Comfy and cosy
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Hidden behind racks of clothes for sale near Khao San Road, Baan Bovorn is a fine choice for budget travellers seeking a cosy, homely hostel experience. This family-run spot is clean and inviting, with no shortage of character.
Opened in mid 2013, the hostel occupies one of the tall and narrow four-storey ‘townhouses’ that popped up by the hundreds in Bangkok during the 1960s and ’70s construction boom. These cookie cutter concrete dwellings aren’t winning any architectural design awards, to say the least, but Baan Bovorn makes the most of it. Original wood floors have been retouched. Swing-open windows feature tasteful orange and blue stained-glass panes. Wall murals depict people and places of ‘traditional Siam’, including a Thai village Songkran (Thai new year) scene that adds colour to an otherwise dim lobby.
The theme is perhaps a tip-of-the-hat to nearby Wat Bovornivet, a royal grade temple that includes some of Thailand’s most highly regarded mural work. Khao San Road is also an easy five-minute walk away, while the Chao Phraya river, Democracy Monument and a khlong boat pier are reachable after a 10- to 15-minute stroll. Sibsamhang Road sees some traffic, though street noise should be manageable as it’s not a major thoroughfare.
After a warm welcome from a receptionist who made up for her limited English with a positive attitude, we were led up a narrow stairwell out back. All three upper floors include modern shared hot water bathroom facilities, one four-bed dorm room, one private double room and a small chill space with cushioned benches, a table and attractive portraits of Thai people in traditional dress.
Dorms come in mixed, male- or female-only varieties, all for 350 baht per bed. The rooms are long and narrow, with two bunks on yellow steel frames to one side, a small desk on the other, and a large window at the far end. Each bed comes with soft, clean bedding and a fuzzy blanket on a firm mattress, Thai style axe pillow (a nice touch), private electrical outlet and reading lamp. Mounted on the wall above each bed, personal lock boxes are big enough to fit an SLR camera with a couple of lenses, but probably not an 18-inch laptop (small to medium sized laptops should fit with a squeeze). Large packs can be left at reception when you’re not around.
We found the dorm rooms to be quite inviting, particularly if you’re the sort who prefers a cosy space that’s not shared among 16 other people. If you’re travelling in a group of three or four, booking an entire dorm room seems like a great idea.
Similarly clean private rooms cost 600 baht for a solo traveller or 800 for a pair. Considering these also rely on the shared bathroom facilities and include nothing more than a twin bed that practically fills up the whole room, these rates are a tad higher than we’d expect. The receptionist did mention that — for both dorms and privates — the price drops for stays of longer than two nights.
WiFi is free, and a simple breakfast is served complimentary to all guests in the open-fronted ground-floor cafe. A limited menu of Thai basics and sandwiches is offered throughout the day, though we’d pass in favour of the bounty of street food served at all hours in this part of town.
Baan Bovorn is the sort of place that we reckon will leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling. Accommodation is basic but comfortable, with a few unexpected touches and the atmosphere iswelcoming. There is however one caveat — staff seem to insist on taking photos of all guests and posting them to the hostel’s Facebook page (which serves as their web page). On the one hand, it’s nice to be able to see the sorts of people who stay here. On the other, it might be a tad awkward if you’re camera-shy.
Other solid dorm choices in this area include nearby Rang Kha Mhin, which has a similar size and homely atmosphere, while Immjai is a better choice if you’re keen on meeting other travellers. If modern style is your thing, check out Suneta and NapPark.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.