Bangkok, a city of contrasts and diversity, has many areas worth exploring. Ratchada, or Ratchadapisek, stands out for its blend of local culture and modern buildings and facilities. This blog covers the key aspects of Ratchada, from tourist attractions to gay-friendly venues including gay friendly hotels, shopping malls, street food, and transportation options. During my visit I stayed in the Best Western Ratchada hotel. A recently opened hotel with great facilities. In a different blog, I will tell you all about this hotel and other gay friendly hotel in this area.

Tourist Attractions in Ratchada and Bangkok

Ratchada is home to the famous Thailand Cultural Centre. This centre showcases Thai arts and cultural performances. It lies at the heart of Ratchada and is easily accessible by public transport (look for the MRT station with the same name). The Thailand Cultural Centre also hosts international events, making it a must-visit for culture enthusiasts.

Most of the top tourist attractions of Bangkok are not in the Ratchada Area, but are easy to travel to by public transport or taxi. Ten popular sights to visit are:

  • The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew: This iconic complex is the former residence of the King of Thailand. Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the revered Emerald Buddha, is located within the palace grounds.
  • Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn): Known for its stunning riverside location and the beautifully decorated spires, Wat Arun is one of Bangkok’s most picturesque temples.
  • Chatuchak Weekend Market: This massive market is a shopping paradise, offering everything from clothes and antiques to food and art. It’s a great place to experience local culture and find unique souvenirs.
  • Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha): Famous for its giant reclining Buddha statue, Wat Pho is also known for its traditional Thai massage school.
  • Chao Phraya River and Waterways: Taking a boat trip along the Chao Phraya River gives you a different perspective of Bangkok. You can see many of the city’s famous landmarks from the water.
  • Jim Thompson House: This museum is the former home of the American silk entrepreneur Jim Thompson, known for reviving the Thai silk industry. The house is a beautiful example of traditional Thai architecture.
  • MBK Center (Ma Boon Khrong Center): A popular shopping mall known for its wide variety of goods, from clothes and electronics to souvenirs.
  • Asiatique The Riverfront: A large open-air mall situated along the river, offering shopping, dining, and entertainment options. It’s particularly beautiful at night.
  • Erawan Shrine: This Hindu shrine, famous for its golden statue of the four-faced Brahma God, Than Tao Mahaprom, is an important spiritual site in Bangkok.
  • Bangkok National Museum: The largest museum in Southeast Asia, it houses a vast collection of Thai art and artifacts, providing insights into Thailand’s rich history and culture.

Public Transport Ratchada

If you want to visit one of the sights mentioned int this blog by public transport, you always have to take the MRT (the subway system of Bangkok). The main MRT stations of Ratchada are:

  • Phra Ram 9 MRT Station: Located on Ratchadaphisek Road, this station serves the Central Plaza Grand Rama 9 shopping mall and the Fortune Town IT mall.
  • Thailand Cultural Centre MRT Station: This station provides access to the Thailand Cultural Centre, The Esplanade shopping mall, and several local entertainment and dining venues.
  • Huai Khwang MRT Station: Situated in the Huai Khwang district, this station is close to the Huai Khwang night market and residential areas.

These subway stations are part of the Blue Line. Depending on which attraction you want to visit you have to switch to the Purple or Orange Line of the MRT. It also can be taht you have to switch to the BTS, this is Bangkok’s skytrain system. The BTS has two lines:

  • The Sukhumvit Line: Running from Mo Chit in the north to Bearing in the southeast, with an extension to Kheha in Samut Prakan.
  • The Silom Line: Running from the National Stadium in the Siam shopping area to Bang Wa in the west.

Almost all tourist attractions can be reached in this way within half an hour from the Ratchada Area. Be aware of the low temperature in Bangkok’s public transport systems, especially if you are only wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

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“From the Ratachada Area it is easy to travel to all of Bangkok's hotspots.”

Street Food in Ratchada

Ratchada is famous for its street food. The area around Thailand Cultural Centre and The One Ratchada (before Covid this area was known as Ratchada Train Market) is a hub for food lovers. You can try a variety of Thai dishes here. Dishes like Pad Thai, Som Tam (papaya salad), and Mango Sticky Rice are must-tries. Street food in Ratchada offers an authentic taste of Thai cuisine at affordable prices. Other areas for great street food are around the Best Western Ratchada hotel, you here you can many stands and local restaurants. Not year round but there are often streets food stands in front of shopping mall The Street Ratchada.

Shopping Malls in Ratchada

For shopping, Ratchada has several malls. The Esplanade Shopping Mall stands out with its mix of shops, restaurants, and a cinema. Central Plaza Grand Rama 9 is another large mall, offering a range of international and local brands. These malls provide a complete shopping experience with a variety of dining options.

Gay-Friendly Hotels in Ratchada

Ratchada welcomes everyone and offers several gay-friendly hotels. I stayed in the Best Western Ratchada, A mid-range hotel with rates around 55-70 euro. A cheaper alternative is Prom Ratchada with rates between 25-40 euro. An more expensive option is the gay friendly Swissotel Bangkok Ratchada  with rates between the 80-90 euro. The mentioned rates are for a standard room and depends on the time of the year you are visiting Bangkok. Keep in mind that December is the most busy period.

How to get from the Bangkok airports to the Ratchada Area

From Suvarnabhumi Airport, you have several options to travel to your hotel in the Ratchada Area. The easiest and fastest way (outside rush hours) is by taking a taxi. There is a offical taxi stand at the airport. At the desk, they will help you to get a taxi. The rate will be around 450 Baht. n top of that you will have t pay an extra fee of 50 baht. Ask the taxi driver to take the toll way to your hotel, to make you journey as  short as possible. Another convenient way to travel to your hotel is by using the Airport Rail Link, a fast train from the airport to Bangkok. The most used for tourist stops are Makkasan Station,  This station serves as a city air terminal with a direct link to the MRT Phetchaburi Station and Phaya Thai Station, this is the terminal station for the Airport Rail Link and connects directly to the BTS Skytrain’s Phaya Thai Station in the Sukhumvit Area. The rate for using the Airport Rail link is around 45 Baht.

From Don Mueang Airport, the best option is to take a taxi, which takes about 30 minutes. Especially during traffic hours ask the driver to take the toll way to the airport, this will save you a lot of time. If you really want to take public transport take bus A1 or A2 to Mo Chit BTS Station, transfer to the MRT at Chatuchak Park Station and travel to one of the MRT statins in Ratchada.