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Bangkok’s busy-ness and bustle, the many smells of it and its many colours, has the power to permeate almost everything, but it sort of stops at a respectful distance from the shrines and temples, which are the other thing Bangkok is known for. So that you get this fantastic experience of a real sea of movement and life and then ancient stillness. A foodie destination like no other, and a shopping destination like no other, so much life in Bangkok is conducted on the streets and just beside them that it’s a fantastically rewarding city to lose yourself in. And it’s hard not to. Which is why it’s so useful to have a centrally located hotel, like many on our Guru’s list of recommendations for the best places to stay in Bangkok.
Some of our recommendations will be familiar names - Bangkok is a popular destination and the big names cover it well, especially the hotel brands known for luxury, but we also have some great recommendations for you if your idea of the best places to stay in Bangkok would be a small hotel, or a hip, centrally located hotel. Our recommendations also includes some fantastic, and quite luxurious, options with room rates that start from under £100 per night.
What not to Miss
- Bangkok is a great entry point for Thailand because it’s a great opportunity to meet the Thai people and try out your communication skills. Don’t shy back from the markets or from street food, you’ll really be missing out on one of this city’s great experiences, and you’ll soon learn that it’s big smiles and an air of friendliness that prevails over the spoken word.
- It must be said again, don’t shy from Bangkok’s street food, it’s some of the world’s best. But you should also eat in its restaurants, cafes, hotels and bars - widespread immigration has lead to this being a hub of fusion cuisine, with ideas flowing in from all over Thailand, and from all over the world.
- A good place to experience both Bangkok’s food and its markets is the Chatuchak Weekend Market, which must be one of the world’s largest markets. And you can pretty much buy anything here. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the choice - imagine if eBay were a real place and that’ll give you some sort of an idea. There are antiques and handicrafts, musical instruments, Thai toys, CDs of Thai music, clothes ranging from cowboy wear to sophisticated independent labels and styles from every facet of youth culture you might imagine you belong to, there is jewellery, homeware, kitchenware, food, food and food, and then there are the pets… There are all kinds of furry, feathery and scaly friends to consider, plus everything you might need for them - even if you’re someone who believes that their pet squirrel needs a wardrobe as big as Princes Di.
- Talat Mai, is Bangkok’s Chinese Market, another cacophony of smells and flavours interspersed with people riding motorcycles, the Amulet Market is a dense network of covered footpaths and market stalls people obsessed with amulets, and Chang Chui is the unique one, with performance artists and an insect-themed restaurant.
- When it comes to the other side of Bangkok’s appeal: its temples and shrines, the highlight for many people is What Phra Kaew, an incredible temple complex of golden spires and graceful, colourful roofs, which houses Thailand’s most sacred treasure, the Emerald Buddha, and is also part of the Grand Palace, the former royal residence. The grounds are huge, and there are more than one hundred buildings, built by two hundred years worth of royal inhabitants. Even though this is a large complex it’s can feel quite busy, so if you feel a little overwhelmed by all the gilding and photographers, take a break in the mural area which is often the most peaceful. The temple of Wat Arun is part of the same complex, and it’s one of the few Buddhist temples you’re encouraged to climb on.
- Wat Pho is where you’ll see the famous reclining Buddha - and it’s just as massive as you’ve been told it will be. It also houses a huge collection of images of the Buddha. And a famous Thai massage school with two massage pavilions.
- And Wat Traimit is where you can see the fantastic solid gold Buddha. He’s 3metres tall and weighs about five and a half tonnes. This temple is in Chinatown, a fascinating area to walk around anyway.
- These are just the headliner temples, there are many more you could visit if you have time. But it’s definitely worth taking a break between temples, and a great place to do that is in Lumphini Park, a large, almost tropical feeling park arranged around an artificial lake. Here it’s possible to find peace, playgrounds and paddle-boats in amongst the traffic noise. First thing in the morning the park is full of people practicing t’ai chi.
- Dusit Palace Park and Museum also offers a great break from the Thai temple architecture, it’s a strangely European looking building packed with treasures.
- The Bangkokian Museum is good too. The Museum of Siam is worth a look as well. And the National Museum is vast - albeit a bit dusty. Most visitors also take a spin through Jim Thompson’s House, which is actually six Thai-style houses combined in a jungle-like compound, and was home to this silk merchant and CIA operative during the many years he was Bangkok’s most famous expat.
- Once you’ve had a break, head back to the wat trail to Wat Saket and the Golden Mount. The mount refers to an artificial hill - made from a collapsed stupa - with a winding staircase leading up to the temple and an amazing lookout, which has to be one of the best places to get a view of the whole city.
