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Where to Stay in Bangkok first time: 7 Best Areas

Are you planning your first trip to Bangkok and trying to find out which area would be best for you to stay in? This area guide covers where to stay in Bangkok for first time visitors!

Bangkok is a large city with many areas that feature their own attractions, atmospheres, and location advantages.

Depending on your travel preferences, you may find certain areas of Bangkok more appealing than others. Below each area, you’ll find the best hotel recommendations for every budget!

Before we discuss the best areas to stay in Bangkok, you should know that the city is well-connected through its excellent public transportation. The BTS Skytrain and MRT Subway cover all the city’s main areas and are easy to use.

In addition to Banngkok’s public transportation, several taxis and Tuk Tuks drive around the city at all times, looking to take passengers where they need to go.

Grab and Bolt are ride-sharing apps and excellent ways to get around Bangkok, especially when you don’t feel like negotiating with a taxi or Tuk Tuk driver for your trip. Negotiating is recommended because Bangkok taxi/tuk-tuk drivers are known for overcharging tourists for trips around Bangkok!

Below, you’ll find a quick overview of the best areas to stay in Bangkok for the first time. This will give you a glimpse of what each area is like.

Best Areas to Stay in Bangkok for First TimersWhich Area is Best for You?
SukhumvitVibrant district in Bangkok known for upscale shopping, diverse dining, and lively nightlife.
Bangkok RiversideSerene waterfront district in Bangkok with stunning views, luxury hotels, historic temples, and relaxing river cruises.
SilomDynamic business and entertainment district in Bangkok, famous for its bustling streets, shopping, and vibrant rooftop bars.
Khao San RoadFamous backpacker hub in Bangkok known for its lively street scene, budget accommodations, and eclectic nightlife.
SiamTrendy shopping district in Bangkok, home to luxury malls, stylish boutiques, and various entertainment options.
ThonburiHistoric area of Bangkok located across the Chao Phraya River, known for its cultural sites and local charm.
ChinatownVibrant neighborhood in Bangkok known for its bustling markets, delicious street food, and Chinese culture.
Where to Stay in Bangkok first time

Sukhumvit

greenery with buildings in the distance at Bencharsiri Park in Bangkok, Thailand
Benjakitti Park

Best Area For: Sukhumvit is an excellent area for first-time visitors looking to experience Bangkok’s cosmopolitan/liveable side. The area is known for its shopping, modern living amenities, and night markets.

Atmosphere: Sukhumvit is vibrant and cosmopolitan. It’s famous for its many modern skyscrapers, upscale shopping malls, parks, and bustling streets. Sukhumvit is the most popular area for expats and nomads to reside in.

Things to Do: Popular attractions in the area are Wat Phra Khanong temple, Benjasiri Park, and many museums. Also, the neighboring Sukhumvit area is Siam, the most centrally located area in Bangkok, with plenty to do there as well.

Food: The range of food in Sukhumvit is excellent; you’ll find plenty of Thai street food stalls, night markets, and restaurants serving all cuisine types. Don’t miss Terminal 21’s food court, a mall with an impressive food court offering various cuisines.

Nightlife: The area is famous for its lively bars and nightclubs, where visitors can enjoy live music and dance performances and indulge in delicious cocktails on rooftops. In the area, you’ll find Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy, both popular streets in Bangkok notorious for their nightlife action.

Accessibility: You’ll find many BTS Skytrain and MRT subway stations, so getting around Bangkok from Sukhimivit is convenient and hassle-free. Also, it’s worth mentioning that, unlike some areas in Bangkok, Sukhumvit is walkable; the city has prioritized sidewalks more than other areas.

Sukhumvit is conveniently located, offers plenty to do, a wide range of food, and unique cafes, and is home to many nomads/ex-pats, so if you’re solo traveling, it’s easy to meet others here!

