Bangkok is usually the first destination that tourist visit in Thailand before heading to either a beach location like Phuket or Koh Samui or to a mountain location like Chiang Mai.
I lived in Bangkok from 2016 to 2019 and loved every day spent there and now that I am back in my home soil, who knows? I might just find myself there again this year. Such is the allure of one of the worlds most visited city for the last three years and running. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you’re into. Bangkok will always have something for you.
If you’re visiting Bangkok for the first time ever, below please find my humble guide which I hope will help you plan your trip and make your Thailand experience an unforgettable one.
For me Bangkok is one of those cities that you never get tired of visiting, no matter how many times you’ve been, you’ll always find something new and exciting to see, do, and eat. It’s got a perfect blend of food, culture, nightlife, shopping, affordability, and grittiness that’s unmatched anywhere in Asia.Exploring Bangkok and going Island ticks off a part of the bucket list. Partying until sunrise and doing bar crawl is something that is on everyone’s bucket list.
Serviced by two international airports, Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang Airport. Suvarnabhumi Airport is the primary airport which services more international flights, so most tourists traveling to Thailand will most likely enter the country through Suvarnabhumi. Here’s how you can get to downtown Bangkok from either airport.
From Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK)
BY TRAIN: This is the best way to get to downtown Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi. You can take the Airport Rail from Suvarnabhumi to Phaya Thai Station (THB 45). From there, you can transfer to the BTS line and take it to the station nearest your hotel.
BY BUS: You can catch the S1 bus from Suvarnabhumi to Khaosan Road. Departing from Gate 7 on the first floor of the passenger terminal, the fare is THB 60 and it runs every 30 minutes from 6AM-8PM.
BY TAXI OR GRAB: A taxi from Suvarnabhumi to downtown Bangkok should cost you around THB 400 (with airport surcharge and toll THB 480.00-500.00). Be sure that the driver uses the meter since taxi scams are quite rampant in Bangkok.
BY PRIVATE TRANSFER: This is the easiest and most comfortable option, but it’s also the most expensive. Airport Limo offers private transfers from Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) to downtown Bangkok. Their counter is located as you exit from the Customs area of the airport and you enter the arrival hall. The cost varies according to the final destination, however the average cost to a downtown hotel in Sukhumvit area is about THB1,500.00.
From Don Mueang International Airport
BY TRAIN: There’s no BTS or MRT station at Don Mueang, so you’ll need to take a bus or taxi from the airport to the nearest train station, which is Mo Chit. If you’re going by bus, then you can catch the A1 bus just outside the terminal. The bus fare to Mo Chit BTS Station is THB 30 and it runs every 15 minutes or so from 7:30AM-11:30PM*. If you’re going by taxi, then the fare to Mo Chit should cost you no more than THB 200 (including a THB 50 airport surcharge). The expressway toll costs THB 70, but you can specify to your driver not to take the expressway. Again, be sure your driver uses the meter to avoid getting scammed. Once you’re at Mo Chit Station, then you can take the BTS to the station nearest your hotel.
BY BUS: You can catch the A2, A3, or A4 bus from Don Mueang to Victory Monument (A2), Pratunam and Lumpini Park (A3), or Khao San Road and Sanam Luang (A4). The fare is THB 30-50 and it runs every 30 minutes or so from 7:30AM-11:30PM*. We’ve never taken a bus in Bangkok, but a common concern seems to be that buses tend to get full. For that reason, you may be better off taking it to Mo Chit and doing the rest of the journey by train.
BY TAXI OR GRAB: A taxi from Don Mueang to downtown Bangkok should cost you around THB 350 (with airport surcharge and toll). As advised, be sure the driver uses the meter.
BY PRIVATE TRANSFER: This is the easiest and most comfortable option, but it’s also the most expensive. At the airport upon arrival you can contact the AOT Limousine counter, chose the car you like and organise your transfer and pay there either by cash or credit card.
GETTING AROUND IN BANGKOK
Bangkok’s myriad attractions make it appealing to a diverse demographic of tourists. Are you into shopping? There are plenty of markets and shopping malls like Chatuchak Market and Siam Square to keep you busy. Do you like cultural attractions? Then spend the day exploring the Old City and its must-see sights like the Grand Royal Palace and Wat Pho. If good food is your thing, then you are in the right city, where street food is considered one of the best in the world.
In short, Bangkok has something for everyone. It’s an exciting, affordable city that’s much more than your gateway into Thailand. For many travellers, it’s the destination.
BEST AREA TO STAY IN BANGKOK
Figuring out where to stay in Bangkok can be challenging. It’s a big city and the subway system, while convenient, doesn’t service as many areas yet. I think it’s best to stay in a commercial area which is as near as possible to a BTS or MRT station. That way you have easy access to the subway and not have to be so dependent on taxis or Grab to get around.
There are eight popular tourist lodging areas in downtown Bangkok: Sukhumvit, Siam, Silom, Pratunam, Riverside, Chinatown, the Old City (Rattanakosin), and Chatuchak.
