When you’re looking for the best area to stay in Bangkok for the first time, there are a few highly recommended areas and a few areas that you absolutely want to avoid. In this article, we cover what we believe are the best areas to stay in Bangkok for the first time, depending on each type of traveller you are. We highly recommend you stay in an area that has direct access to either the BTS (SkyTrain) or the MRT (metro system). Bangkok’s traffic is a huge pain and during rush hours, driving on the road should be avoided at all times. The best way to save precious time is by using the MRT and BTS as much as possible. With that being said, let’s jump to what we believe are the best areas to stay in Bangkok for the first time.
The best areas to stay in Bangkok for the first time are:
1. Rambutri Road and Khao San Road area
Simply put it this way, most travellers in their twenties who stay in Bangkok for the first time choose this area for a couple of reasons. First of all, this popular street has plenty of affordable accommodations and it's located near Khao San Road, the most popular street among tourists who want to party at night and meet fellow travellers. Secondly, it’s located in the older parts of Bangkok where you can find several city highlights such as The Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun.
Although there is no direct access to public transport, which is a key factor when choosing the best area to stay in Bangkok for the first time, the MRT Line got extended in 2020, where nowadays you have an MRT Station near the Grand Palace. That does not mean that Rambutri Road has direct access to public transport, apart from the boat services, which are not ideal.
Rambutri Road, one of the best areas to stay in Bangkok for the first time.
For who: young couples, party-minded travellers, backpackers
Tip: if you want to avoid the party crowd, your best alternative is to find a hotel near Phaya Thai. That area also attracts young travellers but does not have any nightlife nearby. It does have direct access to public transport and is even directly connected to the Airport Rail Link, the BTS Line from Suvarnabhumi to the city centre.
- An affordable area that attracts many young travellers
- Direct access to the popular Khao San Road (nightlife)
- Some of Bangkok’s highlights are located nearby
- No direct access to public transport
Khao San Road during the daytime, before renovation.
Khao San Road in the evening, a great area to stay in Bangkok for young travellers.
You can find amazing hotel deals by clicking on either "Rambutri Road" or "Khao San Road". We've also handpicked some of the best accommodations for you that are of excellent quality, hugely popular or target a specific type of tourist (party-minded, peaceful, couples, etc.).
2. Riverside area
In our article about the best areas to stay in Bangkok for families, we combined Riverside and Silom to be one of the best areas to stay in Bangkok, but there are a few big differences you must not ignore. First of all, the Riverside is much quieter and the view of the river itself is simply amazing. These two factors are ideal for families and couples and for that reason, you can find many amazing hotels in this area. The only downside is that the Riverside is not directly connected to either the BTS Line or the MRT Line. Most hotels do have a free tuk-tuk service that will take you to the nearest station, but it’s not ideal. You might have direct access to the boat services, depending on the exact location of your hotel, but in order to explore Bangkok the most convenient way, direct access to the BTS or MRT is what you really want. But, if you really appreciate the view and the fact that this area is not that chaotic, and you don’t mind taking a tuk-tuk to the nearest station, then the Riverside is absolutely a good choice.
Tip: You can take the boat directly to ICONSIAM with the boat service for those who want to go shopping.
For who: families and couples
- Relatively quiet environment, amazing riverside view
- Bangkok's highlights are located nearby
- Access to ICONSIAM, ideal for shopping
- Not direct access to public transport
- Far from Suvarnabhumi Airport (more difficult to reach)
Riverside, an area in Bangkok with an amazing view.
3. Asoke & Nana area
There are other reasons to stay in this area (one of them is due to the convenient location), but in the end, most people, and with people we mean single men, stay in Asoke and Nana to enjoy Bangkok’s notorious nightlife to the fullest. With popular nightlife areas such as Nana Plaza, Sukhumvit Soi 11, Sukhumvit Soi 7 Beer Garden and Soi Cowboy just around the corner, there can’t be a better place to stay in Bangkok for first-timers who want to party. If you solely come to Bangkok to party, check out our article about where to stay in Bangkok for nightlife.
You can stay here when you’re a couple, as a family or other type of traveller due to the excellent connection with both the MRT and the BTS right in the city centre, but keep in mind that that you will be surrounded by the type of travellers described above. In case you want to explore Bangkok’s nightlife that won’t target single men, head over to areas such as Ekkemai and Thonglor or end up at RCA, which all are places where Thai go out. For more information, check out our article about Bangkok's nightlife.
For who: single men
- One of the best connections to public transport
- Right in the middle of Bangkok’s notorious nightlife
- Despite the ideal connection to both BTS and MRT, it mostly attracts single men. This is rather a given fact than a con, but you as a first-timer should be aware of this.
4. Phloen Chit & Chit Lom area
For high-end hotels and excellent connections to public transport, the ideal area to stay in Bangkok for the first time is either Ploen Chit or Chit Lom. Located in the city centre, steps away from the largest shopping malls and relatively close to city highlights, it’s one of the top-tier areas that comes with a big price tag.
For who: any type of traveller with a big budget
- Top location in the middle of the city centre
- Connected to the BTS Line
- Luxurious, comfortable hotels
- It’s one of the most expensive areas to stay in Bangkok
5. Lower Sukhumvit area
Lower Sukhumvit has changed rapidly over the last years and thanks to the BTS Line, it’s well worth considering staying in this area for the first time. Why? You can find the best price-quality ratio when it comes to hotels. The hotels here are much cheaper than in other areas and often relatively new. The only downside is that you always have to travel a bit further than other recommended areas listed in this article. How much further? When you stay in On Nut, for example, it’s probably an extra ten minutes on your BTS ride. As you’re a first-time traveller in Bangkok, you have to figure out how it works travelling from location A to location B. You must know that you’re located far away from city highlights such as The Grand Palace, Wat Arun and Wat Pho. And for those who seek bustling nightlife, there are other areas that are much more convenient. But if you are travelling as a family or couple, and you usually are good at using public transport in new cities, this might be the best option for you.
For who: families and couples
- Best price-quality ratio when it comes to hotels
- Relatively new hotels
- Direct access to the BTS Line
- Located the furthest from city highlights
- Longer travelling times.
6. Silom area
With a less spectacular view than the Riverside area and the fact that it’s not quiet at all, Silom is still one of the best areas to stay in Bangkok for first-timers, but for many other types of travellers too. Silom is actually a business district in Bangkok, but due to its convenient public transport connections, an excellent area. Also, Silom is located close to city highlights such as Lumphini Park and Chinatown, but nowadays also to The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Skywalk Mahanakhorn and many more. You can also find several of the best rooftop bars Bangkok has to offer here, which is an ideal activity for couples, but most nightlife takes place in other parts of the city. That’s why we believe Silom is more suitable for families and couples. The famous adult entertainment area called Patpong is located in Silom but lost most of its charm over the last years. Nowadays it mainly focuses on LGTB nightlife and thus attracts a different audience. The only downside of this area is that it’s located far away from Suvarnabhumi Airport.
For who: family, couples, LGTB (nightlife)
- Access to Lumphini Park
- Great connection with public transport
- Relatively close to Bangkok’s highlights
- Far from Suvarnabhumi Airport (more difficult to reach)
Further relevant articles:
- Bangkok Itinerary Guide
- Top things to do in Bangkok
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