Mar 03 2013
De Talak’s modest claim is that it’s “The Ordinary Hostel“. It’s situated in a very “local” and ordinary Bangkok neighbourhood that’s off the tourist trail, and it doesn’t rely on any over-the-top funky design schemes or novelties to set it apart. We think this deliberately unassuming theme will work well for the right person. You don’t have to be “ordinary” to stay here, but if seeking a clean, cheap hostel with an unpretentious vibe, de Talak should be right up your alley.
Inside the hostel, a small ground floor reception area leads back to the kitchen, and a cosy second floor lounge has a large flatscreen TV and computer station to go with bean bag chairs and a couple of guitars. The entire building is air-con and WiFi is free throughout. Quarters are a tad tight in the common spaces — townhouses like these were built to expand up rather than out — but the place is very well-kept and has a homely feel. It did in fact serve as as someone’s home for many years before the hostel moved in.
Three dorm rooms each come with six beds and are available in mixed, female- or male-only varieties. A splatter of pink and lime green is thrown in, but walls are mainly flush white to match the tile floors. Each dorm room has wide, wall-size windows and curtains are thick enough to provide privacy but also allow some light to filter through. Bunks don’t come with reading lamps but plugs are within arm’s reach. Bathrooms are “ensuite”, meaning that a single clean, simple hot water bathroom is shared between whoever is occupying the same room. All guests also get a private, medium-size locker.
At 240 baht each, these are among the cheapest bunks you’ll find anywhere in the city, and because only six beds are included they’re also quite spacious — an extra bunk or two could have easily been crammed in. Given the cleanliness and general facilities, all of de Talak’s rates are very competitive — don’t expect the same quality at other Bangkok hostels with dorms for under 250.
De Talak also has a spacious private double room with flatscreen TV and ensuite private bathroom. This is a steal at 690 baht, but not surprisingly, it’s often occupied so be sure to book in advance. If you’re travelling in a group, a large, bright family room is also available for 1,000 baht.
Although other newish Bangkok hostels, like the Chilli, have surprised us with their off-the-beaten-track locations, de Talak takes it to another level. To get here, you’ll need to find Soi Phai Sing To near the corner of Rama III and Rama IV roads, then walk down a narrow side-alley that takes you past a bottle and can redemption centre before emerging into a hidden away block of residential town houses. Head around the corner and the hostel is in one of these 30 to 40 year-old utilitarian five-storey structures (see map). Thankfully, the hostel’s bright orange signs lead you right to it.
Apart from a handful of som tam and noodle soup vendors on Soi Phai Sing To, the immediate area offers little in the way of food options. Khlong Toei wet market is a five-minute walk away, however, and de Talak boasts a great kitchen area for those who prefer to cook for themselves. The laidback but welcoming staff sweetens the deal by offering complementary coconut ice cream to guests on weekdays, and free coffee and tea at any time.
A handful of restaurants are also found nearby on Rama IV Road, and de Talak is strategically located less than a five-minute walk from Khlong Toei MRT station. From there, it’s a mere two stops to two of Bangkok’s liveliest areas — Asok BTS station, Terminal 21 and Sukhumvit Road (not far from Soi 11) to the north and Sala Daeng BTS station, Lumpini Park and Silom Road to the west. If you’re into jogging, cycling or romantic swan boat cruises, the lovely Benjakiti Park is also a short walk from de Talak. Khao San Road, on the other hand, is a solid 30-45 minutes away by taxi or public transport, and that’s if you don’t go during rush hour.
We appreciate how de Talak’s main focus is on comfort and value rather than creating some sort of image, and the very low key vibe suits our tastes. With that said, it’s not the best choice for those wanting to stay in the middle of the action and have plenty of communal spaces to meet and party with other travellers. What de Talak does offer is a quiet and unique location that’s close to the subway within central Bangkok, a functional and comfortable space and a chilled-out atmosphere, all for almost as cheap as it gets. Depending on your personality, “ordinary” can be a definite selling point.
de Talak Hostel
14/33 Soi Phai Sing To (off Rama IV Road), Bangkok
T: (086) 887 4028 / (086) 332 0909
F: (022) 594 027
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