Where to stay in Bangkok for first time: 8 Safest areas

I have traveled to Bangkok many times, both as a solo traveler, a couple, and with a group of friends. Each time, I tried to stay in a different neighborhood to experience a different side of Bangkok. I understand that finding “where to stay in Bangkok as a first-time visitor” can be overwhelming.

That’s why, in today’s article, I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Bangkok for tourists (including a map and areas to avoid), where I stayed in Bangkok, and the best hotels for all budgets.

Before get into the detail of the main topic, let’s look at some facts about Bangkok:

Bangkok is the capital and largest city of Thailand, a country located in Southeast Asia. It is a cultural hub of Thailand, featuring numerous temples, palaces, and historic sites. The city’s most famous attraction is the Grand Palace, which houses the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

Thai cuisine is renowned worldwide, and Bangkok offers a wide range of culinary delights. Street food vendors, night markets, and upscale restaurants all contribute to the city’s diverse food scene.

Bangkok has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, the Skytrain (BTS), and the subway (MRT). The city is also known for its bustling traffic, which can be quite congested at times.

Bangkok has a lively nightlife scene, with a multitude of bars, nightclubs, and entertainment options. Khao San Road is particularly popular with backpackers and tourists looking for nightlife.

The city is known for its shopping opportunities, from traditional markets like Chatuchak Weekend Market to high-end shopping malls like Siam Paragon and MBK Center.

Bangkok has a tropical savanna climate with three distinct seasons: hot (March to June), rainy (July to October), and cool (November to February).

You can consider a day trip to Ayutthaya, an ancient city with impressive ruins and historical sites, located just a couple of hours from Bangkok.

Is Bangkok safe to visit?

Yes, Bangkok is generally safe to visit for tourists. But, like any major city, it has its share of petty crimes like pickpocketing and scams in tourist areas. You should exercise caution in crowded places and be wary of touts offering overly cheap deals. 

Political protests and occasional traffic congestion can disrupt daily life, but they rarely pose a direct threat to tourists. By staying alert, respecting local customs, and ensuring your accommodations are in safe areas, you can enjoy Bangkok without major safety concerns.

Where to stay in Bangkok for the first time?

The best and safest areas to stay in Bangkok for first-time tourists are Banglamphu, Riverside, Siam, Sukhumvit, Silom, Pratunam, Rattanakosin/Old Town, and Chinatown. It is always crucial to be mindful of pickpockets and scams wherever you stay, especially in crowded tourist spots.

There are some areas in Bangkok you should exercise caution or consider avoiding, particularly in the late hours or if you’re unfamiliar with the city. They include Khlong Toei, Nana Plaza/ Soi Cowboy, and Patpong.

Khlong Toei is known for its slum areas and can be less safe compared to other parts of the city. While there are some upscale developments in Khlong Toei, it’s generally not a tourist-friendly area.

Nana and Soi Cowboy are red-light districts in Sukhumvit known for their nightlife and entertainment, but they might not be suitable for families or travelers looking for a more relaxed atmosphere.

On my last trip to Bangkok, I stayed in the Riverside area at the Chatrium Hotel Riverside . It is conveniently located along the Chao Phraya River, offering free boat shuttle service to Central Pier, which is very close to Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain Station to explore the rest of the city.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Bangkok for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best and safest areas to stay in Bangkok first time
Map of the best and safest areas to stay in Bangkok first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Bangkok, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Bangkok have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

8 Best areas to stay in Bangkok for first-time tourists are:

1. Banglamphu/ Khao San

Banglamphu is a great area for first-time tourists, especially if you’re looking for budget-friendly accommodations, easy access to cultural attractions, and a lively atmosphere. 

Banglamphu’s location offers easy access to the city’s key cultural attractions, including the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Democracy Monument, Golden Mount Temple, Giant Swing, and Dusit Palace. These landmarks are within walking distance or a short taxi/tuk-tuk ride away.

Banglamphu, particularly Khao San Road, is famous for its vibrant nightlife scene. You’ll find bars, clubs, and street vendors selling food and drinks late into the night. Soi Rambuttree is a great road nearby well worth exploring!

The area offers a wide range of street food and local restaurants where you can sample authentic Thai dishes without breaking the bank. You can shop for souvenirs and local crafts at the various markets and stalls in the area.

