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When I tell people two of my favorite cities in the world they are always surprised because one is Marrakech and the other one is Bangkok. For someone who spends a lot of time on a beach, underwater or trekking with stray kittens through a jungle, Bangkok may seem a surprising answer but the truth is I am a big city girl at heart.
Bangkok and I had a slow start and only when convenience made me go, I fell deeply in love with the city. With that said, I have returned so many times and thought it was high time to write a comprehensive city guide with all my favorite spots where to stay in Bangkok.
Sure, I won’t be the first to bring you a guide on where to stay in Bangkok but I dare say that I have spent more time than the average non-expat here and have explored some corners of the city in depth. As per usual you won’t get an objective guide here but rather personal recommendations for my favorite Airbnbs, guesthouses, and hotels in Bangkok – whether you are on a budget or want to splurge on luxury accommodation.
Where to stay in Bangkok – My favorite areas
Khao San Road
Where to stay in Thonglor
I stumbled across Thonglor as I do with so many other places because I was looking for food. This hip and happening area along Soi Sukhumvit 55 is an absolute hipster and foodie area. It is not really a place for street food (I am sure it exists but wasn’t as obvious to find as in many other parts of town) but the best place to stay in Bangkok if you want some cool and modern restaurants.
I stayed at the Akyra Thonglor which was the perfect choice for an intimate, modern city hotel in Bangkok. All the rooms are newly renovated and come in gorgeous jewel tones, they give you free water in glass bottles, and the wifi is great (always important for me!). Since Thonglor can get quite busy I appreciated that reception called me after check-in and offered to switch my room to a higher floor for more peace and quiet. An additional highlight is their miniature pillow menu you can choose your real pillows from. Such a cute idea!
At the top, you will find a small rooftop pool with stunning views over Bangkok, a gym (which needless to say I did not visit), and their restaurant Som Tam & Chardonnay. The concept of this restaurant is based on the founder’s story who with the help of a friend brought together the concept of Thai food and fine wines, realizing how much they can complement each other. The menu now offers Thai and western dishes and has a special page dedicated to various Som Tam versions (Som Tam is a spicy green papaya salad) paired with white wines.
Best of all is the Akyra’s location because you are right at Soi Sukhumvit 55 and in the heart of Thonglor. The hotel offers a free shuttle to the BTS station, otherwise, it is a 10-minute walk.
During my most recent stay in Bangkok, I booked a couple of nights at the IR-ON Hotel in Thonglor (took me forever to figure out the name…). I was super impressed with both their rates and the interior. It is somewhat industrial (duh, the name should have been a giveaway) but not cold and I loved the design and set-up of my room.
The downstairs area and lobby are super cool as well and they also have a small cafe. I didn’t eat there but they have good coffee and you are within walking distances from the Thong Lo BTS station as well as many restaurants and shops.
For all those who are looking for a chic design hotel in Bangkok at a very decent price, this is it!
Where to stay in Silom
I love Silom. Silom is where all the action is (or so it seems). It is loud and busy and not very pretty but Bangkok’s heart seems to be beating just a little faster in its financial district. You are caught in between different worlds here because this area is home to the infamous Patpong Night Market but also Lumpini Park the Central Park of Bangkok.
Honestly, it is a bit rough (though not dangerous, I should stress that!) but I really enjoyed my stay just off Sala Daeng which has its own BTS stop and is right at the corner of Silom Road.
Silom has no shortcomings of some of the best luxury hotels in Bangkok including the Banyan Tree, SO Sofitel, and the W Hotel. However, I stayed at Silom Studios which was a great option if you are traveling on a budget and it is brand new. It is tucked away in yet another dark alley (not something I minded – I felt perfectly safe!) and within walking distance of Lumpini Park, a whole lot of shops, the BTS and many great food choices.
Right around the corner on Sala Daeng, you will find a tiny, hole in the wall coffee shop which makes great coffee that is a lot cheaper than Starbucks and even gives you a discount card (unfortunately I didn’t fill mine before I left). As Silom Studios only offers instant coffee, this might be the place for all the coffee fanatics.
