Bangkok Neighbourhoods, Locations and Districts
A large and significant Asian city, Bangkok's is divided into around 50 different districts and neighbourhoods, which are often referred to as 'khets'. Over time, Bangkok has expanded its city boundaries and the metropolitan area now comprises six large provinces, which are continually spreading.
The Mae Nam Chao Phraya River dominates much of central Bangkok and the nearby railway line divides this area into two main areas. The famous district known as Ko Rattanakosin, Bangkok's Old City, is located between both the railway and the river. On the eastern side of the railway line you will find 'new' Bangkok and its many tourist and business districts, which lie around the streets of Charoen Krung, Phra Ram IV, Phetburi Tat Mai and Sukhumvit.
Old City District / Ko Rattanakosin
Located alongside the Mae Nam Chao Phraya River, Bangkok's historic Old City district is full of tourist appeal and especially busy during the daytime. Often known locally as Ko Rattanakosin, this part of Bangkok is brimming with eye-catching architecture and historic temples (wats), such as the Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), part of the Grand Palace. A number of notable cultural attractions also stand within this neighbourhood, namely the National Museum on Na Phrathat Road, and the highly acclaimed National Gallery, which features traditional Thai art works from as far back as the 17th century, and is located along Chao Fa Road, being particularly close to the National Theatre.
The Thonburi area of Bangkok is best known for its many waterways and canals and was actually once Thailand's capital, before the city of Bangkok was founded. Many people visit the Thonburi district to marvel at the enormous boats at the Royal Barges National Museum, which is situated along the Rim Klong Bangkok Noi and close to the Phra Pin Klao Bridge. The Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), known for its huge tower, dominates much of the area and can be found on the Arun Amarin Road.
A bustling neighbourhood known for its concentration of backpackers, life in the Banglampoo district is centred around Khao San Road, which intersects with the Phra Sumane Road and becomes completely pedestriansed at night-time. This has become a trendy part of Bangkok and is bursting with cheap shops and market stores, where a range of souvenirs can often be picked up at knock-down prices. The accommodation within the Banglampoo area is also particularly inexpensive.
Sathorn / Silom / Central Business District (CBD)
Bangkok's busy Central Business District (CBD) is based around the Silom and Sathorn area and contains many of the city's tallest office blocks and skyscrapers. Many upmarket hotels are also to be found here, along with the Patong Night Market, the city's main embassies, and also the city oasis that is Lumpini Park, one of Bangkok's most historic parks.
One of the most 'touristy' districts within the whole of Bangkok, Dusit is where you will find the city's extremely popular zoo (Khao Din). Located on Rama V Road, the zoo is home to many exotic creatures, with its group of Asian elephants always being a major draw-card. Affectionately known as 'Wat Ben', the 19th-century Wat Benchamabophit temple can also be found here, home to the ashes of King Rama V, with a number of grand palaces also being located close by.
Siam Square is one of the best places to come for shopping in Bangkok
and is full of clothing shops and boutiques. Located along Phayathai Road and close to the spreading campus of Chulalongkorn University, Siam Square is also home to more than its fair share of fast-food restaurants, coffee shops and bars. The National Stadium is also nearby, next to the Mahboonkrong shopping centre.
Next to the river and centred around Yaowarat Road, Chinatown is worth a visit and full of life. An enormous selection of local shops line the district's many streets and alleyways, along with market stalls. Look out for the colourful oriental architecture and of course, the outstanding Chinese restaurants.
Many visitors head to the northern side of Bangkok to visit the spectacular Chatuchak Weekend Market, which is located on Phaholyothin Road and covers more than 30 acres / 12 hectares. Open throughout the weekend from 07:00 until as late as 20:00, the Chatuchak Weekend Market is not to be missed as is reputed to be the biggest outdoor market on the planet.