How do you choose the Best Area to Stay in Bangkok?

Are you trying to find the best area to stay in Bangkok for your trip? Whether you’re here in Bangkok for a brief stopover or taking advantage of a hotel’s stay/pay deal (yes, they still exist), where you stay can make or break your visit. We have visited Bangkok many times, and we have stayed in a variety of areas. Read on for our rundown of the best areas to stay when you visit Bangkok.

Bangkok is a really spread-out city, and if you’re only here for a short time and have a purpose for your visit, the best place to stay in Bangkok might not be where you first considered.

I recommend you think about your main reason for visiting Bangkok and to plan where you’ll stay based on that.

If you’re a shopper, a foodie, a cultural sightseer, a family of four or looking for a LGBTQI-friendly area, I’ve got you covered. You can narrow down your accommodation choices based on who you are and why you’re visiting with my easy guide.

I’m going to break this down by the most popular areas to stay in Bangkok. But if you’re in a hurry, check out this table, as it’ll guide you by the type of traveller you are.

Thailand awaits quick picks

In a hurry and just want to know our picks for different travellers. Here you go!

  • Beat area for first-time visitors – Sukhumvit or Riverside
  • Best area for shopping – Siam
  • Best area for sightseeing – Rattanakosin Island
  • Best area for families – Sathorn
  • Best area for nightlife – Thonglor for nightclubs, Silom for go-go bars and adult entertainment
  • Best area for budget travellers – Khao San Road
  • Best area for a stopover – Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) or Don Mueang Airport (DMK), depending on where your departure flight is from.

Scroll down for detailed advice.

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If you are in Bangkok to take advantage of the fabulous malls, the city is famous for the then Siam is the best area to stay in Bangkok. This is home to the central station of the BTS Skytrain and is an interchange for four lines.

Shopping, shopping, and more shopping! The Siam Square area is where you’ll find the best places to spend your money in Bangkok.

Siam Discovery
With two BTS stops, Siam and National Stadium, this is a central location for exploring

The Siam BTS Station is within walking distance of the Siam Paragon shopping mall, and the Siam Center and Siam Discovery Mall are all connected. Opposite Discovery is SIAMSCAPE and Siam Square. Central World is around the corner from the Siam Paragon Mall.

And no shopper visiting Bangkok would forgive themselves if they didn’t go to the MBK shopping mall.

Food choices abound here. You’ve got fantastic food courts, all your fast-food favourites and local buffet restaurants like MK and BBQ Plaza. There are even street food vendors along the main road.

It’s not only about shopping; there are tourist attractions in Siam too. Don’t miss the Jim Thompson House Museum. You will find it less than 10 minutes walk from Siam Station and only 5 minutes from National Stadium Station.

One of the buildings at the Jim Thompson House Bangkok
Jim Thompson House is walking distance to Siam Square

What should you consider first?

With its proximity to the BTS Skytrain, loads of hotels, malls, and restaurants, it’s hard to find any fault with this location. If we are being picky, we could say there is not a lot of street food in the main streets, but venture a little way past National Stadium and you will uncover some great options.

Expect to pay more for accommodation here than you would in other areas.

Where to stay in Siam

Pathumwan Princess

Pathumwan Princess – is an excellent choice situated right above the MBK shopping centre. The hotel has an excellent fitness centre and a large outdoor pool. Read our editor’s review of a recent 10 day at the Princess as she is affectionately known.

Pool view room Pathumwan Princess
The swimming pool at Pathumwan Princess is one of the biggest in the city

Check the price of Pathuwam Princess Hotel


Siam at Siam is a boutique hotel just minutes’ walk from the main shopping malls and a few minutes from the Jim Thompson restaurant and canal boats on the Khlong Saen Saep.

A deluxe room at Siam@Siam hotel

The contemporary design of the hotel creates a welcoming atmosphere and the spacious rooms and comfortable beds are great to come back to after a big day of exploring.

The rooftop infinity pool provides a perfect spot to unwind and enjoy panoramic vistas of the city skyline. The hotel also features the fine dining restaurant Taan Taan and fun rooftop bar, Paradise Lost.

