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Which Area To Stay In Bangkok In 2020?

by Mia N

Bangkok is nowadays up to speed with modern times but the city still keeps the glory of the past with temples and religious structures. When in Bangkok, the first thing you have to care about is which area to stay for your best experience. Some popular tourists areas are Silom, Siam, Sukhumvit, Chinatown, Khaosan, etc. Of course, each area has specific features that will give you different adventures with different feelings. 
We’ll have a detailed look at those areas one by one.

1. Silom

Silom Bangkok
Silom Bangkok

Silom is one of the city’s most important financial districts as there located many banks, financial institutions, and office buildings. But as the night arrives, Silom takes off its suit and transforms into a bustling shopping center and lively playground.

♦ Things to do

  • Just walking for a minute, you will enter to a shopping paradise with tons and tons of markets and shops: Lalai Shap Market, Patpong Night Market, Silom Complex (mall), Silom Village, Jim Thompson Shop Silom, Robinson Department Store, etc. They provide clothes, designer gear, jewelry, foods, and many other amazing things.
  • Bars and restaurants are also the number one choices of couples and families when traveling in Silom. You can have a romantic night at the Sky Bar, Park Society Rooftop, So Hotel or Cloud47, viewing all Silom from the top.
  • Staying in Silom, you’ll have a chance to visit red-light districts Patpong, Soi 2 and Soi 4. In recent years, these districts are not only for gay but for many couples on a date or a group of tourists also.

♦ Who should stay there?

  • People looking for a small area with almost everything at a reasonable price.
  • People who enjoy the nightlife as well as red-light districts, couples on a date.
  • Travelers who have to move regularly by BTS, MRT, etc (the Skytrain (BTS) and MRT systems both have Silom connection, which is so convenient for tourists to move around).
  • Businessmen

♦ Cons

  • Families with children shouldn’t bring along your kids to Silom because many people consider it as a “bad area”.
  • If you don’t like the noise at night, stay away from Silom.
  • The traffic from 5 pm is usually stuck.


2. Sukhumvit

Sukhumvit Bangkok
Sukhumvit Bangkok

This is the longest road in Thailand, which is 18 km long. We hardly can find a traditional tourists attraction here, but Sukhumvit is rich in eating, shopping, and nightlife. 

♦ Things to do

The district is modern with the latest shopping malls, universal restaurants, and exciting bars and clubs. You can have dinner at a restaurant in the street then shop at the bustling malls; finally, get a drink and enjoy yourselves at the bars. Here are some suggestions:

  • Shopping: Terminal 21, Emporium Shopping Mall, EmQuartier
  • Eating: Soi 38 Sukhumvit (famous food street), Bo.Lan Restaurant, Enoteca Italiana, Freebird Restaurant Bangkok.
  • Clubs/Bars: Soi Cowboy (the most famous red light street), Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar, Levels Club.

♦ Who should stay there?

Sukhumvit is definitely for shopaholics, nightlife travelers, people who love parties as well as wonderful restaurants. Also, hotels there offer rooms with a wide range of prices to choose and the BTS line there runs over Sukhumvit Road from east to west, great for people when getting around.

♦ Cons

  • As there aren’t many traditional tourist attractions in Sukhumvit, you have to travel a long way to reach a sight-seeing attraction.
  • The district is very wide so there’s lots of walking between venues.
  • The traffic is not so good (often have traffic jam).
  • The place near Soi Cowboy has lots of bars, which is not suitable for female solo travelers and families with kids.


3. Siam area

Icon Siam
Icon Siam (taken by Asia Wander)

Siam is located in the center of Bangkok and it’s said to be the best area to stay in Bangkok for the first time and the best area to stay in Bangkok for shopping. Known as one of the most modern and lively areas in Bangkok, you will feel as if you’ve arrived at the true paradise of shopping.

♦ Things to do

  • Go shopping: malls are everywhere: MBK, Siam Center, Siam Paragon, Pratunam etc. They are far from just a places to shop, inside the glass and frame, there’s actually a world with restaurants, cinemas, aquarium, and the world-famous Madame Tussauds.
  • There are not many cultural attractions there but you will find a number of modern attractions and activities for families or groups of tourists to join.
  • At night, the life in Siam is not as noisy as in Silom or Sukhumvit. However, you can enjoy your night slowly at rooftop bars in the area.

♦ Who should stay there?

  • Shopaholics, especially who love brand-name goods.
  • Families with children and people who don’t want a noisy night out
  • People who want to stay in the center of the city, and want to go to other parts of Bangkok: The Central BTS station is situated in Siam and provides easy access to the rest of the city.