- Phra Sumen Fort also makes a nice change, as does the Queen Saovabha Institute Snake Farm.
- Many visitors also take a tuk-tuk tour, or a bicycle tour - depending on how brave/confident you are. It’s also worth taking a canal tour and seeing a cultural performance, and possibly even a drag show - the most famous being the Calypso Cabaret in Ratchathewi.
Aside from the markets, much of Bangkok’s best shopping is centred around Siam Square, Sukhumvit and Patpong have the nightclubs and nightlife, and Rattanakosin is Old Bangkok, where you’ll find many of the city’s main sights.
But don't forget that this is a popular year round destination, so if you want to guarantee a room in one of the best places to stay in Bangkok, do your homework and book well ahead, especially if you favour the smaller properties.
The Best Places to Stay in Bangkok
For a City Break
- The Maduzi takes a zen-like approach in their take on luxury, which really works well in this busy, central Bangkok location. There are just 41 rooms, some with jacuzzis and complimentary mini-bars, there’s a great terrace bar, a 24hour gym and a gourmet French Japanese fusion restaurant.
- So Sofitel is chic, modern and minimalist, with lots of glass and decor designed to frame the fantastic views over Lumpini Park and the rest of the city. There’s a rooftop infinity pool and a range of dining and drinking options, plus you’re moments from the green of Lumpini Park.
For Something Special
- For the best the city has to offer stay at boutique treat The Siam. Expect palatial surroundings and impeccable service, and when it’s time to go out and explore the city you can do so via the hotel’s tropical gardens, which lead down to the river and your own private speed boat. It’s a nice touch.
- The Sukhothai is a grand hotel in Bangkok’s business district with 210 colonial style rooms, impressively decorated with teak furniture and Thai fabrics. The service is excellent and there’s a spa, a large pool and a choice of three restaurants.
- Packed with antique and colonial-inspired design, the Cabochon Hotel has just eight rooms, so is understandably intimate, and the service feels very personal, despite its location nestled amongst skyscrapers. You’ll discover nooks and crannies perfect for a private drink, and a sun library bar packed with books, magazines and comics. There’s a long, lean rooftop pool which feels peaceful despite the frenetic surroundings.
Hip and Happening Bangkok
- Unapologetically fashion-oriented, W Bangkok offers five star flash to match the city it sits in. This is somewhere you might want to dress up to visit reception, but it also has family suites in amongst its 403 rooms, so it’s not just for millennials. Rooms start from around £145 per night.
Hotels with an Excellent Reputation
- The Banyan Tree Bangkok is one of the city’s better known hotels, well regarded for its upmarket drinking and dining options, and its incredible 360 degree views of the city. And you get the full force of both of these in its incredible rooftop bar, Vertigo, which does its cocktail serving on the 61st floor, arranged so the lights below really sparkle. The pool is housed in a tropical paradise, and you'll get a free 10 minute head and shoulder massage just for going to the pool…
- The Peninsula in Bangkok has a great riverfront location, and 370 of the kind of lavish rooms and suites you’d expect from this hotel brand. The decor and design are quite traditional, the spa sumptuous and the cuisine noteworthy.
- Bangkok’s Shangri-La also benefits from a fantastic location on the bank of the Chao Phraya river. Guests have a choice of opulent Thai style decor in one wing, or sleek and contemporary design in the other. There’s an elegant cocktail bar and a wide choice of cuisine on offer in the six restaurants.
- The Avani Riverside Bangkok is a suave, modern building with floor to ceiling windows and luxurious bathrooms in its 245 rooms and suites - including family-sized suites. It also has spectacular views over the Chao Phraya River, both from many of the rooms and from the rooftop infinity pool. A wide range of cuisine is served in the restaurant.
- For something more unabashedly luxurious consider 137 Pillars House, Bangkok, which has just 34 vast and sumptuous suites, but also offers private butler service, and has a fantastic rooftop infinity pool - which is really useful for your smalls.
For Great Value
- The Amari Watergate Bangkok is a giant of a five star hotel, with 570 rooms, a huge fitness centre, a luxurious spa and numerous dining and drinking options. And it’s in a fantastic spot - especially if you’re looking for great value accommodation to increase your shopping spend. Rooms here start from less than £80 per night.
- For around the same rate you could also stay in the Como Metropolitan Bangkok, which has 169 generously proportioned and luxuriously minimalist rooms with state of the art bathrooms. The Thai restaurant is well known and well loved and there’s an inviting outdoor pool.
