One of a kind
A key player on Rambuttri Road, the long-running Villa Cha-Cha remains a top pick for flashpackers seeking a swimming pool, generous common space and rooms with an artistic touch.
In an unusual setup, the guesthouse has entrances on both Tani Road to the north and Rambuttri Road, where bamboo trim joins funky statues and loads of tables at a large bar and restaurant that’s also popular with non-guests. Set to mostly downtempo and reggae music, the scene is suitable for meeting other travellers but with a mellower vibe than the bigger bars down the road.
Open-sided common areas filled with abstract paintings and an array of Asian statuary stretch between the two entrances. Quieter than the restaurant terrace, this is where you’ll find the small swimming pool rimmed by wooden chairs, a few loungers, tables and more statues. It doesn’t get much sunlight due to the surrounding buildings and a couple of trees, and the water looked rather cloudy to us. You’ll also find a tour desk and free WiFi, which can be patchy upstairs.
On several of our anonymous visits over the years, receptionists have always given us warm greetings and happily showed us several rooms accessed by a small lift in the main crimson-tinted concrete building. Hallways lack the pizazz of the ground floor common space, but Cha-Cha’s style returns when you enter rooms decorated with bamboo accents and charming paintings of Thailand scenes. We were pleased to see that beige tiles had replaced old carpets on the floors, and all three rooms that we checked out looked and smelled clean.
The cheapest “economy rooms” are cramped but equipped with air-con, soft linens on comfortable beds, LCD TVs, fridges and emerald-tile wet bathrooms with a fair amount of space. Our choice would be a “junior queen” edition with a daybed, plus-size safe and partitioned shower in a larger bathroom. The “junior king” is similar but with a tad more space and a view of the pool through wide windows. A “royal family” option comes with two queen beds and a separate living room with sofa.
While some nighttime noise should be expected form the inevitable tipsy travellers in the hallways, Cha-Cha’s rooms are far enough from Khao San to escape the thumping bass that can be clearly heard in nearby Green House’s rooms, for example. For the best chance at getting a good night’s sleep, request a room on an upper floor on the side of the building closer to Tani Road.
Those interested in Cha-Cha’s higher-end rooms might consider parting with a bit more cash to stay at the nearby Dewan Bangkok, while Buddy Lodge is a solid option if you prefer to stay right on Khao San Road. If you want a pool but can’t quite swing Cha-Cha’s rates, consider taking the 700-metre stroll west to New Siam II.
In 2016, Villa Cha-Cha opened a second guesthouse closer to the river on Phra Arthit Road, which has similar rooms but lacks a pool and does not have the same lively scene at the attached restaurant. It could be worth a look if you want to be closer to the river ferry pier, though rates are roughly the same as at the original property and you also won’t find river views.
Address: 36 Tani Rd (also an entrance on Rambuttri Rd), Bangkok
T: (02) 280 1025; F: (02) 280 1024
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º29'50.87" E, 13º45'37.63" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 1,500B to 4,000B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room|
|1,200 baht||1,200 baht|
|Superior double room|
|1,800 baht||1,800 baht|
|Deluxe double room|
Junior King, Up to 2,800 baht for Royal King
|2,100 baht||2,100 baht|
|Family room||3,200 baht||3,200 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.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Khao San Road