If you’re traveling solo or looking to meet fellow travelers, Banglamphu is a hub for backpackers from all over the world. It’s easy to strike up conversations and make new friends.

While Banglamphu is generally safe during the day, it’s essential to keep an eye on your belongings, and be cautious of scams or overpriced services. Be aware that the nightlife on Khao San Road can get rowdy, so it’s a good idea to drink responsibly and stay alert.

You can get to Banglamphu by boat, get off at stop N13. The closest BTS Skytrain stop is at Ratchathewi. The closest MRT stops are Sanam Chai, Sam Yot, and Bang Yi Khan MRT stations on the blue lines.

From these train stations, you can use Grab taxis to reach your destinations in Banglamphu. (Grab is a great app similar to Uber, you don’t have to bargain price with drivers).

Best places to stay in Bangkok in Banglamphu for first-timers:

  • Mid-range ($$): Riva Surya Bangkok – SHA Extra Plus, 4-star hotel, located on Phra Arthit Road, within just a few minutes walk from Khao San Road and National Museum. The hotel offers stunning river views and easy access to major attractions like the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.
  • Budget ($): Dewan Bangkok – SHA Certified, great 3-star hotel, well-located, short distance from markets, tourist sights, and Khaosan road.
  • Luxury ($$$): Villa De Pranakorn, 5-star hotel, located on Maha Chai Road, a short walk from Sam Yot MRT station, easy reach from airport by public transportation or by the hotel’s paid airport shuttle service. Located in a quiet location, within walking distance to Old Town, Grand Palace, Khao San road, famous temples, and Chinatown.

2. Riverside

Staying along the Chao Phraya River offers a unique experience in Bangkok, ideal for couples and families seeking a relaxing atmosphere. There are luxury hotels and resorts with stunning river views. The area is relatively peaceful and safe, with easy access to boat transportation.

If you choose to stay in the Bangkok riverside area, I recommend staying around the BTS and MRT stations. Some popular stations in the area are Saphan Taksin BTS station (Green Line) and Krung Thonburi (Golden Line).

Sathorn Pier (Central Pier) is a major point for the Chao Phraya River Express Boat to visit the city’s most popular attractions along the River such as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha and Temple of Dawn.

Best places to stay in Bangkok Riverside for first-time tourists:

  • Luxury ($$$): Shangri-La Bangkok, great 5-star hotel, located along the Chao Phraya River, easy access to Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain Station for exploring other sights of Bangkok. Also close to Sathorn Pier for a shuttle boat to ICONSIAM Shopping Mall.
  • Luxury ($$$): Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok, 5-star hotel, located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, offering a free shuttle boat service from/to its private pier situated next to Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain Station.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Quarter Chaophraya by UHG, great 4-star hotel, located along Bangkok Riverside, easy access to BTS station, within walking distance to the fabulous Iconsiam shopping center.
  • Budget ($): Naga Residence, great cozy 3-star budget-friendly accommodation located along the Chao Phraya River, within walking distance from Pepsi Pier, and Krung Thon Buri BTS station on the Golden line to access other attractions of the city including ICONSIAM.

3. Siam  

The Siam area is a shopping and entertainment hub, home to some of Bangkok’s largest shopping malls, including Siam Paragon and MBK Center. It’s a safe and convenient area for tourists who want to shop and explore the city’s cultural attractions.

If you’re a shopaholic or simply want to indulge in retail therapy, Siam is the place to be. Siam is home to some of Bangkok’s most famous shopping malls, including MBK Center, Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, APEX, Central Chidlom, and CentralWorld. 

Siam is situated in the heart of Bangkok, making it a convenient base for exploring the city. It’s well-connected by the BTS Skytrain, making it easy to access the rest of Bangkok.

While Siam is primarily known for shopping, it’s also close to cultural attractions like Jim Thompson House and Erawan Shrine. You can easily visit these sites while staying in the area.

Siam offers a wide range of dining options, from street food stalls to fine-dining restaurants, catering to various budgets and tastes. You’ll also find entertainment options like cinemas, art galleries, and performance venues in the Siam area.

Best places to stay in Bangkok in Siam for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Pathumwan Princess Hotel, popular 5-star hotel, located right next to MBK Shopping Centre and opposite Siam Square. It is ideal for first-timers because it is directly linked to National Stadium BTS Skytrain Station and a short walk from Siam BTS Skytrain Station.
  • Mid-range ($$): Mercure Bangkok Siam, great 4-star accommodation, centrally located in the heart of Bangkok, short walk from National Stadium BTS Skytrain Station. Easy access to MBK and Siam Shopping Centres and Bangkok Art & Culture Centre.
  • Budget ($): Kritthai Residence, 3-star hotel, located within walking distance from all major entertainments and shopping malls, BTS stations, and Jim Thompson House.

