The skyscrapers of Silom - one of the best areas to stay in Bangkok

Best Areas to Stay in Bangkok in 2024

Planning a trip to the Thai capital and wondering about the best areas to stay in Bangkok? You’re in the perfect spot. 

Bangkok, a city of striking contrasts, presents a tapestry where towering skyscrapers stand alongside shantytowns, and serene Buddhist temples lie just a stone’s throw away from bustling mega malls. Amid the apparent chaos marked by endless traffic jams, a maze of overhead electric wires, and a constant stream of people, you’ll discover tranquil havens by the river and lush green spaces scattered throughout the city. 

Each district of Bangkok reveals a different facet of its vibrant character. From the historic charm of Rattanakosin, Banglamphu, and Chinatown, to the contemporary skyline of Silom and Sukhumvit, and the idyllic beauty of Bangkok Riverside, the city abounds with excellent choices for accommodation. 

Having visited the Thai capital several times, I’ve had the chance to explore various parts of the city and what they offer. Here are my top picks for the best areas to stay in Bangkok, aimed at helping you plan an unforgettable journey. 

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Best Areas to Stay in Bangkok


The striking sculptures and pavilions at the Grand Palace in Bangkok
Stunning architecture of the Grand Palace

Also known as Rattanakosin Island, this area is the historic heart of the capital. It is one of the best areas in Bangkok for those looking to explore the old city.

Located on the left bank of the city’s main waterway, the Chao Phraya River, Rattanakosin is home to the capital’s most iconic attractions, including the magnificent Grand Palace and the Wat Pho temple complex. 

Away from the key landmarks, you will find a number of museums, including Museum Siam, dedicated to the history of Thailand, traditional markets geared towards locals, such as the unusual Amulet Market, and a selection of eateries, from basic street food to Westernised options. There is not much in the way of nightlife. 

Rattanakosin might not be the ‘it’ destination when it comes to dining, but there are still a few decent options to discover. For traditional Thai flavours, consider checking out Rongros, which comes complete with a vintage interior and stunning riverside views, including the spectacular temple of Wat Arun on the opposite side of Chao Phraya. 

In terms of transport, you can hop on the Chao Phraya Express Boat to visit other parts of the city. Personally, it’s my favourite mode of transportation in Bangkok, although it doesn’t necessarily get you everywhere you may want to go. 

Thankfully, there is also the Sanam Chai MRT (metro) station within walking distance of the Grand Palace that can help you get to other areas. 

Top Things to Do in Rattanakosin

  • Visit the iconic Grand Palace 
  • Admire the Giant Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho 
  • Enjoy a sunset cocktail with riverside views at The Rooftop at Sala Rattanakosin 
  • Go to the Amulet Market 
  • Cross the river to visit the spectacular temple of Wat Arun 

Best Hotels in Rattanakosin

In contrast to other areas of Bangkok, Rattanakosin doesn’t have any high-rise hotels and international chains haven’t found their way there. Instead, you can stay in a small selection of boutique hotels and guesthouses.  

Budget: Chaiwat Guesthouse

Although Chaiwat Guesthouse doesn’t offer many frills, it serves as a great affordable base for those looking to explore Bangkok’s historic sites. It is situated within easy walking distance from the Grand Palace, local restaurants, and the river pier, from where you can embark on exciting journeys around the city. 

Mid-range: Aurum The River Place
Room at the Aurum The River Place in Rattanakosin in Bangkok

Nestled on the bank of the Chao Phraya River, Aurum The River Place occupies a heritage building that exudes a Parisian vibe. Inside, the hotel showcases classic style and a luxurious feel. The on-site eatery, Vivi The Coffee Place, boasts stunning waterfront views. Guests can enjoy their breakfast there, along with hot drinks and baked goods throughout the day. 

