Where to Stay in Bangkok – A Guide to the Best Neighborhoods

Where to stay in Bangkok: A local's advice on the best area to stay and best hotels in Bangkok for all budgets. We break down 5 different neighbourhoods and the best things to do in each one.

Let's face it, this is a massive city. That can make it more than a little confusing when you are looking for where to stay or deciding on the best area to make your base.

We have found that the best advice when it comes to finding out where to stay in a city is to ask a local. So that is exactly what we did.

Where to Stay in Bangkok

Monks taking Alms in Bangkok

Former resident, international teacher, and travel writer Stella Saintis of Stella's Out shares the knowledge she’s picked up over the years spent in this epic city.

She will give you the low-down on some of the great neighborhoods as well as offering up insider tips on interesting things to see.

So whether you a first-timer or a veteran visitor you will learn about some the best places to stay and the best things to do in Bangkok.

There are some affiliate links in the post below where theplanetd will earn a commission if you make a purchase but there is no extra cost to you!

Best Areas to stay in Bangkok

Bangkok is a sprawling metropolis and one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

With beautiful temples, amazing food, and tons of nightlife, it is no wonder that it is one of the top tourist destinations.

Between the size of the city, a large number of things to do and places to see, it is understandable that many visitors are initially overwhelmed when deciding where to stay. 

I lived in Bangkok for almost 2 years and worked as a teacher at an International school. Below, I share some of the top neighborhoods and areas of the city to check out.

Central Bangkok Map

Map courtesy of Globe-trotter via Wikitravel

Bangkok officially has 50 districts. It is absolutely massive, and most visitors will not have the time to see everything.

Choosing where to stay in Bangkok is easy once you get the hang of how the city works.

I will focus on the top five areas in central Bangkok that have the most to offer in terms of tourist attractions, shopping, dining, and entertainment.

#1 Where to Stay in Bangkok: Banglamphu

Home to the Grand Palace and Khao San Road

The Grand Palace near Banglamphu

The majority of major tourist attractions are located in Banglamphu, making it a great place to set up as your home base for further explorations.

If you are interested in seeing exquisite temples then I definitely recommend this area of the city.

For those looking to take advantage of Bangkok nightlife, Banglamphu is also the location of one of the most popular and well-known streets for partying - Khao San Road!

Recommended Hotels Near Banglamphu

Riva Surya Bangkok

One of the higher end hotels in this backpacker dominated area. Features elegant rooms, a pool and a view of the river.

Check out Availability & Prices

Trip Advisor / Booking.com

Casa Nithra

Good location, clean rooms, and a rooftop pool make this a great option for any traveler to Bangkok

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Private apartments for cheap! Great location that makes walking to attractions in the area very easy. 

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Things to see in Bangkok near Banglamphu

Grand Palace Banglamphu

The Grand Palace near Banglamphu in Bangkok

Grand Palace - A definite must-see when visiting Bangkok. The palace is full of stunning details with gold and jewels. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is also located inside and worth a peek. 

Wat Pho - Located right behind the Grand Palace, this temple is famous for the large gold statue of a reclining Buddha. The grounds are also beautiful and one of the oldest massage schools offer cheap massages to visitors. 

Khao San Road - If you are a backpacker in South East Asia, you have heard and most likely been to Khao San Road.

This street is full of bars and restaurants open late, making it one of the top places for nightlife in the city. Shoppers can pick up souvenir items at any of the stores lining the street.

Street food is also readily available and delicious. 

Wat Arun - Located just across the Chao Praya River, this temple is technically not in the Banglamphu neighborhood. However, a 5-minute ferry ride will get you there, so I had to include it on this list.

Known as the “Temple of the Dawn,’ Was Arun is another amazing example of Thai temple architecture. 

Wat Arun in Bangkok


Suggested Tours

Walking Temple Tour: Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun: Immerse yourself in the cultural and historical heritage of Bangkok by exploring the Grand Palace, the Emerald Buddha Temple and the options for Wat Pho, local markets, and Wat Arun. Enjoy this trip with an experienced, local tour guide.

Bangkok in Motion: City Tour by Skytrain, Boat and Tuk Tuk - $76.01: Discover Bangkok via its public transportation system as you travel with a guide throughout the city by Skytrain, 'tuk-tuk' (motorized rickshaw), public boat and shuttle boat — and on foot. You’ll make stops at Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, and the Jim Thompson House, and float down the Chao Phraya River and one of its ‘klongs’ (canals).

