As a once frequent visitor to Bangkok, every time a friend visits the Thai capital city, I’m usually first on their hit list for accommodation advice. I bloody love Bangkok. I’d go as far as to say it’s one of my favourite cities ever! There is so much to do and see, and the food is out of this world. Accommodation hunting can be daunting, there are literally hundreds of places to stay. Here’s a few of my choices to help you on your way …
For all the Backpackers and thrifties out there, low budget Bangkok can be a bed bug mine field. We once checked out of a very prominent hostel, right in the middle of the night, after we turned our pillows over to discover them teaming with the little blighters. It just so happens that the place I’m going to recommend, was the very place that rescued us from our 12 am accommodation hunt.
New Siam Hotel (a guesthouse more than a hotel) is situated right off Soi Ram Butri (the next street down from the famous Khaosan road). It’s so close to Khaosan that you could roll to it. However, its short distance is enough to cut out the noise, and set the cleanliness standards a bit higher. It’s basic, the beds are clean, the showers are good, the rooms are all private. Soi Ram Butri has a little all vegetarian/vegan food stall right outside, and there’s a little lady that shuffles her cart about selling iced coffee for 50p. It’s an 40 baht tuk tuk ride to the palace and Wat Pho.
New Siam have actually opened another three guesthouses (aptly named New Siam 2, New Siam 3, etc) really close by. New Siam remains the cheapest. Another perk to this guesthouse is that I’ve always been able to just swan into reception and book a room right there and then.
PRICE (per night): Fan room – 330 baht (about £7)
Air-con room (all with private bathrooms) – 750 baht (about £15)
Mid range budget
Let’s get something straight. £35/£40 at home won’t get you a travel lodge. £35/£40 in Bangkok can get you a sweet ass hotel. I found a ton of the decent deals kicking around the Pratunam area of Bangkok. This location is ideal as it’s smack in the middle of the main tourist shopping areas (I’m talking malls, not markets).
My hotel of choice is the Centara Watergate Pavilion hotel. The Centara chain is pretty big news in Thailand, it has a good reputation amongst the Thais. Even better, is that it’s right across a big set of crossroads from the Platinum malls (floors and floors of wholesale clothes/bags/shoes/you name it). The platinum mall has a large eatery floor at the top, with a complete vegan stand selling full meals for as little as 40 baht (80p, give or take).
Don’t be fooled by the mediocre entrance. Lifts take you up to large open lobbies, they sign you in with little purple glasses of deliciousness, and service has a premium feel to it. Rooms are bright, spacious, modern, clean and new feeling. Every time I stay at this place I can’t believe what I’m getting for my money!
PRICE (per night): Superior room without breakfast – 2300 baht (about £46)
Superior room with breakfast – 2600 baht (about £52)
A second mid range suggestion?
The Shanghai Mansion Boutique hotel is located right in the middle of Bangkok’s China town. The architecture is great fun, inspired by the building’s theatrical roots, and the stylish mood of 1930’s Shanghai. Coloured lanterns, big dark wood furniture and bird cages (don’t worry, the birds in them are fake) decorate both the communal spaces and the rooms alike. Kimonos, satin slippers and in-room spa services give us that wonderful, stereotypical oriental feel that you want to find in a big Asian city.
The location is wonderful for exploring the China town area and history. However, be warned, it was almost impossible for me to find veggie food in the area (outside the hotel). The exception to this would be if you decide to take yourself during the ‘Jay’ festival (vegetarian festival running around Sept/Oct depending on the year). At this time, China town is teaming with vegan street food.
PRICE: Superior room (including dinner or spa package) – 2800 baht (about £56)
Treat Yourself Budget
I saved my favourite until last. The Banyan Tree luxury hotel is a lace not to be missed. My main tip. book yourself a club or suite room. Just do it! The club/suite guests get whisked away to their own check in lobby on arrival, get a separate dining area, complimentary food/drink on arrival, and pretty much everyone just trips over themselves to help you during your whole stay.
The entire hotel smells amazing, and room service change little details in your room every day (I won’t ruin the surprises). The rooms are enormous, with bathtubs being of the walk in variety, or positioned right in front of your window, giving you full views of the city. The Banyan Tree boasts a number bars, but is most famous for its rooftop one, with the building being on of the city’s tallest.
The location isn’t as brilliant as my budget and mid range suggestions, but if you can afford the hotel fee, you’re probably not going to care about the hundred baht or so taxi fare to tourist spots. I’ve sent many a friend there. No one has ever wanted to leave.
PRICE (per night):
Varying largely date by date from £120-160
*Note: Prices were accurate at time of post, but may vary during season peaks/ hotel changes.