Luxury: Riva Arun Bangkok
The rooftop restaurants with riverside views at Riva Arun Bangkok, located on the bankside of the Chao Phraya River

Just a stone’s throw from the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, Riva Arun offers boutique luxury stays with stunning views. Bright and airy rooms feature a blend of modern elegance and traditional touches. Some rooms include an outdoor jacuzzi overlooking the Chao Phraya River. The highlight of Riva Arun is its open-air rooftop restaurant serving delicious Thai fare. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset over old Bangkok. 

Banglamphu (Khao San Road)

The famous Kao San Road in Bangkok at nightime
Khao San Road in Banglamphu

Just north of Rattanakosin is Banglamphu, another historic part of the city. It is renowned for being the home of Khao San Road, a mecca for backpackers from all over the world. 

Every night, the street buzzes with pubs and bars selling cheap booze, food stalls, and vendors selling trinkets and inexpensive clothing. Nowadays, Khao San attracts tourists of all kinds, not just young backpackers, but also families, couples, and retirees. 

Interestingly, just a stone’s throw away from Khao San, you will find a completely different vibe on Phra Athit Road, where traditional houses have been converted into trendy eateries. The area is also home to several museums and temples (wats) you can visit. 

The major downside of staying in Banglamphu is the lack of connectivity. The BTS Skytrain and MRT do not serve this area. To get to other places, you will need to either take the Chao Phraya Express Boat or rely on taxis. 

This is not a problem if you are planning to stay mainly in Bangkok’s old town. However, if you wish to explore Bangkok’s modern districts, getting around might become a bit of a challenge. There are other great areas in Bangkok that offer better connectivity.

Top Things to Do in Banglamphu

  • People watching and partying at Khao San Road 
  • Enjoy delicious street food – the area is packed with street vendors and cafes worth trying 
  • Visit Wat Saket temple 

Best Hotels in Banglamphu

Banglapmphu, not surprisingly, is home to a wealth of hostels and budget guesthouses. Some of them are getting quite smart. Although if you are after luxury, it might be best to opt for another area. 

Budget: Alley & Pier
Room at the Alley & Pier Hotel in historic Banglamphu

Located on the bohemian Phra Athit Road, Alley and Pier offers bright and modern rooms with all the essentials for relaxing after long days of sightseeing in Bangkok. The hotel is well-positioned for this exact purpose. On the ground floor of the hotel building, you will find the Sheepshank Public House. Although not part of the hotel, this restaurant is a must if you would like to take a break from Thai cuisine in favour of modern American flavours.

Mid-range: Chillax Heritage Hotel Khaosan
The infinity pool and city views at the Chillax Heritage Hotel in Banglamphu

Also located on Phra Athit Road, within easy walking distance of Khao San Road, Chillax Heritage Hotel is a rare luxury hotel in the area. It occupies an elegant heritage building and features stylish rooms that blend modern luxury with Eastern decorative influences. Aside from exploring, guests can enjoy the rooftop infinity pool with fantastic city views and the gym. The on-site restaurant serves Northeastern Thai food, as well as a few Western favourites. 


Bangkok's Chinatown at night and Explore with Wonder's Ksenia enjoying satay skewers

If you are dreaming of gorging on delicious street food on your next visit to the capital, Chinatown is undoubtedly one of the best areas to stay in Bangkok for you. Located just south of Rattanakosin, Chinatown in Bangkok is one of the largest in the world and has been around since the late 18th century. 

Bangkok’s Chinatown still maintains its heritage feel with narrow alleyways lined with historic shophouses selling pretty much everything under the sun, elaborate Chinese-style shrines, and artisan workshops keeping centuries-old craft traditions alive. 

The heart of Chinatown is Yaowarat Road, a busy thoroughfare that really comes into its own at nighttime. This is when hundreds of street vendors wheel out their carts selling mouth-watering street food. From grilled seafood and noodle soups to dumplings and ice cream creations, there is something for every taste. 

Away from the street vendors, you will also find some of the best Chinese restaurants in the city, and a selection of cool bars where you can escape the crowds for the evening. For incredible views over the city, check out the Grand China Hotel Rooftop Bar, complete with live music and signature cocktails. 