Trazy is a tour site by locals. They also offer discount tickets on various attractions and events in the city. 

Asian Trails offers a tour of the city temples, including the Grand Palace.

Tour of Bangkok by Boat with Asian Trails

Getting There

There are no trains that run through this area of the city.

However, since it is located on the river, a ferry can take you to many of the sites and river taxis run along the Chao Praya for 10 Baht.

The BTS train stop - "Saphin Taskin" is at the river just a few water taxi stops away and connects to the rest of the city.

Taxi, tuk-tuk and public buses are also options. 

Google Maps and Maps.me are both good Apps to get transport information easily.

#2 Bangrak

For those on the hunt for amazing food


Bangrak neighbourhood in Bangkok

Bangrak is a great neighborhood in Bangkok

This Bangkok neighborhood is a good blend of delicious Thai food and nightlife.

There are many notable and diverse restaurants in the area, as well as beautiful hotels and rooftop bars. Several of the side streets also offer entertainment all night long. 

If nature is important to you when looking for where to stay in Bangkok then you will love this area because it is home to the largest park in central Bangkok - Lumphini Park.

Recommended Hotels near Bangrak

SO Sofitel Bangkok

This popular hotel’s urban design attracts many travelers. It hosts monthly pool parties in its pool overlooking Lumphini Park. 

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Trip Advisor / Booking.com

Baan K by Bliston

Located 5 minutes from the MRT and 10 minutes from the BTS. Large rooms with kitchenettes and complimentary breakfast. 

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Pas Cher Hotel De Bangkok

Great value for your money and nicely located. It is only a 10 min walk to the Skytrain station.

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Things to See in Bangrak

Unicorn cafe - If you love unicorns, rainbows, and sweet treats then you will love this unique title cafe tucked on a side street. You can read all about my magical experience at the Unicorn Cafe!

The Unicorn Cafe in Bangkok

Check out the Unicorn Cafe

Patpong - This night market is located on a street lined with bars offering tickets to the infamous ‘ping pong’ shows. Shoppers can find typical souvenirs in the many stalls. 

Silom Soi 4 - This street is home to many of the gay bars in the city and makes for a fun night out. 

Lumphini Park - This is the largest park in Bangkok. It is a great place to take a stroll and people watch. Visitors can rent a swan-shaped paddle boat and buy bread to feed the energetic fish. Be on the lookout for the large lizards that roam wild here. 

Views in Lumphini Park, Bangkok

Vertigo rooftop restaurant/Moon Bar (Banyan Tree Hotel) - The 360-degree views from the top of this hotel cannot be beaten. Go for a romantic dinner or head to their bar for a drink with a view. 

Silom Thai Cooking School - Want to learn how to make delicious Thai food? This cooking school is one of the best in the city (I’ve been 3 times!). Take home a recipe book with all of the recipes in class, and more to try on your own.

Thai Cooking Class in Bangkok

Thai Cooking Class in Bangkok


Suggested Tours

Thai Cooking Class in Bangkok: Learn how to prepare and cook traditional Thai food during a fun Bangkok cooking class. Awaken your culinary creativity, explore the world of Thai flavors, and enjoy a lot of healthy Thai food!

Private Tour: Buddhist Monks' Almsgiving Experience in Bangkok: Enjoy the special privilege of joining orange-robed monks as they perform their early morning alms rounds outside their temples, receiving food offerings from the locals. Then, sit down to share in the monks’ morning meal, a truly humbling experience. This private tour is limited to a maximum of two guests.

Siam Niramit Show in Bangkok with Hotel Transfer and Optional Dinner: Enjoy a night in Bangkok savoring the excitement of the famous Siam Nirami show! Take in the breathtaking scenery, colorful costumes and revolutionary special effects as more than 150 performers take to the stage in a memorable demonstration of Thailand’s rich traditions.

BKK Tours offers awesome excursions in the city.

To discover more about Thai food, check out Bangkok Food Tours


Getting There

This neighborhood is easily accessible through the public train system.

The Sala Dang or Chong Nonsi stops on the  Silom line of the BTS.

Alternatively, take the MRT to the Silom stop or Lumphini park stop. 

Google Maps and Maps.me are both good Apps to get transport information easily.

#3 Chinatown

Visit one of the oldest areas of Bangkok

 Bangkok Chinatown

Chinatown is a great place to stay in Bangkok


Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the largest in the world and definitely makes an exciting place to stay.

