New and hip hotels – along with cool coffee shops, on-trend galleries, design-savvy restaurants and bars – are making Bangkok a place to linger longer.
This new breed of quirky boutique hotels, often in traditional or heritage buildings, gives travellers the chance to explore a more local side of the megacity than some of the bland high-rises.
Here’s our pick of some of the best.
Bangkok Publishing Residence
Dark polished timbers, marble-topped tables and a welcoming, clubby feel provide an oasis from Bangkok’s hectic and humid buzz.
In the historic old town precinct, the six converted shop-houses that form part of the hotel were once a family home and publishing offices. A bank of glass-encased typewriters, leather-bound books, and printing machinery in the Residence’s own museum reveal the venue’s 20th century publishing history.
There are just eight rooms, with fine linens and spacious tiled bathrooms. While it’s nostalgic, mod cons are on hand (coffee machine, Bluetooth speakers).
Chill out in the lobby, relax in the rooftop garden’s spa, or take a leisurely stroll to the local Phra Sumen Road for its on-trend bars, cafes and plenty of Thai action.
Rates*: double room from $243
Siamotif is a lovingly converted 70-year-old rosewood house in the traditional Thonburi district, where you can experience some genuine Thai culture up close.
Each guestroom in the charming – if quirky – canal-side abode has a different name, a different motif and a different style.
In Porcelain, handcrafted Benjarong ceramics decorate egg-yolk yellow walls and carved ornamental doors close to create a sleeping pod.
Flowery is richly red, scattered with flowers and butterflies, with shutters opening onto two balconies.
You can catch a local red taxi truck (songtaew), visit nearby floating markets such as Taling Chan, hire a bike (you’ll definitely work up a sweat), or just head off for some sightseeing on the Chao Phraya River in a racy long-tail boat (rua hang yao).
Thai food is served for breakfast.
Rates*: double room from $114
Baan2459 Heritage Hotel
In the heart of old Bangkok, a few minutes’ walk from the hustle of Chinatown (and authentic street food in Yaowarat Road), this handsome, century-old Portuguese-Sino house has four stylish guest rooms with antique-style furnishings and modern bathrooms.
The house (or baan), hidden away behind a small garden courtyard entrance, has a rich family history, a fantastic rooftop view of a nearby temple and a tranquil vibe (not that easy to find in Bangkok).
The hosts take particular pride in their coffee. As well as the hotel cafe, there is a contemporary glasshouse cafe adjacent to the house, with a hipster timber-slab communal table and stools, serving single origin and cold-pour coffee and other modern drops (be sure to ask about Chata’s bakery cake).
Rates*: double room from $196
Bangkok’s historic Chinatown precinct is also home to Shanghai Mansion, which occupies an 1892 building with a colourful past, and channels 1930s-era Shanghai with lavish attention to detail: chinoiserie, silk lamps, tassels, chandeliers, tapestries, carved dragons and more.
Rooms feature silk furnishings, four-poster beds and flat-screen TVs.
The hub of the often chaotic but fascinating Chinatown is just a 10-minute walk away, you’ll be close to the main station and Bangkok metro or MRT (given the city’s frightful traffic, this is a real bonus) and not far from the river.
There’s a small spa, free wi-fi and free tuk-tuk shuttles to some tourist destinations, breakfast at the Cotton Club, Red Rose restaurant, bars and a live jazz lounge. It’s not really hip as such, but it is kinda cool.
Rates*: double rooms from $121
*Room rates based on per night, January 2019 rates