Guide to living in Bangkok neighbourhoods

Bangkok, a.k.a. the City of Angels, is a collection of neighbourhoods each with its own taste of life. While many are commercial districts with some of the capital’s most famous shopping malls and little residential nooks populated by expats, others show an abundance of locality and vibrancy with a couple retaining vibes from the 19th century.

For those hoping to explore the idea of living in Bangkok, here are 12 of the most popular neighbourhoods with details on rent prices, accessibility to other neighbourhoods, and the lifestyle that each area represents. 

More Thailand expat guides: 

1. Asok – affordable and convenient housing options

terminal 21
Image credit: Radisson Blu

Though laden with office buildings, Asok also has its fair share of malls, hobby centres, must-try restaurants and residences. The most famous spot in Asok would most likely be Terminal 21, a tourist hotspot as well as a beloved shopping destination amongst locals. 

shakariki 432
Shakariki 432 is a famous underground “Izakaya” – Japanese bar – and go-to spot in the area
Image credit: Dooddot

A number of Thailand’s corporate hotels are also located in Asok, so it’s also ideal for those on short trips. Plus, the area is one the most accessible in Bangkok. The BTS Skytrain’s Sukhumvit Line stops at Asok, which is directly adjacent to MRT Sukhumvit located on the Blue Line.

asok intersection
BTS Asok right on top of Asok intersection
Image credit: Bangkok Tourism Hub

Take note, however, that Asok road can have one of the worst traffic jams in the city. Even so, you can find affordable apartments for rent from ฿6,500 (~USD208) and condominiums from ฿12,000 (~USD384) – a fair price range for first-timers living in Bangkok.

Recommended for: Those just moving to Thailand. While Asok doesn’t present the most modern residential options, the area has spacious apartments as well as townhouses at a low price. 

There are also heaps of options of shared living spaces that present potential friends as well as a central location for those not wanting to shell out too much for a larger space.

2. Phrom Phong & Thonglor – “Little Japan”

Phrom Phong and Thonglor, which are major commercial districts in the greater Watthana district, are considered to be Bangkok’s own “Japan Town”, lined with entertainment from day till night. Here, you’ll find not only multiple Japanese restaurants and supermarkets, but also the capital’s swankier malls, boutiques, specialty coffee shops, and bars with a classy cocktail list.

rabbit hole
A bartender mixing up a drink at Rabbit Hole – a speakeasy bar in Thonglor.
Image credit: Picture Collection Of Hole

While Phrom Phong is home to famous shopping malls like Emporium and EmQuartier, the go-to spot for Thonglor would be theCOMMONs – a community mall brimmed with eateries, roasteries, and live music.

the commons
Vendors at theCOMMONs space
Image credit: ArchDaily

The areas are well-populated by residents ranging from families to affluent young professionals and expats, with average rent prices for apartments starting at ฿10,000 (~USD318) and ฿15,000 (~USD478) to ฿35,000 (~USD1,115) for more expensive condominiums.

rock climbing
Image credit: Luma

While Phrom Phong and Thonglor are a little more expensive than other neighbourhoods, it’s also the most convenient option for those working in the Sukhumvit area. In between BTS Phrom Phong and BTS Thonglor stations you can also find amenities such as dance studios, rock climbing gyms, art schools and farmers markets.

Recommended for: Families and young professionals with many varying interests. Ultimately, you’re paying for a premier location, so if there’s no real need for you to be near these major shopping spots and recreational amenities, then we’d recommend going to one of the neighbouring areas to save money.

3. Ekkamai – the old meets the new

street food shophouse
Wattana Panich Beef Broth – a 50-year-old Thai-Chinese restaurant in the neighbourhood
Image credit: Cultured Creatures

Having a soi (alley) that connects to Thonglor road, Ekkamai is often referred to as its sister neighbourhood popular among both the young crowd and expats. To some, Ekkamai presents a “modest version” of Thonglor’s ultra hip culture. The area has its own hidden gems from crafted coffees and edgy bars to vintage boutiques and co-working spaces.

kaizen coffee
Kaizen Coffee – the roastery to visit in Ekkamai
Image credit: ArchDaily

Many alleys on the Phra Khanong side have different types of residences from high-rise condominiums to multi-generational family homes – hence a number of schools including international ones. Office buildings and family-owned businesses also line Ekkamai road, making it a lowkey commercial district. Condo rentals usually start from ฿13,000 (~USD414) whereas apartments start from ฿7,000 (~USD223).

donki mall
Image credit: Fav Forward

When talking about Ekkamai, DONKI Mall is one to mention famed for having Japan’s Don Quijote store within its complex along with various other Japanese shops like karaoke service.