The energy is undeniable here, especially during festival times, such as Chinese New year or the Annual Vegetarian Festival.

This is one of the oldest parts of the city, and a walk through the narrow alleys will make this fact very apparent. Some say it kind of has a run down feel but I love it anyway.

Of course, authentic Chinese food abounds. Lovers of Thai food, fear not; street vendors serve up lots of classic Thai dishes on street corners once the sun goes down.

Local Tip: If you are heading out of Bankok via rail and looking for a cheap place to stay for the night Chinatown is a great choice.

Recommended Hotels near Chinatown

Shanghai Mansion

A boutique hotel that allows visitors to step back in time. Impressive details that enhance the oriental charm. 

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Trip Advisor /Booking.com

Hotel Royal Bangkok

This hotel has many features, like a rooftop pool, perfect for beating the Bangkok heat and it is centrally located.

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River View Guest House

Centrally located in Chinatown, near river ferry Pier 4. Popular budget option with great views of the river.

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Things to see in Bangkok near Chinatown

Yaowarat Road - This is the main thoroughfare in Chinatown and visitors can find plenty of restaurants and shops. While the street is busy during the day, it really comes alive at night.

Make sure to take advantage of the delicious street food sold on many of the corners. My advice - follow the crowds!

Wat Traimit - This temple is home to the largest solid gold Buddha statue in the world. Located at the end of Yaowarat road, the temple also houses the Chinese Cultural Center. Well worth a visit. 

Wat Traimit

Eiah Sae - This well-known coffee shop has become something of an institution.

It is probably one of the most authentic coffee shops in the area where you can enjoy a sweetened Thai coffee (with lots of condensed milk) - yum!

Eiah Sae Bangkok Coffee shop

Sampeng Lane (Soi Wanit 1) - This extremely narrow shopping street runs parallel to Yaowarat road.

Here, shoppers can take advantage of wholesale prices on just about everything: fabric, electronics, beauty items, clothing and more. 

Suggested Tours

Bangkok Chinatown 3.5-Hour Night Food Tour: Take a 3.5-hour walk through Bangkok's 200 year-old Chinatown district to discover the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of this fascinating area. Enjoy several samples of the district's traditional Chinese food, and see some of its historical landmarks.

Chinatown Bike Tour in Bangkok - $56.23: This half-day bike excursion takes you across the Chao Phraya River and on to Thonburi’s back streets to visit some of the area’s lesser-known sights.

Bangkok Chinatown and Night Markets Small-Group Tour including Dinner - $74.08: Explore the street stalls of Bangkok’s Chinatown on a 5-hour walking tour and enjoy dinner at the night market. Stroll past market stalls brimming with vibrant flowers, find plenty of bargains and stop to sip coffee at a century-old cafe.

Bangkok Vanguards does a fantastic walking tour of Chinatown.

Getting There

While there is no public train that runs through Chinatown, the Hua Lampong stop on the MRT is located just around the corner from Yaowarat road.

There are also very cheap public buses that run to Chinatown and down the length of the main road. 

Google Maps and Maps.me are both good Apps to get transport information easily.

#4 Sukhumvit

A modern and cosmopolitan area in central Bangkok


Sunset from Sukhumvit

Bangkok sunset views from a rooftop bar in Sukhumvit

While this area of the city is not known for its traditional tourist attractions, it makes up for it in the amazing shopping, dining, and nightlife.

Many of the cities top restaurants, cute cafes, and nightclubs are located along this avenue that runs from the center of the city. 

It really does serve as the pulse of the city, and most nights, visitors will find Thai locals and young people out enjoying all that this area has to offer.

Recommended Hotels near Sukhumvit

Okura Prestige

This Japanese brand’s hotel sits close to the Ploen Chit BTS stop, making exploring easy. The 35th-floor infinity pool overlooks some stunning views. 

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Trip Advisor / Booking.com

Novotel Sukhumvit

Just 10 minutes from Terminal 21 mall and other great shopping. The hotel offers a free shuttle to the BTS or mall. Take in the views at their SkyBar. 

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Analog Hostel

One of the newer additions in the area and already quite popular. Close to shopping and a park along Sukhumvit road. Great location and value for money.

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Things to See in Sukhumvit

Thai Boxing Classes - For something a bit different, sign up for a boxing class at Chakrit MuayThai School. See what it was like for us to take a Muay Thai course in Thailand. 

They offer individual classes or packages. A fun way to learn about an important Thai pastime!

