Ten of the Best Places to Live in Bangkok
Bangkok is a fairly large city with contrasting degrees of diversity. This means it has something of interest for a broad range of visitors, whether they are just passing through or planning to spend a longer spell in the city.
Everyone wants to live in a place where affordability meets convenience on an equal footing. And then there is the matter of safety on a number of levels to take into consideration, as well as available amenities.
Those who aren’t counting the pennies too much will largely gravitate towards areas like the various popular stretches along Sukhumvit Road, and possibly the Silom and Sathorn areas to name a couple.
If you’re planning on staying in the Thai capital for longer though, then you’ll benefit immensely from spending some time looking into finding the right place to call home for a while. And if you were lucky enough to catch our previous post about the worst places to live in Bangkok, then you’ll have some ideas about where not to stay.
In practical terms, for some it might be more of a necessity to consider things like job opportunities or travelling distance from work, as well as accommodation rental prices. But it will depend largely on individual means as there are huge differences in housing costs in various parts of the city, as well as the different types and levels of accommodation.
Choosing the best place to live in any city is a highly personal decision that boils down to your own unique preferences and situation.
The social aspect of deciding on the best area is often going to be a deciding factor for younger people, and even more so for single people.
For families there are other things to consider and they are most likely thinking in terms of schools and local amenities.
Bangkok’s neighbourhoods can be quite different from one another in some ways, certainly in terms of the local amenities and the lifestyles that come with them. Many people find the differences between areas of the city to be confusing and overwhelming.
This is even more the case if they find themselves in unfamiliar territory, especially if international-style options are limited and there are obvious communication and cultural barriers.
Of course there are pros and cons to living in any area. But in a place like Bangkok, finding the place that’s right for you can make the difference between loving and hating this city of many contrasts.
So let’s have a closer look at some of the best places to live in Bangkok.
This part of Bangkok has always been reasonably popular with foreigners looking for alternative places to live than the often unrealistically-priced central regions.
A few more BTS stops along in the direction of the airport than Thong Lor and Ekkamai, Bang Na is another area of Bangkok on the up. Previously this was the last stop on the ever-expanding BTS line, and although that has now changed it’s still an OK area to stay in location-wise.
This is in no small part due to the cheaper accommodation costs along with the unique blend of old and new developments. Slightly further away again from the heart of the city, it’s still on the BTS line and is not too far away from the action.
Suvarnabhumi Airport is closer to this area as well, and like any decent Bangkok district worth its salt, Bang Na’s shopping malls are huge, although the wider variety of accommodation makes it an easy place to live.
On Nut is another neighbourhood just a few stops along from Bang Na heading towards the main Sukhumvit stretch, and this place has also been growing in popularity among expats.
Rent in the area is still way more affordable than the more central regions, and convenient access to the city centre and local amenities is possible from here. Not that surprisingly, more and more expats and their families are starting to move into the neighbourhood.
There are a few decent supermarkets here and of course lots of other food options.
We’ve written about this area of Bangkok before and the various pros and cons of living there. Ekkamai is just along the BTS line from On Nut and has gained popularity amongst longer stayers and expats in the last couple of decades, and more recently with Thais who tend to have broader dining and entertainment tastes.
It’s quite a trendy place – although not as much so as Thong Lor a couple of BTS stops along from here – but it does have a plethora of decent and varied dining and leisure options compared to your average Thai neighbourhood.
Aside from that, Ekkamai is very conveniently situated in the Sukhumvit area just along from the really dense regions but is still close enough to get to them easily if necessary. And it has its own BTS line on the main road, on top of the fact that Bangkok’s Eastern Bus Terminal is also located here.
The unique blend of trendy and traditional makes Ekkamai an interesting place to live in Bangkok. There are also plenty of accommodation options, but don’t expect anything in the budget range in an area of the city like this.
We’ve also featured Thong Lor before in special neighbourhood focus. In brief though, this is something of a haven for Bangkok’s affluent young Thais aspiring towards the ‘hi-so’ (as they call it).
You’ll find more and more discerning travellers around here as well than you might have done a few years back – but people generally do more homework these days before travelling.
Thong Lor is definitely one of the city’s trendiest spots, and along with maybe Phrom Phong is one of the best-kept districts of the city (which has something to do with the large population of Japanese expats in both regions).
Of course quality doesn’t come without the relevant price tag, especially in Bangkok, which means you can expect a much higher cost of living along with higher rent. But you will be right in the middle of an area with some of the bet upscale restaurants, bars, clubs, designer boutiques, and high-end malls, if that sounds like your thing.
Phrom Phong is another Bangkok neighbourhood that we did a previous, more in-depth feature on, so do check that out if you want to know more.
