Bangkok is vast. There’s a population of 11 million people within its 1500 square kilometres and towering high-rise buildings of up to 304m high. It’s a modern metropolis with frenetic markets, traditional temples and brilliant nightlife. But where should you base yourself? Whatever kind of trip you’re planning, here’s the lowdown on where to stay in Bangkok.
You can jump on a river bus to explore the rest of the city in a novel way, too. It’s a quiet, traditional neighbourhood where the shutters come down after dark. For something to eat and drink, you’re probably going to want to nip up to Banglamphu or down to Chinatown.
On this tailor-made trip to Bangkok Culture, you will visit Thailand’s urban capital for a fabulous cultural experience. Explore Bangkok’s wonderfully ornate wats, learn about history at the stunning Grand Palace, tour the eccentric floating market and get a taste of Siam Thai culture.
And the buzz on the streets is still there. Fashion stalls, trendy bars and clubs bring out young Thais from all over the city, as well as world travellers. On top of all that, there’s a great neighbourhood of old-fashioned shophouse restaurants to the south of Democracy Monument. The big-ticket sights of Ratanakosin are within walking distance, too.
Visit Thailand’s must-see capital Bangkok with its evocative markets, glitzy malls, Buddhist philosophy and traditional reserve. Discover its fabulously rich culture, and great nightlife and have lashings of fun.
Though ultra-budget-conscious world travellers are still Khao San’s main customers, Banglamphu attracts higher-spending sophisticates to its growing number of stylish restaurants and lively bars and clubs. At night, young Thais gather here to browse the fashion stalls and pavement displays and squash into the trendy bars and clubs that have made Khao San one of the city’s most happening places to party.
There’s even an enclave of authentic Indian eateries in Pahurat. Long-distance trains and the urban subway line stop at Hualamphong station for ease of access – or a hasty departure.
Enjoy this culinary whirlwind tailor-made tour of Bangkok. Partake in one-to-one cookery classes, explore the fragrant markets and delight your tastebuds with Michelin-star menus and street food alike. Take some time out to explore the city too and meet monks at Wat Pho and visit the Grand Palace.
The malls also harbour branches of some of the city’s best restaurants. Accommodation in the surrounding area runs the gamut from designer hostels and upscale guesthouses (in the mini-ghetto of Soi Kasem San I) to luxury hotels. In a city that’s notorious for its traffic jams, where cars crawl along at an average of 4km per hour, this area has the best transport connections.
The Skytrain’s only two lines both pass through Siam Square, ready to whisk you to the bars and clubs of Sukhumvit, the river or the Weekend Market, Bangkok’s ultimate shopping experience with 8000 stalls.
They also have their own shuttle boats to ferry guests up and down the river. A boat trip is a lovely way to start a day’s exploration or return to your bed at night, gliding through the bright city lights. Public Express Boats will help you to get more out of the Chao Phraya, while the Skytrain arrows north from the river through the city centre.
Soi 11, “hi-so” Soi 55 and Soi 63 (a bit more studenty) are the main hubs; look out, especially for the wacky, high-concept bars of Ashley Sutton, design guru of the moment (Iron Fairies, Clouds etc). Meanwhile, the girlie bars on Soi Nana and Soi Cowboy are looking almost retro these days, not to mention out of date.
Alongside the smoked-glass banks and offices, and opposite Convent Road, the site of Bangkok’s Carmelite nunnery, lies the dark heart of Bangkok nightlife, Patpong. Further west along Thanon Silom from Patpong, in a still-thriving South Indian enclave lies the colourful landmark of the Maha Uma Devi Temple.
Here you’ll find the only place in Bangkok where you might be able to eke out an architectural walk, though it’s hardly compelling. Incongruous churches and “colonial” buildings.
Ten minutes walk north of the Erawan Shrine and extending northwest from the corner of Rajaprarop and Phetchaburi roads, Pratunam Market is famous for its low-cost, low-quality casual clothes. The vast, dark warren of stalls is becoming touristy near the hotels on its north side, but there are still bargains to be had elsewhere, especially along the market’s western side.
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