Hola, city of Squalor!
Wow, what can we say about Bangkok. It’s a place where everything goes, where you can find a completely different vibe depending on what street you walk down, and where you’re never really sure what you’re going to find when you turn the corner.
We were definitely surprised by how big the city was when we landed. Your first visit might be a little overwhelming if you’re not sure where to go, so to help you out here are some of the most popular streets in Bangkok that could be a good place to start!
Khao San Road
Known as the ‘centre of the backpacking universe’, this is the top choice if you’re looking for cheap accommodation and to meet other travellers. On this short 1km road you will find budget guesthouses and hostels, internet cafes, bars, restaurants, travel agents, massage parlors, market stalls, tattoo shops and pretty much everything a typical backpacker might be looking for. Also popular with local art students and hipsters, the whole street has a very carefree anything goes vibe, which is very different from anywhere else in Bangkok.
Just around the corner but a world apart from Khao San Road, Soi Rambuttri offers you a taste of what Bangkok used to look like before all the skyscrapers and high rise hotels arrived. Leafy banyan trees offer some shade from the strong afternoon sun and the street offers a great mix of guesthouses, restaurants, bars and street food stalls. Many people have started favouring Soi Rambuttri now over Khao San Road, and it’s definitely a lot prettier.
Sukhumvit Soi 38
Just around the corner from Thonglor, Sukhumvit Soi 38 is the home of street food. This is where you will find those classic Thailand street food experiences – eating on a wobbly metal table, on the edge of a pavement with cars rushing past, and chairs so low you’re practically just squatting on the street.
Open each night from 6pm until the early hours of the morning, there are so many different options of street food along this busy street and the place to start if you’re looking for cheap, local and delicious. These food stalls are also known for being some of the most hygienic and offering English menus for visitors – bonus!
Thonglor & Ekkamai
One of Bangkok’s most popular entertainment streets, Thonglor is well known for its upmarket classy bars, boutique shops, fashionable clubs and restaurants offering pretty much any international or domestic cuisine you could ever think of. This is generally the home of super fashionable, cashed up Thais, but in the last few years more visitors have been enjoying the vibe, and the more sophisticated environment that’s lacking from the backpackers party streets.
Royal City Avenue
More commonly known as RCA, this is the centre of Bangkok’s clubbing scene and is actually the city’s officially designated nightlife zone, so you can find a party here every night of the week. There are so many different options to check out here if you’re into the party scene, with many offering internationals DJs, live concerts and popular local artists each night. RCA reaches for 4 blocks, with lots of security around to make sure everyone is safe in the area.
Maha Rat Road
Running parallel with the Chao Phraya River, Maha Rat Road is where you will find many of Bangkok’s major temples and attractions all in once place. Within a short walking distance of each other you will find the Grand Palace and Royal Pantheon, Wat Phra – home of the reclining buddah, the Museum of Siam, Wat Kalayanamit and just across the river, a short ferry ride away, the beautiful Wat Arun. You will definitely need to dedicate a whole day to this street with so much to explore.
Rama I Road
The home of every kind of shopping you could ever dream of in Bangkok. Driving down Rama I Road all you will see is huge shopping centre after shopping centre, each one bigger and more extravagant than the last. You can find everything you’re looking for here, from high end luxury designer brands, to market stands selling counterfeit designer bags.
Some of the best places to check out along this street while you’re shopping include CentralWorld, MBK Centre, Siam Discovery and Siam Square One. Some of these huge centres even have smaller shopping centres INSIDE them. I mean, that’s just out of control.