’s little India.
Why stay in Chinatown? It’s one of the oldest districts in Bangkok, but also one of the most lively, exotic and authentic. It’s known for its markets, its brightly coloured signs, its gold merchant shops, its traditional Chinese pharmacies… As night falls, Chinatown turns into a real outdoor restaurant with many street-food stands lined up along Yaowarat Road. Chinatown is therefore an interesting neighbourhood to explore that will delight photographers as well as gourmands. Another reason to stay there: Hua Lampong station is nearby and it may be useful to spend the night in Chinatown if you leave early the next day, or if you have just arrived in Bangkok and are lazy to move from the area. If you have a limited budget, there are some cheap hotels and inns.
Advantages: change of scenery, super street-food, shopping, proximity to Hua Lampong station, but also to the main temples.
Disadvantages: poorly maintained neighbourhood, lack of public transport (only the MRT), uninspired nightlife after restaurants close, constant crowds (not ideal for rest), limited choice of hotels.
Things to do in Chinatown:
- Explore the labyrinth of narrow streets and Chinese shops (nice for photographers).
- Come in the evening to taste one of the best street-foods in Bangkok, both Chinese and Thai.
- Buy souvenirs (tea, spices) or gold.
- Shop at Sampeng Market, on a street parallel to Yaowarat Road (Soi Wanit 1).
- Visit Little India (Phahurat), not far away.
- Visit Chinese temples and shrines (especially Wat Traimit with its golden Buddha statue, and Wat Mangkon Kamalawat).
- See the crocodiles at Wat Chakrawat Temple.
- See the Chinese New Year festivities.
- See a traditional Thai Khon dance performance.
- Drink coffee at the Eiah Sae (益生), one of Bangkok’s last traditional coffees.
- Saphanthawong Museum (on Chinese immigration in Bangkok)
Transport: the nearest MRT station is Hua Lamphong, about 15 minutes by foot. Another (simpler) option: leave or stop at Ratchawong Pier (N5) to board the Chao Phraya Express. It allows you to go up to the temple district and Khao San Road. The nearest BTS-Skytrain is Saphan Taksin station. Avoid taxis if you can because of traffic.
» Hôtels recommandés à Chinatown:
- Low budget: Bunny Burrow Hostel | Recent and modern hostel (2017) in a district close to transport, 10 minutes walk from Chinatown.
- Budget moyen: W22 by Burasari | Well located, nice common areas (pool table, lounge, rooftop bar…), 7 min walk from Chinatown.
Where is it? Located in the heart of Bangkok, along the Sukhumvit road on the Chao Praya River side, it’s the largest concentration of shopping centres in the capital.
Why stay in Siam? If you want to go shopping, be in the heart of the city and have a central location, that you are a family with children (ideal to occupy them).
Things to do in Siam:
- Erawan Shrine
- Madame Tussauds (6th floor of Siam Discovery)
- Visit Jim Thompson’s house
- Shopping centres: Siam Center, Central World, MBK and Siam Paragon (with their cinemas and food court)
- See a Thai boxing match on Wednesday in front of MBK
- For children: Sealife Ocean World (Siam Paragon), ice skating at Central World, KidZania Bangkok
- Wat Pathum Wanaram
- Visit the Bangkok Art & Cultural Center.
- Drink a drink at Heaven Bangkok rooftop bar (17 -20th floor of the Zen Department Store in the Central World Shopping Mall), or at Red Sky Rooftop
Advantages: compact and great neighbourhood to shop and buy souvenirs at the end of your trip in Thailand, hang out in shopping malls to enjoy air conditioning, go to the movies, do activities with children, eat…. Proximity to public transport. Good choice of hotels.
Disadvantages: not very authentic district, not very lively night life after 10pm, many people during the day especially at weekends, a lot of traffic, few accommodations for small budgets.
Transport: Siam is very well served and accessible by three Skytrain stops: National Stadium, Siam and Chit Lom (for CentralWorld and the Erawan Sanctuary). You can also take the boat at Khlong Saen Saen Saep.
» Recommended hotels in Siam
- Low budget: Chao Hostel | quite design hostel at 400 m from the MBK and therefore close to the BTS. The common areas are pleasant.
- Budget moyen: Happy 3 | Hotel with quiet swimming pool while being close to the center of Siame and 2 steps from Jim Thompson.
Where is it? Located east of Bangkok, the modern Sukhumvit district is adjacent to Siam Square. The main road, Sukhumvit Road, is the largest boulevard in the Thai capital (about 18km), but also the longest road in the country because it goes to the border with Cambodia. The Sukhumvit district, which covers an area of several kilometres, is full of small streets.