Best Hotels in Sukhumvit

Skyview Bangkok — Luxury

Ibis Bangkok — Mid Range

Home16 — Budget

Bangkok Riverside

vibrant cotton candy skies around a gold temple by the river in Bangkok, Thailand

Best Area For: First-time visitors looking to stay in Bangkok’s most picturesque area and experience the famous city less from a typical tourist perspective.

Atmosphere: Despite being near the hustle and bustle of the city, the area offers a serene and relaxing atmosphere that provides a welcome escape with its views of the Chao Phraya River.

Things to Do: The most popular activity in the area is taking a boat tour along the river as you gaze at the city skyline. Just over the river are famous historical landmarks that can’t be missed, such as Wat Arun and Paknam Phasi Charoen Temple.

Make sure to also check the popular Asiatique The Riverfront market in the evening!

Food: From street food stalls serving authentic Thai dishes to upscale restaurants offering international cuisine with stunning river views, you’ll find any food you desire in the area. Chinatown is also nearby, so make sure you visit for street food there; remember, the market is closed on Mondays.

Nightlife: Bangkok Riverside’s nightlife doesn’t disappoint; the area boasts several rooftop and riverside bars where you can sit back, enjoy the river views, and have a drink.

If you’d prefer to go to a nightclub instead, you’ll have to go into the Siam area, only a few minutes away from Riverside.

Accessibility: Several piers along the Riverside offer unique boat access to the north or south of the city, making it the most accessible area on this side of Bangkok. Additionally, you can take the subway or Skytrain from here, and plenty of tuk-tuks/taxis are always around.

The Riverside area is well located within the western side and offers a traditional glimpse of Bangkok, far from the typical city experience. With a great atmosphere, stunning views, and plenty to do, Bangkok Riverside is one of the most recommended areas to stay in Bangkok.

Best Hotels in Riverside

Shangri La Bangkok — Luxury

Amdaeng Bangkok — Mid Range

Naga Residence — Budget

Silom

a vibrant orange sky amongst several skyscrapers in Bangkok, Thailand
Safest Areas in Bangkok

Best Area For: Those looking to be strategically located near the river and prefer a wide variety of cuisine options, thrilling nightlife scenes, and convenient accessibility with less traffic versus other areas.

Atmosphere: Silom offers modernity with its skyscrapers and a traditional touch due to the temples around the area and its close proximity to Riverside and Bangkok’s Chinatown.

Things to Do: There are plenty of things to do in Silom, including exploring iconic landmarks such as the Sri Mariamman Temple, King Power Mahanakhon, and the Neilson Hays Library. Patpong Night Market is also a must-visit, offering various street eats and goods.

Nearby is also Lumpini Park, Bangkok’s largest and most picturesque park in the city.

Food: Food enthusiasts will be delighted with Silom’s wide variety of dining options, from street food restaurants like Som Tam Jay So (legendary street restaurant in Bangkok) to upscale fine dining restaurants that offer modern Thai cuisine, French, Italian, and don’t forget the many unique cafes!

Nightlife: Silom is also renowned for its vibrant nightlife, which includes rooftop bars/lounges, nightclubs, and a few different night markets where you can roam around in the evening for a quick bite and some free live music entertainment.

Accessibility: Regarding accessibility, Silom is well-connected to public transportation systems such as the BTS Skytrain and MRT subway lines. Nearby areas to Silom are Chinatown and Siam, also within walking distance of Silom.

Overall, Silom is a great choice for where to stay in Bangkok as a first time visitor because of its diverse range of activities, many food options, lively nightlife, and excellent location. It’s also worth mentioning that Silom is one of the safest areas in Bangkok!

Best Hotels in Silom

Amara Bangkok — Luxury

Beanstalk Hotel — Mid Range

Prince Theatre Hostel — Budget

Khao San Road

several tourist walking along the popular Khao San Road in Bangkok

Best Area For: Khao San Road is very popular among backpackers and solo travelers. There are plenty of hostels and affordable accommodations to consider.

