Great value near Wat Pho
Operating out of two different buildings within steps of Wat Pho and the river, The Royal Thatien Village offers excellent value for well-equipped rooms in the flashpacker range.
It appears that both of the restored three-storey buildings used to serve as homes and shops. With rooms upstairs and a popular Thai eatery drawing locals and travellers on the ground floor, Building A sits at a bustling corner directly across from the main entrance to Wat Pho. Score a top-floor room and you could get a view to this famous temple’s graceful chedis and the imposing wihaan that houses one of the largest reclining Buddha images in Thailand.
About 30 metres past Building A down a side street, Building B would be our choice due to the quieter setting and more space in the ground floor common area. On the upper floors, both buildings have shared balconies accessible directly from many of the rooms, and we like the greenery and higher degree of privacy on the Building B balconies. We were also told that a couple of rooms in Building B afford partial views of the river.
Accessed by narrow wooden stairs no matter which building you choose, all rooms were designed for two guests and come with choice of twin or queen bed, including some in Building B set on four-post frames. You also get a flatscreen TV, fridge, hot-water kettle, desk, free WiFi and clean hot-water bathroom—a strong list of extras considering the low prices and coveted location.
Some rooms come with loads of swing-open windows to go with the hardwood floors and perhaps an antique or two. The hardwood, amber paint and Thai-style furnishings are all classy in an understated way, even if a picture or two on the walls would be nice. Some rooms are a lot smaller than others but there’s no price difference, so you might ask to see the options. A receptionist was happy to show us every available room when we inquired as walk-ins.
Though two different staffers were helpful to us, the place is definitely a guesthouse and you should not expect larger hotel-calibre services. The reception desk stands in a little nook behind the restaurant, and we had to call a posted phone number to find staff (they showed up no more than two minutes after we called).
Beyond Wat Pho, the location puts you within easy walking distance of the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Sanam Luang, Phra Chan amulet market, the National Museum, the Museum of Siam and the flower market at Pak Khlong Talad. From nearby Tha Tien Pier you can hop across the river to Wat Arun, where river ferries pick up passengers heading upriver towards Khao San Road or down to meet the skytrain at Saphan Taksin.
What we don’t like about the location are the many shady characters who hang around the attractions and try to sweet-talk tourists into tuk tuk tours that end up at dodgy gem shops and the like. While the area also draws plenty of locals who work at the nearby ministries and Thammasat University, it’s gradually taken on a Disneyland-esque feel and big package tour groups are common.
Also worth considering is the nearby Arom D Hostel, which has its own cafe and a few solid private rooms (no dorms) that fetch similar prices as The Royal Thatien. The cramped loft rooms at Chetuphon Gate Hotel are also decent alternatives if The Royal Thatien is full.
Address: 391/1-2 Maharat Rd, Bangkok
T: (095) 151 5545;
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º29'32.25" E, 13º44'40.86" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 600B to 1,500B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Dbl air-con private bathroom||1,200 baht||1,200 baht|
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
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