Why stay in Sukhumvit? It’s certainly the best place in Bangkok for nightlife, but also for shopping. It includes the capital’s largest shopping centres, as well as many international restaurants, bars and comfortable hotels. The Sukhumvit district is also very well served by Skytrain (BTS) and metro (MRT).
For whom: If you like to party, rooftop bars, spend time in shopping malls to enjoy air conditioning or shopping, or if you have already explored enough the surroundings of Khao San Road and its tourist sites and do not want to take the lead with public transport. It’s also a good place to stay if this is your first time in Bangkok and you are travelling as a couple, with friends or family. In short, it’s simply one of the best places to stay in Bangkok because there is something for everyone.
Things to do in Sukhumvit:
- Shopping centres: Terminal 21, Emporium, EmQuartier, Gateway Mall.
- The rooftop bars
- Sukhumvit Soi 11 (Nana BTS) to go out and celebrate
- Benjasiri Park (not far from Emporium Mall)
- Eating at W District
- Markets located along Sukhumvit Road
- Kamthieng House Museum
- Take a look at the architecture of the Thailand Creative and Design Center (TCDC)
- Sombat Permpoon Gallery
- Bangkok’s red-light district: Soi Cowboy (Soi 23) and Nana (Soi 11)
Advantages: Location, easy access, with Skyrain BTS along Sukhumvit Road and joining the MRT, wide choice of hotels and restaurants for all budgets, plenty of choice to go out, eat and shop, not far from Pratunam’s shopping centres.
Disadvantages: not very authentic, very large neighbourhood (the nicest places are far away – plan walking or optimize your trips by Skytrain), a lot of traffic, away from main tourist attractions and other cultural sites (even if they are easily accessible by transport), little greenery, hot spots to avoid if you are with your family.
Transport: The Skytrain BTS Sukhumvit line crosses Sukhumvit Road from East to West. The best way is to stay close to Asok, which is located in the centre and not far from the MRT line. The most convenient place to stay is near Asok, which is located in the centre and close to Terminal 21 and the MRT line. To go to Emporium and EmQuartier, go out to Phrom Pong. For Gateway Mall go out to Ekkamai. For W District, go out to Phra Khanong. To reach the tourist sites, you can also take a boat from the Khlong Saen Saeb.
» Recommended hotels in Sukhumvit:
- Low budget: Suk18 Hostel | Hostel close to the BTS and the Terminal21 shopping centre, has a pleasant rooftop where you can have breakfast.
- Mid-range: Aster 9 House | Charming and pleasant hotel with spacious rooms. 5 to 10 minutes walk from the metro.
Where is it? Located south of Bangkok, between the Chao Praya River and Lumphini Park.
Why stay in Silom? This is Bangkok’s business district, with no skyscrapers but also many upscale bars, nightclubs and rooftops. There is also the red-light district of Patpong with its many go-go bars, and the night market of the same name, very nice to do. Silom is easily accessible by public transport and is located next to Lumphini Park, Bangkok’s Central Park. If you want to breathe and see a little bit of nature in Bangkok and you don’t know where to stay in Bangkok, it may be interesting to stay in Silom.
For whom: If you absolutely want to jog during your stay in Bangkok or if you can’t do without green spaces, if you want to frequent the many gay bars or hang out in Soi Patpong (we don’t judge), if you want to enjoy the rooftop bars.
Things to do at Sathorn & Silom:
- Lumphini Park (Bangkok’s Central Park): pedal boat riding, jogging, getting away from noise and traffic
- Vertigo and Moon Bar (61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel), to enjoy the view, or the Dome Sky Bar or the Lebua State Tower skybar or the Cloud 47 (more relaxed)
- Patpong Nigh Market (night market + red-light district)
- Visit the traditional houses of the Bangkok Folk Museum (Bangkokian Museum)
- The Hindu temple Sri Mariamma
- Snake Farm (Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute)
Advantages: Quieter compared to other districts, central location, nightlife, not far from Lumphini Park, accommodation for all budgets, many restaurants (Patpong night market for eating), well served by BTS & MRT lines.
Disadvantages: chaotic traffic at rush hour, lots of people at nightfall, not much to see in the area and a less lively nightlife than elsewhere. No major shopping malls and no tourist attractions. The red-light district of Patpong is to be avoided if you are with your family.
Transport: easily accessible by Skytrain (Sala Daeng) or with the MRT (Si Lom). Near the Chao Prayah River (Saphan Thaksin Pier (Central Pier) to go north to Chinatown, the temple district and Khao san road.
» Recommended hotels in Sathorn & Silom:
- Low budget: Ekanek Hostel | Cheap, clean, comfortable and very friendly staff. Not far from Lumphini Park.
- Mid-range: Urban house | Located 7 minutes walk from the MRT, clean and quiet area.