Atmosphere: During the day, it’s a laidback area centered around its day market, where you’ll find plenty of souvenirs and food vendors. But at night, the street is flooded with partygoers amongst the many bars in the area. Khaosan Road is regarded as a backpacker paradise.

Things to Do: There is plenty to do, including exploring several Buddhist temples, such as Wat Arun and Grand Palace, museums, and many day/night markets. Sanam Luang Park, a popular state park, is also nearby.

Food: To complement the backpacker atmosphere in the area, Khao San Road has plenty of Thai street food stalls and restaurants serving Pad Thai, Curries, pad kra pao, and many other delicious street foods. There are also many cafes in the area serving typical Western breakfasts.

Nightlife: For those looking for a lively nightlife scene, Khao San Road is the place to be. The street comes alive at night with neon lights, live music performances, and bars offering cheap drinks. Whether you want to dance the night away or relax with a drink and people-watch, you’ll find plenty of options.

Accessibility: Khao San Road’s location is a great advantage. It’s in the heart of Bangkok’s historic district and offers quick access to nearby areas like Riverside, Chinatown, and Siam. Similar to most areas in Bangkok, public transportation options from here are great, and Taxis/TukTuks are around at all hours.

Khao San Road ranks high for where to stay in Bangkok for first timers and backpackers it’s ranked first. But the area isn’t for everyone, especially those not looking to be around too much nightlife in the evening!

But if you’re visiting for a few days and prefer to be in a centrally lively area where it is easy to meet others, this is your area!

Best Hotels in Khao San Road

The Ember Hotel — Luxury

Dewan Hotel — Mid Range

Bed Station Hostel — Budget

Siam

views of several lane streets in Bangkok by Central World Mall

Best Area For: For those looking to stay in the most centrally located area in the city, admire the hustle/bustle of a large city, love shopping, and would prefer fast access to the majority of the different areas in Bangkok.

Atmosphere: In terms of the atmosphere in Siam, expect a busy and vibrant area with plenty to do everywhere. It doesn’t get busier than this in Bangkok. The best part is that the area is very walkable, with large sidewalks and pedestrian-friendly streets all over Siam.

Things to Do: There are numerous entertainment options in Siam, from art galleries/museums to cinemas, arcades, and plenty of shopping options.

Siam is known for its shopping, from the iconic MBK Center, where you can find anything you desire, to more traditional large malls like Siam Paragon and Central World.

Look no further about where to stay in Bangkok for shopping because the Siam area is it!

Food: Siam is arguably the best area to stay in for foodies; there’s food here everywhere you look, including countless street food stalls. The foodcourts in all the malls mentioned above have plenty of exceptional food options, and the area has several midrange/upscale international restaurants.

Nightlife: The area boasts numerous bars and rooftop lounges where you can enjoy a few drinks. Those really looking to party into the early morning hours can head over to Nana Plaza or Soi Cowboy, both notable streets in the neighboring Sukhumvit area.

Accessibility: As Bangkok’s most centrally located area, Siam is very well-connected with public transportation systems such as the BTS Skytrain and MRT subway lines. Giving easy and quick access to any other popular areas in Bangkok.

Siam is an excellent area for first-time visitors to Bangkok; it caters to everyone, regardless of their interests or preferences. Additionally, the area provides visitors with an ideal first experience of Bangkok due to its hustle and bustle, many shopping options, and many things to do!

Siam is where I stayed the first time I visited Bangkok, and it’s my favorite area in the city due to its convenient location.

Best Hotels in Siam

Amari Bangkok — Luxury

Ibis Bangkok Siam — Mid Range

Siam Stadium Hostel — Budget

Thonburi

a beautiful white temple in the thonburi area in Bangkok

Best Area For: Thonburi is a neighborhood worth considering for where to stay in Bangkok for the first time; the area offers beautiful views of the Chao Phraya River and provides visitors with a more historic, authentic experience of Bangkok.

