At first glance, deciding where to head in Bangkok appears an insurmountable task, there are countless hotels in virtually every corner of to sprawling city. Making it slightly easier is the fact that where stay is largely determined by your budget Banglamphu and the tourist ghetto of Th Khao San still Gold the bulk of Bangkok's , budget accommodation, although the down-iile is that it can be difficult to get to other irts of town. Cheap rooms are also avail-ble around lower Sukhumvit, although you'll have to put up with sex tourists and touts. Chinatown also has its share of hotels in this category, with the added bonus of anonymity. And there's a good selection of budget digs on Soi Ngam Duphli, near Th Sathon.
Those willing to spend a bit more can consider staying in 'downtown' Bangkok. Both Th Sukhumvit and Th Silom have heaps of midrange options, often within walking distance of the Skytrain or Metro. The sois opposite the National Stadium, near Siam Square, have some good midrange options, and have the benefit of being close to the Skytrain.
Upper Sukhumvit is home to many of Bangkok's boutique and upscale designer hotels. And the city's most famous hotels are largely found along the riverside near Th Silom.
Ko Ratanakosin & Banglamphu
Ko Ratanakosin, the most touristed area of Bangkok was until relatively recently utterly devoid of lodging options. But with the advent of the boutique hotel craze, a few riverside shophouses are being transformed into charming tourists' nests.
Banglamphu, in particular the neighbourhood that includes the backpacker street of Th khao San, is ground zero for accommodation V) Bangkok. This doesn't necessarily mean P s the-only or even the best place to stay in own, hut prices are generally low, and services Such as internet shops, travel agents and beer stalls are available in abundance, making a convenient base.
In recent years many longstanding Banglamphu guesthouse owners have con their former hovels into small hotels, into an abundance of new, good-value angers. Although some see this as the trification of Th Khao San. It’s added a dimension of accommodation that was previously lacking.
Regardles of your budget, keep in mind that Khao San is just one street in a large neighbourhood; there are increasingly attractive options spanning all price levels on outlying streets such as riverside Th Phra Athit, leafy Soi Rambutri and the residential side streets off Th Samsen.
It would be impossible to list all of Banglamphu's accommodation options in this format; we've chosen a select few that stand out, typically those away from the main strip, which can get pretty noisy. If you've got the time, explore a bit and check out a few guesthouses before making a decision; during the high season (December to February), however, it's probably a wise idea to take the first vacant bed you come across. The best time of day to find a vacancy is around check-out time, 10am or 11am.
The following are just a few of the budget options on and around Th Khao San; just because we haven't included the one you're considering doesn't mean it's no good. If you're having trouble locating a cheapie, other budget options include Soi Rambutri, the jois off Th Samsen, and the alley running parallel between Th Khao San and Th Ratchadamnoen Klang, where you'll find the area's few remain-ing old-style wooden guesthouses.
New Merry V Guest House : The interior of this vast place looks as if it underwent a recent renovation, but it is in fact just exceptionally well maintained. The cheap rooms are as bare as it gets, but are spotless and have ample natural light and the odd view or two. The more expensive rooms, although equipped with amenities, don't represent as good value.
Baan Sabai : Truly living up to its name (Comfortable House), this rambling old building holds dozens of plain but comfy rooms, at a variety of prices. There's a palpable old-school atmosphere here, particularly at the fun open-air restaurant/bar area downstairs.
Wild Orchid Villa : The cheapies here are some of the tiniest we've seen anywhere, but all rooms are clean and neat, and come in a bright, friendly package. This place is exceedingly popular, so it's best to book ahead.
Rambuttri Village Inn : If you are willing to subject yourself to the relentless gauntlet of tailors ('Excuse me, suit?'), this newish hotel has an abundance of good-value rooms. A ground-lloor courtyard with restaurants and shops makes this a convenient place to stay.
Bella Bella Riverview : Wind your way through an atmospheric Bangkok neighbourhood to this gangly guesthouse. River views are slim', and the rooms are bare and largely devoid of amenities, but it's a good choice for those who want to stay near Th Khao San, but not too close.
Villa Guest House : A quiet older couple have opened their 100-year-old teak house to foreign guests. The 10 fan rooms (all with shared bathrooms) are outfitted with antique furniture, including canopy beds. By the time this book is published a few additional rooms should also be finished.