Pro-tip: Head over to Here Hai seafood restaurant for some delicious XXL crab fried rice – the eatery is just a stone’s throw away from DONKI Mall.

Recommended for: Those looking for a residential based area to live in while not being too far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Ekkamai is also a great alternative to Phrom Phong and Thonglor. It’s a convenient neighbourhood full of eclectic spots, as well as a variety of fancy and casual dining options, which will help save on your wallet.

4. Petchaburi – residential and working area connected to CBDs

Also known as New Phetchaburi Road, the area – which spans from Pratunam to Ramkhamhaeng intersection – is occupied by old and new residential buildings as well as commercial buildings. While car showrooms and massage parlours make up most of the area, there are other types of entertainment venues like M-Theatre, where musicals often take place.

petchaburi condo
The ESSE – new condominium complex on Petchaburi Road
Image credit: Savills

Despite Petchaburi being mainly a working district, its location in between Sukhumvit and Ratchada still allows you to easily access the lifestyle offerings in both bordering districts. The famous Train Market is located behind Esplanade and is one of such shopping hotspots.

train market
The look of Esplanade’s Train Market as the sun sets
Image credit: Places of Juma

Petchaburi is not that well-connected to the train services with only two stations in the area being MRT Phetchaburi and ARL Ramkhamhaeng. Thus, having a car would do you a favour, although there’ll still be motorcycle services at most corners that can bring you to the closest train station. 

You can find apartments and condominiums for rent starting at ฿6,000 (~USD190) to ฿15,000 (~USD797).

Recommended for: Young professionals who wish to live near their workplaces in the Sukhumvit and Pathum Wan area, but are looking for cheaper places. Ideally, this would be the area for those with cars.

5. Khlong Toei from fresh markets to community malls

Though technically in Phrom Phong, walking down Sukhumvit Soi 26 towards Khlong Toei seems like going through a portal to a whole different neighbourhood. Contrary to the shopping paradise that is Phrom Phong’s “Em District” Khlong Toei’s most noteworthy commercial destination is the Khlong Toei Market.

khlong toei market
Khlong Toei Market
Image credit: Fine Art America

However, there are also community malls like K-Village and A-Square that are adjacent to the Big-C wholesale store.

Holds a farmers market every once in a while
Image credit: K-Village

Whilst possessing fewer attractions, the Khlong Toei area is still an ideal residential space. Right between BTS Phrom Phong and MRT Khlong Toei are numerous older condominiums that boast the convenience of living in Phrom Phong, with cheaper rent prices – apartments start from ฿6,500 (~USD207) and condominiums start from ฿9,500 (~USD303).

You can easily get to Bangkok’s downtown via MRT Khlong Toei, which is the nearest train station in the neighbourhood. For car owners, you may be happy to hear that it’s close to the highway giving you that speedy route to your workplace.

Recommended for: People looking to live in the Sukhumvit area on a budget, but not necessarily an expat-catered area.

6. Charoenkrung – Bangkok’s old town

the warehouse 30
Designer store in The Warehouse 30
Image credit: art4d

Known as Bangkok’s “Old Town”, Charoenkrung is another neighbourhood that fuses old and new vibes. There are a couple of 19th century buildings that have been revamped into hip joints like The Warehouse 30 – a combo of galleries, boutiques, cafes and bars. Creative figures such as writers and designers increasingly populate the area.

Though skyscrapers are scarce in the neighbourhood, Charoenkrung is home to delectable street food such as Michelin-recommended restaurant, Kuay Jub Mr. Joe. The highlight of the area, however, is the fact that it sits right next to Chao Phraya River with high-end hotels like Mandarin Oriental and hotspots like Asiatique lining along the riverside.

Image credit: Flickr via Culture Trip

As you might expect, the rent prices thus stretch from as low as ฿3,500 (~USD111) for apartments up to as high as ฿40,000 (~USD1,275) for condominiums. Nearest train stations include BTS Krung Thon Buri and BTS Wong Wian Yai.

Fun fact: You can experience the same exact panoramic view of the river seen in the film The Hangover Part III at Lebua’s Sky Bar.

Recommended for: Those who prefer a spot a little further away from the city, or simply want to wake up to the view of the Chao Phraya river. Living in Charoenkrung will also benefit those who use water transportation services as their main way to travel.

