Bright, clean and comfy
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A handful of hostels have emerged in the Khao San Road area to challenge the old presumption that cheap dorms must be filled with cockroaches and cranky staffs. One such game-changer is Khaosan Immjai, a bright, clean and comfy hostel that opened in July 2013.
The Thai word imm-jai literally translates as full heart, an expression that denotes inner contentment. With a pleasant staff and cheerful atmosphere, Khaosan Immjai lives up to its name. Immediately after our arrival, a young woman who speaks near perfect English greeted us with a smile and a positive, service-oriented attitude. Judging by the many happy-looking guests we encountered, the hostel seems to have caught on quickly.
A relatively spacious ground-floor common area features wooden tables and chairs, sofas, free communal computers (WiFi is also free) and a book exchange. Laundry facilities are found just beyond a key-card entrance that leads up to the dorms. This is strictly a hostel — no private rooms at all — and it’s an excellent choice for solo travellers looking to meet other people.
The hostel occupies a renovated townhouse with chunky wooden stairs leading up five floors, all of which are designed to the tune of a bright, primary colour. Decorated with potted flowers and adorable paintings of birds, kittens and bunnies, each floor has its own shared bathroom with modern, spotless appliances. An entire floor is for women only, and air-con is standard in all dorms. Shared balconies on each floor are an added bonus.
Airy and simple, 14-bed dorm rooms include bleached wood floors, soft colours and generous windows that allow natural light to filter through orange-green drapes. Similarly inviting (and presumably a bit quieter) are the smaller rooms with two bunks on either side. In all rooms, sturdy hardwood bunks are outfitted with thick, cushy mattresses and high-quality bedding. Each bunk comes with an electrical outlet, reading lamp and plus-size locker.
Along with an included “mini breakfast”, a bunk in the larger rooms goes for 350 baht per night while those in the smaller rooms fetch 420 baht. Especially when you consider that nearby NapPark and Suneta charge between 440 and 600 baht for similar offerings, Immjai offers superb value for money. At time of writing, beds in the larger rooms were being sold at a promotional rate of 280 baht per night.
Immjai enjoys a great location on Samsen Soi 1, a painless five- to 10-minute stroll from Khao San, Phra Arthit Road, Phra Sumen Fort and the Chao Phraya river. Running parallel to picturesque Phadung Krung Kasem canal, Samsen 1 is a quiet sidestreet with a temple, picturesque old wood homes and a few street food carts. With a large sign and orange facade, the hostel is easy to find. Though the street itself is free of noisy bars, Bangkok’s best blues club is around the corner.
If you’re seeking a similarly cheerful hostel in this area for around the same price, but with the option of private rooms, Rang Kha Minh Homestay and soon-to-be-reviewed Baan Bovorn are also worth a peek.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 15th January, 2014.