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Bangkok - Thailand

Bangkok offers a wide variety of accommodation to suit every taste and budget. A visitor can live royally in an elegant hotel or stay comfortably in a guest house on a modest budget. Since many hotels are often fully booked during the peak season from November to March, it is recommended that visitors make advance reservations if they plan to visit during this time. Prices for accommodation are lower than in Hong Kong and Singapore and inexpensive by Western standards, particularly because of the depreciation of the Thai currency following the Asian economic crisis of 1997.

The main hotel districts are around Siam Square and Ploenchit Road; next to the Chao Phraya River, along Silom Road and Suriwong Road; and along Sukhumvit Road. There are other areas such as Banglampoo where backpackers favor inexpensive guesthouses; across the river where some modern high-rise hotels are planned; and Chinatown, which is one of the most vibrant and typically Asian parts of Bangkok.

Siam Square and Ploenchit Road

In the area around Siam Square, you will find some very nice places to stay, along with a whole variety of shops, restaurants and nightspots. The less expensive places are concentrated on Soi Kasemann 1 and near Jim Thompson's House and Museum. These places, such as Bed and Breakfast, offer a guesthouse atmosphere with hotel comfort.

In a quiet enclave opposite Siam Square stands an elegant low-rise modern Thai building—the classy five-star Siam Inter-Continental. Another luxury hotel nearby is the Nai Lert Park Bangkok International, where beautiful gardens surround a landscaped pool. The President Bangkok is a 30-year-old landmark which resides next to the Intercontinental Hotel, both aimed primarily at business travellers. Next to the Erawan Shrine and across from the Central World Plaza, you will find the Grand Hyatt Erawan, another stylish five-star hotel. A less expensive alternative in the area is the Imperial Tara Hotel, which features a well-tended terrace garden surrounding a swimming pool.

Chao Phraya River, Silom Road and Suriwong Road

This area encompasses some of the older sections of Bangkok. The area around Silom Road and Suriwong Road is considered the financial district, and has a number of hotels and restaurants, with the entertainment and shopping options offered by the Patpong Night Market between. For a centrally located top-class hotel geared for both business and leisure, try the Dusit Thani on the corner of Silom Road. Both luxury establishments, the Montien Bangkok features a distinctly Thai character, while the Sukhothai boasts an elegant decor inspired by the walled city of Sukhothai.

Continue farther west, and you will reach the riverbank, where some of the leading hotels in Bangkok are to be found. The Royal Orchid Sheraton offers riverfront luxury oriented toward tour groups. For decades, the Shangri-La has claimed to be Bangkok's finest hotel, though there are now many others in its class. The Oriental, another stylish riverside hotel, is often voted as one of the world's top hotels. The Peninsula and Marriott Spa Resort are two other plush hotels overlooking the Chao Praya River.

Sukhumvit Road

This is another area well known for shops and nightspots, including the seamy bars of Soi Nana and Soi Cowboy. There are some mid-range hotels and inns here, including the Atlanta Hotel and the Bangkok Inn, but the better four-star and five-star hotels tend to be more oriented toward business travellers than tourists. However, what they may lack in character, they more than make up for in facilities. The brand-new JW Marriott Bangkok is a deluxe hotel geared toward the business traveller and boasts one of the most modern fitness centres in the city. The Landmark and the Grand Pacific are two of the most luxurious hotels on Sukhumvit, while the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit is an old mainstay with business travellers. For modern-sized, unpretentious topnotch accommodation, try the Amari Boulevard, where all the rooms have nice views of the Bangkok skyline.

Wherever you decide to stay in Bangkok, the friendly people here in the "Land of Smiles" will make it easy for you to relax and enjoy your time in this wonderful city.
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