Penpark Place : This former factory has been turned into a good-value budget hotel. Rooms are little more than a bed and a fan, and only one has an ensuite bathroom, but all are spotless. There's a communal rooftop area, and plans to add even more rooms in the near future.
Bowom BB : Viewed from the outside, this place looks like a quaint, Banglamphu shop-house. But a peek inside reveals a huge array of mostly bland but tidy rooms. There's an inw ing rooftop garden for communal chilling.
Rikka Inn : Boasting tight but attractive rooms, a pool location, the new Rikka is one of sev-lraj great-value hotels changing the face of Th Khao San.
Baan Dinso : Considering that II [he bathrooms here are shared, Baan Pinso Doesn't rank high on the value scale, but this immaculately refurbished 85-year-old Thai house in a classic Bangkok neighbourhood is among the most unique accommodation experiences in lown. The nine rooms are truly homey, and the shared bathrooms are absolutely spotless.
This is the fastest growing price bracket in the neighbourhood, and there are some fantastic bargains to be had if you canafford it.
Bhimanlnn : With an exterior that combines elements of a modern church and a castle, and an interior that relies on copious mirrors and popart floor tile patterns, the design concept of this unique hotel is a bit hard to pin down. The rooms are slightly more predictable, although the cheapest are hardly larger than closets. An inviting restaurant and a pool fill out the package.
Lamphu Tree House : Despite the name this attractive tnidranger has its feet firmly on land, and as such represents brilliant value. Rooms are attractive and inviting, and the rooftop bar, pool, internet, restaurant and quiet location ensure that you may never feel tire need to leave.
New Siam Riverside :One of a couple of new places along Th Phra Athit taking advantage of the riverside setting, this hotel has comfortable rooms with tiny bathrooms out the real value is the amenities (internet, Uavel agent, restaurant) and the location on one of the city's more pleasant streets.
Hotel Oe Mot : The rooms at this classic- hotel are large, with high ceilings and generous windows, but the furnishings could certainly use an update. Complimentary transport to Th Khao San and Wat Phra Kaew, free bike rental are thoughtful perks.
Diamond House : Despite sharing building space with a rather brash Chinese temple, there's no evidence of design conflict at this eccentric, funky hotel. Most rooms are loft style, with beds on raised platforms, and are outfitted with stained glass, dark, lush colours and chic furnishings. There's a lack of windows, and some of the suites aren't that much larger than the cheaper rooms, but a rooftop sunbathing deck and an outdoor jacuzzi make up for this.
Buddy Boutique Hotel :This gigantic complex, which includes a pool, fitness room and, ahem, a branch of McDonald's, is, as far as we're aware, the most expensive place to stay on Th Khao San. Rooms are evocative of a breezy tropical manor house and outfitted with traditional Thai designs.
Viengtai Hotel : Long before Th Khao San was 'discovered', this was an ordinary Chinese-style hotel in a quiet neigh-bourhood. It now sits comfortably in the mid-range with reliable but unstylish rooms. Make advance bookings for cheaper rates.
Baan Chantra : This beautiful converted house is without pretensions,1 preferring to he comfortable and roomy rather than fashionable and pinched. Many of the house's original teak details remain, and the deluxe room boasts a sunny patio.
Navalai River Resort : The latest thing to go up on breezy Th Phra Athit, this chic hotel has 74 modern rooms, many looking out over the Chao Phraya River. There are attractive Thai design touches throughout, but you might end up spending much of your time che.cking out the views from the rooftop pool.
Old Bangkok Inn : The 10 rooms in this refurbished antique shophouse are decadent and sumptuous, combining rich colours and heavy wood furnishings. All have computers for personal use, and some have semi-outdoor bathrooms. The perfect honeymoon hotel.
Arun Residence : Strategically located across from Wat Arun, this multilevel wooden house on the river boasts much more than just brilliant views. The seven rooms here manage to feel both homey and stylish, some being tall and ioftlike, while others cojoin two rooms (the besl is the top-floor suite with its own balcony). There are inviting communal areas, including a library, a rooftop bar and the Deck restaurant.
Aurum: The River Place : The 12 modern rooms here don't necessarily reflect the grand European exterior of this refur-bished shophouse. Nonetheless they're com-fortable and well appointed, and most offer fleeting views of the Chao Phraya. Online discounts available.
ChakrabongseVillas : An occasionally inhabited compound of Thai royalty dating back to 1908, this unique hotel incorporates three sumptuous but cramped rooms and four larger suites and villas. There's a pool, jungle-like gardens and an elevated deck for romantic riverside dining.