The area is connected to other parts of the city via the MRT with the Wat Mangkon station. You can also catch the Chao Phraya River Express Boat at Ratchawong Pier. Both are within a short walking distance from Yaowarat Road.

Top Things to Do in Chinatown

  • Gorge on delicious street food 
  • Explore local markets and unique shops 
  • Visit the Wat Mangkon Kamalawat temple 
  • Go on a Michelin Guide street food tour  
  • Enjoy a cocktail with a view at the Gran China Hotel Rooftop Bar 

Best Hotels in Chinatown

Chinatown has a limited choice of accommodation, with the bulk of it being hostels. There are a few boutique hotels for those looking for a bit more comfort. Just like other parts of old Bangkok, there are no international chains in sight. 

Budget: Rema Residence Chinatown
The peaceful courtyard of Rema Residence in Chinatown

Rema Residence offers all the essentials you need at an affordable price point. The hotel has a small eatery and bar on site but considering that it’s located just off Yaowarat Road where all the street food action takes place, you will never be out of food options.

Mid-range: Grand China Bangkok
Room at Grand China Bangkok in the heart of Chinatown

Grand China Bangkok is ideally situated at the very heart of Chinatown. It boasts a variety of modern-style rooms available in different sizes, with select rooms featuring jacuzzies. The hotel is equipped with all the amenities expected of a contemporary Bangkok hotel, including multiple dining options, a swimming pool, and a fitness centre. Its standout attraction is the revolving Sky Restaurant, which provides spectacular views of the city. 

Luxury: Shanghai Mansion Bangkok
The old world style bar at Shanghai Mansion

Shanghai Mansion is a boutique hotel that captures the essence of Chinatown. Located in a heritage building adorned with Chinese-style architectural features, the hotel’s interiors draw inspiration from the glamour of 1930s Shanghai. At the hotel’s Red Rose restaurant, guests can indulge in exquisite Chinese cuisine and craft cocktails accompanied by live jazz music. 


Sukhumvit is considered one of the best areas in Bangkok for visitors and residents alike, and with good reason. It is a modern neighbourhood featuring high-rises, luxury hotels, malls, sophisticated restaurants, and vibrant nightlife. 

Sukhumvit is located along a section of Sukhumvit Road, one of the longest roads in the world, extending all the way to the border of Cambodia. It is popular not only with visitors but also with expatriates and affluent Thais. 

The area boasts a great selection of hotels and is well-connected to the rest of the city by public transport. Both the elevated BTS Skytrain and the MRT run through the area, making it a convenient base for exploring the rest of the city. 

Sukhumvit may not be the place to experience traditional Bangkok, but it epitomises modernity, especially for those willing to indulge in luxury. It boasts a selection of glitzy rooftop bars and several Michelin-starred restaurants. 

There is also another side to Sukhumvit in the form of the red-light districts of Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza. These areas feature numerous go-go bars, ladyboy shows, and nightclubs catering to a specific clientele. 

However, if this aspect doesn’t appeal to you, it’s easy to avoid. There are plenty of more mainstream bars and clubs in the area where you won’t encounter this facet of local life. 

Top Things to Do in Sukhumvit

  • Retail therapy at the Terminal 21 shopping mall 
  • Have a cocktail with a view at one of Sukhumvit’s many rooftop bars 
  • Enjoy the nightlife at Sukhumvit Soi 11  
  • Explore the area’s green spaces 
  • Splash on special occasion dining 

Best Hotels in Sukhumvit

International chains dominate the mid-range and luxury hotel offering in Sukhumvit. There are many budget options available as well in the form of boutique hotels and short-term rentals. 

Budget: THA City Loft Hotel by TH District
THA City Loft Hotel room in Sukhumvit

The THA City Loft Hotel provides comfortable rooms, a stylish ambiance, and amenities like a gym, all at an attractive price point. Conveniently located within walking distance of the BTS, it also benefits from a wealth of great eateries and bars in the vicinity. THA is a great choice for those who prefer smaller, boutique hotels with strong local connections. 

