Bangkok is a huge city covering more than 1,500 square kilometers but the good news is that most of Bangkok’s attractions are collected into a few areas or neighborhoods. Certain zones or areas are more popular with visitors than others because they are well located or because they contain a wealth of things to see and do. Because you don’t want to spend hours trying to find your way around the city, we put together this guide to the most popular areas to visit.
Sukhumvit/ Image via Francisco Anzola/ Flickr
Sukhumvit is actually a road in Bangkok – the longest road in Thailand, to be precise. At around 400 km long, you won’t want to check it all out but the first stretch in downtown Bangkok is worth making the trip for. Sukhumvit is full of trendy restaurants, cool cafes, buzzing clubs and nice shops. You’ll also find some X-rated bars that cater for the party crowd after hours. The Sukhumvit area also takes in smaller cross-streets with their luxury hotels, malls, and bars. There is also a wide selection of spas for relaxation. The Skytrain runs along the stretch of Sukhumvit downtown, making it easy to explore this area of the city.
If you’re looking for shopping, Siam is the area for you. Home to the biggest malls like Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, and Siam Center, this neighborhood is the place to go if you want to spend some money. You will also find Siam Square, a more low-key and eclectic shopping experience with smaller boutiques and cafes. Nearby CentralWorld and designer shopping at the Gaysorn, Amarin Plaza and Peninsula malls increase the appeal of this retail zone. You’ll also find a lot of hotels in this area, from the luxury to the more affordable.
Silom is all business by day and raunchy nightlife after the sun goes down. Many banks and financial institutions have their headquarters here and there are some classy hotels and nice restaurants. Silom is also home to the seedy side of Bangkok with a number of go-go bars. Silom is a crazy place at night but worth visiting for the experience. You can get to the neighborhood via the Skytrain and the underground.
Chao Phraya River/ Image via Arun Katiyar / Flickr
This historic side of the city is dominated by the Chao Phraya River. Alongside the banks of this famous Bangkok landmark are attractions like the Grand Palace, Wat Arun, and Wat Phra Kaew. Travel up and down the river by river taxi boat, or book a cruise to see the area at a slow pace. There are also some excellent, albeit pricey, hotels overlooking the river. A dinner cruise at night is a fine way to see the river and the city, without having to spend a lot of money for a hotel room with a view.
5) Khao San Road
The Khao San Road has long been a favorite with foreign backpackers, attracting budget travelers with its low-key lodgings and tons of bars. While the area now has its fair share of more expensive, luxury accommodations, it is still the place to go if you are looking for a bargain bed. The nightlife is fun and vibrant with a lot of different options in bars, cafes, restaurants, and street food. The side streets of Rambutri Road and others are the places to go for inexpensive massages, food, and souvenirs.
Sathorn is an area of luxury homes and hotels with a wide choice of dining spots from gourmet restaurants to classy bars. Sathorn is also home to the green oasis of Lumpini Park, which provides a nice escape from the craziness of the city. In the evening, go to Sathorn for some of Bangkok’s best rooftop bars. You’ll get a complete panorama of the city from up high, along with some amazing cocktails.
Chinatown is a paradise for foodies and the place to go when you want to shop at Bangkok street stalls or visit Chinese temples. Chinatown is a vibrant, busy place full of interesting sights, smells and experiences. And you’ll want to go purely for the food – many stalls, restaurants and cafes offer all you can eat at great prices.
Another shopping paradise, Pratunam is dominated by street markets, local vendors, stalls, and factory outlets. Whatever you want to buy, you are sure to find it here. Pratunam is also the location for the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, Thailand’s tallest building.
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