2005 Top guesthouses in Bangkok

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First published 14th May, 2005

This story has been updated. Please check the Top Bangkok Hostels for 2014 story here, or read on! With hundreds of guesthouses spread across the city, Bangkok can be one of the trickiest places in Thailand to decide on a place to stay. Although the Khao San Road area is popular, other parts of Bangkok are just as good, if not better. So don't rush to follow the hordes to Khao San Road -- do your research -- there are a lot of other options out there -- and pick a guesthouse that will fit in your budget, suit your style and let you do what you need to do easily.

First up, decide why you are staying in Bangkok and what you want to do there. In Bangkok the mantra is location, location, location and unless you want to spend half your time stuck in traffic, you should consider somewhere close to your area of interest. The construction of the BTS and subway have made getting around some areas far easier, but huge stretches remain totally unserviced -- including Khao San Road.

Consider the following:

Khao San Road and its surrounds are good for:
Arranging onward travel
Organising visas
Hanging out with other backpackers
Eating lots of banana pancakes
Going out every night till late
Really cheap grotty guesthouses
Really good-value guesthouses
Experiencing a mostly un-Thai-like environment
No BTS or subway, but you do have the Express River Boat

Sukhumvit Road is good for:
Shopping, especially having clothes made
Eating at top-notch restaurants (both Thai and international)
Spending loads of money
Experiencing a mixed professional Thai-like environment
Really good quality guesthouses
Not so great for sightseeing
Both BTS and subway access

Siam Square is good for:
Shopping, shopping, shopping and some more shopping
Meeting Thais, particularly students
Food, glorious food -- Thai food around Siam Square is excellent
Good value guesthouses
BTS access

Soi Ngam Dupli is good for:
Access to Silom Road's bars and restaurants
Good Thai food
Close to Lumpini Park
Both BTS and subway access
Guesthouses, with a few exceptions, are not so good, but that may change soon

Khao San Road at nightNext up, consider what you are looking for in a good guesthouse. Here are our recommendations for some good Bangkok choices.

Khao San Road and surrounds
Shambara Boutique Guesthouse remains an outstanding choice with spotless rooms and really friendly staff. They accept reservations online which is handy for those late evening arrivals, and most importantly they have a darn good restaurant out front. Buddy Lodge is more of a hotel than a guesthouse, but if you want all the mod-cons, including a pool, right on Khao San Road, it's difficult to beat. They accept online reservations. Prakorbs House is old-style Khao San Road. Dinky little rooms in a quaint wooden house may not suit all, but for many, it's perfect. They have a hidden-away garden cafe to protect you from the Khao San Road maelstrom. They do not accept online reservations.

The West Banglamphu area -- between Khao San Road and the river -- is home to some chirpy spots. New Siam II is well hidden away with a pool and is very professionally run. It's particularly popular with families. Rambuttri Village Inn, Mango Lagoon Place and Lamphu House are all also good choices. While none are overflowing with charm, they're clean and well-maintained. Rambuttri Village Inn also has a pool.

The National Library Area, about a 10-minute walk north of Khao San Road, is another great choice. There you're far enough from the hordes for some peace and quiet, but the KSR mayhem is just a walk away. This is also a far more Thai part of Bangkok. Shanti Lodge is a standout here, with some of the best staff in the area and a plethora of good rooms. So popular in fact they're often full. Unfortunately, they don't take reservations online. Tavee Guesthouse, just around the corner from Shanti, is also a great spot, with a comfortable little garden and a mix of long- and short-term guests.

The approach to Sala ThaiSukhumvit Road
Along Sukhumvit Road, choose between two particularly good places: Suk11 on the low sois and Bangkok Centre Sukumvit 25 just past Asok. The latter takes online reservations, but Suk11 doesn't. They're both very popular, with Suk11 going for a funky Thai-wooden look while Bangkok Centre Sukumvit 25 is brand-spanking-new. Suk11 is more immersed in the Sukhumvit westerner's ghetto and some may find the surrounding area pretty seedy, while Bangkok Centre Sukumvit 25's is in a slightly more Thai area. If we had to favour one we'd choose Bangkok Centre Sukumvit 25 by a whisker for its sparkling rooms and affordable dorms.

Siam Square
The guesthouses in this area are all crammed down Soi Kasem San 1, a short walk from MBK and Siam Square. There is little to distinguish them from one another, but our favourite is A-One Inn -- comfortable clean and friendly.

Soi Ngam Dupli
This was the original traveller's centre in Bangkok until Khao San Road took off. What remains is pretty motley, with one good option: the Sala Thai Daily Mansion, which is sleepy with a pleasant roof-top garden and terracearea. We think some of the other places may improve around here as with the opening of a subway station less than a 10-minute walk away, masses of the city are within your reach.

Bangkok has more than 100 guesthouses and no shortage of fine places to stay. Don't put up with a 100B dive when there could be a 120B gem just around the corner!

About the author:
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.

Read 3 comment(s)

  • I dont agree with your assessment on Soi Ngam Duplee. No BTS access, not close to Silom, and not really close to Lumpini.
    It is only good for gays who like the nearby sauna

    Posted by Armin on 8th February, 2009

  • Soi Ngam Dupli is quite wired from today's hot spot now. It's dated. If you are new to Bangkok and want to explore more about Bangkok. Stay in the city area with BTS stations close by is the best solution. The traffic is very bad so BTS is awesome now. Silom is also a great overlooked location. millions things to do and easy to commute. It became a new hub for hostels and young generation too. There are some hip hostels in that area such as HQ hostel, etc, you might want to explore more.

    Posted by James on 14th May, 2009

  • I am interesting two or three nights in Guesthouse Bangkok in area central.
    Nights: 18-19 about 20 and esact address.
    It is need the price for every night. Thank you, Gianni T.

    Posted by Gianni Tamiozzo on 9th December, 2009

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