71 Sri Ayutthaya Rd Soi 16, Bangkok T: (02) 281 0757, (02) 282 5349
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Established way back in 1980, the still-very-much-alive Sawatdee is a relic of the early days of backpacking in Thailand.
Rather than go "boutique" or attempt to transform into something more modern, the owner has stuck to her original recipe of dirt-cheap rooms and an unpretentious atmosphere that feels how staying in a local's home should feel. Clambering up and down the steep stairs is like visiting a museum dedicated to early backpacking in Thailand. An old-school water cooler, now used to shelve Buddhas and icons, lies dusty and forgotten in the corridor. Room 1 boasts a fascinating black-and-white picture that appears to show early backpackers, circa the 1950s, bedding down in a shared dorm. These little quirks and the friendly staff somehow combine to give this place a peculiar charm. Equipped with cheap mattresses on old bedframes and a choice of private or shared cold-water baths, the rooms are small and extremely basic but reasonably well kept. Sawatdee remains solid backpacker value for those who appreciate old-style guesthouses to hostels that usually charge more for dorms than you'll pay here for a private room.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 15th June, 2014.