Chinatown & Phahurat
Yaowarat, Bangkok's Chinatown, isn't the most hospitable part of town, but for those who wish to stay off the beaten track it's an area where travellers can remain largely anonymous. There's a decent selection of accommodation, milch of it just off busy streets, so be sure to assess the noise situation before choosing your room. The area used to be a nightmare to get to, but the Metro stop at Hualamphong has improved things immensely.
Baan Hualampong : Repeat visitors rave about the homey setting and warm, personal service at this guesthouse. Located a short walk from Hualamphong staurtion, kitchen and laundry facilities are also available, and there are lots of chill-out areas and computers.
River View Guest House : You've probably seen this tall building from the river, but it's a bit harder to find on land. Rooms are basic, suiting the abandoned feel of the place, and only the more expensive rooms on the upper floors have river-view balconies. To get there, heading north on Th Charoen Krung from Th Si Phraya, take a left onto Th Songwat (before the Chinatown Arch), then the second left onto Soi Phanurangsi. You'll start to see signs at this point.
Train Inn : Located directly behind Hualamphong, the city's main train station, this tidy guesthouse is a good place to base yourself if you've got an early departure or a late arrival. Only the more expensive rooms have attached bathrooms, but free wi-fi and small design touches are available throughout.
Krung KasemSrikungHotel : The rooms at this old-timer are slightly more hospitable than the exterior (and the neighbourhood) suggest. All have balconies, and those on the upper floors offer great views of Chinatown. Located a brief walk from Hualamphong train station.
China Town Hotel : Popular with Chinese tourists, the lobby here plays on the theme suggested by the hotel's name, but the rooms are largely devoid of any design concept. Some suites have recently been remodelled and offer decent value.
Shanghai Inn : Easily the most stylish place to stay in Chinatown, if not in Bangkok. This boutique hotel suggests Shanghai c 1935 via stained glass, an abundance of lamps, bold colours and tongue-in-cheek Chinatown kitsch. There's free wi-fi, and the number of rooms here will have increased 50% by the time this goes to print. If you're willing to splurge, ask for one of the bigger streetside rooms with tall windows that allow more natural light.
Grand China Princess : This characterless but spotless hotel is the conservative choice in Chinatown. Rooms are huge, and those on the top floors offer great views of the city. A rooftop pool and revolving restaurant also take advantage ot the sights. Book online for significant discounts.
Silom, Sathon & Riverside
The city's financial district along Th Silom is not the most charming area of town, but it is convenient to nightspots and to the Skytrain and Metro for quick access to modern parts of Bangkok. There's a distinct lack of budget accommodation around Th Silom, hut some good-value boutique midrangers can be found, on Soi Sala Daeng. Some of Bangkok's most famous top-enders are also located along this stretch of the river; they can be reached via the .complimentary hotel ferries at Tha Sathon.
Th Sathon is home to several top-end hotels, but lacks in atmosphere, the primary .feature being the vast eponymous road. If you need to stay around this area be sure to see pi 59 for a few more hotel options around lower Th Sathon.
BUDGET & MIDRANGE
New Road Guesthouse : lust far enough from cacophonous Th Charoen Krung (previously known as New R<1) to be quiet, this Danish-run backpacker hostel offers a wide variety of plain but neat rooms. For those on tight budgets, the clean Ian dorms are among the cheapest accommodation in town. The attached JYSK travel agency is reputable.
Lub'd : The title is a play on the 1 hai lap dec, meaning 'sleep well', but the fun atmosphere at this backpacker hostel might make you want to stay up all night. There are four storeys of dorms (including a ladies-only wing) and a few private rooms, both with and withput bathrooms. The communal area, with informative maps painted on the walls, boasts free internet, games and a bar.
P&R Residence : Located on a quiet street near the old Portuguese embassy, there's nothing tancy about the P&R, but its" rooms are comfortable and clean and it's very fairly priced for this relatively atmospheric corner of town. Breakfast is 801 extra, and payments are by cash only.
Bangkok Christian Guest House : This austere, guesthouse dates hack to 1926, but today resembles any other modern building in Bangkok. Great for families, as some rooms have five beds, and there's a 2nd-floor children's play area and lots of tourist information.
La Residence Hotel : La Residence is a boutique inn with playfully and individually decorated rooms. A standard room is very small and fittingly decorated like a child's bedroom. The next size up is more mature and voluptuous with blood-red walls and modern Thai motifs.
