Bangkok’s nicest neighborhoods
Thailand’s largest city is easy to tour thanks to an excellent public transportation system, and visitors can typically visit two – or even three – neighborhoods in a single day, depending on what they’re come to see or do. These are the greatest Bangkok neighborhoods to visit.
Best budget-friendly neighborhood
Banglamphu is old Bangkok contained in one lush, breezy district, with antique shophouses, classic eateries, and ancient temples. The best part is that most of it is affordable and walkable. Arrive early if you want to see The Golden Mount or the royal shrine Wat Suthat while the heat is still bearable and the touts are scarce. It’s best to arrive in the evening if you’re looking for the magical Khao San Road.
Markets’ best neighborhood
There are various reasons to visit Chatuchak District and Northern Bangkok, but the majority of visitors come for the markets — the northern suburbs have some of the greatest in the city. Chatuchak Weekend Market attracts tens of thousands of shoppers and is a frantic but necessary Bangkok experience. The bustling Talat Rot Fai night market offers plenty of dining, drinking, and shopping opportunities for both tourists and locals. The Nonthaburi Market is a large wet market that showcases the area’s provincial aspect, whilst the Chang Chui Art Park is a hipster hotspot.
This is modern Bangkok’s de facto geographical and commercial hub. Siam Square, Pratunam, and Phloen Chit combine to form Bangkok’s main money-spending district, with multistory malls, outdoor shopping precincts, and never-ending markets.
This neighborhood is dominated by massive malls, towering hotels, worldwide fast-food chains, and open-air shopping centers, and if you’re serious about shopping, plan on spending the greater part of a day here. Arrive at 11 a.m., when the crowds are at their thinnest. Similarly, try to avoid Sundays, when it appears that half of Bangkok flocks to the area’s air-conditioned malls. If you want to see all of the area’s malls, start at National Stadium station and work your way east, taking use of the bridges, mall corridors, and elevated walkways that run beneath the BTS line and connect the numerous shopping centers.
The best neighborhood for exploration
Despite being many generations removed from the motherland, Bangkok’s Chinatown might be any Chinese city’s parallel universe relative. The streets are teeming with bird’s nest restaurants, ostentatious gold and jade businesses, and flashing neon signs in Chinese characters. It’s Bangkok’s busiest district — just don’t forget your camera.
The area’s main attractions, particularly Wat Traimit (Golden Buddha) and the street markets, are worth seeing, but make time to explore the area’s secret temples, decaying shopfronts, pencil-thin lanes, and evocative market sections like Talat Mai and Talat Noi without a map.
The best neighborhood for good eating
The Chao Phraya River, which cuts a canyon through a landscape dominated by high-rise condos, office buildings, and hotels, serves as a watery backbone to these three interconnected communities. In the evocative riverbank region, crumbling colonial houses coexist with opulent hotels and high-end commercial centers. Heading north, Bangkok’s commercial area, Silom, is hectic and modern, spanning Sathorn, a more quiet embassy zone dotted with wonderful restaurants and bars. Further east, Lumphini is dominated by central Bangkok’s largest green zone.
Sukhumvit Road to life
You’ll probably spend more time on Thanon Sukhumvit eating, drinking, and possibly sleeping (there are a lot of hotels here) than exploring. Many of Bangkok’s renowned and reputable massage institutes, such as Health Land and the Asia Herb Association, are also located in Thanon Sukhumvit.
Fortunately, the BTS (Skytrain) runs along Thanon Sukhumvit, making it easy to go to almost everywhere in the area. BTS stops are also a useful method to distinguish the varied vibes of the street. Lower Sukhumvit, particularly the neighborhood around the Nana BTS station, is a strange mix of expats and tourists. Most visitors come here for Soi Cowboy, the city’s iconic sin strip of flashing lights and bawdy clubs, although there are a number of nicer drinking establishments on the adjacent streets that aren’t aimed towards physical excess.
The area near BTS Asok/MRT Sukhumvit is dominated by midrange hotels, upscale condos, international restaurants, and businesses aimed at both tourists and resident foreigners. The well-hidden compounds of rich Thai residents and neat Japanese enclaves — interspersed with microcosms of sleazy stores – can be found near BTS Phrom Phong. Upper Sukhumvit, which runs southeast from BTS Ekkamai, has a much more provincial character than the more cosmopolitan texture of lower and middle Sukhumvit.
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