Where to stay in Chinatown
I was so pleasantly surprised by Chinatown, Bangkok this time. It is not only one of the oldest parts of town but has also preserved its heritage and culture rather well. By now I have been to Bangkok so many times that little surprises me; not the tuk-tuks, not the splendor of the temples and definitely not the fried scorpions on Khao San. But Chinatown was full of surprises and quirky things (at least to my German eyes) to discover and I loved just walking around.
The main road, Yaowarat Road, is a foodie’s paradise and then there is Soi Nana. Not to be confused with Nana which has a very different vibe as this is known for strip clubs and evening entertainment while Soi Nana in Chinatown is understated and cool. As it is, my two favorite Airbnbs in Bangkok are located right here.
Ba Hao – 8 soi Nana
Bua and her husband Note have created a tiny haven of cool and style with their restaurant & Airbnb Ba Hao. There are only two rooms which combine stunning Thai architecture and retro interior and best of all – the top room has a huge glass wall overlooking the streets of Chinatown.
Downstairs there is a little communal living room with a comfy leather couch and of course, an Eames lounger. If you travel with a small group of friends this place would be perfect as you can have the entire house to yourself.
Downstairs is a tiny restaurant which offers modern Chinese dishes. Think pork belly with a bao bun and spicy duck wontons (portions are small enough so you can and should order both) washed down with local craft beer or cocktails. They even have a cocktail sommelier who will talk you through the options. Come early or reserve a table – this place gets busy.
Alternatively, there is the beautiful home of Pupe just down the road which is an old Chinese shophouse converted into an Airbnb. The house is full of beautiful old furniture and details that retell the history of the area and the former owners.
It is definitely not for someone who is looking for modern and sleek or someone who needs fancy hotel amenities or travels with a lot of luggage (I managed but just). It is the place for someone who appreciates design, history, and authenticity in an accommodation though.
Where to stay on Khao San
Almost 20 years later and The Beach is still responsible for the crowds on Khao San Road, the most infamous backpacker area of Bangkok. I honestly don’t mind it and will frequently go for a beer or a massage, and also my favorite waxing lady has her salon between Khao San and Rambuttri Road.
I think Khao San Road is one of those places you need to approach with the right mindset. Don’t come here expecting culinary Thai delights (fried crickets are not!) or any sort of culture. It is, however, a good place to make some backpacking friends and has become a sort of micro-culture in Bangkok itself. While being complete un-Thai it has become a quintessential part of the city.
Khao San is also a convenient area if you are catching a bus anywhere else in the country as a lot of the Lomprayah buses and similar once leave from here. And needless to say, it is a great location in Bangkok if you want to have a fun night out and fall into a bed not far away.
While I like to think that the Beach times of cockroach infested hostel beds are gone, there is a huge array of guesthouses and cheap hostels on Khao San Road and it pays to do some research.
For some reason I have a soft spot for Ibis hotels – I blame it on their airport hotel at Makassar (long story…). I stayed at the one on Khao San Road before it was an Ibis hotel and you cannot beat this location. And I dare say if you get a room on a higher floor you are reducing the noise risk greatly.
Also, I do love their bistro downstairs as they make nice burgers. In fact, if I had to recommend any place to eat on Khao San Road this would be it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother.
Airbnbs on Khao San Road
As you know hostels aren’t my jam anymore (or ever to be honest) and the idea of doing a trial and error run on Khao San Road is mighty scary to me. I have found two Airbnbs however which I think look lovely. This one is a private house and came recommended by one of the editors of Cupcakes & Cashmere. The other one is a brand new guesthouse and I think it looks incredibly cute. Both seem in close proximity to all the action yet somehow tucked away so you get the best of both worlds.
Where to stay in Dusit
Dusit is an area on the Chao Phraya river and probably best known by visitors for its zoo. Thai people know it as their administrative center. Ratchadamnoen Avenue translated means ‘royal way for traveling’ – perfect if you want a place with history and style when looking for a hotel in Bangkok.
