Basic cheap rooms
With its rasta-themed shopfront and laidback attitude, Giant Guesthouse has long been a home away from home for many a traveller seeking a cheap place to stay with a welcoming, communal vibe in a good Chiang Mai location.
At 180 baht a night for a room shared between two people, there’s nothing special to these small, basic lodgings, save their remarkable price. For 250 baht you'll get your own bathroom, albeit a Thai-style squat, a window, and some space, while it’s 300 baht for your very own Western throne of a toilet. If you decide to go all out, 400 baht includes air-con, a welcome blessing during the hot, smoggy months of February, March, and April.
The difference between the bare bone rooms on the lower floors, and the much more pleasant rooms on the upper floors, complete with pleasant verandas and beautiful greenery, is striking, so we’d recommend splurging if it’s within your budget. Long-term stays are also possible, with prices ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 baht a month, though mind you, some of the more comfortable spaces, with balconies, desks and such, require advance booking. A testament to Giant’s cemented popularity and chill vibe is that even when we visited in low season, the place was absolutely full.
Regardless of whatever room you choose, Giant throws in attractive perks like free coffee, tea, water and WiFi. Owner Joe describes Giant as a family place, due in part to the communal kitchen, TV and DVDs that are up for grabs, and the pleasant garden space, perfect for an afternoon spent reading or musing. When it comes to the kind of family you’d meet at Giant, don’t expect to find your over-achieving cousin who works in finance, or your anal sister obsessed with the impeccable apartment; at Giant, you’re much more likely to find your fun uncle who’s travelled the world, or your cousin, the reiki healer and raw chocolate chef. Owner Joe sports long, partly dreaded hair, and enough personality to command the respect, admiration, and friendship of many returning guests.
And if one Giant Guesthouse isn’t enough, there’s also Giant 2, meant to handle the Giant overflow, and Giant Pai, furnished with a similar shared kitchen, and rather beautiful bungalows overlooking a river.
By Claudia Sosa
Last updated on 28th November, 2013.