SwanHotel: Despite its relatively large size, this classic Bangkok hotel is able to maintain a homey feel. A re cent facelift has it looking better lhan ever, although the room furnishings are still stuck in the 1970s. The inviting pool area is a bit more timeless, and the entire place is virtually spotless. An excellent midrange choice.
Inn Saladaeng : One of several boutique hotels in the area, the Inn is the newest and most conveniently located. The lobby's bright floral theme carries on into the 38 tight but well-equipped rooms, making up for the lack of windows. Free wi-fi and self-serve breakfast are other perks.
Rose Hotel : Don'l let the unremarkable exterior fool you; a recent renovation has the lobby and rooms of this Vietnam War vet looking quite modern. With a gym, sauna and breakfasts included, it's one of the best deals in town.
Heritage Baan Silom : Tucked behind a 'lifestyle arcade' (ie shopping centre), this wannabe top-ender is a modern interpretation of an F.nglish colonial-era mansion. Carefully designed with attractive wood and wicker furnishings, the rooms here are bright and airy, each featuring a different colour theme and custom wall prints.
LUXX : Despite their location in a nondescript leafy Bangkok street, the 13 rooms here ooze with a minimalist hipness that wouldn't be out of place in London or New York. Some rooms don'l have windows, but rather glass walls lliat overlook an enclosed courtyard.
Triple Two Silotn : Rooms here resemble sleek modern offices - in a good way. But don't worry, with huge bathrooms and inviting-looking beds, you'll be inspired to relax, not work. Guests can use the rooftop garden, but have to go next door to the sister Narai Hotel for the swimming pool and fitness centre.
Millennium Hilton : As soon as you enter the dramatic lobby, it's obvious that this is Bangkok's youngest, most modern ' riverside hotel. Rooms, all of which boast wide-screen river views, follow this theme, and are decked out with funky furniture and Thai-themed photos. A glass elevator and an artificial beach are just some of the fun touches.
Lebua : One of Bangkok's tallest and most distinctive buildings is also a luxury hotel. Suites here are huge, some with two balconies, and if you book online the discounts can be equally large.
DusitThani : At one point the tallest building in the country, this venerable luxury hotel is a testament to how much things have changed in Bangkok. Despite the flagrantly 1970s exterior, the rooms, like the lobby, are blandly modern. The hotel's vast ballroom is a popular wedding venue for upper-class locals, and its restaurants are favourite dining destinations for members of the Thai royal family.
Oriental Hotel : For the true Bangkok experience, a stay at this grand old riverside hotel is a must. The majority of rooms are located in the modern New Wing, but we prefer the old-world ambiance of the Garden and Authors' Wings. The hotel is home to the city's most longstanding fine dining restaurant, The Normandie, and across the river in Thonburi the hotel also maintains one of the region's most acclaimed spas and a cooking school.
Peninsula Hotel : After a decade in Bangkok, the Pen still seems to have it all: the location (towering over the river in Thonburi), the rep (it's consistently one of the highest-ranking luxury hotels in the world) and one of the highest levels of service in town. If money is no obstacle, stay on one of the upper floors (there are 38) where you literally have all of Bangkok at your feet.
Siam Square & Pratunam
l;or centrally located accommodation, there's really no better destination than the area surrounding Siam Square. Home to the intersection of the two Skytrain lines, and only a brief-ish (depending on traffic) taxi ride to Banglamphu, this is about as good as it gets in ever-expanding Bangkok. The only drawback is thai nightlife is nonexistent, but again you're only a short taxi ride to nightspots in Silom or Sukhumvit.
For those on a budget who also need a central location, a low-key backpacker community exists along Soi Kasem San 1 (say from tbe National Stadium).
BUDGET & MIDRANGE
Bed & Breakfast Inn : This mazelike guesthouse has standard but comfortable rooms. Rates, not surprisingly, include breakfast.
A-One Inn : The lobby is a bit messy here, but a peek into the rooms proves that they are well proportioned and good value. A-One sees a lot of return business.
Wendy House : The rooms here are small and basic, but well stocked (TV, fridge) for this price range. There's a cafe downstairs and service is exceedingly friendly.
Reno Hotel : Only some of the rooms reflect the renova tions evident in the lobby and exterior, but the cafe and classic pool of this Vietnam War-era vet still cling to the past.