The Siam Hotel is one of the best hotels in Bangkok and you will notice why as soon as you walk in. I don’t say that lightly because I have been in a few great hotels and usually have my firm Bangkok favorites. But I am always happy to add to the list especially if a bed is so comfy to immediately become a contender for a spot on the best beds ever list (which you can find here).
While utterly luxurious, I love that the Siam as the name implies is full of Thai history. From artifacts to pictures, this place tells a story while offering its guest an absolutely luxurious and in my case cozy stay – I tend to attract rain in Bangkok so I was grateful for good wifi and unlimited banana chips in the room while working from bed.
The highlight of the Siam is its location right on the Chao Phraya River. The pool is conveniently located right next to it – perfect for some exercise after the rain is gone and the sun is going down. Not only is the setting incredibly unique but you can also use the very convenient location to hop on a boat to avoid Bangkok traffic and get around.
If you are looking for some more budget-friendly options on where to stay in Dusit, I recommend Lost inn BKK if only for its clever name. They have a simple modern style and offer dorms as well as single rooms. Alternatively, I just came across the 24 Samsen Heritage House which looks stunning and right up my alley on my quest for the best historical accommodations in Bangkok. Seeing it makes me want to book a flight back to check it out.
As to booking.com rules, I cannot show you any pictures of hotels I haven’t taken but you should definitely check them out and see for yourself:
Where to stay in Phra Nakhon
Last but not least, I will tell you all about my favorite area to stay in Bangkok. Let me be your Bangkok tour guide and show you around Khlong San: This area is the perfect mix for those who want to be close to Khao San Road, if you are on a budget and if you want to get a glimpse of real local life. Things to do in Bangkok in 3 days? This area is great because you can easily reach the old part of town and some of the most important sights and temples in Bangkok.
Expect lots of cats, great street food and making friends with the locals in this part of the city. There is no BTS or MRT so you will need to get around with taxis, walk or take the boat from the pier.
There are some of the best hostels in Bangkok located in this part of town but my favorite is a little guesthouse called Baan Kachitpan – the best place to stay in Bangkok in my humble opinion. It is an old restored house in a tiny little community run by Jam and her lovely team and rather charming.
The rooms are light and airy, have aircon and great wifi and they have just started a Thai breakfast which is included in the price and really yummy as is their coffee. You have the choice between a few different room categories depending on your budget some with an en-suite, others with shared bathrooms as well as a triple room.
It is tucked away at the end of the alley of another small road and you won’t be able to get a taxi to go there. The driver will drop you at the corner of Dinso Road and if it is your first time staying here someone will fetch you from there.
If you wanted a somewhat fancier version but still stay at an authentically Thai guesthouse in Bangkok, I recommend the Bhuthorn.
This tiny 3-room house is the sister hotel to the late Asadang which was my absolute favorite Bangkok accommodation ever and probably the reason I ever fell in love with the city. The Asadang is no more but the Bhuthorn is a great alternative.
Its owners are antique collectors and lovers of all things vintage and it shows. The house is full of beautiful old knickknacks and memorabilia telling the stories of a time gone by. The rooms offer beautiful fabrics, antique furniture, the same smell of jasmine. Another highlight are there breakfast Bentos which come with sweet and savory rice, fruit, donuts, coconut balls or whatever else was available on the market. I love the surprise factor of it as you don’t know what you get until you lift the lid of your bento. Definitely, a new (or old?) way to eat breakfast and coming from someone who usually doesn’t do more than coffee, it should tell you that it’s good!
I also discovered the Tim Mansion on my recent trip to Bangkok with is a great alternative for foodies. The downstairs area has a bit of a hostel atmosphere and the service is a bit slow but the food is actually decent and the rooms are modern and comfortable – all of this at a great price!
Best of it though is its location right next to the famous Jay Fai. I haven’t eaten there but their crab omelet is Michelin starred.
I reckon you can just put your name on the waiting list, go back to Tim Mansion, and still hear it when they will call your name. Right next door you will also find Thip Samai which allegedly has the best Pad Thai in Bangkok. It doesn’t but lucky for you the place which actually has the best one is next door and you can read all about it here:
Have you been? Which one is your favorite area to stay in Bangkok?
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