Sukhumvit Muay Thai Boxing

Terminal 21 - This unique shopping mall is set up like an airport terminal and features different decor on each floor based on a country. Great for name brand stores and bootie shops.

Emporium - Luxury mall located next to Benjasiri Park. Great shops and dining options. 

EmQuartier - Located across the street from Emporium with more shops, bakeries, and restaurants. 

Gateway Mall - located further down Sukhumvit off the Ekkamai stop, this Japanese themed mall features many food options and fun shops, including one where you can weave your own Thai scarf. 

Nana (Soi 11) - Some fun bars and nightclubs and bars are located on this street. Check out the Cuban themed speakeasy Havanas, or dance the night away at Sugar or Insanity night clubs. Above Eleven is also a great little rooftop bar. 

Soi Cowboy (Soi 23) - If you want to party all night long, Soi Cowboy could be for you. Many of the bars offer ‘ping pong’ shows and pole dancing. 

Bangkok Soi Cowboy

W District - Located a bit further down Sukhumvit, this nighttime hotspot is the perfect place to end the day. It is an outdoor food court with tons of different options to choose from.

Suggested Tours

Bangkok: 60-90 Minute Muay Thai Boxing Class for Beginners: Have a fun but demanding class of muay Thai and train with a professional boxer to learn about this martial art and build up or improve your boxing skills.

Spa Package at Baan Sabai Spa - $89.96: Relax into a nurturing spa package at Bangkok’s Baan Sabai day spa. Slip away from city noise for a 30-minute body scrub followed by a luxurious 2-hour massage. Choose from natural essential oils or rejuvenating coconut oil, and let the spa’s experienced practitioners restore your body’s balance and tone.

Adventurous travelers can see more of the city by bike with Follow Me Bike Tours

For a day trip outside of the city, visit Amphawa Floating Market

Getting There

All of the locations in Sukhumvit are easily accessible on the Sukhumvit Line of the BTS.

For Terminal 21 Shopping, get off at Asok.

For Soi 11 partying and nightlife options, get off at Nana.

Emporium and EmQuartier and located off Phrom Pong.

Gateway Mall is off Ekkamai.

W District is off Phra Khanong.

Any of the stops on the Sukhumvit line have tons of restaurant options as well.

Google Maps and Maps.me are both good Apps to get transport information easily.

#5 Where to Stay in Bangkok: Siam

For those looking to shop 'til they drop

MBK Center in Siam Bangkok

The MBK Center in Siam at night

Thai people love malls and shopping.

Part of the reason may be for free air conditioning, but another is that there are so many fantastic options to choose from!

The Siam Area is a bit of a Mecca for shoppers, with malls located next door and across the street from each other.

From luxury malls offering the most expensive brands, to small boutique spots where local Thai people can sell their one-of-a-kind creations, Siam has something for every shopper!

It also makes a great place to find souvenirs for loved ones back home. If you are looking for the best place to stay in Bangkok that is near the malls this is the area for you.

Recommended Places to Stay near Siam

Centara Grand

Located right in the largest mall in the city, this hotel has one of the best rooftop bars in the city. 

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Trip Advisor / Booking.com

Ibis Bangkok Siam

Right next to the MBK shopping mall this hotel features a pool and complimentary breakfast. 

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Trip Advisor / Booking.com

Chao Hostel

This hostel is an excellent choice that is conveniently located. It is very clean with coffee and snacks.

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Things to see in Siam

Jim Thompson House - For a look at the father of the Thai silk industry, a visit to the Jim Thompson house is a must. 

Jim Thompson House Bangkok Thailand

MBK - The oldest shopping mall in Bangkok. Shoppers can find just about anything here at discount prices. It is massive!

Siam Ocean World - This aquarium is sure to please families and those interested in sea life. It is located inside Siam Paragon.

Thai Boxing - The stadium at national Stadium occasionally houses Thai Boxing matches. These events are a fun way to spend an afternoon and definitely not on the traditional tourist itinerary. 

Things to do in Bangkok: Go see a Muay Thai match

Go see a Muay Thai match

Bangkok Art and Culture Center - This ruling, right off the BTS Silom line, houses rotating art exhibits, small shops, and cafes. Check out the ice cream spot that has ice cream that looks like steak for a unique treat. 

Bangkok Cultural Center

Siam Square - Some name brand shops as well as popular brands from around the globe.

Siam Paragon - Luxury stores and designer items.

