Chidlom, Ploenchit and nearby Siam Square represent the spiritual centre of Bangkok. This centre has the best shopping malls, the best hotels, the main BTS Skytrain station, and the most style of any area. So, as a tourist, staying where “Bangkokians” go to be seen gives you the best city attractions on offer and makes it easy to get anywhere else. Check out our Chidlom & Ploenchit hotels – you’ll find there’s something for all tastes and every budget.
Many of the malls of inner Bangkok have their own personalities, and raise the bar to a higher level in almost every aspect. You get some excellent restaurants and many flagship stores to go with the designer and branded goods. CentralWorld in Chidlom is Thailand’s biggest mall and should be considered a full-blown attraction rather than a simple shopping venue. It is the middle-class’ answer to the luxury offerings of Siam Paragon in Siam Square. The facility includes an office building, hotel, and a food court that isn’t just an easy option with variety, but one that will leave you fully satisfied.
On New Year’s Eve, CentralWorld is Bangkok’s Time Square, with large crowds congregating to make the countdown. For a more relaxed shopping affair, you can check out Central Chidlom, whose doors have been open since 1973. The stores are a little more classy but the interior atmosphere here is relaxed and a good escape from the claustrophobic Sukhumvit Road – Bangkok’s long main drag. Both malls are easily accessible from the Chitlom BTS Station, with a special walkway suspended below the train tracks for pedestrians to reach CentralWorld. Combined with Ploenchit Station, tourists basically have the keys to the city when they book Ploenchit or Chidlom accommodation.
Amid this consumer haven, you’ll find some interesting cultural and historical attractions as well. The best ones lie to the east. Between Siam Paragon and Central World is Prathum Wanaram Temple, quietly existing among the frenzy. It’s not spectacular enough to make the temple all-star list but the stark reminder of Buddhism’s place in all parts of Thailand is vivid here, and it doesn’t hurt to stop by during your wanderings.
Take the Skytrain two stops east and you’ll reach National Stadium Station – but be wary of the multi-tiered interchange at Siam Station, where you’ll be able to make your way to the Bangkok Arts & Culture Centre, and Jim Thompson’s House. The latter is of particular interest, as it was home to the man who injected much needed life into the Thai silk industry during the 1950s, only to disappear in Malaysia in 1967. The house itself is spectacular, constructed using six different traditional homes that Thompson brought in from other regions. It has been maintained and largely unchanged. The small fee for a guided tour is well worth your while. If you prefer something a bit more gaudy, there is a Madame Tussaud’s in Siam Discovery.
If you want central Bangkok hotels, this is it. Check out some of the best with a selection from our Ploenchit or Chidlom accommodation list, then book your flight to Bangkok and take it all in!
Image credit Mark Fischer under Creative Commons