With sacred Buddhist temples juxtaposed against modern, gleaming skyscrapers and a dining scene that ranges from street-side carts to Michelin-star restaurants, Bangkok is a city that caters to almost any kind of traveller. There are world-class shopping, outstanding museums and royal palaces to explore, and a nightlife that is legendary across the world. So, if you’re not sure where is the best place to stay in Bangkok for sightseeing, here is a brief introduction to some of the city’s most convenient neighbourhoods.
With a convenient location just to the north of the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho, Banglamphu has long been a popular place to stay in Bangkok for backpackers. Its leafy laneways are packed full of cheap guesthouses, local restaurants and souvenir stalls which radiate from the buzzing strip of Khao San Road. In recent years, more upmarket lodgings and boutique hotels have emerged along with chic bars and exclusive restaurants.
Nestled on the Chao Phraya River’s east bank, the Royal island of Rattanakosin is home to not only the Grand Palace and its Temple of the Emerald Buddha but also the Temple of the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho and the illustrious National Museum. Its laid-back streets are home to traditional shophouses, and there are fantastic views across to Wat Arun on offer, but there’s little nightlife for those who want to venture out after dark.
The commercial hub of Bangkok is without a doubt Siam, whose mega-malls and designer fashion boutiques cluster around Siam Square and Rama I Road. For those who’ve come to shop, then this is an ideal base, with plenty of upscale hotels situated within Siam’s streets. In addition to its world-class shopping, Siam is also home to the magnificent white temple of Wat Pathum Wanarum and within a stone’s throw of Jim Thompson’s House, renowned for its collection of traditional Thai architecture.
Stretching all the way to the Cambodian border, Sukhumvit Road is the longest street in Thailand, but the section through Bangkok is without a doubt its most famous area. Upmarket hotels, innovative restaurants and sophisticated bars line the strip between Nana and Thong, while small ‘sois’ radiate with local restaurants and red-light bars, particularly within the iconic ‘Soi Cowboy’.
Clustered with high-rise office buildings, hotels and shopping malls, Silom is the heart of Bangkok’s modern financial district, adjacent to the colonial-era warehouses of the former trade quarter at Bang Rak. It is located at the crossroads of both the BTS and MRT transport systems, making it an ideal base for exploring all corners of the city, and is home to the lively after dark district along Patpong Road and its nightly bazaar.
With its streets overflowing with market stalls and food stands, Chinatown offers that a quintessential Asian street vibe and some of Bangkok’s best culinary experiences. It is right on the doorstep of Hua Lamphong Station for those with an early train to other parts of Thailand, and during the annual Chinese New Year celebrations, it is the place to be.