Where to Stay in Bangkok

Where to stay in Bangkok - Khao San area

Bangkok is one of the most visited city in the world and for decades the tourism boom has boosted its city expansion, basically every where is listed in travelers’ attraction point. With the mass list of attractions, and not to forget, delicious food, where is the base to start up a great traveler experience? Here are some of my recommendations on where to stay in Bangkok. Added on are their Tripadvisor scores (as on 14 Apr 2017) for reference.

Siam:

Cons : This might not be a favourite with night owls, as the area becomes really quiet after 10pm, when the bustling shopping malls close for the day. There are some street market going on, and in my previous experiences, found a good deal of accessories and small crafts. However, even these markets tend to close rather early too. But if you really need a drink, you can always jump on a tutu and and reach the beer gardens (Singha, Chang) in front of Central World. Walk if you want, but it’s quite a long 30 minutes walk.

Pros : Siam holds the most shopping malls in Bangkok – Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, Siam Centre and MBK Mall. Siam Centre, being more upscale, holds mostly luxury brands, Siam Paragon has plenty of cafes and food while MBK has the largest range of handphone accessories and affordable Thai food in its foodcourt.

Siam also has its own BTS Skytrain station right in front of MBK Mall, which is an interchange between Sukhumvit Line and Silom Line. I found myself using this station a lot as the most convenient way to interchange.

Other attractions include Jim Thompson House and Bangkok Arts & Cultural Center, which is a good hideaway from the heat, just that one need to manage expectation that this is nothing like Musee de Louvre. Drop by Siam Ocean World if you are into marine life.

1.Pathumwan Princess Hotel (>USD100)

Tripadvisor score : 4.5 of 5.0

My favourite pick is Pathumwan Princess Hotel for its customer service. This is the only hotel when I was just standing at the lobby, and its staff approached me with the most sincere manner, asking if I need help (I do have the tendency to look lost, even when I am not).

where to stay in Bangkok

It has extensive breakfast buffet, very good workout facilities (its Olympic Club Sport Zone), an impressive 25 metre swimming pool, connected to MBK Mall where we do not need to walk under the hot sun, and through the mall, we can access the National Stadium BTS station.

Note : If we return after 10pm, the connection to MBK is close as the mall is close, so we have to walk outside the mall back to hotel. It wasn’t bad as it is on a main street and the walkway is nicely paved and bright.

Check Pathumwan Princess’ rates and availability.

2.Hotel Mercure Bangkok (>USD75)

Tripadvisor score : 4.5 of 5.0

A cheaper and good hotel will be Hotel Mercure Bangkok, right in front of National Stadium BTS Station and it has a 7-Eleven stores on its ground floor, making it one of the most ‘convenient’ hotel in my list. Just hop on the National Stadium BTS station and we are just one station away from Siam BTS station.

The hotel is clean and well kept while the rooms are mostly smaller (but not too cozy). Usually, my only complain on the room is its smaller bathroom and no bathtub. If you don’t care about bathtub soaking session, this will be good enough for you. They have swimming pool on the top floor, not big enough for a lap swim but we enjoys hanging around there, just dipping ourselves in the cool water.

It only takes us 12 minutes to walk from the hotel to the famous Somboon Seafood (Bantadthong branch), so we can avoid the notorious taxi/tutu scam.

Note : Remember to take the stairways on the right side if you have luggage, which has a lift.

Check Mercure Bangkok’s rates and availability.

3.Monomer Hostel (>USD30 for private room)

Tripadvisor score : 4.5 of 5.0

I will recommend this one, if you are on a tight budget and just need a comfortable place for sleep. Hidden as one of the shoplots, it’s a tastefully designed, cozy hostel that made us thought we were staying at a loft. There’s no ‘formal’ breakfast provided but a corner equipped with toaster, bread, jams and cookies are available for our own quick fix. There are dorms, private room and family available.

While I categorised this establishment as Siam area, it’s actually two station away from the Siam station. The nearest is Ratchathewi BTS Station which will takes only 3 minutes walk.

Check Monomer Hostel’s rate and availability.

Pratunam

Cons : The main inconvenience we had when staying in Pratunam is has quite a distance from my main transportation mode – the BTS Skytrain. During my last trip, I had tried to walk from Pratunam to the nearest BTS (Chitlom Station) and that took me 25 minutes. Sure, we can get a taxi, but with the horrendous traffic surrounding Pratunam, you won’t get anywhere within an hour. We once took a taxi from MBK to Platinum Mall and it took us one hour in traffic to reach the mall, in fact, some taxi drivers simply refused to take us there.

This place is crazy bustling that it doesn’t seem to have a quiet hour at all, always surrounded by day and night markets, so you might want to look for hotel that has better environment, or ‘soundproof system.’

Pros : Platinum Mall is in Pratunam and if your main objective is to shop there for most of your trip, you will definitely want to stay in this area. After all, Platinum Mall is so huge that it took me 2 days visit to truly explore the place (and find my shopping trophy).

Pratunam is also heaven for massage fanatic like us as the plentiful of massage shop lined the main street and some lanes. As far as we notice, there’s nothing too dodgy about these shops. Due to the massive competitions, the massage price is much cheaper than other parts of Bangkok. Psst… our favourite is the old Perfect Massage on the Ratchaparop Road, opposite of Endah Square.

1.Novotel @ Platinum Mall (>USD100)

Tripadvisor score : 4.5 of 5.0

Started in 2011, this branch of Novotel becomes popular amongst travelers who wish to shop till they drop in Platinum Mall, because the premise is right above the wholesaler mall. Still, the nearest station is the Chitlom Skytrain but hey, you get to tone your leg muscle, why not? (I am not kidding, because Wendy and I actually lose weight after we return from Bangkok.)

Check Novotel’s rates and availability.

2.Lemontea Hotel (>USD40)

Tripadvisor score : 4.0 of 5.0

Middle range budget hotel – Lemontea is our choice whenever we want to go ‘value-for-money’ and do not mind being further away from BTS Skytrain. Geographically, it’s not far from the Phayathai Station (both BTS Skytrain and Airport Express) but only if we don’t mind walking along the train tracks and backlanes that can be quite dodgy.

Like Novotel, it’s a good base for Platinum Mall and street market shoppings, and there’s even a few outdated shopping arcade along Petchaburi – no harm in checking them out. Lemontea is also surrounded by plenty of decent massage shops operating up to midnight, unlike other area which will see all the massage shops close at 10pm.

The family owned hotel has a welcoming and comfortable environment thanks to its whitewashed minimalist furnishing and the polite staffs who are always ready to help.

Check for Lemontea Hotel’s rates and availability.

[email protected] Hostel (>USD20)

Tripadvisor score : 5.0 of 5.0

Not exactly labelled with Pratunam address, but a mere 10 minutes walk from Platinum Mall, is this [email protected] Hostel. It is in a lane right opposite of Central World and two streets away from Big C Supermarket. As this is a hostel, it is not recommended if you are bringing big luggages with you, but if like you’re like me, a one-bag-person, then this will be perfect for you. Toilets and bathrooms are shared but rest assure that everything are well maintained.

Check [email protected] Hostel’s rates and availability.

Khao San

This is an area that frequently top the location to stay for backpackers because it’s bustling with hostels, dorms, bunkers and cheap guesthouses. Plenty of travel agent booths lines the streets that offers cheap (if you know how to bargain) activities and transportations. To me, it feels like a mini Patong Beach (Phuket), minus the beach, with its overwhelming number of food peddlers.

The cons of staying here will be the lack of any skytrain or MRT line in this area, so we will have to depend on taxi, tutu or bus to get around.

Khao San is a good base if you are planning to visit the Grand Palace, the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho or take a river taxi to scour the riverbank scenery.

1.Baan Dinso (>USD50)

Tripadvisor score : 4.5 of 5.0

This Thai traditional house turned guesthouse is 10-15 minutes walk away from the main action of Khao San Road, offering a different ambience from the busy Khao San. I like its classic feel and we had no problem using the shared bathroom, hardly bumped into other guests. Finding the place might pose challenge to some travelers, but just remember to note its small green signboard on the main street, above an eye glasses shop “Top Charoen” and a “CP Fresh Mart”.

Look for a room now at Baan Dinso.

2.Laksameenarai Guesthouse (>USD30)

Tripadvisor score : 4.5 of 5.0

Want to go further to old Thai style? Then Laksameenarai Guesthouse is the choice for you, and it is just one street away from the Khao San action. I have not stay here before but as in Tripadvisor, it mostly scores between Very Good and Excellent, so I am having my eyes on it, for my next trip.

Check Laksameenarai’s rates for your date.

3.Nouvo City Hotel (>USD60)

Tripadvisor score : 4.0 of 5.0

You might have notice, most of the accommodations in Khao San are guesthouses, hostels or upscale hotel, very little offers in between. Nouvo City Hotel is one of the mid range hotel I found, which was rather new, established in 2011. The room size starts at 32 sqm is a bonus when we shop too much and have a lot of shopping trophies scatered around.

It’s a 10 minutes walk to Khao San main street and you are just a taxi/tutu away from the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.

Check Nouvo City Hotel’s rate and availability.

Sukhumvit

Sukhumvit has the longest road in Thailand which is named by itself Sukhumvit too. Therefore, when seeking for accomodation here, it’s best to take note of the difference between Sukhumvit Road and Sukhumvit area which comprises of around 60 soi/lanes (if I am not mistaken), lasting four BTS Skytrain stations from Nana till Thong Lo.

In short, Sukhumvit is a large maze and not a place I will recommend to someone with ‘conventional thinking’ like me, because I don’t like to find myself, suddenly surrounded by red light districts and men pestering me with flyers, urging me to watch the infamous Ping Pong show. (I once thought that Nana Plaza is a shopping mall. Gosh.)

Of course, given the size of Sukhumvit, not all parts are slums but there are business districts too. It also has its fair share of museum houses, National Science Center for Education, an insta-worthy shopping mall – Terminal 21 and wide variety of international food.

If you have reason to stay here, here are a few recommendation, which are near to Asok station and Terminal 21 Mall.

1.Park Plaza Sukhumvit (>USD70)

Tripadvisor score : 4.5 of 5.0

If you need to use both BTS Skytrain and MRT a lot, its location is excellent, with both Asok BTS and Sukhumvit MRT stations within 10 minutes of walking distance. You might, however have to pass by Soi Cowboy on your way to MRT station.

Check your dates and rates for Park Plaza Sukhumvit.

2.Sukhumvit 12 Bangkok Hotel and Suite (>USD100)

Despite the bustling surrounding, the hotel did an amazing job keeping a rainforest-like environment in its compound. Except for Deluxe Room, the studios and suites are equipped with a kitchenette (microwave and fridge), DVD player and bathtubs.

It will take around 12-15 minutes to walk to Asok station but free tutu service is provided to drop you off at the main street.

Sukhumvit 12’s rates and availability.

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