4. Sukhumvit 

Sukhumvit is a popular choice for first-time travelers who want a lively and modern experience in Bangkok, with easy access to shopping, dining, and nightlife. It’s well-suited for those who don’t mind the hustle and bustle of city life and are looking for convenience and entertainment options.

Sukhumvit Road is one of Bangkok’s main thoroughfares and offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget to luxury. Sukhumvit is well-connected with the BTS Skytrain, making it easy to access other parts of Bangkok. You can easily explore the city and its attractions via the Skytrain.

I recommend booking hotels around Asok, Phrom Phong, Thong Lor, and Phra Khanong Skytrain stations for the convenience.

The area features modern shopping malls like Terminal 21, Emporium, and EmQuartier, where you can shop for both local and international brands.

Sukhumvit is a food lover’s paradise with an incredible array of restaurants, street food stalls, and international cuisine options. You can find both traditional Thai dishes and international favorites.

Sukhumvit is famous for its nightlife, particularly in areas like Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy, which are known for their go-go bars and nightlife entertainment. If you’re looking for vibrant nightlife options, Sukhumvit has you covered.

If you stay in the vicinity of the nightlife areas like Nana or Soi Cowboy, be prepared for loud music and a party atmosphere late into the night. This might not be suitable for those seeking a quiet stay.

Sukhumvit is generally safe, especially in the main commercial and hotel areas. However, be cautious in the nightlife districts, as they can attract a mix of tourists and locals, and petty crimes like pickpocketing can occur. As always, take precautions with your belongings and avoid confrontations.

Best places to stay in Bangkok in Sukhumvit for first-time travelers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal21, 5-star hotel, conveniently located direct access to the Sukhumvit MRT and Asoke BTS train stations. Short sky trains from Siam Paragon and MBK shopping centers.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Clover Asoke, 4-star hotel, located on Sukhumvit 16, short distance from Asoke BTS Skytrain and Terminal 21 Shopping Mall, as well as a park and nightlife options.
  • Budget ($): Jono Bangkok Asok Hotel, 3-star accommodation, short walk to MRT and BTS stations. 

5. Silom

Silom is a great base in Bangkok for business travelers, shoppers, and those looking to experience Bangkok’s nightlife. It’s a bustling area with excellent dining options and easy access to transportation. 

Silom is known for its central location, business district, and vibrant nightlife. It’s a safe area for tourists, with many hotels, restaurants, and shopping options. The area around Silom Road and Sathorn Road is particularly popular.

Patpong Night Market is one of Silom’s main attractions, offering a mix of shopping, dining, and nightlife entertainment. It’s famous for its go-go bars and nightclubs. 

Silom is close to Lumpini Park, a large and tranquil green space in the heart of the city. It’s a great place for a leisurely stroll, jogging, or relaxing by the lake.

Best places to stay in Bangkok in Silom for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): lebua at State Tower, popular 5-star hotel, next to Chaophraya River, easy access to BTS station and shopping malls.
  • Mid-range ($$): PASSA Hotel Bangkok, 4-star hotel, central location, a 5 minute walk from Sala Daeng BTS. Close to Lumphini Park
  • Budget ($): ibis Styles Bangkok Silom, this 3-star popular hotel situated on Silom Road Silom Bangrak District, within walking distance from train stations and major attractions.

6. Pratunam

Pratunam is famous for its wholesale clothing markets and is a good option for budget-conscious travelers. It’s generally safe, but like any crowded area, be mindful of pickpockets.

Pratunam is a shopping paradise, with numerous markets and malls. The Pratunam Market itself is famous for affordable clothing, accessories, and textiles. Nearby, you’ll also find Platinum Fashion Mall, Pantip Plaza (electronics), and more.

Pratunam offers a range of budget-friendly hotels and guesthouses, making it an excellent choice for travelers looking for affordable options.

The neighborhood is known for its street food stalls and food courts, offering a wide variety of tasty Thai dishes at affordable prices.