Atmosphere: For those looking for a more laid-back atmosphere in the city, Thonburi is the area to stay in. Thonburi offers a more local vibe and a chance to explore the charm of traditional Thai culture.

Things to Do: The area has plenty of temples, the most notable being Wat Arun. Here, you can immerse yourself in the charm of traditional Thai culture and explore the quieter streets lined with old wooden houses and temples.

There are many restaurants to visit offering amazing river/city skyline views. Make sure to visit Iconsiam Park, a large shopping mall in the area with a beautiful observation deck of the city skyline.

Food: Thonburi is known for its many authentic Thai restaurants and street food stalls serving delicious local food at affordable prices. You will find a wider variety of food options at the Iconsiam Mall for those who may prefer other international cuisines.

Nightlife: The nightlife in Thonburi is non-existent, but you will find a few cozy local bars in the center of the area and near the river. To explore Bangkok’s nightlife and stay in this area, cross the river and go to the Silom or Khao San Road area.

Accessibility: Despite being over the river, Thonburi is still well-connected to other parts of Bangkok via public transportation options such as boats, buses, and taxis. Boat taxis offer short rides across the bridge and quickly into various parts of Bangkok along the western part of the city.

Overall, if you’re looking for a place in Bangkok that offers a unique traditional Thai atmosphere, plenty of things to do, and delicious local cuisine, Thonburi is a great place to stay. It’s worth mentioning that Thonburi is also one of the safest areas in Bangkok and is ideal for those visiting with family.

Best Hotels in Thonburi

Avani Riverside Hotel — Luxury

Bangkok Loft Inn — Mid Range

PamaHouse Boutique Hostel — Budget

Chinatown

famous roundabout location by theWat Traimit Withayaram Worawihan temple in China Town, Bangkok

Best Area For: Also known as Yaowarat among locals, Chinatown offers a unique blend of Chinese and Thai cultures. It is excellent for first-time visitors looking for a backpacker-friendly area that’s not as nightlife-centric as Khao San Road.

Atmosphere: First-time visitors looking for a busy, vibrant, and culturally rich atmosphere centered around the area’s bustling Chinatown market, open six days a week, will love the vibe here.

Things to Do: There’s lots to do in Chinatown, from markets and temples to quaint, unique side streets to discover, full of many vendors, and a wide range of shops selling just about anything you can think of.

Food: Foodies will be delighted with Chinatown. A wide variety of Thai and Chinese street food is sold on the streets here, from various Thai stirfries and dim sum to renowned seafood restaurants offering mouthwatering dishes such as steamed fish, crab curry, and much more.

Nightlife: Chinatown isn’t known for its nightlife; besides the night market and a few bars, that’s about it. But nearby are the Silom and Siam areas, both full of rooftop bars and nightclubs.

Accessibility: Chinatown is conveniently located with Hua Lamphong MRT station in the area, you can get anywhere in Bangkok from Chinatown quickly. Chinatown in Bangkok also neighbors the Riverside, Silom, and Siam areas in the city, which are all within walking distance from Chinatown.

Chinatown is an excellent area for first-time visitors to Bangkok who want to be centrally located, find more affordable accommodations, and appreciate street food.

Best Hotels in Bangkok Chinatown

Shanghai Mansion Bangkok — Luxury

The Quarter Hualamphong — Mid Range

Asai Chinatown — Budget

street vendors and tourist dining on street eats amongst many bright lights in the vibrant Chinatown in Bangkok

Best Time to Visit Bangkok

There are two significant seasonal weather trends in Bangkok: the dry season and the rainy season.

Keep in mind that if you do choose to visit Bangkok during the rainy season, some months offer more rain than others, and even when it does rain, Bangkok has a wide range of things to do while the rain passes by!

Humidity levels vary throughout the years, and there are ideal times to visit the city; refer to my weather guide below for a month-to-month breakdown!

RELATED: Bangkok Weather Guide

Dry Season: November to May

The dry season is the best time to visit Bangkok. During this time, you can expect temperatures of around 24°C (75°F) to 33°C (91°F) with plenty of sunshine as you explore the city and humidity levels to be relatively low.