Golden House : With parquet flooring and built-in wooden furniture, the 27 rooms here are more like modern Thai condos than hotel rooms. The beds are huge, but just like at Thai condos they have the potential to sag. Golden House is located just steps from Skytrain Chitlom; look for the sign tbat says VIP Guest House.
Indra Regent Hotel : This soot-stained 70 sera box doesn't look like much from the outside, but the interior offers one of the better-value stays in this price range. Junior suites are touted as the best buys.
Asia Hotel : The epitome of an Asian midranger, this huge hotel has plain hut large rooms with generous-sized bathrooms. Connoisseurs of kitsch will appreciate the dual presence of Calypso Cabaret and an Elvis show. Significant discounts available online.
Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square : For business or leisure, Novotel Siam is conveniently located near the Skytrain and shopping. Rooms are spitting images of corporate class back home,, but the deluxe ones are better suited for business purposes.
Nai Lert Park Hotel :This hotel has seen a few reincarnations during its 25-year history, but we like the current one; the suites follow the sleek design theme laid out in the lobby, while cheaper rooms follow a more conservative wood-heavy classic theme. Regardeless, all are huge and include balconies.
SiamaSiam : The lobby of this new hotel is more amusement park than accom-modation, but that's what makes it so fun. A seemingly random mishmash of colours and materials result in a style one could only describe as 'junkyard' - but in a good way, of course. The rooms, which continue the theme, and which are located between the 14th and 25th floors, offer terrific city views, free wi-fi and breakfast. There's also a' spa, a rooftop restaurant and a pool on the 8th floor.
Conrad Hotel Bangkok : When built in 2003, the Conrad was one of the first hotels in Bangkok to consciously make an effort to appeal to the young and hip. It has since been surpassed in this area, but still offers attractive accommodation. The interior is decked out in Jim Thompson silks and a vaguely Asian theme. The attached Diplomat Bar is a great place to chill out with a martini and live jazz.
Grand Hyatt Erawan :This long-standing luxury staple boasts 380 functional seemingly designed for those who wish to wrork, with inviting and well-positioned desks, for those on holiday (and not constrained by budgets), six new Spa Cottages include a city-view balcony, an attached spa, and com-plimentary massage and spa services.
This seemingly endless urban thoroughfare is Bangkok's unofficial International Zone and also boasts much of the city's accommodation. There's a bit of everything here, from the odd backpacker hostel to sex tourist hovels and five-star luxury. The former two are largely located between Sois 1 and 4, while the latter doesn't begin to appear until you reach Soi 12 or so.
In general, because visitors with larger budgets stay in Sukhumvit, tourist services are more expensive here than in Banglamphu. The tradeoff is access to food from virtually every corner of the globe, heaps of nightlife options and easy access to both the Skytrain and subway.
Suk 11 : Extremely well run and extremely popular, this guesthouse is an oasis of woods and greenery in the urban jungle that is Th Sukhumvit. Although they've somehow managed to stuff nearly 100 rooms in there, you'll still need to book at least two weeks ahead.
Hl-Sukhumvit : Located in a quiet residential street a brief walk from the Skylrain, this friendly hostel excels with its neat dorms and accompanying immense bathrooms. There is lots of tourist information, a rooftop deck, laundry and kitchen.
Soi 1 Guesthouse : Boasting the somewhat intimidating motto 'See the world before it seizes you', this narrow building has four cluttered dorm rooms. When not outside seeing the world, let yourself be 'seized' by the chummy communal area with pool table, TV and computers.
Nana Chart : This but more-than-adequate budget rooms, as well as some of the better dorms around featuring ensuite bathrooms. Restaurants and a travel agency are also located in the compound.
Atlanta : Defiantly antiquated and equally frumpy, this crumbling gem has changed very little since its construction in 1952. The opulent lobby stands in contrast to the simple rooms, but the inviting pool (the country's first hotel pool) and delightful restaurant are incentive enough. The rather fanatical anti-sex-tourist policy may leave Thai friends of either gender waiting outside.
Miami Hotel : Definitely showing its 40 years, and currently surrounded by the noisy construction of things much grander, the Miami still manages to carry an element of old-school Bangkok charm. Ask for one of the original business cards while they last.
Golden Palace Hotel : The abundance of mirrors in the ground-floor rooms gives this away as a former tryst hotel, but for just a couple of hundred baht more, you can get one of the simple but air)' rooms upstairs. A pool, coffee shop and nearby spa ensure that you won't need to go very far to be entertained.
