Travelers entering Thailand through Bangkok or making a stop after exploring the islands should know the following seven best places to visit.
From the bustling commercial hubs to the vibrant nightlife districts and historic Old Town, Bangkok beats to a different rhythm than most international cities. It is a thriving cosmopolitan that mixes cultures and entertains, with diverse experiences and heritage landmarks dotting its most popular districts.
There is plenty to see and do as you explore Bangkok’s famous regions, with the following guide highlighting the essentials of each neighborhood to help you plan the perfect vacation.
Bangkok’s ancient capital, Siam, is the beating heart of the bustling city. It invites travelers to immerse themselves in fashion at boutique stores, the buoyant atmosphere at spirited markets, and the culinary highlights at chic cafés.
Siam is a shopping mecca that is certainly worth a visit for its trendy hangouts and gorgeous artwork that paints the walls of alleys and exhibits in and around the city center. Your tour will show off the glitz and glamor of Bangkok’s popular upmarket stamping ground.
Highlights of Siam: Jim Thompson House • Bangkok Art and Culture Center • Erawan Shrine • Pathum Wanaram Temple
Sukhumvit is the trendiest neighborhood in Bangkok, where travelers brush shoulders with celebrities and expats.
You can race to the top of skyscrapers to capture panoramic views of the city at gorgeous restaurants in the clouds, explore the culinary scene at street-food stalls in the shadows of the looming skyline, and catch your breath in the warm waters of rooftop pools during your stay in Sukhumvit.
Highlights of Sukhumvit: Terminal 21 • Rooftop restaurants • Baan Kamthieng House Museum • Rama IX Park
Khao San is a Bangkok staple that visitors must explore to immerse themselves in the city’s tourism scene. Situated around the corner from points of interest such as the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, Khao San is also the perfect pitstop for discovering the spirit of Bangkok at golden temples and ornate complexes.
The backpackers’ haven is beloved for its vibrant atmosphere, iconic street-food vendors, and offbeat artistic ambiance. It is an ideal neighborhood to visit for those hoping to see what makes Bangkok tick.
Highlights of Khao San: The Grand Palace • Wat Pho • Bangkok National Museum • Wat Phra Kaew
Yaowarat, Chinatown, is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Bangkok and the area continues to serve as a hub of trade and commerce, attracting locals and visitors.
Rows and rows of stores and food stands line the streets and alleys of Chinatown and will lure you deeper into the neighborhood as you embrace its enchanting atmosphere.
Several temples pepper the district and will invite you to unpack the history of Chinese settlement in Bangkok, while many markets will show off the culture of Bangkok’s popular neighborhood.
Highlights of Yaowarat: Trok Issaranuphap • Guan Yin Shrine • Wat Leng Noei Yi • Sampeng Lane Market
Bangkok’s Old Town, Rattanakosin, will be your ticket to seeing life in Bangkok before skyscrapers, neon-lit billboards, and massive shopping malls.
Some of the city’s most iconic heritage sites lay waiting to be discovered in and around Rattanakosin, with views of the Chao Phraya River enjoyed from the terraces of riverside restaurants serving authentic Thai cuisine.
The historic center is small enough to explore in a single walking tour, allowing you to uncover as much of Bangkok’s fascinating history and heritage as possible before you head for dinner at a rooftop restaurant.
Highlights of Rattanakosin: The Royal Pantheon • Saranrom Park • Mahakan Fort • Wat Saket
Bangrak shimmers with some of the most opulent hotels and buildings in Bangkok. Each vies for the best view over the Chao Phraya River, with a number of romantic corners in which to dine while watching the sun set behind the city.
The Patpong Night Market adds to the neighborhood’s allure, with vendors displaying clothing, bags, and upscale electronics, while restaurants combine sumptuous cuisine with spectacular views of the river and skyline. It is easy to find traditional performances to accompany a classic dinner or enjoy some of the best international cuisines in the city.
Highlights of Bangrak: Lumpini Park • King Power Mahanakhon • Mahanakorn Skywalk • Wat Hua Lamphong
Thonglor has become one of the best neighborhoods for fashionable, upmarket cuisine in Thailand, especially when looking for a combination of Thai and Japanese flavors. This has given way to a small area called Japantown.
Whether trendy or soulful, Thonglor hosts a wide variety of restaurants and delicious stalls that range from ramen shops to popular sashimi spaces, mixology bars to rooftop lounges, as well as bustling community malls that exude a local ambiance.
Highlights of Thonglor: Thonglor Art Space • Malls • Spa treatments • Benjakitti Park
These iconic Bangkok neighborhoods are the perfect places in which to see what makes the city unique and wander famous landmarks in and around Rattanakosin, Chinatown, and more.