50 Trok Rong Mai (between Phra Arthit Rd and Soi Rambutri), Bangkok T: (02) 282 2795 , (02) 629 0101 F: (02) 629 0303
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Part of a small collection of properties run by the New Siam group, New Siam II Guesthouse is an affordable option for flashpackers and families keen on enjoying a swimming pool and excellent old city location. Though older rooms are showing some wear, the value is still among the best of any hotel in this part in Bangkok.
New Siam II covers two large five-storey concrete structures, with the “front building” built in more recent times than the original. Newer rooms cost only slightly more than the well-worn older editions, so you might request the front building. Despite the guesthouse name, we’d classify the large property firmly in the hotel category.
All rooms are equipped with creature comforts that betray the under 1,000 baht rates, including air-con, TVs, mini-fridges, electronic safes, small balconies and shower curtains in the bathrooms. Ceiling fans are also provided in all rooms; you can save 100 baht by requesting the air-con and hot water to be switched off.
While the above might sound fabulous, keep in mind that this is not the lap of luxury. Beds in the older rooms can be uncomfortably firm; appliances, desks and other furnishings have seen better days; the white-tile floors are utilitarian; bathrooms are small and you’ll find some visible scuff marks on the walls. The traditional Thai decor seems to have been thrown in as an afterthought.
Even so, at these rates, you simply won’t find other Khao San area establishments with swimming pools and rooms that are this spacious and well-equipped. The only exception is the newest of the New Siam sister properties — more on that below. New Siam II sets itself apart by offering large hotel style accommodation at prices that even some backpackers can afford.
The ground-floor swimming pool is within diving distance of a large restaurant serving baguettes along with standard Thai dishes and beer. Non-guests can use the pool for 200 baht per day, but even guests have to pay 30 baht a day for WiFi — not a huge sum though it still makes us cringe. The staff members who showed us around were quite pleasant and spoke good English.
New Siam II’s location is hard to argue with, especially if you appreciate a quiet night’s sleep. It spans almost the entire length of a narrow alley with a few trees providing some atmosphere. Phra Arthit Road and its numerous cafes and bars is around one corner, Soi Rambutri and its colourful traveller scene around the other. A Chao Phraya Express Boat pier is a three-minute walk away, while Khao San Road and various attractions can be reached in 10 to 20 minutes.
The original New Siam Guesthouse has cheaper, more rundown rooms on nearby Soi Chana Songkhram. Across Phra Arthit Road is the pricier New Siam Riverside and its river views, while the smaller/newer New Siam III Guesthouse has similarly equipped rooms without the pool on Soi Rambutri. The pick of the bunch just might be New Siam Palace View, which is brand new as of early 2015 and also has a swimming pool to go with modern rooms, some with Grand Palace views, for the same rates as New Siam II.
Compared to other local hotel groups, like the dismal Sawasdee and overpriced Dang Derm, New Siam sets the standard for straightforward, good-value flashpacker accommodation in the Khao San area. Confused about which of their properties is best for you? More details can be found, and bookings made, on the blanket New Siam website.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 15th October, 2015.