If not satisfied with the accommodation that 150 to 700 baht per night will get you in Bangkok, come on up to Ayutthaya for the ruins, the eclectic food scene and some outstanding but cheap guesthouses. Here’s the lowdown on this historic city’s best budget digs.
First, let’s make it clear that although the majority of budget travellers stay there, the best guesthouses are not found along the backpacker strip of Naresuan Soi 1. P.U. Inn Ubonpon offers bright, clean and spacious rooms but has received very mixed reviews; though the upmarket rooms at nearby Tony’s Place are great, the 300 baht fan rooms leave a lot to be desired and we’re not big fans of the impersonal atmosphere; and Chanthana House offers solid rooms for the money, but the staff speak virtually no English, and aren’t enthusiastic about winging it.
Also keep in mind that while it’s close to the bus and minibus stops, the backpacker strip is a haul from the ruins, and the immediate area isn’t exactly charming. Though the strip is fine for a sort of scaled down Khao San Road atmosphere, we’d take advantage of the better options elsewhere on the island.
Our best guesthouse in Ayutthaya award still goes to Baan Lotus, thanks to its elegant but inexpensive rooms in two restored wood houses, relaxed and kind-hearted staff and a proven record of providing guests with a great experience. Of the 34 Travelfish.org members who have reviewed it, almost none have found a fault. With that said, it’s no surprise that Baan Lotus is usually fully booked.
In second place, two-year-old Tamarind Guesthouse may very well trump Baan Lotus once it proves itself. The location is quiet yet central and close to both the night market and Wat Mahathat, the young woman who runs it is perhaps even sweeter and more accommodating than the staff at Baan Lotus, rooms are cheerful, stylish and spotless, and extras like TVs in all rooms, a communal fridge and fresh fruit, cookies and tea throughout the day all make Tamarind phenomenal value. The only downside — they only have six rooms so you’d better book ahead.
Our pick for third place, Ban Bua House 2, is something of a wild card. Its riverside location to the south of the island is out-of-the-way — not a great choice if you want to be close to the backpacker strip — but some of Ayutthaya’s best food is nearby. The ruins aren’t too far off and this is also one of the few guesthouses that offers bicycles free of charge. A casual yet welcoming young staff sweetens the deal. Yet the rooms are what land Baan Bua 2 with the bronze, especially the 700 baht editions, which have giant windows and private balconies overlooking the river.
While Baan Lotus, Tamarind Guesthouse and Ban Bua House 2 are our top three budget guesthouse picks, Ayutthaya boasts several other worthy contenders. An honourable mention goes to Sherwood House for its clean, no frills rooms and in-house swimming pool. Baan Suan Guesthouse leads the dirt cheap pack with its well-kept 150 baht fan rooms. Bann Kun Pra Guesthouse gets major points for style and class. And, finally, Grandparent’s Home is a rliable choice thanks to comfortable, spacious rooms in a central location.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 31st January, 2015.