Where to Stay in Bangkok For Your First Time
Bangkok is a wildly diverse, sprawling city. You can be in one part and feel like you're in a completely different city than if you're in another. Part of this has to do with the degree of modernity that all of the city's districts withhold. There are some parts that are much less developed and don't give you the sense of being a shiny, new cosmopolitan whereas others you do. Where you want to stay within Bangkok is totally up to your preferences. You should choose the location you stay based on what you want out of Bangkok. As the saying goes--there is something for everyone so you simply have to decide what it is you want.
If You Want to Party and Shop: Sukhumvit
I don't recommend staying in Sukhumvit if you'd like to see the cultural side of Bangkok, as this section is the shiny cosmopolitan hub. You'll find eating, shopping and nightlife abound here, which makes it a fun area to stay in if you're looking to have a good time. Of course, you'll find touches of Thai culture throughout this area, but you'll more prominently notice cosmopolitan bars , modern malls, restaurants, clubs, etc. I think this area is a great place to stay for those who've already visited Bangkok before or who want to party more than they want to sightsee. But be prepared--you'll have to do quite a bit of walking as the cool venues of the area are pretty spread out. Thankfully, there is a SkyTrain to make it much more accessible.
If You Have Money to Spend: Riverside
Riverside is the perfect hub for those who have some money to throw at the five-star, luxury hotels placed along the banks of the river. You'll have plenty to see here with the array of palaces and temples and beautiful landmarks. Riverside is also great for those who want to experience the crazy city, but don't want to be in the heart of it, as you'll find this area to be much more peaceful and laid back.
If You Want to Sightsee/ Experience Thai Culture: Khaosan/Old City
I really do recommend staying in Khaosan if you've never been to Bangkok before and are up for a bit of rowdiness. This area has many of the city's most popular temples within close proximity of one another. Staying in this area will make such landmarks as Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew and The Grand Palace accessible. Spending a couple of days here will allow you to see Thailand's deep cultural roots. It's also a very affordable area to stay in as a budget traveler or backpacker, as there are many budget-friendly options to choose from. Moreover, if you're traveling alone this is a great place to meet fellow travelers.
There are other areas of Bangkok that you could stay in, which offer different things. However, as a first timer in Bangkok I recommend staying in one of these three.
Here's a quick rundown of them:
Chinatown: You want to experience street food/ on a budget/ want a colorful area
Silom: You want to be near Bangkok's raunchy, notorious red light district
Pratunam: You want to shop on a budget or see Bangkok's tallest view point (Baiyoke Tower)
Siam: You want to come to Bangkok to shop.
Thanks for reading! If you haven't already Subscribe to keep up on all my posts and if you're heading to Bangkok soon don't forget to read my guide to Taxis in Bangkok!