Silom is Bangkok’s financial district where luxurious hotels and office towers compete for views of the Chao Phraya River. It’s home to the famous Sky Bar, of "Hangover Part II" fame, and many other rooftop bars in the area. The hotels pools come with incredible skyline views. Silom is where to stay in Bangkok for luxury. That said, you can still enjoy a room in a 5-star hotel for US $100–150 per night.
Along with easy access to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew via river ferry, Silom is blessed with BTS (skytrain) and MRT (subway) stations for accessing the many malls along Sukhumvit. The nearby Lumphini Park provides 142 acres of much needed green space when you’re ready to get some exercise outside.
Along with some famous bars, Silom is home to Patpong (Bangkok’s oldest red-light district) and Silom Soi 2/3—an epicenter for LGBT+ nightlife in the city.
Budget: Although Silom leans toward luxury, there are numerous boutique hostels and 4-star hotels in the area. The Royal Orchid Sheraton, Le Méridien Bangkok, and Shangri-la Bangkok are popular 5-star hotels in the area.
Banglamphu (Khao San Road Area)
Most often referred to as the “Khao San Road area,” Banglamphu includes the infamous backpacker street, Soi Rambuttri, Thanon Thani, and surrounding neighborhood toward the river. Although authorities “cleaned up” Khao San Road a bit by imposing a closing time and building a police station, it’s still one of the wildest backpacker party spots in Southeast Asia.
If you’re on a tight budget, you probably won’t find a cheaper area in Bangkok catering to the needs of travelers. Everything is less expensive in Banglamphu: from beer to bus tickets to laundry service.
The Khao San Road area may be a bargain, but there are some drawbacks. River taxi is the only nearby choice for public transportation as no trains service the area. You’ll have to grind through traffic in a taxi to reach other neighborhoods in Bangkok. Street food is ubiquitous, but local residents would argue that it’s some of the worst, tourist-oriented fare in the city.
Budget: Although gentrification is steadily replacing the beaten-up flophouses with boutique guesthouses, this is still one of the cheapest places to stay in Bangkok. Avoid Khao San Road—instead, try searching for accommodation on quieter streets nearer the river.
If you’ve got some reading or work to do online, Ari is home to more than enough cute cafes to accommodate. Despite being a hub for numerous government offices, Ari has somehow evolved into one of Bangkok’s latest “hipster” hotspots. The vibe is young, creative, and suburban—much in the way Thong Lor, Ekkamai, and similarly trendy neighborhoods began.
Ari is located just north of Victory Monument near a large Thai Army training area. You can get there easily enough from Suvarnabhumi Airport by taking the Airport Rail Link to the Phaya Thai station then taking the BTS Skytrain until the Ari BTS station.
Budget: Ari is growing hub for young creatives and prices of the artsy guesthouses reflect that reputation. With many serviced luxury condos and expats in the area, searching for an Airbnb is a good idea. If you haven’t yet, Ari may also be an ideal place to try couchsurfing for the first time.
If you feed off the energetic chaos of capital cities such as Bangkok, Chinatown is a place to get your fix. Thailand is home to the largest community of ethnic Chinese outside of China, and many of them reside in Bangkok.
Stay in Silom for the glitz and glam. Chinatown is rough around the edges, and people like it that way. The old neighborhood feels busy, and vendors along Yaowarat Road know how to hustle. You’ll get plenty of opportunities for deals, as long as your haggling game is honed and you know how to spot fakes.
Chinatown is home to a large number of gold retailers. Perhaps it’s fitting that Wat Traimit in Chinatown is home to the heaviest solid-gold Buddha statue in the world. Weighing in at around 11,000 pounds, just the gold is estimated to be worth US $250 million!
Budget: The many hostels and mid-range hotels in Chinatown are comparatively inexpensive.
Asok (Sukhumvit Area)
Pronounced “ay-soke,” Asok is the heart of the action on Sukhumvit Road, claimed to be the longest boulevard in the world. You can walk or make use of the MRT and BTS trains to reach the many shopping, dining, and entertainment options strung along Sukhumvit Road.
Asok is also home to Terminal 21, one of Bangkok’s most loved malls. The themed vibe is completely different from the chaos unfolding inside MBK on any given day. Even locals flock to eat at the well-known food court on the fifth floor.
Budget: Asok is home to many luxury hotel brands. The Sheraton Grand Sukhumvit and Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21 are a couple of the top hotels in the neighborhood.