Mid-range: Rembrandt Hotel & Suites Bangkok
Room at the Rembrandt Hotel in Sukhumvit

During our first visit to Bangkok together, my husband and I stayed at the Rembrandt Hotel. Although the hotel shows signs of wear, it offers all the essentials for a comfortable stay, including cosy rooms, a selection of dining options, its own rooftop bar, and even a swimming pool. However, we especially enjoyed its fantastic location. The Asok BTS and MRT stations are just a 10-minute walk away, making it ideal for those looking to explore different parts of the city. 

Luxury: Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit
The luxurious room at Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit

Marriott Sukhumvit is the epitome of a luxury urban hotel in Bangkok, featuring chic modern interiors, stunning city vistas, an elevated infinity pool, and an array of dining options that offer a variety of international flavours. Yet, the true highlight of this Marriott is the Octave rooftop bar. Spanning three levels, this venue boasts inventive cocktails, a selection of light bites, and DJ sets that perfectly enhance the panoramic views. 


Jim Thompson House Museum in Silom, one of the top areas to stay in Bangkok
Jim Thompson House Museum in Siam

Siam Square is Bangkok’s main shopping district, located in the modern part of the city, just a short BTS ride away from Sukhumvit. The area’s heart is in Siam Square itself, where you will find a concentration of some of Bangkok’s most popular malls, including Siam Paragon, CentralWorld, and MBK Centre. 

Each of the malls has its own unique proposition. MBK Centre is akin to an indoor market, offering many affordable items from clothing to mobile phone accessories. In contrast, Siam Paragon is the go-to place for luxury brands. 

My personal favourites are the adjacent Siam Discovery and Siam Centre malls that showcase many local designers, offering something different from the usual chains. However, malls in Bangkok are not just about shopping. 

They also house excellent food courts and restaurants serving both local and international cuisines. Siam Paragon, in particular, boasts an incredible food court on the ground floor, known as Gourmet Paradise, and an extra selection of great restaurants on the fourth floor. 

Beyond the malls, Siam is also home to the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre and the small, but charming, Jim Thompson House Museum. The latter is set in beautiful gardens, offering a slice of tranquillity amidst the city’s hustle and bustle. 

While Siam might not be the amongst the top areas in Bangkok for history, traditional street food or nightlife, it boasts good transport links, with the BTS Skytrain running through it. 

Top Things to Do in Siam

  • Visit the Jim Thompson House Museum 
  • Enjoy gastronomic delights at Siam Paragon 
  • Find unique souvenirs by local creatives from the Creative Lab at Siam Discovery 
  • Catch an exhibition at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre 

Best Hotels in Siam

The hotels in Siam are mostly modern and mid to high-end, with many global chains on offer. There are also a few stylish boutique hotels and holidays apartments that serve as an alternative. 

Budget: Happy 3
Bright and airy room at Happy 3 in Siam, which is arguably one of the best areas in Bangkok for shopping.

Situated merely a stone’s throw away from the Jim Thompson House Museum, Happy 3 provides comfortable accommodation that combines modern simplicity with natural materials, all at an affordable price. For those looking to unwind after a day of exploration, the hotel features an indoor pool, perfect for a soothing soak. 

Mid-range: Siam@Siam, Design Hotel Bangkok
Colourful room at Siam@Siam, Design Hotel

If you have a passion for art and design, Siam&Siam is bound to delight you. The hotel’s interiors are a masterful blend of modernism, Thai influences inspired by the city’s own character, and contemporary art. Siam&Siam stays true to its distinctive style across its dining options: the vibrant and lively Chim Chim, which offers international favourites throughout the day; the fine dining Thai restaurant Taam; and Paradise Lost, an exceptionally beautiful rooftop bar. 

