Clean and canalside
Phra Sumen Road (next to Khlong Lamphu), Bangkok T: 022) 800 388
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Year-old Korbua House is one of a few midrange hotels to have recently materialised in Bangkok’s Samsen area, just north of Khao San Road. Tucked beside Khlong Lamphu canal, the hotel offers fully kitted out rooms with more charm than some of its larger new counterparts. For flashpackers seeking a comfortable stay in the city’s historical district, Korbua is a solid choice.
Rooms come in three varieties and the only real difference between them is additional space and coffee/tea facilities in deluxe and executive editions. All have comfortable beds with traditional Thai silk liners, sliding glass doors that open on to balconies with canal views, LCD TVs, safes, fridges, air-con, key card entrance and rather sumptuous bathrooms with ceramic basin sinks and rain showers. All appliances and furnishings are modern and spotless, but dark hardwood floors, stained glass panels and turquoise tiles in the bathrooms add a sense of warmth that’s often overlooked in contemporary Thai hotels.
The standard room is adequately sized for a pair of travellers and, at 1,350 baht, priced right where we’d expect given the amenities. The deluxe runs 1,750 baht while the largest executive room fetches 1,850 — reasonable value for a comfy spread. We found Korbua to be an especially good fit for holidaying couples, but the lack of in-room desks doesn’t make it the best choice for business travellers.
While the rooms are great, it was Korbua’s laidback canalside ambiance that really drew us in. With dark orange tile floors, potted plants and decorative hanging lanterns and sea shells, the pleasant open-air lobby doubles as a cafe with a full bar. Tables perched directly beside the canal beckon guests to kick back, check email (WiFi is free), catch up on some reading or simply watch the water slide by. We found the uniformed staff professional and friendly.
Korbua is situated where a side street meets the canal, so the only traffic is in the form of motorbikes that occasionally cross a nearby bridge which leads to a series of alleyways. In a city known for pulsing energy and bustling streets, this is about as peaceful as it gets.
Cross the bridge and follow the alley to the left and you’ll emerge into the Samsen neighbourhood with its low-key traveller-friendly bars and cafes. The hotel is a three-minute stroll from Wat Bovornivet, an easy 10 minutes to Khao San and about 15 minutes to the Chao Phraya River and Phra Athit express boat pier. Loads of delicious food can be found in this area.
Finding the hotel is a tad tricky (see map); from the east side of Khao San Road, walk north on Tanao Road then take a soft right on to Bowon Niwet Road. At the end, cross Phra Sumen Road and look for the narrow alley — it will be to the left as you cross the street — that shoots north next to Kasikorn Bank. Korbua House is located at the end of the alley, on the left just before the bridge. For similar rates and atmosphere, canalside Lamphu Tree House is another good midrange option a half-kilometre to the east.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.