- Another great value five star option is the Oriental Residence Bangkok. This 145 room hotel is designed to feel more like a home, with ‘proper’ kitchens and large wardrobes in each room. There’s an understated French bistro downstairs for those of us who don’t cook at home either… And the room rate starts from around £110 per night.
For a self-catering apartment
- If you’d prefer to stay in a private apartment we recommend you visit our online partner, booking.com.
- Bangkok has two airports: Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is the main airport and one of the busiest in Southeast Asia, is about 30kms to the east of the city and is linked by an Airport Rail Link - or taxis at an internationally competitive rate. And Don Muang Airport, which is 30kms north of the centre of town and was usurped as Bangkok’s main airport in 2006. The cheapest way to get into the city from Don Muang is by train, which takes about an hour, but you can also catch a cab.
- If you’re thinking about hiring a car we recommend checking what our online partners, Rentalcars have to offer.
- Just 14 degrees north of the equator, Bangkok is hot, humid and tropical, so for most of us the most pleasant time of year to visit is between November and February when it’s the ‘cool season’. During this time of year daytime temperatures peak at around 30°C, while during the ‘hot season’ daily highs hover between 35°C and 40°C. The wet season is between May and October, when you can expect floods and thundery showers - which cool the city down a treat and usually only last for an hour or so, but it’s probably best to avoid travelling in September or October when it’s really very rainy.
Still not sure which to book?
Best Hotels in Bangkok
Banyan Tree Bangkok 327 rooms from £121Bangkok
One of Bangkok’s better-known hotels, Banyan Tree Bangkok offers a range of upmarket drinking and dining options, spectacular 360-degree views across the city and all the modern conveniences of a five-star hotel.Sights nearby - Grand Palace is four miles away.Local markets - Navigate the bustling market places of Bangkok.Lively - Hip and happening.Spa
W Bangkok 403 rooms from £142Bangkok (Silom)
Unapologetically flashy and fashion-orientated, The W melds 5-star luxury with all the mod-cons that its jet-setting, millennial clientele expect.Local markets - Want it? You'll almost certainly find it at Chatuchak Market, one of the largest in the world.Cooking classes - Blue Elephant Cooking School allows students to take home those popular Thai flavours.Sights nearby - Bangkok has plenty of temples but Wat Phra Kaew is one of the most resplendent.House party feel - Be prepared to meet people.
COMO Metropolitan Bangkok 169 rooms from £75Bangkok (Sathorn)
Cool, calm and collected - the COMO Metropolitan brings understated, five-star luxury to the heart of the capital with neutral decor, impeccable facilities and an acclaimed Thai restaurant. Rooms are sprawling and feature state of the art bathrooms. Plus there is an inviting outdoor pool.Families - The decor might be deceptive but with child friendly menus and babysitting, it's great for the whole familyCity Style - Uber chic hotel in the beating heart of BangkokSights nearby - The Sathorn area is known for its abundance of templesSwimming Pool - Outdoor poolRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
The Siam 39 rooms from £491Bangkok (Dusit)
A privately owned boutique hotel with palace-like grandeur and phenomenal levels of service. Sprawling tropical grounds lead down to the Chao Phraya riverbanks where a private speed boat awaits. In house, unwind in the spa, feast on gourmet cuisine and sip delectable cocktails at the art-deco bar.Local exploring - Well located on the city side of Chaopraya River with many sights easily accessible.Honeymoons - Luxurious and wonderfully private, the ideal escape for couples.Sights nearby - Visit the impressive Vimanmek Teak Mansion located in the nearby Dusit Park.Cooking classes - Daily classes are held with the hotel's chef starting in the local markets.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
SO Sofitel 238 rooms from £154Bangkok (Bangrak)
A chic contemporary hotel well located overlooking Lumpini Park. Chic rooms are uber modern with plenty of glass, minimalist style and luxurious bathrooms. A rooftop pool is the ideal place to unwind after a day's exploring. Boasting a wide array of dining and drinking options. Superb.City Style - An elegant 5 star property complete with rooftop pool, chic bars and fabulous restaurants.Great walks - Take a stroll around the picturesque Lumpini Park.Sights nearby - Visit the impressive gold guilded Grand Palace.Views - Great views from hotel
Avani Riverside Bangkok Hotel 245 rooms from £115Bangkok (Thonburi)
Enjoy panoramic views from an infinity pool at this contemporary hotel with a riverside location. Find slick rooms complete with floor to ceiling windows, clean design and luxurious bathrooms. A wide range of eating options both international and thai. A chic base to explore the city from.Local exploring - A luxury contemporary city base with free shuttle boat to Sathorn Pier for easy access to the city.Sailing - Explore the Chao Phraya River and its canal maze on a traditional tail boat.Local markets - Jump into any of the bustling markets and sample Bankok's famed street food.Sights nearby - Be sure not to miss the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Golden Mountain.
