Just lounging canal-side
1378 Soi Rimkhlong, Thonburi T: (089) 668 0808
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If you visit the canal-side Khlong Bang Luang artist village to the west of the Chao Phraya River in Thonburi, don’t be surprised if the historic area’s chilled-out, artsy atmosphere makes you want to stick around. There’s not much accommodation to speak of, but tiny Bang Luang House offers style, comfort and the chance to be immersed in the neighbourhood’s relaxed pace of life.
With only two rooms set directly on the canal right across from Baan Sinlapin, Bang Luang House is not a well known place to stay, but don’t let that dissuade you; it’s a setting that few if any other Bangkok guesthouses can offer. Pull up a chair on the spacious veranda, throw some food to the fish, watch the boats go by, take out a book or a journal and let the hours slide away.
Several artsy cafes and not-to-be-missed noodle shops are nearby and there’s even a 24-hour 7/eleven right around the corner. If you just can’t get yourself off that porch, raise your hand up to the old school boat vendors who regularly cruise past selling homemade ice cream, noodles and sweets. The guesthouse is more for those wanting an escape from the busier side of Bangkok so naturally it’s not an ideal base for exploring the city, but it’s only a 60 baht taxi ride to Wongwian Yai BTS (sky train) station or 100 baht to the cross-river ferry from Wat Arun, making no Bangkok sight out of reach in a day.
Both of the guesthouse’s rooms are set in a newish single-floor concrete building, and while not quite possessing the same charm as the area’s old teak wood stilted homes, they are thoughtfully designed and don’t feel out of place. Both offer loads of space and come equipped with air-con, fans, fridges, antique wooden furniture including desks, spacious sitting areas and bureaus, modern hot water bathrooms and soft queen size beds complete with mosquito nets in case you want to sleep with the huge canal-facing doors open at night. No WiFi as of yet, but it’s free at Baan Sinlapin across the canal.
Other touches include traditional Thai art, many potted plants and flowers, purple paint jobs on tasteful wooden doors and even vintage toy collections. The place is owned by two warmhearted women who also run Bang Luang antique gallery across the canal. They’ve obviously taken great care in creating a charmingly eclectic ambience that’s stylish, adorable and a tad quirky all at once.
Rooms are a bit pricey at 1,500 baht per night, but the owners are willing to negotiate for longer stays and it’s currently the only guesthouse within walking distance of the artist village. Though not for those wanting to stick close to nightlife and touristy restaurants, Bang Luang House is a good fit for couples looking for a more romantic setting, artists or writers hoping to find inspiration, or anyone who appreciates something different. Budget travellers seeking a unique and artsy experience for cheap might check out The Overstay on nearby Charan Sanitwong Road.
To get here, follow the directions to Khlong Bang Luang artist village (see link in first paragraph), and inquire about rooms at Bang Luang Gallery located right next to Baan Sinlapan (the guesthouse is on the other side of the canal but you’ll need to stop in here first). Since only two rooms are available it can be hit or miss if attempting to score one as a walk-in, so call ahead to reserve.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 15th September, 2013.