There is no city quite like Bangkok! Thailand’s sprawling capital hub of 14 million people is one of the most popular tourist cities globally. In fact, it has been listed as the most-visited city in the world as recently as 2019. Receiving almost 23 million tourists per year (pre-pandemic), Bangkok is excellent for backpackers, family holidaymakers and cultural travellers. It is a city rich in culture, cuisine and entertainment and has some outstanding historical monuments such as the Grand Palace and The Temple of The Reclining Buddah. Despite the hectic chaos and traffic, Bangkok has a magical and captivating charm.
Bangkok is a huge city with many great places to stay and a wide range of accommodation from budget to luxury. By far the best area to stay in is Pathum Wan district. This thriving district located right in the heart of Bangkok has a vibrant nightlife, a range of excellent hotels and a huge upmarket shopping district that you could spend days wandering around. This is not to mention the world-class international restaurants in Pathum Wan that satisfy the appetite of any hungry traveller. Pathum Wan is very safe, full of fellow tourists and is well-connected to the city’s transport network.
Although there are multiple places to stay all over Bangkok, the Pathum Wan district stands out above the rest with multiple hotels to choose from. Pathum Wan’s finest attraction has to be its Lumpini Park. This large, open-air park is frequently filled with families, locals and tourists enjoying the lovely green spaces. You can row on the lake, do many outdoor sports or simply relax with a picnic in this tranquil setting.
Aside from the park, there are numerous international restaurants in Pathum Wan. Want food from all over the globe? No problem! Here, you can find Mexican, European, Japanese and of course Thai restaurants all serving up authentic cuisine at a very fair price. Pathum Wan is also a shopper’s paradise! The district boasts some of Bangkok’s largest and most upscale shopping malls, such as Siam Paragon and the Central World Department Store.
Pathum Wan is also the place to be for Bangkok’s exciting nightlife. Here you can find some of the city’s most famous rooftop bars, such as CRU Rooftop Bar at Centara Grand and the Red Sky Bar. There is always a buzzing atmosphere at these bars and you can enjoy cocktails with fine, panoramic views of the city.
Located right in the heart of Bangkok, Khao San road is a fairly small area, yet it is full of places to stay. It is known as one of the backpacker’s hubs of Bangkok, with numerous budget hostels and a vibrant backpacker’s community. However, there are also mid-range and high-end hotels to choose from, so Khao San is definitely not exclusively for backpackers.
Khao San Road is particularly suited to tourists who love delicious, cheap food and a lively nightlife. Around this area, you can find numerous restaurants, cafés and street food stalls selling local specialties for bargain prices. And if you love to party, you won’t struggle to find bars or clubs in this youthful area which are open every day until late.
Although Khao San isn’t known for sightseeing, its central location gives you easy access to other touristy districts - both on foot and by local transportation.
One of Bangkok’s major business districts, Sathorn is a gem for luxury travelers, with an excellent range of luxury hotels and resorts, many with fantastic city views. You can really treat yourself here, relaxing in upmarket accommodation away from the hectic city crowds. There are also cheaper options, such as some mid-range hotels. With many bars, restaurants and street food, Sathorn has a lively atmosphere.
Sathorn is also a great place to stay for park lovers. You can walk around the pleasant Lumpini Park and have a picnic lakeside. Or, if you want to treat yourself, take a scenic boat ride along the Chao Phraya River. You can embark from the busy Sathorn Pier and take an insightful tour around.
You can also sightsee around Sathorn, despite the relative lack of landmarks here. One popular place to visit is M.R. Kukrit’s house- a museum dedicated to former Thai Prime Minister Mr. R.Kukrit.
Khlong Toei also boasts a fantastic central location within Bangkok, close to Pathum Wan. Famous for its huge slum, parts of Khlong Toei are some of the poorest in Bangkok; however, other parts are completely different. Indeed, the touristy part of Khlong Toei is a lively, fast-developing area lined with upscale hotels, restaurants and luxury malls. Staying on Sukhumvit Road (the touristy heart of the district) is a very comfortable and convenient option.
Khlong Toei is an interesting cultural district, and is home to Bangkok’s biggest wet market- the Khlong Toei Market. Here, tourists and locals pack the market daily with pretty much everything for sale.
Aside from the market, Khlong Toei is home to many other cultural attractions and pretty parks. You can admire the Plai Nern Palace, or simply relax at Benjakitti and Benchasiri Park. For typical local Thai Street Food, head to Sukhumvit Soi 38 Night Food Market.
Watthana District is a lively international hub and one of the best-developed areas in Bangkok. It is a great choice for luxury travellers, as Watthana is home to some of Bangkok’s best upmarket, designer hotels and fancy restaurants. Formerly a part of Khlong Toei, Watthana became its own separate district in 1998. It is ideally located close to Khlong Toei, with great access to Sukhumvit Road and the city’s subway system.
As well as all the tourists, Watthana is home to a very large international community, with many international workers and retirees and a range of international schools within the district. As a result, there is a lively, diverse nightlife and numerous foreign restaurants ranging from Japanese to American. You could try something new every night!
Watthana also has some fascinating historical and cultural attractions, especially the Wat That Thong Buddhist Temple that is well worth adding to your itinerary.
Another of Bangkok’s classy and upmarket locations, Bang Rak is particularly famous for its vibrant nightlife, commercial district and excellent restaurants.
Bang Rak is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, with great access to the city’s subway system. If you are a luxury traveller, why not stay in one of the elegant riverside hotels with fantastic views of the Chao Phraya River and Bangkok as a whole? Also, treat yourself to some quality local cuisine at one of the brilliant riverside restaurants.
Bang Rak is also a stunning place to stay if you enjoy a lively night scene. You can treat yourself at Lebua State Tower’s Sky Bar whilst enjoying some stunning panoramic views. Also, Bang Rak is situated close to Silom, one of Bangkok’s most lively nightlife areas. This includes Patpong Night Market, where you can buy local souvenirs before partying the night away!
Pratunam is another thriving neighbourhood in the heart of Bangkok. There are a range of hotels available here, suitable for all kinds of travellers. It is also perfectly located a short walk from a few of Bangkok’s Skytrain stations, such as Phaya Thai BTS Station.
There are many shopping hubs within Bangkok, and Pratunam is certainly up there with the best! This neighbourhood is home to the trendy Platinum Fashion Mall, The Shibuya Shopping Mall and The Paladium World Shopping. You are simply spoilt for options! As well as these modern malls, Pratunam is also home to authentic Thai markets, including the cultural Pratunam Market and even the Talad Neon Downtown Night Market.
Pratunam is not just for shoppers, though; there are plenty of cultural and historical attractions here. Most notably, you can visit the Suan Pakkad Palace (which was formerly a royal home) and also admire the Trimurti Shrine.