Luxury: Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok
Room at Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok

Kempinski, a renowned luxury brand, ensures its Siam outpost lives up to expectations. It provides a resort-style experience right in the bustling heart of central Bangkok. For moments when you’re not exploring the city, the hotel invites you to unwind by its spacious pool, enveloped in lush greenery, or fully rejuvenate at its exquisite spa. 


Ksenia in Lumphini Park in Bangkok
Ksenia in Lumphini Park in Silom

Silom serves as the city’s financial district, brimming with office towers and bustling with business crowds. However, this area is also renowned for its vibrant nightlife, markets, shopping venues, and the city’s largest green space, making it amongst one of the best areas to stay in Bangkok.

A famous tourist feature of the area is the Patpong Night Market, offering a strange mix of a traditional night market with street food and affordable clothing, alongside go-go bars and adult entertainment. If the latter doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry, there are more conventional bars available in the vicinity. 

My personal favourite in Silom is Lumphini Park, which reminds me of Central Park in New York. It provides a tranquil retreat with ample greenery and shade, where you can also encounter some of the local wildlife, such as monitor lizards. 

Silom is also peppered with stylish rooftop bars, numerous street food stalls, and a variety of shopping malls. Additionally, Silom is the site of the striking Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, a Hindu temple constructed in the late 19th century. 

Thanks to the presence of both BTS Skytrain and MRT stations, Silom boasts excellent connectivity, enabling easy exploration of other Bangkok attractions during your stay. 

Top Things to Do in Silom

  • Enjoy some peace and quiet at Lumphini Park 
  • Get a bird’s eye view of the city from the King Power Mahanakhon Skywalk 
  • Enjoy a drink at the famous Sky Bar at Lebua Tower 
  • Bargai shopping and people watching at Patpong Night Market 
  • Gorge on street food at local stalls and markets

Best Hotels in Silom

Silom has a good mix of accommodation for all budgets, from hostels to boutique stays to luxury hotels. I think that, along with Sukhumvit, Silom is one of the best areas to stay in Bangkok for first timers. 

Budget: Amber Boutique Silom
Moroccan-inspired room at Amber Boutique Hotel in Silom

This boutique hotel combines a modern feel, some funky colours and international design touches in its interiors. It’s located a short walk from Chong Nonsi BTS Station, which is convenient for exploring the nearby Siam district with its shopping malls.  

Mid-range: Amara Bangkok Hotel
Room with sweeping city views at Amara Bangkok Hotel in Silom

Amara stands as a quintessentially modern Bangkok hotel. Situated in a towering high-rise at the core of Silom, it boasts sweeping views over the city. Guests can escape the city’s hustle and bustle into luxurious rooms adorned in neutral colours, providing a serene retreat. For those days when exploration doesn’t appeal, the hotel offers the perfect relaxation spot: an infinity pool with incredible views. 

Luxury: The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon
Funky modernist room at The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon in Silom

The Standard is situated in a striking skyscraper at the heart of Silom, featuring beautifully designed modern-style rooms. They boast unique whimsical design with creative colour accents and offer expansive city views. Guests can enjoy the hotel’s elegant pool terrace and a 24-hour fitness centre. Furthermore, The Standard prides itself on an extensive food and drink offerings. This includes one of the world’s tallest rooftop bars, the award-winning Cantonese restaurant Mott 32, and Ojo, Thailand’s highest restaurant, which serves extraordinary Mexican cuisine. 

Bangkok Riverside

Bangkok Riverside at nighttime

Personally, Riverside is one of my favourite areas to stay in Bangkok. This area stretches along the Chao Phraya River in encompassing sections of a few central districts. Today, the riverbanks are dotted with luxury hotels, high-end malls, and restaurants, yet many of the heritage buildings and traditional temples remain. 

Staying by the river means that you can enjoy a more relaxed side of Bangkok. In the morning, you can watch the boats travel up and down the river, and in the evening, the area comes alive with buildings and cruise boats beautifully lit up. 

One of the advantages of staying at Bangkok Riverside is the ability to visit many places along it by boat. The Chao Phraya River Express has many stops along the route. Many hotels and malls offer their own free shuttle boats, making it easy to access the city centre. 

