Classy hostel in a vibrant area
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A good choice for mature budget travellers and flashpackers, the Mid Bangkok fluorescent wall murals and over-the-top decor in favour of a minimalist Thai theme that’s both soothing and functional. It may not be the cheapest hostel in town, but it’s the only one in the vibrant Victory Monument vicinity.
The hostel offers eight or six-bed dorm rooms in women-only or mixed varieties. True to luxury Asian hostels, the set-up is pod style, which means beds are set in semi-private perches on either side of the room. Each bed comes with privacy curtain, personal locker, electrical outlet, reading lamp and small ‘in-pod’ storage space. Airy shared bathrooms are segregated by sex and outfitted with modern appliances. The listed rate for all dorm beds is 490 baht or 430 if you’re a member of Hostelling International, but we were quoted 390 as walk-ins.
Designers didn’t cut any corners on the range of private rooms with ensuite bathrooms. They come with polished concrete or patterned tile floors that could be out of a 1930s mansion, posh Thai-style panelled wooden walls, comfortable beds on raised wooden platforms, recessed lighting, tasteful art and plenty of windows. Although fridges are lacking, safes are included and the most expensive room has a small flatscreen TV. The double goes for 1,650 baht, or 1,350 if you’re a HI member, a triple fetches 1,800/2,100 and a quad runs 2,400/2,700.
This is on the pricey side even with the HI discount, although we did notice cheaper rates on Agoda (see below for link). Another factor is the location; apart from long-term serviced apartments and aging hotels, Victory Monument is short on places to stay. The friendly staff sweeten the deal by offering free tours (provided guests pay their own food and transport expenses) around Bangkok and even down to Amphawa.
Generous common space includes a thoughtfully designed ground floor lounge with comfy furniture, a flatscreen TV, computers, a loft with a little library and old black-and-white photos of Bangkok in the early to mid 20th century. You can sense a real enthusiasm for the city, evidenced not only by the helpful staff and artwork but also the extensive information boards on travel, history and culture in Thailand.
With a spirit shrine and tables for chilling out, a lovely outdoor garden area tops the fifth floor. The hostel also offers a kitchenette, laundry room and free WiFi. Although the whole building is air-conditioned, staff made it a point to tell us that it’s shut off in the dorm rooms from around 08:00 to 18:00, so keep that in mind if you’re a late sleeper or midday napper.
While the hostel itself is great, the location really makes it stand out from the pack. Mid Bangkok is tucked down a reasonably quiet little alley off Ratchawithi Road, a stone’s throw from the actual Victory Monument traffic circle and a quick five-minute stroll to the same-named BTS skytrain station. Fleets of taxis, tuk tuks, motorbike taxis, city buses and minibuses are all at your fingertips. Practically anywhere in the city is within relatively easy reach from here.
But Victory Monument isn’t only worthwhile as a strategic base. An infectious energy charges through the air. Footpaths are lined with some of the best and most abundant street food in the city, including a famous boat noodle alley. The surrounding streets (especially Rangnam Road) are studded with boutiques, bars and cafes that cater to youthful Thais. If you need a break from the bustling scene, historic Phaya Thai Palace isn’t far off, while Santi Phap Park is even closer.
Although it’s priced towards the high-end of what we’d expect, the Mid Bangkok is an all-round good place to stay in a great part of the city that’s otherwise very shortage on accommodation choices. If you prefer the Sukhumvit area, the Mid Bangkok’s sister property — HI Sukhumvit — has a more stripped down feel (and lower prices) near Thong Lor BTS station.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.