Pratunam is centrally located, making it easy to access other parts of Bangkok via public transportation. The BTS Skytrain stations of Ratchathewi and Chidlom are nearby.

Best places to stay in Bangkok in Pratunam for first-time tourists:

  • Luxury ($$$): VIE Hotel Bangkok, MGallery, 5-star hotel, in prime location, a short walk from Ratchathewi BTS Skytrain Station.
  • Mid-range ($$): Evergreen Place Siam by UHG, 4-star hotel, paid airport shuttle, located along Phaya Thai Road, a few steps from BTS Ratchathewi Station. 
  • Budget ($): Lemontea Hotel Bangkok, 3-star accommodation, short walk from Pantip Plaza IT Mall, Pratunam market, and Platinum fashion mall.

7. Rattanakosin (Old Town) 

Rattanakosin, often referred to as Old Town, is a historic area located within walking distance from the Banglamphu/ Khao San area. Rattanakosin is home to some of Bangkok’s most significant historical and cultural landmarks, including the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and the National Museum. 

Compared to the bustling commercial districts of Bangkok, Rattanakosin offers a more tranquil and traditional ambiance, especially in the evenings and early mornings.

 Some accommodations along the riverside in Rattanakosin provide stunning views of the Chao Phraya River, especially during sunset.

Staying in Rattanakosin allows you to experience a more authentic side of Bangkok, with traditional neighborhoods, markets, and local street food vendors.

Best places to stay in Bangkok Old Town for first-time visitors:

  • Mid-range ($$): Aurum The River Place, 4-star hotel, located along the Chao Phraya River, a short walk from the famous Wat Pho, Flower Market, and Grand Palace. Great sunset views from its onsite cafe. close to Sanam Chai MRT Station to explore the rest of the city.
  • Mid-range ($$): Riva Arun Bangkok, 4-star accommodation, located along the river, offering stunning views of Wat Arun. Within walking distance from Tha Tien Pier and Museum of Siam.
  • Budget ($): Feung Nakorn Balcony Rooms and Cafe, 3-star accommodation, located in Bangkok Old Town, within walking distance from Wat Pho, Grand Palace, and Flower Market.

8. Chinatown

Chinatown, known as Yaowarat in Bangkok, is a vibrant and culturally rich neighborhood that offers a unique blend of Thai and Chinese influences. 

Yaowarat is the epicenter of Bangkok’s Chinese community and culture. Staying here allows you to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and flavors of a bustling Chinatown.

Yaowarat is renowned for its street food. It’s one of the best places in Bangkok to savor Chinese and Thai street delicacies, from seafood dishes to dim sum and traditional desserts.

You’ll find a variety of shops selling Chinese herbal medicines, traditional Chinese goods, and gold jewelry. Sampeng Lane Market, a bustling wholesale market, is also nearby.

Chinatown is home to several historical and religious landmarks, including the iconic Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha) and various Chinese temples.

While not as raucous as areas like Sukhumvit, Yaowarat has its own unique nightlife scene, with open-air restaurants, street vendors, and karaoke bars.

Consideration: Chinatown is known for its bustling and crowded streets, which can be noisy, especially during peak hours. Like many parts of Bangkok, Yaowarat can experience traffic congestion, particularly during rush hours.

Chinatown is generally safe, but like any crowded urban area, it’s essential to exercise common-sense safety precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings and be cautious in crowded markets and streets.

Best places to stay in Bangkok in Chinatown for first-timers:

  • Mid-range ($$): Shanghai Mansion Bangkok, 4-star hotel, short walk from the MRT Wat Mangkorn underground metro station. CLose to numerous gold shops, Yaowarat has lots of restaurants and shops.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Royal Bangkok@Chinatown, great 4-star hotel situated on Yaowarat road, within walking distance from Wat Mangkon MRT Subway Station and Hua Lamphong Train Station.
  • Budget ($): ASAI Bangkok Chinatown, 3-star hotel, easy reach  Yaowarat Street Food Market, as well as numerous restaurants, shops, and attractions.

In conclusion, Banglamphu, Riverside, Siam, Sukhumvit, Silom, Pratunam, Rattanakosin, and Chinatown are the best places to stay in Bangkok for first-time travelers. These are safe central neighborhoods for tourists that offer a wide variety of attractions and amenities for all budgets.

You can continue reading about Bangkok and other destinations in Thailand in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Bangkok. I hope you found my article helpful and enjoy your holiday!

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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