Bangkok Riverside is perfect for those seeking a quiet, relaxing stay in the city with easy access to its attractions. It’s probably not the best spot for those after a rowdy nightlife, as the area is primarily known for its sophisticated hotel bars. 

Top Things to Do in Bangkok Riverside

  • Visit the Asiatique The Riverfront night market 
  • Indulge in luxury shopping and dining at the ICONSIAM shopping mall 
  • Explore art exhibitions at River City Bangkok 
  • Enjoy a drink with a view at the 360 Rooftop Bar at Millennium Hilton Hotel 
  • Savour fine dining fare on the luxurious Manohra Dinner Cruise 

Best Hotels in Bangkok Riverside

Bangkok Riverside is amongst the most luxurious areas to stay in Bangkok, so most of the hotels on offer lean towards the pricier side. Some of the most prestigious hotel brands boast outposts along the Chao Phraya River. 

Budget: Theatre Residence
Terrace with riverside views at Theatre Residence

Located in the historic part of Bangkok, across the river from the iconic sites of Rattanakosin, Theatre Residence is a serviced residence offering accommodation of different sizes to suit different needs. It also has a riverside restaurant serving Thai classics and a cosy café on site.

Mid-range: Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort
The pool at Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort

My husband and I stayed at the Anantara Riverside Bangkok during our honeymoon trip to Southeast Asia. We loved its resort-like atmosphere and picturesque riverside location. Although it is somewhat removed from the main attractions, and nightlife options are limited in the vicinity, it represents an excellent choice for those who plan to spend a prolonged time in the city. You can read my full review of Anantara Riverside Bangkok to learn more. 

Luxury: Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Stunning room at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

The Mandarin Oriental requires little introduction. The brand is synonymous with the pinnacle of luxury, and its Bangkok outpost is no exception. Guests can enjoy stunning interiors with Thai influences, breathtaking riverside views, and a timeless charm. 

Final Thoughts

I hope this guide to the best areas in Bangkok has helped you in deciding on the perfect place for your stay. I’m confident that you’ll have a wonderful time in the city, regardless of where you choose to stay. 

If you’re keen to dive deeper into what the city has to offer, I recommend checking out this guide on the things that make Bangkok worth visiting. This cost guide, along with insights into Bangkok’s transportation system, will assist you in navigating the practical aspects of your trip. 

For those in search of specific itinerary ideas, these one-day and two-day Bangkok guides are invaluable. They’ll help you explore the city’s key sights and neighbourhoods. 

Thinking of including a beach holiday in your Bangkok adventure? Take a glance at this guide to Phuket, Thailand’s premier beach destination, which is perfect for solo travellers, couples, and families alike. 

Uncertain about which destination suits you best? My comparative analysis of Phuket versus Bangkok will provide clarity and help you decide which one is right for you. 

FAQs: Best Areas to Stay in Bangkok

Where to stay in Bangkok for first timers? 

I believe Sukhumvit is an excellent area for first-time visitors. It boasts a wide selection of accommodation, superb transport connections, and a variety of activities. During our first trip to Bangkok, we stayed there and appreciated the ease with which we could visit numerous attractions on our list. The option to round off our days at a local rooftop bar was a bonus. 

What is the best area to stay in Bangkok for tourist attractions? 

If you wish to be as close as possible to Bangkok’s main historic attractions, such as the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, then consider staying in Rattanakosin, where these landmarks are located. Although the selection of hotels in this area is limited, the ones that are there are within walking distance of these iconic sites. However, opting for a stay in a well-connected area like Sukhumvit would also give you easy access to various attractions across the city. 

What is the most lively area in Bangkok? 

Sukhumvit is a lively area with busy nightlife spots for every taste, from the go-go bars of Soi Cowboy to glamorous rooftop bars. Khao San Road in Banglapmphu is also incredibly lively at night thanks to the many backpacker bars and clubs. 

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