A poker player with an exceptional hand
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Opened in July of 2013, Chern Boutique Hostel is like a poker player with an exceptional hand. It’s situated off one of our favourite Bangkok roads near several key attractions and loads of great food. Seventy-two rooms, including eight different dorm rooms, are spotless and well equipped. Staff are laidback and helpful, and the minimalist design is refreshing.
The Thai word chern means ‘to invite’, but a more practical translation would be ‘come on in‘. Considering how the hostel’s flush white open lobby seemed to pull us off the street like a magnet, and how the receptionist’s composed demeanour made us feel at ease despite the fact that he was quite busy, it’s a fitting name. While showing us around, the manager laughed and joked with other staff members; it’s the sort of light and cheerful air you’d expect at a family-run guesthouse.
But when it comes to setup, Chern is anything but small. With glossy white tile floors, high ceilings and huge open-air windows, several common spaces offer respites from this otherwise tightly packed city. Well-done wall murals depicting the animals of traditional Thai proverbs lend character to the cool ambiance.
A ground-floor restaurant and bar weren’t quite yet open during our visit, but they already seemed like fine places to kick back with a book or laptop connected to the free house WiFi. In a corner of the second-floor common area, a handful of computers are provided free for guests. With plenty of tropical greenery, the stone path that connects ground floor rooms to the lobby feels like it was plucked from a Ko Lanta resort.
The white theme continues into air-conditioned dorm rooms, available in eight-bed or four-bed, mixed or women-only varieties. All dorms currently fetch 400 baht per bed, though we were told this will increase to 500 baht once the hostel has been open a while. Each dorm bed comes with a thick mattress, fresh bedding, towel, private electrical outlet, reading lamp and locker. A long wooden desk and ‘ensuite’ bathroom are shared among guests in each dorm. All appliances are brand new, and all rooms require key cards for entry.
Private rooms are equipped with air-con, LCD TV, desk, safe, modern ensuite bathroom, large window, soft lighting, comfy beds on hardwood platforms and more Thai proverbs on the walls. In the room we checked out, “A Rabbit Aims for the Moon” instructs, “Don’t aim at the impossibilities; get grounded.” The standard double currently goes for 900 baht while a larger deluxe runs 1,200, but these rates are set to increase to 1,200/1,500 in the not-so-distant future. Even so, this is solid value given the quality.
If you want to stay away from the backpacker frenzy of Khao San Road but still within Bangkok’s historic district, Chern’s location is also a selling point . It’s tucked off a photogenic stretch of Bamrung Muang Road, where giant Buddha images spill out of temple supply shops onto the footpath. The Giant Swing, Wat Suthat, Wat Saket, Democracy Monument, Baan Bat and tons of incredible food are all a stone’s throw away. Khao San, the Grand Palace and the Chao Phraya River are a manageable 15-minute walk or five-minute tuk-tuk ride from Chern.
Overall, we were impressed by just about everything at Chern Boutique Hostel. Ambiance, staff, rooms, common spaces, value and location all seem top notch. The only thing left to say is, “Come on in.”
By David Luekens
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.