Check the current price of rooms at Siam@Siam Design Hotel

When searching for accommodation in Siam on the area is also listed at Pathumwan, Bangkok.

If it’s your first time in Southeast Asia, the culture shock can hit you fast. I recommend weaning your way into it, and Sukhumvit is the place to stay in Bangkok to do just that.

SkyTrain on Sukhumvit Road Bangkok

Why should you stay in Sukhumvit?

There’s something for everyone here. The area is exceptionally tourist-friendly, and English is spoken widely in most shops and restaurants. There are loads of Western-style modern shopping centres and fast-food chains.

Both the BTS and MRT transport systems connect here at Asok/Sukhumvit, and loads of buses go up and down Sukhumvit Road if you’d like to travel like a local once you’re settled in.

The area has a broad range of food choices from around the world, and, of course, street food vendors are on almost every corner.

Terminal 21 Food Court
Terminal 21 is one of the unique malls in Bangkok

Sukhumvit is the home to some of the most globally well-known luxury hotels, and many of them have a rooftop bar or a rooftop infinity pool, with many hotels offering both; some are combined! What could be better than sitting in the rooftop pool, sipping a cocktail and getting a 360° view of the Bangkok skyline?

What should you consider?

The area gets extremely busy, day and night, so be sure to look all ways before crossing any streets and stick to the overhead pedestrian bridges if possible. While it is extremely popular, it is a long way from the historic sites and the Chao Phraya River.

Where to stay in Sukhumvit

You’ll find everything from mid-range hotels to luxury brands here. If you have hotel points to spend, you will find a property from almost every major chain here.

Three we think you should consider are:

Living Bangkok Sukhumvit Legacy

Located on Sukhumvit Soi 29, Living Bangkok Sukhumvit Legacy is well positioned for easy exploration of Bangkok with its proximity to Asok and Phrom Phong BTS Skytrain Stations, and Sukhumvit MRT Station.

It’s walking distance to the city’s top shopping centres, and the Benjakitti Forest Park for when you are craving some green space in this hectic city.

There are 207 studios and suites designed to provide plenty of space. The apartment-style rooms include large bedrooms with separate living areas, perfect for a home-away-from-home feel. The communal spaces include a free-form swimming pool, a modern fitness centre, and El Santos, a Mexican restaurant. Families will love Playtopia, a fun and engaging Kid’s Club.

Check the current price of rooms at Living Bangkok Sukhumvit Legacy

Also known as Bangkok Old Town, it’s where the famous temples of Wat Pho and the Grand Palace are located. Walk outside your hotel, jump in a Tuk-tuk and experience Bangkok like they did 300 years ago.

Why should you stay on Rattanakosin Island?

The Old Town is the cultural centre of Bangkok. It’s the best place to stay in Bangkok if you plan to temple-hop and you only have a few days.

The Grand Palace, which has been the home of every king since 1792, and Wat Phra Kaew (The Temple of the Emerald Buddha) are the most visited tourist attractions in Thailand and a must-see for every tourist.

Photo of The Grand Palace, a complex of buildings at the heart of Bankgok, Thailand
The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) since 1782.

Jump on the ferry at Tha Tien pier, and for 5 baht, you can cross to the stunningly gorgeous Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn). If you’re into running like I am, Sanam Luang Park is perfect; fences surround it, so you don’t have to spend too much time looking out for wayward motorcycles.

What should you consider?

This area is where all the sightseeing tourists head, so it can get very crowded, especially during the high season (November to February). Also, expect to pay more for everything here. Even local street food gets marked up to ‘tourist prices’, so allow for that if you choose to eat and drink here.

Where should you stay on Rattanakosin Island?

We recently stay in this area for the first time and loved it. So convenient and plenty of great people watching. Choose hotels nearer to Wat Pho than the Grand Palace for the best experience.

Riva Arun

Riva Arun Boutique hotel has an on-site restaurant with stunning views of the Chao Phraya River. The rooms are on the small side but they are beautifully presented with lux linens and comfortable beds.

View from our room at Riva Arun

You can walk to many of the key attractions and there is a metro stop six minutes walk away.