SUKHUMVIT: Good nightlife, lots of dining options, easy access to BTS, area is spaced and its goes from Soi (Alley) 1, to Soy 100 and more, so walking is required and disabled with wheelchair are best to use an electric wheelchair and go with family, or friends or carer.
- Holyday Inn Hotel Soi 22 ****
- Novotel Soi 20 **** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Doubletree by Hilton Ploenchit **** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Mercure Hotel Soi 11 ****
- Four Points by Sheraton Hotel Sukhumvit **** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Hyatt Regency Sukhumvit ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Sofitel Sukhumvit ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Marriott Queens Park Hotel Soi 22 ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- The Landmark Hotel *****
- The Sheraton Grande Hotel Sukhumvit ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
SILOM : During the day this part of the city is another busy financial district, but at night it transforms, with vibrant and illicit night life. Great restaurants, Patpong Night Market, easy access to BTS and MRT.
- Holiday Inn Silom **** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Novotel Silom **** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Furama Silom Hotel ****
- Eastin Hotel Sathorn ****
- Mode Hotel Sathorn ****
- Banyan Tree Hotel Sathorm ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- So Sofitel Sathorn ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- W Hotel Sathorn ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Pullman Hotel Silom ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Lebua at the Sate Tower Hotel ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
CHAOPHRAYA RIVERSIDE: I called this area home for three years. Beautiful views, relaxed, more expensive, a little far from Sukhumvit area but very close to Silom and Pratunam. It is a very beautiful and charming area, with lots of shopping and restaurants.
- IBIS Bangkok Hotel ***
- The Chatrium Hotel ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Avani Riverside Hotel ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Ramada Plaza Riverside ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Shangri La Hotel Riverside ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Sheraton Royal Orchid Riverside ****** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- The Mandarin Oriental ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- The Peninsula ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Anantara Riverside ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
PRATUNAM: Pratunam Market, plenty of cheap restaurants and accommodations, BTS is a 15-minute walk away.
- Holiday Inn Bangkok **** (Wheelchair accessible)
- Centara Watergate Pavillion **** (Toilet with grab rails wheelchair accessible)
- Novotel Bangkok Platinum Pratunam **** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Centara Gland at CentralWorld ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- The Sukosol Hotel **** (Wheelchair accessible)
SIAM: Best shopping area in Bangkok with malls like Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, MBK and Central World, plenty of food options, easy access to BTS, limited nightlife.
- Holiday Inn Express Siam **** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Mercure Hotel Siam **** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Grand Hyatt Erawan ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Anantara Siam ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Amari Watergate ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Renaissance Hotel Ratchaphrasong ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Pathumwan Princess Hotel ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Waldorf Astoria Hotel ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Centara Grand at Centralworld ***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
Chinatown: Excellent street food but extremely chaotic.
- Norn Yowarat Hotel ****
- PHO Place ***
- Prime Hotel Central Station Bangkok ****
- Miramar Hotel ****
- Hotel Royal Chinatown****
- Shanghai Mansion Hotel ****
Chatuchack: Close to Chatuchak Weekend Market and Don Mueang International Airport.
- Ravipha Residences*** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Northgate Ratchayothin**** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- V20 Boutique Hotel By Locals**** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Livotel Hotel Kaset Nawamin Bangkok**** (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok***** (Wheelchair Accessible)
Rattanakosin: This is where many of the historic sights of the city are located, including the Grand Palace and the amazing Buddha statue at Wat Pho.
Dusit: This part of the city is where King Rama V built his sprawling Dusit Palace complex. The district is home to most of the political and administrative buildings of the government, along with a wide range of museums and temples.
1. Maggie Choo’s @ Novotel Silom – Basement
2. Havana Social is a cool bar on Sukhumvit Soi 11
3. The Bamboo Bar at Mandarin Oriental- Live jazz music institution
4. Tuba Bar – Unashamed hipster hangout in the affluent Ekkamai district
5. Smalls Bar – Bangkok’s niche category of expat neighbourhood bars
6. Brown Sugar – Stylish venue one of the best places in Bangkok for live music
7. Sing Sing Theatre Bar – Sukhumvit 45
8. The Smokin’ Pug – 88 Surawong Rd. BangRak District
9. Smalls Bar – Sathorn Soi 1
10. Rabbit Hole – Great Coktails at Sukhumvit 55
1. Vertigo – Banyan Tree Bangkok – Sathorn – 61st Floor
2. Sky Bar – lebua at State Tower – Riverside – 63rd Floor
3. Octave Rooftop Bar – Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit – Sukhumvit – 45th Floor
4. Hi-So Rooftop Bar – Sofitel So on Sathorn – Sathorn – 29th Floor
5. Three Sixty – Millennium Hilton Bangkok – Riverside – 32nd Floor
6. Above Eleven – Sukhumvit Soi 11 – 32nd Floor
7. CRU Rooftop Champagne Bar @ Centara Grand Central World – 59th floor
8. Cielo Rooftop Skybar – Sukhumvit – 46th Floor
9. Spectrum Lounge & Bar @ Hyatt Regency Sukhumvit – 29th floor
10. Char Rooftop Bar @ Indigo Hotel – Ploenchit – 26th Floor
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