♦ Cons

  • Lack of traditional and cultural Bangkok feelings.
  • Not for nightlife people.


4. Chinatown

Chinatown in Bangkok (source: phuotvivu.com)
Chinatown in Bangkok (source: phuotvivu.com)

Chinatown is not usually the common option for travelers coming to Bangkok for the first time but as you choose the right hotel to stay and right things to do, everything will be different. This area is famous for various kinds of food, especially Chinese food or Asian food. Food lovers and new generation gourmands usually choose Chinatown area the place to stay while in Bangkok. This area isn’t less busy than any other areas in Bangkok as there are so many markets, street-side restaurants, and Chinese temples.

♦ Things to do

  • A heaven of food appears in front of you: foods are delicious and cheap so there’s no reason to hesitate. Moreover, for tourists who want to go shopping, markets in Chinatown will do it. Sampeng Lane, Old Siam Plaza, Itsaraphap Lane, Talat Kao, etc. are some popular ones among many other markets here.
  • In addition to shopping markets, you will have a chance to visit traditional attractions in Chinatown area such as China Gate, Chinese temples like Wat Mangkok Kamalawat or Wat Traimit. You are also available to watch Thai masked dance at Sala Chalermkrung Khon theater.
  • If you come here at Lunar New Year time or mid-autumn, it’s great because you can join the Chinese Lunar New Year festival as well as the Mid-Autumn Festival. They are all fantastic!

♦ Who should stay there?

  • People who want to enjoy the colorful life in Bangkok: modern but also traditional and cultural.
  • Backpackers, travelers, and tourists who want to save money as much as possible.
  • Those who are fond of the cultural beauty of Thailand and China (Southeast Asia).

♦ Cons

  • Nightlife is boring, not so many activities in bars and clubs.
  • There’s no BTS station in Chinatown, the nearest MRT station is Hua Lamphong, which is 15 mins walking
  • Shopping is cheap but is careful of the origins and quality of the products.


5. Old City or Khaosan

khaosan road bangkok
Khaosan road in Bangkok (source: bestpricetravel.com)

The Old City is perhaps the heart of the most magnificent and honorable historical attractions in Bangkok such as The Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, and Wat Pho. This area expresses the Thai lifestyle, Thai soul and more traditional things of the locals.

♦ Things to do

  • Go sight-seeing at the famous cultural and historical attractions.
  • Walking around the Khaosan Road for many other services like bars, bookshops, massage parlors, market stalls, tattoo shops and so on.
  • Get some fresh and cheap flowers at the flower market Pak Klong Talad.

Old City is the destination which allows you both to live among Thai culture and the lively nightlife.

♦ Who should stay there?

  • Backpackers looking for cheap accommodation.
  • Independent travelers hope to save money.
  • Tourists love sight-seeing especially historical and religious attractions.
  • Who wants a peaceful staying in Bangkok filled with Thai traditions.

♦ Cons

  • It’s quite hard to get to other places in Bangkok.


6. Riverside

Apple Store at Icon Siam confronts the beautifiul Chao Phraya river

Riverside area is the origin of Thai history. The Chao Phraya has witnessed Bangkok’s development day today. Tourists will have an opportunity to feel and admire the beauty of a different Bangkok: full of significantly historical shrines and palaces together with the modern buildings and 5-star hotels. The scenery is picturesque and romantic.

♦ Things to do

  • Enjoy the unique and Chao Phraya river
  • Relaxing and walking with friends and family along the river side or exploring the area by boats.
  • Go on a date at romantic rooftop bars with river view.
  • Go shopping at the malls and markets.

♦ Who should stay there?

  • Families or tourists want a luxurious & peaceful vacation
  • Couples who want a romantic place to date or sight-seeing together
  • People who don’t like the hustle and bustle of the city center and would like to spend time at a relaxed place

♦ Cons

  • Expensive price in almost everything.
  • Not much nightlife.
  • There are few places are within walking distance.
  • You may be far from the BTS station depending on where you stay.

To sum up, let me wrap up all the information above to help you decide the best area to stay in Bangkok for first time:

Best area near BTS in Bangkok?

Siam, Silom, Sukhumvit

Best area to stay in Bangkok for nightlife?

Silom, Sukhimvit, Old City

Best area to stay near tourist attractions in Bangkok?

Chinatown, Old City, Riverside

Best area to stay in Bangkok for shopping?

Siam, Sukhumvit

Best area to stay in Bangkok with family?


Best area to stay in Bangkok for sightseeing?

Old city, Khaosan

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