Check the price of the Riva Arun

Travelling with children can be a joy but can also have some challenges. In a city as vibrant and hectic as Bangkok, being right in the heart may not be the best choice. If you and your family are planning a short stay in Bangkok, the Sathorn area is conveniently located two stops on the BTS from the city centre and between two MRT stations, Silom and Lumphini.

Why should you stay in Sathorn?

Sathorn is very family-friendly; it’s next door to Lumpini Park, a trendy park with a running track I run there often, as it’s a comfortable 3km around. There are lots of green spaces to sit down and relax in and a lake in the middle where you can ride on paddle boats in the shape of swans. It’s a good place to take the kids to wear them out!

Bangkoks Parks Lumphini
Lumphini Park

There are many places to eat in Sathorn, and the Samyan Midtown and Silom Complex shopping malls are nearby.

What should you consider?

Sathorn is right next door to Silom. Known as Bangkok’s ‘Wall Street’ during the day, at night, it changes into an adult playground with go-go bars and the famous Patpong night market and is a popular hangout for Bangkok’s LGBTQI community. While Sathorn is family-friendly, Silom probably isn’t a place you’d want to take your kids to after hours.

Where should you stay in Sathorn?

Sathorn is the home of many mid-range hotels, and you’re spoilt for choice.

Best Western Click Sathorn 11

In the heart of Bangkok at Best Western Click Sathorn 11 features 119 modern rooms, each equipped with amenities for a comfortable stay. Tucked away on a quiet residential street, it offers easy access to key areas like Sathorn, Silom, and the Chao Phraya riverside. Perfect for both business and leisure travellers, the hotel serves as an ideal base for exploring both the cuisine and the many wonders of Bangkok.

Best Western Click Sathorn 11

Check the price and details for Best Western Click Sathorn 11

Formerly known as the backpacker’s #1 destination to stay in Bangkok, Khao San Road has undergone a transformation since the pandemic. It now caters to a broader range of tourists and locals alike. The good news is that the accommodation here is still some of the lowest in Bangkok.

 Tuk Tuk, Thai traditional taxis waiting for customers during daylight on the famous Khaosan Road or Khao San Road of Bangkok
Plenty of life back on Khao San Road

Why should you stay in the Khao San Road area?

If you want delicious street food, cheap hotels and massages, and the opportunity to eat and drink all night, then the best place to stay in Bangkok is near Khao San Road. It primarily caters to a younger crowd, and just wandering down the main strip and people-watch is an experience not to be missed in Bangkok.

The area also has some tourist attractions, like Wat Saket (The Golden Mount), the Democracy Monument and the National Gallery.

344 steps to the temple
Wat Saket aka Golden Mount Temple

I liken the Khao San area to Las Vegas in the US. By day, it’s a pretty average street with some shops and restaurants open, but come 5pm., it’s like a switch is flipped, and it becomes an experience that’s not easy to forget.

If the main drag is all a little too overwhelming, cross the road and head down to Soi Rambuttri. It’s a lot quieter but still has many food and shopping choices.

What should you consider?

Khao San Road isn’t the most convenient place to get to, as the nearest MRT station, Sam Yot, is over 1km away. There is a ferry pier called Phra Athit, which is close, but as ferries stop around 7 p.m., it’s not a handy option if you want to go out at night.

Also, if you’re staying in one of the many hotels in or next to the main road itself, be prepared for loud music to permeate your room until the wee hours of the morning. If you’re a late-night partier, this location will appeal to you the most.

Where should you stay in the Khao San Road area?

Some of the best budget hotel rooms in Bangkok are in this area however there are also some lovely boutique properties that sit within a few minutes’ walk of Khao San Road.

Check out:

  • Chillax Heritage Hotel – This 4 star hotel has a rooftop pool and is just two minutes walk from Khao San Road.
  • Tinidee Trendy Bangkok Khaosan – just 200m off Khao San Road this clean and modern property offers good sized air-conditioned rooms. There are also family rooms, a pool and onsite bar and restaurant.
  • Riva Surya Bangkok  – a rather lux boutique hotel is located a right by the river and only minutes to the Phra Athit riverboat stop. It offers a pool, fitness centre and river views.
  • Baan Chart – a great budget option ($168 for 3 nights) the hotel is just off Rambuttri and great value for money. Lots of people recommend Rambuttri Village but the reviews suggest things are getting a little run down here and we think Baan Chant is a much better option in 2024

The Chao Phraya River is the lifeblood of the city, and nothing beats a room with a river view. Many of the best luxury hotels are located on the riverside. Our tip is to stay on the west bank of the river in Thonburi. Most 5-star hotels have free shuttle ferries to take you across to the other side.

