Ratchathewi/Phaya Thai

Motorcycles whiz past this neighborhood's malls, street food stalls, and late night lounges along the canal.

A narrow canal separates Ratchathewi and Phaya Thai, but the neighborhoods' differences don't extend beyond the waterway. Ratchathewi and Phaya Thai's mega malls and late-night lounges create an energy that never seems to abate. Motorcycles crowd the main roads underneath its skytrain stations as marketplaces and malls redefine the way Bangkokians shop. Skyscrapers tower above sois (read: side streets) where curbside food vendors and silk trade museums shelter themselves from the area's constant locomotion.

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On the Map

Ratchathewi/Phaya Thai is bordered by Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Lower Sukhumvit, Dusit, Pathum Wan, Siam, Upper Sukhumvit, Victory Monument, and Din Daeng/Huai Khwang

Suvarnabhumi Airport: 30 minute drive or 40 minutes by public transit and Airport Link Express
Siam BTS Skytrain Station: 10 minutes by pubic transit
Khao San Road: 30 minutes by public transit
Asok BTS Skytrain Station: 15 minutes by public transit

  • Public transit is Easy
  • Having a car is Difficult

Crowded Centers and Quiet Sois

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Just north of central Bangkok, Ratchathewi and Phaya Thai serve everyday professionals, commuters, and shoppers.

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From its streets to its skyscrapers, Ratchathewi and Phaya Thai feel at once lived-in and luxurious. Ratchathewi once boasted Thailand's two tallest buildings, Baiyoke and Baiyoke 2.

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In 2015, the Baiyoke duo's title will be usurped by Mahanakhon. Regardless of Baiyoke 2 relinquishing its top spot, the view from its observation deck still astounds.

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Below the soaring buildings and elevated railways, street food vendors sell sticky rice and grilled pork to office workers and errand runners.

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As an active transportation hub and central stop on the skytrain, apartments near Phayathai station increase commuters' convenience.

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In the evening, Ratchathewi and Phaya Thai enliven with patio observers and karaoke serenaders.

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Hit the high notes.

There area is a very busy area of Bangkok and good for shopping and street food. You will hear the trains go by a few times a day, but they didn't bother me - Bangkok is a noisy city."


Visited in 2012

Fast-Moving In a Transit-Friendly Hub

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Ratchathewi and Phaya Thai's atmosphere is a mix of haphazard street scenes and streamlined transportation.

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Connected to the airport by a direct express train that pulls into Phayathai station, the area gets crowded around its turnstiles, escalators, and railway platforms.

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Scooter traffic and boat traffic are also common in Ratchathewi and Phaya Thai.

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Drifting through Bangkok's canals offers new perspectives on its surrounding neighborhoods.

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The area is nice, because you get to see more of the 'real' Bangkok, but it's still very central so that you can reach anything quite quicky!"


Visited in 2012

Shopping Malls for the Everyday


Although Ratchathewi and Phaya Thai's many malls are not known for selling luxury labels, they're constantly cramped with shoppers seeking affordable merchandise and popular styles.


The area's Platinum mall's six floors are comprised of privately run clothing and accessory outlets.


Next door to Platinum is Pantip Mall, the country’s largest IT retail complex. Its hundreds of shops fix and sell electronics, computers, and the occasional pirated DVD.

A Lesson In Textiles: Tracking the Silk Trade

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Set apart from the shadows of surrounding skyscrapers, the Jim Thompson House and Museum is a compound that features traditional teak homes that trace the history of Thailand's silk industry.

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Bathed in lush foliage, it's easy to forget you're in a bustling transit hub when you're at the Jim Thompson House.

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Here, tranquility speaks louder than commerce.

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From Home to Museum: Suan Pakkad Palace

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Prince Chumbhotpong Paripatra opened his home, Suan Pakkad Palace, to visitors in 1952. Literally translating to "Cabbage Garden Palace," the home's grounds are shrouded by verdant foliage.

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His home survives as a museum.


Airbnb works with local photographers to capture the spirit of neighborhoods all around the world. The photography on this page includes work by:

Nic Dunlop

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Nic Dunlop is a Bangkok-based photographer and writer represented by Panos Pictures in London. In 1999, he received an award from the John Hopkins University for Excellence in International Journalism for his discovery and exposure of Pol Pot's chief executioner Comrade Duch, a story told in his book, 'The Lost Executioner'. He also co-directed the Emmy nominated HBO film 'Burma Soldier'. His new book, 'Brave New Burma' spans 20 years of his photographs of Burma's crisis.

Paula Bronstein

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Paula Bronstein is an award winning photojournalist with over 30 years in the business. Originally from Boston, Bronstein worked for newspapers including The Hartford Courant and The Chicago Tribune before moving overseas to Thailand in 1998 to cover the Asian region including Afghanistan and Pakistan. Paula has been employed as a senior staff photographer with Getty Images for 10.5 years. Presently Paula has moved back to freelance and is being represented by Reportage by Getty Images.