A chilled out vibe
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Quite possibly Bangkok’s most popular hostel, NapPark is consistently full of youthful backpackers looking to meet up and have some fun. We found the facilities mediocre, staff disorganised and value a bit questionable, but the highly social atmosphere is all that most guests seem to care about.
NapPark always buzzes with activity, and it’s unusual that the cheaper beds can be scored as walk-ins. Staff are neither friendly nor unfriendly — it’s obvious that they see backpackers come and go by the dozen each day. The hostel offers onward transport bookings and a handful of tours, though judging by the incomplete info and rather lazy attitude received by a guest who inquired about transport to Chiang Mai, the service seems questionable. Security is solid, with key-cards required to access the stairs from downstairs and again for each room.
Air-conditioned dorms come in four options — 22 bed “economy” rooms with no windows for 400 baht, 22 bed “standard” rooms with big windows for 440 baht, and eight-bed female or mixed “superior” rooms for 520 baht. Standard and economy editions are smartly designed with long lines of bunks separated by white pull-down screens, which allow for a fair amount of privacy despite the high number of guests in a single room. Each bunk comes with reading lamp, electrical outlet and locker.
On the other hand, the mattresses set on basic white steel frames are thin and rather hard, sheets a bit scratchy, and the lower bunk is placed directly on polished concrete floors that were moist enough to dampen the soles of our feet. The rooms have a cold, spartan feel. Apart from the clammy floors, though, cleanliness is commendable given that the larger rooms are nearly always full.
On the top floor, superior dorms are more spacious, less damp, and have polished white walls adorned with murals of golden Bodhi trees. While they’re not bad, we’d spend the extra 70 baht on a private pod dorm with personal TV at nearby Suneta Hostel.
On each floor, small but clean shared bathrooms are separated by gender. We liked the copper basin sinks and dark wood doors, but with roughly 10 people sharing just two showers and two toilets, you’ll want to wash up early — or get in line.
Sharing the air-conditioned ground floor with reception, the hostel’s main, rather dark common lounge features a bar, four communal computers and giant mattresses where guests can lie about and mingle. Buttressing the entrance, a smaller outside lounge has Thai axe pillows placed around low-lying tables and an old spirit tree, as well as a juice, smoothie and coffee bar. On the top floor, a small but pleasant garden area lies just outside of a quiet common room with a desk, a few books and floor cushions.
NapPark is located at the western end of Tani Road, a stone’s throw from Soi Rambutri and Khao San Road just south of that. Unlike those two strips of unabashed backpacker mania, Tani retains, for now at least, a “local” element with its cheap clothes and food stalls that line the footpaths. The Chao Phraya River and Phra Arthit express boat pier are an easy 10-minute walk to the west. Nighttime noise is more often the result of partying guests rather than traffic.
Speaking only of facilities, value and service, we wouldn’t quite put NapPark in the same league as the aforementioned Suneta, Khaosan Immjai or Rang Kha Mhin, which is located directly across the street. Yet there’s no doubt that the lively social scene elevates NapPark from run-of-the-mill to perfect-for-the-right-person. If your top priority is to make friends with other budget travellers, this is arguably the best choice around.
Check rates at NapPark Hostel - rated 8.4/10 on Agoda.com.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.