If your time in Bangkok is limited, you should think especially carefully about what you want to do in the city before deciding which part of town to stay in. Traffic jams are so appalling here that easy access to Skytrain, subway or river transport can be crucial. Advance reservations are recommended where possible during high season (Nov–Feb), though some guesthouses will only take cash deposits. For ultra-cheap double rooms under B400, your widest choice lies on and around Banglamphu’s Thanon Khao San. The most inexpensive rooms here are no-frills crash-pads – small and often windowless, with thin walls and shared bathrooms – but Banglamphu also offers plenty of well-appointed mid-priced options with a/c and swimming pools. Other, far smaller and less interesting travellers’ ghettoes that might be worth bearing in mind are the generally dingy Soi Ngam Duphli, off the south side of Thanon Rama IV, which nevertheless harbours a couple of decent shoestring options; and Soi Kasemsan I, which is very handily placed next to Siam Square and firmly occupies the moderate range, though with a few rooms for B500. Otherwise, the majority of the city’s moderate and expensive rooms are scattered widely across the downtown areas, around Siam Square and Thanon Ploenchit, to the south of Thanon Rama IV and along Thanon Sukhumvit, and to a lesser extent in Chinatown. As well as easy access to transport links and shops, the downtown views from accommodation in these areas are a real plus, especially from the deluxe hotels that are scenically sited along the banks of the Chao Phraya River.

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