This area along the Sukhumvit is the next stop along from Thong Lor going towards Asok, and is also conveniently situated on the BTS Sukhumvit line.
Phrom Phong is synonymous hi-so shopping and eating options for the majority of locals, with not one but two of the best malls in the city adjacent to each other. Aside from that it has a park, loads of coffee shops, pubs and bars, and supermarkets and grocers that selling imported food items, especially Japanese.
With the many Japanese (as well as Korean) expats who live along this stretch and the neighbouring districts, you won’t likely be stuck for decent dining and entertainment options. Especially if you don’t mind a taste of Japan while living in Bangkok.
If you are the Central Business District, ‘downtown’ type who needs all the modern amenities and leisure options of the inner city, then Sathorn is the place for you.
Of course higher rental and general living costs go hand in hand with that, but being centrally located means plenty of luxury and modern living options, especially by way of condominiums with all the modern amenities you could wish for.
In areas of Bangkok like this you are more likely to find accommodation with fully-equipped, western-style kitchens and bathrooms, along with gyms and pools. Of course you’ll also have all types of food and nightlife to hand, as well as easy access to the BTS and the nearby green area Lumpini Park. So it’s no real surprise to find many expats who have the means to do so living in the area.
As part of another feature on the differences between the neighbourhoods in the city, this part of Bangkok also featured in a previous post in more detail.
Lad Phrao is not so much anything along the lines of a central Sukhumvit tourist district, rather more of a highly-concentrated, densely-populated, less-internationally-inclined residential area. It is also much aligned to business and leisure, but like more of a ‘local’ version of the inner city.
Lad Phrao has its fair share of expat families due to the lower rental and living costs, and though it is not that much of a foreigner-oriented region of the city, it is by no means short on amenities.
It’s also got more plenty of green space as the Chatuchak, Suan Rot Fai, and Sirikit parks sit at the bottom end of the neighbourhood where it starts to meld into Saphan kwai.
The weekend market and plenty of other attractions are also just around the corner, as are a couple of major malls by way of Central Plaza and Union Mall.
The district is easily accessible via the BTS and MRT to a point, although once you start venturing into the nether regions up along the main Lad Phrao Road you’ll start to lose sight of any decent public transport options. Lad Phrao is reasonably close to the north and northeastern Bus Terminal too, at Mor Chit.
Like Lad Phrao, Ari is not as centrally located as many other expat-popular areas. But that’s probably part of its appeal, and even though it is only a relatively small neighbourhood, it does have some of the elements usually restricted to the central regions.
Ari has grown in popularity with expats and longer stayers in recent years, and the area is suitable for those who want to live in slightly more subdued surroundings with decent amenities, without venturing too far from the city center.
The Ari neighbourhood is now undoubtedly one of the best places to live in Bangkok, not least of all due to the fact that it is relatively safe and clean – quite a bit more so than somewhere like Lad phrao.
Ari also boasts a decent variety of cafes, bars, pubs, and restaurants – many exhibiting international touches or flavours – and it’s also one of the areas in Bangkok that you could be equally happy in whether you lived by yourself, with a partner, or with your family.
Victory Monument is a busy hub of activity that is easily accessible by both the BTS and pretty much any bus route in the city. It is certainly a part of Bangkok where there is always a lot going on, which may have something to do with it being the geographical centre of the city.
Victory Monument has a broad range of accommodation options as well as entertainment and leisure by way of malls, markets, and cinemas. It also has something for different budgets and preferences too, and is a popular area for university-age shoppers.
The area has plenty of food options available, again covering a wide range from street noodle vendors and market stalls to international-style restaurants.
The nightlife is not exactly as hip and happening as in other parts of Bangkok, but it is there, and along with a few decent ‘Thai style’ bars in the area one of the city’s most famous music venues is right on the main circle of activity by way of the Saxophone Pub.
Ratchada / Rama 9
Ratchada has, much like Ari, gained much in popularity with expats and foreigners looking for places out of the city centre but still with elements of it.
Easily reachable by MRT (but no BTS line) Ratchada’s roads are just slightly less backed up than other areas of Bangkok like Lad Phrao and Sukhumvit – but they do have their moments.
The area has plenty of shopping outlets, namely the huge Central Shopping Plaza, and the famous IT Mall, Fortune Town. There are a few markets as well, including the Train Market, along with plenty of supermarket options including a huge Big C.
Whether you’re a foodie, a shopaholic, or an activity-seeker, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Ratchada. Needless to say, this is a pretty busy and often chaotic area with echoes of the central regions of the city, which is why there have been ever-growing numbers of foreigners popping up in this formerly very ‘Thai’ neighbourhood.
Ratchada has tons of accommodation options by way of studios, condos, and apartments of all sizes and budgets, as well as a few houses that can be rented.