Jul 08 2012
A short walk from Surasak BTS (sky train) station between Sathorn Road and Silom Road in one of Bangkok’s largest gem selling districts, Saphai Pae Hostel is among the city’s best budget options for those wanting to avoid the debauchery of Khao San Road.
Like many of its neighbours on Surasak Road, the nine-storey building housed a number of gemstone dealers. But in 2010, the owner transformed the building into a hostel. With its bright yellow, black and silver theme inside and out, Saphai Pae certainly catches your attention.
Apart from an outstanding northeastern Thai restaurant around the corner on Si Wiang Road, there’s not a whole lot going on in the immediate vicinity around Saphai Pae. However, with a bar, restaurant, lounge, pool table, plenty of free communal computers, free WiFi throughout, “plus size” lockers and coin-op laundry facilities, the hostel is very much self-sufficient. Huge windows allow in plenty of light, and with its comfy couches and spacious, funky atmosphere, the lobby-lounge-restaurant area makes for a great place to kick back.
While Saphai Pae is most certainly not in the middle of the action, its location is still a selling point. A 10-minute walk to historic Sri Mariamman temple, a clutch of good Indian restaurants, the vibrant dining, shopping and nightlife of Silom Road, and less than five minutes’ walk to a sky train station that’s just one stop from the Chao Phraya River, this is an excellent home-base for exploring the city. Many might also appreciate that apart from the hostel itself, Surasak Road is far from touristy, so the location lends a feel for real, everyday Bangkok.
Brightening the walls throughout the building are colourful and youthful — but not cheesy — urban-inspired murals featuring maps of the world and Bangkok landmarks. The building’s tastefully polished concrete walls, and bright, shiny tile floors still look as though they were finished yesterday. The entire place is spotless.
Accommodation comes in several well-thought out forms. Guests can choose from mixed dorms with 10 beds (330 baht per bed), eight beds (360 baht), six beds (390 baht), or four beds (420 baht). Two separate dorms just for females are also available with either eight or six beds. Dorms feature wide, soft beds with fresh linens, and even the ten-bed mixed room offers loads of space. Each bed is also equipped with its own reading light. Shared bathrooms (male and female) are simple but large, clean and modern.
A couple of private rooms with shared bath and no TVs or fridges that sleep up to four are also available for 1,000 baht. These are spacious, simple and clean with large windows that let in loads of light, making them solid options for couples or small groups wanting some privacy.
On the higher floors you’ll find similarly sized but better appointed deluxe and superior rooms (the deluxe is a little bigger) with comfortable queen beds, TVs, fridges, in-room lock boxes and modern attached polished concrete bathrooms that wouldn’t look out of place in a five-star hotel. In the 1,300 to 1,700 baht range, Saphai Pae’s private rooms with attached baths are outstanding flashpacker material.
We found the yellow shirt-donning young staff to be welcoming, enthusiastic and professional. Upon reaching reception we were immediately met by a team of workers, all of whom granted us a big smile, a positive attitude, more than adequate English speaking abilities, and the ability to tell us exactly what rooms were available for what prices off the top of their heads.
They were also kind enough to inform us that booking through the hostel’s website will typically cut the walk-in rates for private rooms down by at least 100 baht. If we actually were to book a room, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the staff let us use one of their computers to access the cheaper online rates — it was just that kind of an open and laid back but straightforward attitude that they had, which is refreshing to come across in a Southeast Asia hostel.
Saphai Pae has (for good reason) quickly become one of Bangkok’s top-rated hostels, so it’s wise to book ahead, especially if wanting a private room. If it’s full, you might consider heading around the corner to the old but relatively cheap King Royal Garden Inn, up the sky train track to Om Yim Lodge, or one of Silom’s hostels and guesthouses.
Saphai Pae Hostel
35 Surasak Road, Bangkok
T: (022) 382 322
BTS: Surasak exit 1
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