Federal Hotel : You wouldn't know it from the exterior, but after 40 years 'Club Fed' finally decided to get a makeover. The upstairs rooms are comfortable and almost contemporary, but the rooms at ground level still scream 1967. The real draws are the frangipani-lined pool and time-warped American-style coffee shop.
Stable Lodge : To be honest, we were slightly disappointed that the faux-Tudor theme of the downstairs restaurant didn't carry on into the rooms, but could find no other faults. A recent renovation has given a bit of life to the simple rooms here, and the spacious balconies still offer great city views.
Baan Sukhumvit : One of three similarly priced hotels located on this small side street off Soi 20, Baan Sukhumvit's 12 rooms exude a homey, cosy atmosphere. A newer branch is located around the corner on Soi 18.
Swiss Park Hotel : The rooms here are workaday and largely forgettable, but the convenient location and friendly and competent staff make this a good midrange find.
Citichic : The name and lobby of this stylish midranger ooze self-confidence. And justifiably so; although they are a bit of a tight squeeze, the rooms here come fully equipped with flat-screen TVs and all other amenities -and ail of it done with style.
Napa Place Bed & Breakfast : Seemingly hidden in the confines of a typical Bangkok urban compound is what must be the city's homiest accommodation. The 12 expansive rooms here have been decorated with dark woods from the family's former business and light brown cloths from the hands of Thai weavers. The communal areas couldn't be much different from the suburban' living room you grew up in.
Seven : This tiny hotel somehow manages to be chic and homey, stylish and comfortable, Thai and international all at the same time. Each of the six rooms is decked out in a different colour that cor-responds to Thai astrology, and thoughtful amenities abound.
Davis : If it's hard to pinpoint the design of this young-feeling hotel it's probably because it seems to have covered all the bases with Chinese-, j Japanese-, Myanmar- and Balinese-themed rooms. Domestically speaking, there are also seven Thai-style villas surrounding a pool. It's located way out near Th Phra Ram IV, but there are tiik-tiiks (pronounced diik duk; motorised transport) to whisk you to the civi- I lisationof Th Sukhumvit.
Eugenia :Although Thailand was never anybody's colony, there's no doubt about the design influence of this character-laden hotel. Decked out in antique furniture and an abundance of animal skins, a stay here is like travelling to Burma c 1936. Don't fear though; you won't have to ask the 'boy' to draw you a bath -modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and free domestic and international calls are also provided (although the baths are beautiful and made of copper). Ask about the vintage-car airport transfers.
Dream Bangkok : If your idea of interior desfgn involves stuffed tigers, copious mirrors and slick leather, you'll feel at home here. The perfect place for the travelling rock star -real or otherwise - the Dream is Bangkok's most outlandish hotel. The standard rooms are a tight fit, but include ample and quirky amenities such as the Dream signature blue light to aid in sleeping.
Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit : This business-oriented hotel offers some of the most spacious rooms in town and fills them w~th a generous array of amenities. An elevated walkway connecting the hotel to Asoke Skytrain station makes this the convenient choice for those on generous expense accounts.
Ma Du Zi : The name is Thai for 'come take a look', somewhat of a misnomer for this reservations-only, no walk-ins hotel. If you've gained access, behind the gate you'll find an attractive midsized hotel steeped in dark, chic tones and designs. We fancied the immense bathrooms, with a walk-in tub and minimalist shower. There's no pool, but the rack rate includes everything from airport transfer, breakfast and dinner to cjomestic and international calls.
Lumphini Park & Th Phra Ram IV
If you were hitting the Asian hippie trail back in the 1970s, you would have laid your love beads at a guesthouse in Soi Ngam Duphli, off Th Phra Ram IV, not too far from Lumphini Park. Despite the decades that have passed, it's still a good area to go to for supercheap accommodation, particularly along Soi Sri Bamphen. And getting there has been made even easier by the Metro stop at Lumphini.
Cafe desArts Guest House : Run by a French/Thai couple, there's seemingly no cafe (nor art) here, but rather a downstairs Korean barbecue restaurant and eight simple rooms upstairs.
Malaysia Hotel :The Malaysia was once Bangkok's most famous budget lodge and even gave shelter to Maureen and Tony Wheeler on tljeir maiden shoestring trip through Southeast Asia. Our sources tell us that the couple stay elsewhere when in Bangkok nowadays, but the Malaysia is still a good choice for the rest of us for its fair prices and frozen-in-time atmosphere.