7. Thonburi – riverside historic area

Thonburi sits right across the river from Charoenkrung and is the former capital of Thailand. Despite being seen as a less developed area of Bangkok, the neighbourhood offers many residential options amidst an area full of local attractions, shops and eateries.

Image credit: Post Nautical

Home to historical and old religious structures like Wat Arun, the community is in fact vibrant. With Talat Phlu market being the commercial centre of the neighbourhood, residents have a great option for grocery shopping and Thai street food adventures.

You can also find The Artist’s House in the area just 10 minutes away from the market. This 200-year-old creative space holds a traditional Thai puppet show, which is incredibly rare nowadays, as well as art workshops, handmade gift shops, and restaurants with a unique menu.

talat phu
Image credit: elife

The nearest BTS stations include Talat Phlu, Pho Nimit, and Bang Wa, with water transportation services available via Chao Phraya River. Those living in the area will have many travelling methods including taxis, motorcycles, and even Grab services.

Nevertheless, it is definitely a quieter part of Bangkok with apartments and condominiums available for rent starting at ฿3,500 (~USD111) to ฿15,000 (~USD478).

Recommended for: Those working around the neighbourhood or are on a budget. If you’re up for an adventurous lifestyle with heavy emphasis placed on locality, Thonburi might also be the answer for you.

8. Nana-Ploenchit – international business and entertainment hub

This section of Sukhumvit Road is said to be the most diverse and expat-catered area, where dwellers can both work hard and play hard. Towering with office buildings, embassies, and high-end hotels such as Park Hyatt, the neighbourhood’s also home to various entertainment venues from ultra-luxe shopping malls and fine dining restaurants to more casual spots like burger joints and massage parlours.

witthayu road
Sitting in between Siam-Chidlom and Asok with a road connected to Petchaburi Road on Soi Witthayu, the neighbourhood is one of the most convenient spots to live in.
Image credit: Propholic

During the day, Central Embassy can be a nice place to laze in, with many cafes like Siwilai and brands like Chanel and Prada for big shoppers. Moving onto the lower side of Sukhumvit and you’ll find all the K-entertainment at Korean Town. A myriad of restaurants can also be found in Nana ranging from Indian and Middle Eastern to Mexican and Italian.

benjakitti park
Benjakitti Park is also in the area and is considered to be one of the best parks in the city.
Image credit: Thai Holiday

Soi 11 is another famed spot in the neighbourhood. Here, residents can get imported groceries at Villa Market, or enjoy many restaurants like Limoncello and bars like #FindThePhotoBooth to hang out during the night. 

Image credit: BKKMENU

Despite the high volume of entertainment venues, the neighbourhood is also another good spot to consider, if living in Bangkok is the dream. Apartments and condos mostly crowded along sois Witthayu, Ruamrudee, and Nai Loet, with their prices starting at ฿9,000 (~USD287) to ฿30,000 (~USD960).

Recommended for: Working professionals who are looking for the best of both worlds. The neighbourhood is also an area of convenience having two BTS stations being Nana and Ploen Chit.

9. Ladprao – Hi-So neighbourhood

Although part of the suburbs, Ladprao is considered a posh area with many Hi-So Thais living in the neighbourhood. With more train stations and tollways entering the area, it is becoming one of the capital’s major commercial spots, with rent prices of various price tags.

The neighbourhood runs from Chatuchak Park to Happy Land in Bangkapi.
Image credit:

Apart from the number of local eateries, there are many malls to shop at, like Central Ladprao and Union Mall – the latter being a go-to spot for locals with many steals. The nightlife scene is also getting attention with unique bars popping up one after another like Ninetails Bar & Booster, which offers Hong Kong vibes.

major cineplex
The area also has one of the biggest cinema complexes, Major Ratchayothin.
Image credit: Le Paradis

Despite not being an area traditionally tailored to expats, Ladprao has activities popular among Thais and those coming from abroad. All in all, it’s a good spot to live in, even with fun activities including a rock-climbing gym at Big C.

There’s now a total of three train stations to easily connect to the city from including MRT Lat Phrao, MRT Phahon Yothin, and BTS Ha Yaek Lat Phrao

Affordable choices of apartments in Ladprao start from ฿3,800 (~USD121) and condos from ฿8,500 (~USD271).

Recommended for: Those who are looking to live in a suburban area with peaceful surroundings, but are close enough to streets that are filled with life and entertainment.

