Long-standing backpacker haunt
The long-running Tavee Guesthouse remains a solid choice for those looking to avoid the all-out hippie scene in an old backpacker hood near the National Library.
At first glance, the old red-and-white sign down a narrow alley lends the impression that Tavee is a tiny guesthouse. In fact the property is deceptively large, spanning a pair of two-floor buildings that blend classic fretted wood with modern brushed concrete and exposed bricks.
Wander beyond the reception desks and cafe and you’ll pass through a long corridor leading to more common spaces and surprisingly large and clean shared bathrooms with hot water. Fish tanks, lanterns, oversized ceramic vases and abstract paintings combine to create a thrown-together Indochinese theme.
Set on the upper floor and relying on the shared bathrooms situated downstairs, the cheapest fan rooms are small but adequate for most budget travellers. The dark wood and classical Thai-style paintings border on the elegant, and soft linens tucked over thin mattresses looked and smelled fresh. You also get a window, though fans mounted on the walls above and beside the beds are unlikely to keep the rooms cool on the hottest nights.
More cash bags you a larger air-con room with woven bamboo walls complimenting small ensuite bathrooms and firm beds on chunky log frames. While comfortable, these are on the ground floor and don’t get much natural light. Family rooms are also available with fold out sofas, and double rooms come with choice of one large bed or two single frames.
The staffer on our most recent visit seemed impatient and brusque while showing us a few of the rooms, and some of the “house rules” posted in the hall seemed a bit uptight to us. You’ll also find some posted travel info, but only for tours and transport that we assume earn the guesthouse commissions. The same extended family also owns the neighbouring Sri Ayutthaya Guesthouse, which has a very similar vibe to go with comparable rooms and rates.
Compared to the nearby Shanti Lodge, Tavee offers better-value rooms but lacks the inviting restaurant and bar. While hippies flock to Shanti, Tavee is more of a straightforward Thai guesthouse. The neighbouring Sawatdee Guesthouse was closed for renovations when we last passed through; we also suggest taking a look over there before you put your money down at Tavee.
This cluster of guesthouses, travel offices and Thai massage shops comprises a self-contained little neighbourhood that has long attracted backpackers seeking a quieter alternative to the immediate Khao San Road area, which is two kilometres to the south. Expect a mix of travellers and locals around the old shophouses, street kitchens and temples.
Address: 83 Sri-Ayutthaya Rd Soi 14, Bangkok
T: (02) 280 1447; (02) 282 5983;
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º30'13.48" E, 13º46'19.31" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under 600B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Sgl fan share bathroom||400 baht||400 baht|
|Dbl fan share bathroom|
500 baht for a twin room
|450 baht||450 baht|
|Triple fan share bathroom||700 baht||700 baht|
|Dbl air-con private bathroom||750 baht||750 baht|
|Triple air-con private bathroom||1,050 baht||1,050 baht|
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
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