Coming to Bangkok from Hanoi almost feels like a cultural shock: Despite being rather close to each other geographically, they are very different: The way Bangkok has developed into a westernized metropolis within the last decades, is quite remarkable. I’m not judging whether this good or bad, but coming from the “West” you’ll feel way more accommodated in Thailand’s capital than probably other places in Asia. But Bangkok has so many neighbourhoods, ranging from super-modern to traditional. There are two in particular, which gained popularity among travelers from all over the world but also couldn’t be more different from each other: I’m talking about Sukhumvit and Khao San Road. Although you might get an impression that both neighbourhoods have nothing to do with the “original” Thailand, I like them both – thanks to their endless entertainment, shopping and dining options.
Sukhumvit is the place to be for the ones who want to be seen, the rich and the ones who pretend to be rich. The amount of luxury hotels is abundant, but more importantly the choice of excellent bars and restaurants is overwhelming. One thing I love about Bangkok are the rooftop bars, and you can imagine that visiting at least one of them during my trip was a must 🙂 For the longest time I wanted to check out what’s the hype about Above 11 – and I wasn’t disappointed (I didn’t try their food though)!
Two years ago I already recommended Nagiya Izakaya, and it still turned out to be a good place to spend a relaxed evening with friends over some Japanese tapas. Sukhumvit Road is actually quite convenient to reach with the BTS Sky Train, that stretches along the road. However you might need a (motorbike) taxi for all the side “sois”.
In the “old” part of town is Khao San Road (and its little neighbour Rambuttri) that always has been a favourite hang-out spot since my first Thailand visit in 2009, but it took me more than three years to get back there. The mecca of backpackers and hippies has undergone a slight face-lift but still is alive, busy and fun as before: Restaurants, bars, hostels, tailors, street food, shops, tattoos, travel agencies, pharmacies (I even went to a dentist there once!), fake ID’s – I bet you could easily live there for months without leaving the area. I mean, there’s nothing you can’t get on that notorious street 😀
If you’re traveling to Bangkok for the first time, I can recommend you to visit both areas – as they’re are so contrasting, full of life and very, very entertaining 😉