137 Pillars House, Bangkok 34 rooms from £360Bangkok (Wattana)
This boutique hotel is bold and unabashed when it comes to luxury. From its private butler service to the sky-high rooftop infinity pool and 34 sumptuous suites, 137 Pillars House promises its guests the ultimate urban experience.City Style - The contemporary design, attentive service and luxury suites make this one of Bangkok's sleekest establishments.Local markets - Explore the bustling streets of China Town and sample local dishes from the street vendors.Sights nearby - Visit the ever-impressive Grand palace and Wat Prakeaw.Swimming Pool - Outdoor poolRecommended by - Small Luxury Hotels
Oriental Residence Bangkok 145 rooms from £108Bangkok (Lumpini Patumwan)
For those seeking a home away from home, the Oriental Residence Bangkok’s considerate approach to luxury distinguishes it from other five-star options. Rooms boast fully-stocked kitchen and expansive wardrobe space to mimic the comforts of home while there's an understated French bistro downstairs.Local markets - Explore the bustling street markets of Bangkok.Sights nearby - Visit the nearby Temple of the Golden Mount.Views - Great views from hotelDesigner - Uniquely designed interiors.
The Sukhothai 210 rooms from £177Bangkok
A grand hotel located in Bangkok's business district. Colonial style rooms are expansive and impressive with teak furniture and Thai fabrics. The service is slick and a large pool, pampering spa and choice of three restaurants make this a very comfortable stay.City Style - An opulent colonial style luxury property, ideal for chic city stays.Sights nearby - For a little bit of India in Thailand visit the colouful Sri Mariamman Temple.Great walks - Take a stroll through the nearby Suan Lumpini park.Swimming Pool - Outdoor poolRecommended by - Kiwi Collection
The Peninsula 370 rooms from £205Bangkok (Klongsan)
A smart five star property boasting a superb riverfront location. Rooms are lavish yet have a pleasing touch of traditional design. Suites are spectacularly large and impressive. The spa is sumptuous and cuisine noteworthy. A great all-rounder of a property.City Style - A riverfront property offering five star luxury at its finest.Local markets - Explore lively Chinatown and Phahurat Market holding Thailand's largest textile market.Sights nearby - Be sure to make a stop at the spectacular Wat Mahathat.Views - Great views from hotel
Shangri-la from £158Bangkok (Bangrak)
A grand hotel sat on the banks of the Chao Praya River. Chic rooms are either sleek and contemporary or feature opulent Thai style depending on which wing you reside in. Boasting a wide range of cuisines in the six restaurants and an elegant cocktail bar. Perfectly situated for accessing the city.City Style - A chic five star property adding some serious glamour to any Bangkok stay.Sights nearby - Be sure not to miss the awe inspiring Wat Arun.Romantic - Good for couples.Opulent
Maduzi 41 rooms from £83Bangkok (Khlong Toei, Klongtoey)
A zen-like approach to luxury means the Maduzi keeps calm in the heart of Bangkok. Chic rooms feature jacuzzi tubs and complimentary mini bars whilst head chef Yuya serves up gourmet French and Japanese dishes. Sundowners can be sipped on the terrace and guests can keep fit 24 hours a day.Cooking classes - Everyone loves Thai food and you can take home those famous flavours at Baipai Thai cooking school.Local markets - Khlong Toei market is one of the largest in the city.Sights nearby - Wat Traimit (or the Golden Buddha) is a must visit.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.Recommended by - Small Luxury Hotels
Amari Watergate Bangkok 569 rooms from £77Bangkok (Thanon Phaya Thai)
Shopaholics, rejoice – Amari Watergate Bangkok’s location is prime for mall-lovers. The five-star hotel also boasts an expansive fitness centre, a luxurious beauty spa and a huge range of dining options. An upmarket and absolutely top-notch choice for a city stay!Local exploring - With many of Bangkok's sights a short walk away you can easily wander around getting to know this vibrant cityLocal markets - Take a stroll around the bustling Pratunam Wholesale Market which is practically right on your doorstepSights nearby - The stunning Temple of the Golden Mount (Wat Saket) is only a couple of miles away-a must visit!Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor