Coming to Bangkok from Hanoi almost feels like a cultural shock: Despite being rather close to each other geographically, they are very different: The way Bangkok has developed into a westernized metropolis within the last decades, is quite remarkable. I’m not judging whether this good or bad, but coming from the “West” you’ll feel way more accommodated in Thailand’s capital than probably other places in Asia. But Bangkok has so many neighbourhoods, ranging from super-modern to traditional. There are two in particular, which gained popularity among travelers from all over the world but also couldn’t be more different from each other: I’m talking about Sukhumvit and Khao San Road. Although you might get an impression that both areas have nothing to do with the “original” Thailand, I like them both – thanks to their endless entertainment, shopping and dining options – and for those reasons they belong the most popular areas for travelers in Bangkok!
Sukhumvit is the place to be for the ones who want to be seen, the rich and the ones who pretend to be rich. The amount of luxury hotels is abundant, but more importantly the choice of excellent bars and restaurants is overwhelming. One thing I love about Bangkok are the rooftop bars, and you can imagine that visiting at least one of them during my trip was a must For the longest time I wanted to check out what’s the hype about Above 11 – and I wasn’t disappointed (I didn’t try their food though)!
Two years ago I already recommended Nagiya Izakaya, and it still turned out to be a good place to spend a relaxed evening with friends over some Japanese tapas. Sukhumvit Road is actually quite convenient to reach with the BTS Sky Train, that stretches along the road. However you might need a (motorbike) taxi for all the side “sois”.
2. Khao San Road
In the “old” part of town is Khao San Road (and its little neighbour Rambuttri) that always has been a favourite hang-out spot since my first Thailand visit in 2009, but it took me more than three years to get back there. The mecca of backpackers and hippies has undergone a slight face-lift but still is alive, busy and fun as before: Restaurants, bars, hostels, tailors, street food, shops, tattoos, travel agencies, pharmacies (I even went to a dentist there once!), fake ID’s – I bet you could easily live there for months without leaving the area. I mean, there’s nothing you can’t get on that notorious street
3. Where to stay
Although these two areas couldn’t be any more different and attracting a different crowd – one thing they certainly have in common is that they aren’t quiet. That’s Bangkok. Sukhumvit and Khao San also have the widest selection of accommodation – in fact, choosing a hotel can be quite overwhelming. I’ve stayed frequently in both parts of the city over the years and if you’re coming to Bangkok for the first time, I’d recommend to try them both, so you’ll get a full impression If you don’t know where to stay at all, here’s a few recommendations that are safe bets:
- More upscale, glamorous and luxurious, you’ll find almost every big hotel chain in the Sukhumvit area. I really liked the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit – super central, direct access to the Skytrain, great pool, big rooms. Click here to book.
- If the Sheraton is out of your budget, try the Royal Benja Hotel. It’s a solid middle class hotel with a pool and breakfast buffet that’s included in the rate. The skytrain stop Nana is only a short walk away and the rooms on the upper floors come with really great views! Click here to book.Videos Denver7 Videos News News Videos News Denver7 Denver7 SEcq77
- If you’re not a hardcore party monster or on a super tight budget, I’d refrain to stay directly on Khao San Road. There are numerous alternatives in close proximity minus the craziness. The Hotel Baan Dinso is a modern Boutique hotel right be the Democracy Monument and if you can put up with shared bathrooms, you’ll get great value for the price. Click here to book. Not far from there is the Baan Dinso Hostel, which is located in a beautiful teak house with lovely interior.
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