No satire, plenty of onions
Not a spinoff of the satirical newspaper, The Onion Hostel takes its name from a bunch of wholesale onion shops located nearby. The quirky spot offers good-value dorms and private rooms, and at research time it’s the only place to stay within the Pak Khlong Talad flower market.
You will see onions! Shops piled full of white, red and yellow onion—plus shallot, potato, chilli and more—line the lane in this relatively quiet corner of the market. Take a few steps in any direction to find a colourful blur of cut flowers and flower garlands. As with pretty much any Thai fresh market, you should expect less than pristine conditions as vendors wash and sort their produce on the pavement. But the hostel itself appeared immaculate.
The Onion occupies a converted shophouse sporting faded amber paint on an original mortar exterior that appears to be around a century old. It greets you with some seats on a little front porch and then a reception room set beside a similarly cramped common room, where complimentary breakfast is served at a single wooden dining table.
An enthusiastic staff offers an eight-bed and 12-bed mixed dorm, both with bunks set up at angles in a curved design following the contour of the building. Separated by wood dividers, bunks come with comfortable mattresses, reading lamps, electrical outlets and large lockers, and some have a window looking down to the street. Though clean, the white-walled shared bathrooms are on the small side and you may need to wait for a shower at busy times.
Also accessed by a notably narrow curved stairway, a couple of small private rooms were full when we stopped by, but we reckon they’re worth considering if you don’t mind climbing to the top floor. One of them sleeps four and relies on the shared bathrooms, while another has a double mattress set up on the floor and comes with an ensuite wet bathroom.
The location is an obvious win if you’re keen to get to know the flower market but is also convenient in other ways. It’s right next to Yodpiman river ferry pier and within a kilometre walk of Wat Pho, Pahurat (Little India) and Chinatown. Starbucks is directly across the street, though we highly recommend the coffee and carrot cake at Floral Cafe on Chakphet Rd. Nearby Memorial Bridge is also worth a walk for a river view and access to some worthwhile offbeat attractions over on the west bank, like Santa Cruz Church and Guan Yu Shrine.
If you seek a dorm closer to Wat Pho and the Grand Palace and don’t mind spending more than 500 baht for it, Pho Hostel is another clean option. Otherwise you could head further north to Here Hostel or Once Again Hostel, both of which are excellent.
Address: 131/1 Soi Thaklang (off Chakphet Rd), Bangkok
T: (063) 314 6444; (093) 359 6566;
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º29'44.21" E, 13º44'28.07" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under 600B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
420 baht for the eight bed dorm
|350 baht||350 baht|
|Dbl air-con private bathroom||1,200 baht||1,200 baht|
|Quad air-con share bathroom||1,600 baht||1,600 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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