10. Chatuchak – food stalls, flea markets, and parks

Sitting right around the corner of Ladprao is Chatuchak, an entire district filled with plenty of bazaars and eateries. It is an ideal neighbourhood for both foodies and university students, whom mostly come from Kasetsart University in the area. And yes, this is where Bangkok’s largest market, Chatuchak Weekend Market a.k.a JJ Market, got its name.

hangout spot
Eight Days A Week Home Bar – a new popular hangout spot for university students and young professionals.
Image credit: Wongnai

Aspiring chefs will love Or Tor Kor Market which is just opposite Chatuchak Weekend Market for the many stalls of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other ingredients to cook your favourite Thai food

You’ll find that behind the marketplace is a huge variety of parks: including Chatuchak Park, Queen Sirikit Park, and Suan Rot Fai (Railway Park), enough for you to explore for days on end.

chatuchak park
Chatuchak Park
Image credit: Amazing Thailand

Despite being a little far from Bangkok’s downtown, the neighbourhood is thriving on its own with easy access to the city via BTS and MRT stations lining the area. You may also be happy to hear that you can find apartments as cheap as ฿4,000 (~USD128) and condos from ฿8,000 (~USD256), leaving you with plenty to live comfortably.

Recommended for: Students and working professionals who are looking for budget places and don’t mind the little distance from the city. Perks are you’ll be living right next to Chatuchak Weekend Market with many classy cafes and crafty spots to jump in.

11. Bangna – bordering downtown area

Bangna is just a couple stops away from Sukhumvit and is home to one of Bangkok’s largest shopping malls, Mega Banga – housing the only branch of IKEA in Thailand. Its wide area makes it a spot for the many convention and exhibition centres in the city such as Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre, or more popularly known as BITEC Bangna.

mega bangna
Image credit: DDproperty

As it is mainly a residential area for both working professionals and expat families, international schools swarm the neighbourhood including the prestigious Bangkok Patana School. Not far from BTS Udom Suk, you can also find many quiet cafes to work in at True Digital Park among other community malls.

true digital park
True Digital Park
Image credit: The Bangkok Post

While there are two BTS stations at the edge of the district including Udom Suk and Bang Na, those who live in the centre of Bangna may find it best to own a car to easily travel to all the grocery stores in the area including Big C and Tops.

The perk is that the blocks away from Sukhumvit gives it a great cut down on rentals with apartments available from ฿4,000 (~USD128) and condos from ฿8,500 (~USD270).

Recommended for: Those who want to live closer to the city’s downtown or Sukhumvit areas but prefer paying lower rental costs.

12. Silom sea of skyscrapers

Last but not least, Silom. While its rows of skyscrapers say it’s an area to get down to business, flip the coin and you’ll find out that the neighbourhood offers both fine dining options such as Hamilton’s Steak House within 5-star Dusit Thani Hotel as well as sassy bars like The Stranger Bar and Lounge to jive in.

aesop's living in bangkok
Hop to Aesop’s, a Greek restaurant, for a plate-smashing party.
Image credit: BKKMENU

Home to a number of expats, the area is filled with office buildings including the King Power Mahanakhon building, which features a skywalk and one of the best food hubs. If you’re one of those who loves the taste of vibrant nightlife, sois 2 and 4 will be the answer for you.

king power
King Power Mahanakhon

Other venues such as Central Silom Complex and Lumpini Park are also in the area for you to drop by on the weekends for a chiller vibe. 

Silom is also home to many train stations around the corners including BTS Sala Daeng, BTS Chong Non Si, and MRT Silom.

lumpini park
Lumpini Park
Image credit:

While the condominiums in Silom are known to be pricey with rental rates running around ฿18,000 (~USD574) to ฿35,000 (~USD1,117), there are also affordable apartments available from ฿6,500 (~USD207).

Recommended for: Working professionals who would like to live in a business district and fancy the views of skyscrapers. If you’re one who likes to suit up, Thailand’s very own “Wall Street” is definitely the place for you.

Living in Bangkok made easy

Despite the facts being right there in front of you, selecting a place to live in is still a tough decision, especially when there are many great options on the table. So, take all the time you need to hear your heart’s true calling. Luckily, there are short term rentals available on HomeAway and where you can essentially test out the neighbourhood you’re looking to settle down in. 

Yet, know that no matter where you choose to be, you’ll still be able to get to other neighbourhoods easily through Bangkok’s many transportation services.

More lifestyle guides in Thailand:

Cover images adapted from (clockwise from top left): Restaurant Review, Wikipedia, Culture Trip, Bangkok Post

Enjoying The Smart Local Thailand? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this.