How to choose the area for your stay in Bangkok
When planning your trip to the vibrant capital it is recommended that visitors know what itinerary and attractions are at the top of their to-do and must-see lists prior to booking a spot to crash for the night. Although all the Bangkok sights and attractions are relatively easy to navigate on public or private transport, staying nearby to one’s ideal activities can assist in making a holiday all that more enjoyable and stress-free.
For the sake of convenience and clarity, this article will focus on Bangkok’s most popular accommodation areas for travellers; namely, Sukumvit, Siam, Silom, Riverside (a popular choice with honeymooners or travellers with generous budgets) and Old City with its famous Khao San Road. Fortunately Thailand’s capital is an ideal destination for every type of traveller and every type of bank balance. Whether you’re lugging around a scruffy backpack with dirt-encrusted shoes tied onto the front, or wheeling a matching set of Louis Vuitton’s straight out of first-class; the city has accommodation options suited for everyone.
Recognized for its glitzy and extravagant nightlife and party scene, Sukhumvit is a popular district for those who are looking for trendy nightclubs, fashionable shopping malls, beauty spas and superb restaurants and bars.
Situated in the heart of Bangkok, the contemporary and cosmopolitan air of Sukhumvit is a good spot for travellers wanting to be at the epicentre of the city’s hullabaloo. While this area may lack the traditional tourist attractions, staying within this area fortunately means easy access to public transport via the Skytrain and MRT (subway) and visitors will have no problem at all exploring the capital.
Travellers on a budget in Sukhumvit need not look further than the excellently located, Matchbox Hostel which is a unique dormitory where the individual dorms are divided into separate, modern pods. Situated on Soi 33, four minutes from the BTS Station (Skytrain), each pod has their own LCD TV, air-conditioning, complimentary water, coffee and tea and privacy curtains. The communal room on the roof and 5th floor make this spot the ideal dorm to meet other backpackers. Prices range between THB 400 to THB 750 per night making this a bit hit with travellers looking to stretch their funds.
For travellers looking for contemporary elegance and exceptional service, the 5-star Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit is a tried and trusted brand that the world has come to trust and rely on for quality, luxury and first-class panache. The high-end hotel boasts a stunning rooftop swimming pool with breathtaking views, a fitness centre, beauty spa and a buffet breakfast fit for royalty. Room prices start around THB 5,000 per night.
Next up is Siam, a hotspot for families and travellers wanting to be well located for exploring the city’s other areas. Siam is also a top destination for those wanting to shop, dine out in style; visit the cinemas, Siam Ocean World and Jim Thompson’s House. Siam also boasts an ice-rink inside Central World shopping mall making it a hit for those with young families. A huge plus of Siam is the free Muay Thai (Thai boxing) fights that take place every Wednesday evening outside MBK shopping mall.
Travellers looking for a delightful gem within a very affordable price bracket should drag their backpacks to Chao Hostel on the 8th floor of the Siam Building. Prime location to Siam’s shopping malls, Chao Hostel is trendy, bright and has a somewhat ‘hipster’ atmosphere and dubs itself as a ‘luxurious boutique hostel’. Merging a rustic, authentic Thai feel with fresh, modern comforts, room rates start from THB 600 a night.
For visitors looking for mid-range accommodation within Siam, Happy 3 on 33 Rama I Road is neighbours to the famous Jim Thompson House in a quaint, secluded ally, near to the ‘National Stadium’ subway station. Room rates start at TBH 2,300 including a delicious breakfast that guests rave about. Small, immaculate and cosy, Happy 3 gets an enthusiastic vote of confidence from its delighted guests.
Being the Central Business District, Silom is the very best area for those in Bangkok on business. It’s not all work and no play, however, as Silom transforms into a foodie haven after sunset and many travellers swap business suits for cocktail dresses and let their hair down come dusk. The infamous and notorious red light district and Patpong night market are also located in Silom and with the area’s very affordable prices, Silom attracts professionals and party-people alike. Lumphini Park – Bangkok’s biggest park is also located here and is the ideal reprieve from the smoke billowing from faulty car exhausts and honking of the bustling city.
For those on a budget in Silom who want the experience of staying in an authentic Thai neighbourhood rather than on a busy tourist strip, Pas Cher Hotel de Bangkok offers great value for money with its spacious, airy and clean rooms. Within walking distance of fast-food chains, a 7/11 and Robinson’s department store, this hotel is an excellent choice for those looking to save money without skimping on comfort and convenience. Room rates start at around THB 1,300.
For travellers looking for the epitome of luxury and elegance, Sofitel Bangkok is a 5-star urban-design hotel that overlooks the city’s picturesque Lumpini Park. With its two restaurants and 3 bars, including an open-air rooftop bar with jaw-dropping views of the iconic skyline, Sofitel is as exquisite and as stylish as they come. Located on the corner of North Sathorn and Rama IV Road, prices start at around TBH 5,500 and go up to a hefty 48, 000 for the VIP 2-bedroomed duplex.
Romantic, scenic and relaxing, the origins of Bangkok are the beautiful Riverside area. With the tranquil Chao Praya River on your doorstep and the delightful Asiatique Night Market, this upscale area is well suited for travellers wanting to escape the city life or for honeymooners looking for a dreamy location in the capital. Very nearby to the historical attractions in the Old City, Riverside at night with the twinkling temples and shrines creates a very scenic stay in Bangkok. This area has the majority of the 5-star hotels in the city and is best suited to visitors with bigger budgets.
Empty your piggy-banks, ladies and gentlemen. For recent lottery winners or for those celebrating with plenty of zeros in their bank accounts, the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok is truly a once in a lifetime experience. Over 140 years old, the old world opulence of this hotel blends with cutting-edge and contemporary comforts making it legendary throughout the country and even the world. Mandarin Oriental has hosted royalty and presidents from all over the world; and with its prime location right on the Chao Phraya riverbank and magical views this hotel is quite literally fit for a king. Nine restaurants, two outdoor pools, tennis courts, and a spa and wellness centre, are only a couple of the highlights of this hotel. Rates start at THB 16,000 and can go up to a whopping TBH 160,000 for one night.
The Old City
Lastly, the Old City of Bangkok and home to the famous Khao San Road which is quoted in ‘The Beach’ as being the centre of the backpacking universe, is the ideal spot for Bangkok travellers on a shoe-string budget. In Khao San Road you won’t find any 5-star hotels or facilities and budget guesthouses, hostels and a couple of mid-range hotels dominate the accommodation scene. ‘Happy Hour’ is somewhat of an oxymoron here in Khao San with cheap drinks being on offer 24 hours a day, raucous bucket-bars and the rowdy nightlife is world-renowned for a reason. For travellers who are adverse to non-stop party music throughout all hours of the night and morning, we’d recommended staying off Khao San Road itself and finding a quieter spot away from the eye of the storm.
Offering wonderful value for your baht is Thanabhumi Guesthouse, located in a peaceful neighbourhood at 365/15 Phra Sumen Road with pretty views of the river. Clean, spacious bedrooms with complimentary coffee, fruit and snacks, Thanabhumi Guesthouse even has a communal area which is a wonderful means of socializing and meeting other likeminded travellers during your stay. Free Wi-Fi, friendly, informative staff and only a ten minute walk from Khao San Road makes this guesthouse a favourite of travellers. Rates start from around THB 1000 for the night.
At the more mid-range price option, Chillax Resort is a wonderful choice for those wishing for the close proximity of Khao San Road with none of the noise. Situated at 272 Sansen Soi2, only 600 meters from the madness, Chillax Resort offers lavish, sophisticated rooms all equipped with air-conn, free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. This is a great resort for couples wanting a romantic getaway or families looking for bit of comfort and luxury. An added bonus of this spot is the wonderful rooftop diner, bar and gorgeous swimming pool; plus a hot tub in each room! Room rates start at around THB 2600.