Siam Square - small boutique shops with more unique one-of-a-kind items. One of my favorite places to shop.

CentralWorld - The biggest shopping mall in Thailand! You can find just about any store here. 

Erawan Shrine - Located close to CentralWorld, this Hindu shrine houses a statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of the Hindu god of creation. A popular spot for locals and foreigners alike.

Suggested Tours

Muay Thai Kickboxing with Ringside Seats and Private Transfer - $134.01: Take a VIP ringside seat at a Muay Thai match at Bangkok’s Rajdamnoen Stadium. You’ll be up close to the action as you watch the centuries-old martial art of Thai kickboxing — now considered the national sport.

Half-Day Bangkok Shrines Walking Tour - $32.29: This 4-hour walking tour with an informative guide introduces you to several Hindu-based deities, such as Lord Indra and Ganesh. You’ll learn about Thailand’s cultural and religious practices and have the opportunity to light a candle at each shrine.

Bangkok Small-Group Bike Tour - $68.58: See parts of Bangkok you wouldn’t normally access on this 3-hour morning bike tour with a small group. You’ll ride off the beaten track on an easy 12.5-mile (20-km) route through laneways, over canal bridges and past vibrant temples.

Getting There

All of the shopping and attractions in the Siam area are located right off the BTS!

Get off at National Stadium (the last station on the Silom line) for MBK shopping and Jim Thompson house.

The Chit Lot BTS stop on the Sukhumvit line is also close to CentralWorld for Shopping and the Erawan Shrine. 

Google Maps and Maps.me are both good Apps to get transport information easily.

The Bangkok Floating Market

No matter how much time you have in Bangkok, you are bound to enjoy it.

Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles, and when you visit Bangkok, you will soon understand why.

Thai people are some of the friendliest you will ever meet.

In addition, the food is fantastic and the nightlife never-ending.

Book your flights for Bangkok! the 'City of Angels' awaits...


Author Bio

Stella is the author of the travel blog Stella’s Out where she documents her adventures on a budget. As a traveling teacher, she lived in South East Asia for 2 years and now resides in Honduras, Central America. 

You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and on her website Stella's Out.

Bangkok Quick Tips

What to Pack - Bangkok is a hot city all year round. Make sure to bring clothes that you will be comfortable in.

Sunblock is also essential. If you are interested in visiting temples, make sure to bring long skirts/pants to cover legs and light long-sleeve shirts to cover shoulders.

Some temples offer cover-ups for rent, but many will simply turn you away. 

Thailand uses the baht. Most places will take cash. Fewer take card (most large stores and hotels will though).

Taxi Tip: Always make sure the taxi drivers turn on their meter. Some will refuse to take you places or run the meter and simply ask for a set price.

If you prefer this, agree on a price BEFORE getting in. I was often shocked by what tourists would pay for a taxi.

Don’t get scammed! There are decent drivers who will run the meter and take you where you want to go; sometimes it does take some patience.

where to stay in bangkok tuk tuk driver

Get a tuk-tuk driver when looking for a place to stay in Bangkok

Transit: There are two train lines in Bangkok: the BTS (above ground) and the MRT (below ground).

The BTS train has two lines the Silom line and the Sukhumvit line. At connecting stations, pay attention to the direction and line you are getting on.

Getting to and from the airport: There is a train that runs to the Suvarnabhumi airport, the major international airport.

It is called the 'Airport Rail Link' and it is accessible from the BTS. From the other airport Don Muang, which is more for domestic flights and international flights throughout South East Asia,  you can take a cheap local A1 bus.

It runs both to and from the last stop on the BTS, Mo Chit. 


Get a Private Transfer for under $10!


Plan Your Bangkok Trip

Bangkok uses the Thai Baht. As of July 2018, $1 = 33 baht - For up to date conversions get the XE Currency Converter App 

As previously mentioned, Bangkok is hot. There really is no time of year to escape the heat. There are three main 'seasons' in Bangkok.

The hot season, which runs from March to June, with April typically being the hottest month. If you are looking to cool off, visit during 'Songkran,' the Thai New year. The holiday is celebrated with a three-day long water fight - the perfect way to beat the heat!

The rainy season runs from July through October. Expect rain most days. Thunderstorms can appear suddenly and unleash huge amounts of water that leave the streets completely flooded.

The 'cool' season is between November and February. The city is still very hot, but there are some days when the temperature dips into the 70s (that's considered freezing to the Thai people!).

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