Quiet and sophisticated
49 Pradiphat Soi 19, Bangkok T: (022) 792 595 F: (022) 792 598
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Situated in an “everyday Bangkok” sort of neighbourhood, Udee Hostel is a three-year-old budget spot that doesn’t lack style. While not a good choice if you want to be in the middle of the action, Udee should fit the bill for flashpackers and budget travellers seeking a quiet and sophisticated guesthouse away from the tourist hot spots.
The area around Saphan Khwai BTS station to the north of Bangkok is one of our favourites in the city. It has a colourful atmosphere with loads of good street food, hole-in-the-wall newsstands and no shortage of locals who display their collections of Buddhist amulets along the footpaths every afternoon, but it’s not so out-of-the-way that foreigners are a novelty. Though nearby Pradiphat and Phahon Yothin roads are always bustling with activity, Udee is set in low-key immediate surrounds towards the end of Pradiphat Soi 19 (see map), less than a 10-minute walk to the BTS.
Apart from a trifecta of great markets — Chatuchak, Or Tor Kor and Talad Rot Fai — all one stop (and a walk) away on the sky train, this area isn’t bursting with attractions. Khao San and Chinatown are a solid 30-minute taxi ride away (give or take), but the BTS puts Victory Monument, Siam Square and Sukhumvit within easy striking distance.
The relaxed, leafy soi where Udee is located seems to have inspired the hostel itself. To reach the lobby, guests must pass through deep red wooden doors that wouldn’t look out of place on one of the centuries-old pagodas in Hue’s Imperial City. Floor cushions are placed out front on a dark wood deck surrounded by umbrellas, bushes and trees. An open-air lobby/lounge with round marble-top tables, a TV with DVD collection and book exchange is a fine place to chill on a rainy day. Guests can also lounge on a smoker-friendly rooftop terrace. In every corner, the soft-spoken owner has pulled off a classy design.
A spotless mixed dorm room with eight beds (320 baht each) and a six-bed women-only room with six beds (350 each) both offer thick, comfy mattresses on wood-framed bunks. The rooms have pink or lime green walls to go with air-con, polished concrete floors and free WiFi. Each bed has its own soft reading lamp and locker. Shared bathrooms are spacious, clean and modern. The dorms don’t quite match Singapore’s flashiest, but Udee is no doubt an upscale hostel with reasonable prices to boot.
The cool and understated design continues in private rooms, including a double and triple with ensuite for 1,100 and 1,500 baht respectively, and a triple with shared bath for 1,200 baht. Some double rooms have bunks while others are equipped with a queen-size bed. While not huge and lacking extras like desk, TV and fridge, the privates have large windows and are more than adequate for a quiet, comfortable night’s sleep. With that said, similar digs with at least some in-room extras can be found for similar prices at places like Mile Map and Om Yim, to name a couple.
On a positive note, we appreciated the owner’s laidback yet professional attitude that extends into all aspects of the accommodation, and the hostel has received a lot of good feedback online. Overall, Udee is a safe bet for anyone seeking a budget place to stay with a grown-up atmosphere.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 15th January, 2014.