Penguin House : The oddly named Penguin is a breath of fresh air in this area of tired old-timers. Rear rooms will be quieter, and there are a couple of interior rooms that sleep two couples. Weekly and monthly rates are also available.
All Seasons Sathorn : The former King's Hotel has been reborn as this modern attractive choice, right in the middle of the embassy district. The primary colours and bold lines of the design scheme make up for the lack of natural light in some rooms. To see what the hotel (and Th Sathon) used to look like, check out the photos in the dining room.
Ibis Sathon : Business-friendly Ibis delivers comfort and convenience without corporate expense-account prices.
Metropolitan : The exterior of the former YMCA has changed relatively little, but a peek inside reveals Bangkok's sleekest hotel. Urban minimalism rules here, except where it concerns the size of the. two-storey suites. Breakfast is either American or 'organic.', and attached Cy'an is among Bangkok's best upscale restaurants.
Sukhothai Hotel : As the name suggests, this hotel employs brick stupas, courtyards and antique sculptures to create a historical, temple-like atmosphere. The rooms are exquisitely decorated and have hardwood floors and war-room-sized bathrooms.
Many of the' following hotels lie outside our neat neighbourhood designations, so they often require a little more effort to reach. This also means that they tend to be located in less hectic parts of the city, and are perfect for those who'd rather not stay in the thick of it. Thewet, the district north of Banglamphu.near the National Library, is a pleasant backpacker enclave, particularly popular with'families and the over-30 crowd. It is a lovely leafy area, but during the rainy season it can be prone to flooding.
Bangkok International Youth Hostel : One of the only options jf you want to stay in the quiet Dusit area, this recently refurbished hostel has cheaper rooms in the original building and new but cramped rooms in a tall structure facing Th Phitsanulok. There's a pleasant rooftop balcony and a travel library.
Shanti Lodge: This family-run place exudes a peaceful, dharmic aura. It's also a true guesthouse, so there are misplaced baskets of the owners' laundry, an abandoned exercise bike and other 'homey' touches. Walls are bamboo-thin in the cheaper rooms, but there's a huge variety of accommodation; check out a few before making a decision.
Taewez Guest House : Popular with French travellers, the cheapest rooms here are plain and share bathrooms, but are good value.
Sri Ayuttaya Guest House : The wood and brick theme here is a liice break from the usual, less permanent-feeling guesthouse design. The rooms, half of which share bathrooms, also feel sturdy and inviting.
Phra-Nakorn Nqrn-len : Set in an expansive garden compound decorated like the Bangkok of yesteryear, this bright and cheery hotel is an atmospheric if not necessarily great value place to stay. Rooms are simply furnished, but generously decorated with antiques and wall paintings, and there's internet, massage and endless opportunities for peaceful relaxing. Breakfast originates from the hotel's organic rooftop garden.
All Seasons Bangkok Siam : Part of a new line-up of business-friendly hotels for modest budgets. Shop the website for plumper discounts.
If you need to stay near one o'f Bangkok's two airports.
Refill Now! : Sporting a look^ that blends the Habitat catalogue and a Kubrick movie, this is the kind of place that might make you think twice about sleeping in a dorm. The spotless white private rooms and dorms have flirtatious pull screens between each double-bunk; women-only dorms are also available. There's an achingly hip chill-out area, and a massage centre upstairs. If you decide you need to leave, there's a tuk-tuk (30B per passenger) to Thong Lo and Phra Khanong Skytrain stations.
Thai House : North of central Bangkok in Nonthaburi is this traditional Thai home surrounded by fruit trees, which has been converted into a guesthouse. Contact the proprietors for transport details. The guesthouse also conducts cooking courses open to non-guests.
Reflections Rooms : Now at a new location on noisy Th Pradiphat, this hotel unites 34 rooms, each of which is individually and playfully designed. One of the rooms we checked out combined a chair upholstered with stuffed animals and walls covered with graffiti. Heaps of fun and perpetually popular, so be sure to book ahead.
Bangkok Marriott Resort&Spa : Located south of the city on the banks of Mae Nam Chao Phraya, 'resort' is in this case at least an accurate moniker for this expansive, relax-oriented hotel. Lest the gardens and pools give the impression you're in another province (well, technically you are), you're easily connected to the rest ol Bangkok by a hotel-operated shuttle boat to Saphan Taksin.
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