Where is it? Thonburi is located on the entire western shore of Chao Prayah, next to the Banglamphu district and west of central Bangkok.
Why stay along the Chao Phraya River? If this is your first time in Bangkok and you absolutely want to discover the capital’s historic sites, enjoy the more relaxed and relaxed atmosphere than in the city centre, and escape pollution (especially if you travel with young children). This part of Bangkok is also more authentic.
For whom: Those who want to escape traffic and pollution in the centre, couples or families. For those who want a glimpse of traditional Thai culture.
Things to do along the river:
- Visit the Grand Palais (Wat Phra Kaeo), Wat Pho and Wat Arun in the late afternoon.
- Explore Chao Praya by boat
- Visit the Royal Barges National Museum
- Shopping at IconSiam
Advantages: close to the main tourist sites, few tourists, nice bars by the water, close to Thonburi train station and some areas of Thonburi are served by the aerial metro (Skytrain-Bts), nice views of the river.
Disadvantages: far from the city centre especially if you stay far from the Saphan Taksin BTS station, quieter nightlife, slightly more expensive hotels.
Transport: No MRT metro. You can get there by Skytrain (stop at Krung Thonburi) or stop at Saphan Taksin and take the Chao Praya River Express Boat which stops at important sites along the river.
»Recommended hotels along the river:
- Low budget: Yor Yak Hostel | Comfortable beds, near the BTS station, modern and breakfast included.
- Mid-range: W Station | 2 minutes walk from the BTS Wongwian Yai, large beds, clean.
Where is it? Located north of Bangkok, Ari is far from the main tourist sites. The market of Chatuchak is not very far away.
Why stay in Ari? If you have a small budget and don’t like the alcohol + party atmosphere of Khao San Road, if you want to escape the urban chaos, if you want to sleep in a neighbourhood with a relaxed atmosphere, if you want to avoid tourists, if this is your second or third time in Bangkok and if you have already visited Bangkok’s tourist attractions and you are looking for a new district to discover and easily accessible (and where you can stay a little longer).
Things to do to Ari:
- Settle down in the cafés
- Aree Garden
- Chatuchak market (only two stops in BTS)
- Bangkok Shooting Range
- The La Villa shopping centre, to eat or have a drink
Advantages: Cheaper than other districts (Sukhumvit for example). Few tourists. Relaxed atmosphere.
Disadvantages: A little off-centre. Begins to develop more and more. Few hotels but more youth hostels.
Transportation: Ari is easily accessible by taxi or Skytrain. From Suvarnabhumi airport, go to Praya Thai station and take the Skytrain BTS to Ari (N5).
» Recommended hostels in Ari (Low budget):
- The Yard Hostel | Good location, friendly staff, clean and comfortable.
- 19A Bangkok Hostel | Not far from the BTS, comfortable beds (recent hostel)
Why stay near Suvarnabhumi Airport? There are two airports in Bangkok, the main one is Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang Airport (DMK) which is used by only two airlines (Air Asia and Nok Air). If you choose to stay close to the airport, it’s simply if you have an early morning flight to catch and you don’t want to miss it, or if you arrive late at night and don’t know where to sleep in Bangkok.
Things to do near the airport: Not much to do and see except stay in your hotel, except for a few shopping malls (Mega Bangna), Boran Bang PLI Floating Market and some temples.
Advantages: An option to consider if you are paranoid and afraid of missing your flight. Some luxury hotels are cheaper than in the centre.
Disadvantages: Quite far from the centre (one hour by taxi). Not the place to stay if you want to visit Bangkok and its tourist sites.
Transportation: Suvarnabhumi Airport is 45-60 minutes by road from downtown Bangkok, depending on traffic. To reach the centre you can take the Skytrain (city line), which takes about 25 minutes and stops at six stations until Phaya Thai station, or the Airport Rail Link (from 6am to midnight).
» Recommended hotels near the airport:
- Low budget: Mariya Lady Hostel At Suvarnabhumi Airport (women only) | Very well rated, shuttle to/from the airport, 7Eleven next door.
- Mid-range: At Residence Suvarnabhumi | Located near the airport, large rooms, swimming pool, shuttles to the airport.
There, you should now know where to sleep in Bangkok. To the question: which district to avoid in Bangkok? There are no really more dangerous places than any other, in the whole Bangkok is a relatively safe city provided you pay attention to your stuff, do not take drugs or walk completely drunk on the street….
Here is a summary of the best places where to stay in Bangkok, to help you choose the right place where to sleep according to what you are looking for:
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|WEST BANK (THONBURI & KHLONG SAN)||✓✓||✓✓✓||✓||✓✓✓|
You will find the best city tours and activities in Bangkok on Getyourguide: