The BTS Skytrain interchange at Siam has made this area the center or downtown of modern-day Bangkok. It’s the main shopping district, and home to some of the city’s top-rated hotels. It’s the best option for families, thanks to the transportation links and child-friendly malls such as Siam Paragon, with its aquarium.
Pros: The best street shopping and convenient malls (perfect for good, inexpensive meals); easy to reach, thanks to the BTS Skytrain interchange; some of the best hotels; family-friendly.
Cons: Not much to do at night, and very few attractions during the day.
Best for: Shopaholics, families, and those who want easy access to other parts of town.
See more hotels and the neighborhood attractions in the Siam visitor’s guide.
Silom & Riverside
Bangkok’s financial district holds on to some of the city’s past, mixing modern skyscrapers and decaying old buildings. It’s a place every visitor end ups at, for the connection to the boats that go to some of the most popular attractions.
Pros: Big-name hotels with river views, some of the finest restaurants and rooftop bars, conveniently connected to the BTS Skytrain and the Chao Phraya Express boats.
Cons: Traffic, few cultural attractions or budget options.
Best for: Couples on a honeymoon or a romantic holiday, those curious to check out the city’s raunchiest nightlife or who want a resort-style vacation.
See more hotels and the neighborhood attractions in the Silom visitor’s guide.
Rattanakosin, or the “Old City,” is home to Bangkok’s most stunning temples and historical attractions. Despite being the neighborhood with the most tourists per square mile, it manages to remain the most authentic. To the north is Khao San Road, a world-famous backpackers’ mecca and one of the city’s liveliest streets.
Pros: Major sights and cultural attractions within walking distance; nightlife and budget accommodation in and around Khao San Road, occasional river views.
Cons: Limited accommodation options (it’s mostly midrange and budget hotels). Some walking required to get around and to get to the MRT subway station (there’s no BTS Skytrain; boat and taxi are the other options). The Khao San Road area can be rowdy.
Best for: Those with only one day to see the major sights, and budget travelers.
See more hotels and the neighborhood attractions in the Old City visitor’s guide.
Sukhumvit Road is one of Bangkok’s main arteries, and its surroundings are home to malls and hotels, attracting many tourists despite its lack of major attractions. It’s the city’s most cosmopolitan district, and with some of the best bars and clubs in town.
Pros: Well connected to public transportation (both the BTS Skytrain and the MRT subway), a wide range of hotels for all budgets, a variety of dining options and nightlife.
Cons: No major tourist attractions (will always need transportation for sightseeing) but lots of tourists, and everything (restaurants, bars, hotels) is spread out, so some walking is required.
Best for: Those who prefer a more cosmopolitan or Western-style area and the convenience of public transportation, and who like to party.
See more hotels and the neighborhood attractions in the Sukhumvit visitor’s guide.
Bangkok’s most colorful and vibrant neighborhood is an experience like no other, mixing Chinese and Thai cultures, and all kinds of sights and scents. It’s a bustling place packed with market and food stalls, shrines, and restaurants, making it the most fascinating part of town.
Pros: Everything (from the food to the shopping) is cheap or reasonably-priced.
Cons: Noise, traffic, and few places to stay.
Best for: Budget travelers, those who prefer to experience the city like locals, and who enjoy exotic street food and open-air markets.
See more hotels and the neighborhood attractions in the Chinatown visitor’s guide.