If you’d prefer to explore the city when cooler temperatures range around 26°C to (75°F), you are best off visiting during November and December. During these months, the rainy season has ended, and the weather is transitioning into the dry season, but it isn’t hot yet.

Those who prefer some heat but would prefer to stay away from the high humidity temperatures in Bangkok visit during January and February; these months offer plenty of sunshine, little too low rain, and comfortable humidity.

March, April, and May are when the heat rises significantly in Bangkok, humidity levels are at their highest of the year, and you can expect a few rainy days near the end of May. If you struggle with the heat, you may want to skip these months!

a pond amongst many tropical trees at Lumphini Park in Bangkok, known as Bangkok's largest city park

Rainy Season: June to October

The rainy season in Bangkok isn’t so bad because there is a wide variety of things to do in this massive metropolitan city, expect temperatures to hover around 25°C (77°F) and 33°C (91°F). However, there are some months when it rains significantly more than others.

June and July are when the rainy season kicks off in the city, with hot temperatures and rainfall on some days. Considering the rainiest months in Bangkok are still ahead, it’s not a bad idea to visit during this time.

August and September are the rainiest months in Bangkok, so if you’re visiting then, don’t be surprised if it rains a few days during your visit. Some days, it’ll pass by quickly; others, it’ll pour rain.

October is a standout month because it’s a hit or miss. It’s a transitional weather month, so you may visit and get lucky with minimal rainy days and ideal temperatures or experience a few rainy days.

a tuktuk parked on the side of the road in Bangkok as rain is pouring down

Tips for Bangkok

  • Use the BTS (Skytrain) or MRT (Subway) within Bangkok for easy access to the whole city
  • Download and use the Grab or Bolt apps for private taxis and food delivery
  • Watch for pickpockets at night markets, crowded settings, and public transportation
  • Avoid touts offering you to be your free tour guide and show you around the city
  • If you’d like to take a Tuk Tuk, be prepared to negotiate the price for your trip
  • There are a few neighborhoods in Bangkok you should avoid at night
  • There are 711’s everywhere in the city, and they’ve got snacks, medicine, household goods, anything you need

RELATED: 11 Cheapest Places in Thailand

empty street in the centre of Bangkok at night

Where to Stay in Bangkok First Time Visit — Final Thoughts

Have you made up your mind about where to stay in Bangkok as a first time visitor? There are many options, but to make things easier, consider the following.

What attractions in Bangkok would you like to experience the most? What atmosphere would you prefer?

Are you visiting for 1-2 days, 3-7 days, or more? For those visiting for a short period of 1-2 nights, it’s best to stay in Bangkok’s most centrally located areas.

Below, I’ve shared with you a few recommendations for where to stay in Bangkok for the first time, based by category:

Where to stay in Bangkok Solo Traveler: Khao San Road, Sukhumvit or Chinatown

Where to stay in Bangkok for Couples: Silom, Siam, or Sukhumvit

Where to stay in Bangkok with Family: Silom, Riverside or Thonburi

Where to stay in Bangkok for Nightlife: Sukhumvit or Khao San Road

RELATED: Where to Stay in Phuket

several beautifully decorated and designed temples in Bangkok, Thailand

Where is the best place to stay in Bangkok for the first time?

It depends on the attractions you’d like to be near, but Siam, Silom, and Sukhumvit are the most popular areas for first-time visitors to Bangkok to stay in.

Which part of Bangkok is best to stay?

Sukhumvit is the most popular area in Bangkok to stay in when visiting.

What is the safest area to stay in Bangkok?

Thonburi, Silom, and Riverside are regarded as the safest areas to stay in Bangkok.

Where is the main area to stay in Bangkok?

Siam is the main area in Bangkok; it’s the most centrally located area in Bangkok, offering quick access to the majority of Bangkok’s other nearby areas.

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