Why should you stay in Riverside?

Bangkok Riverside is a more relaxing place to stay in Bangkok than the other hubs; the river makes it a more tranquil location. There are hotels on both sides of the river, ranging from budget to luxury. If you choose to stay on the East Bank, you have easy access to the BTS at Saphan Taksin, and the Asiatique market is close by.

The west bank is where you’ll find Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn), the Princess Mother Memorial Park and the Icon Siam shopping mall.

What should you consider?

Dining in Riverside can be extremely expensive; after all, you’ve got that Chao Phraya River view. Sadly, some restaurants serve overpriced and so/so food as they figure you’re there for the scenery. You can find authentic Thai food, you just need to look a little carefully.

Where should you stay, Riverside?

The first two hotels are on the west or Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya. Most hotels on this side will offer a free shuttle to the main pier on the other side of the river.

Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort – This 5-star hotel is a perfect special occasion property, think honeymoon or milestone birthday. The landscaped grounds make it hard to believe you are in the middle of the middle of Bangkok. The hotel offers a bunch of fabulous special experiences for their guests.

Anantara Riverside Resort Bangkok
Anantara Riverside Resort Bangkok

Check the prices and room options at Anantara Riverside

Avani Plus Riverside Bangkok Hotel – Right next door to Anantara, Avani Riverside with its 28-metre rooftop infinity pool offers modern, comfortable rooms and amazing views over Bangkok.

Avani Plus Riverside Bangkok

Check the prices and room options at Avani Plus Riverside Bangkok Hotel

Shangri La Hotel – this gorgeous five-star hotel is on the “right’ side of the river and a short walk from the BTS and main river ferry pier. The hotel has a beautiful riverfront pool, enormous gym and nine onsite dining areas. Rooms are spacious and many have river views.

See more riverfront options on our list of 9 unique Bangkok hotels

If you have a very short layover in Bangkok, and the accommodation isn’t covered by the airline, you might consider staying right at or very near the airport instead of downtown Bangkok.

When should you stay near the airport

If you have a very short layover < 8 hours, there isn’t much time to do anything or go anywhere, especially if the bulk of this time is overnight. The convenience of being right at the airport means you’re not going to be concerned about traffic delays or not finding a taxi that’ll take you there.

Both airports have hotels connected to the main terminal and a few very close — some even in walking distance.

What should you consider?

While both of Bangkok’s airports are on the outskirts, they’re really only a 30–40 minute drive (traffic dependent) from the city centre. Unless your flight is in the middle of the night or very early morning, and you’ve never been to Bangkok, an overnight in the city centre might be a better way to spend that time.

Airport hotel recommendations

Suvarnabhumi Suite Hotel – with a free shuttle to the airport, a small refreshing swimming pool and bars and cafes on either side this is a good choice for an early departure or short stopover. Rooms are older style but clean and affordable. The rooftop restaurant is great for an sunset drinks.

The Canalis Suvaranbhumi Airport Hotel – take it up a notch at this hotel with large modern rooms. There is a good gym and a lovely outdoor pool. An airport shuttle can take you the 1km to the airport.

So there you have it. Bangkok is so spread out that choosing your accommodation location wisely will contribute to you maximising your time in this amazing city.

For shoppers, the best place to stay in Bangkok is Siam; first-timers will appreciate the convenience that the Sukhumvit area offers, and families can relax around Sathorn. If you’re here to temple hop and soak in as much Thai culture as you can stand, Rattanakosin Island is perfect.

Party-goers can have fun in Silom or Khao San Road, and for the ultimate in chill, check in to a riverside hotel. If you’re only here for a few hours, the best place to stay in Bangkok is right next to the airport.

Choose your location correctly and enjoy your stay in Bangkok.