A class act
If you’re looking to avoid a party scene, Once Again Hostel is a class act with a great old town location, a cool cafe, a striking temple vista from the rooftop and some of the comfiest bunks we’ve ever come across.
Entirely a hostel with no private rooms available, dorms come with choice of six, eight or 12 bunks, including a women-only edition. Rooms with fewer beds are a bit pricier but all rooms have similar designs relying on brushed concrete floors, wooden walls and floor-to-ceiling window at the far end. The eight-bed room that we stayed in was immaculate.
Bunks are set up lengthwise with solid wood dividers and curtains providing a strong measure of privacy. You also get more width than your average bunk, and the mattresses, pillows and comforters are nice and cushy. Each bunk also has a personal cabinet for locking up valuables, and on top of that is enough extra space to keep your pack at the foot of the bed. The only oddity is how reading lamps and electrical plugs are situated near the feet, rather than the head. All dorms are accessed by stairs and two different keycard locks.
The two-floor building is long and wide, allowing for plenty of breathing room among the brushed cement surfaces punctuated by framed photos taken in the historic district that surrounds the hostel. On the same floor as the dorms, large shared bathrooms are divided by gender and equipped with plenty of hot-water showers and clothes-drying racks.
Common areas start with an airy ground-floor cafe run by the eco-friendly folks from Cafe Velodome. The coffee is quality, Thai rice plates are tasty and chocolate muffins served warm with fudge oozing from the centre. This ground-floor space also has floor-to-ceiling windows, high ceilings, a shared computer and lots of tables and chairs. More seats are found out front on a plant-draped deck, near the billiards table and rental bicycles.
Pass beyond the reception desk to find a shared kitchen where you can use the fridge and refill containers with filtered water. On the second floor is a hangout room sporting a loveseat, beanbag chairs, a widescreen TV, books, board games and more of the wide windows. But our favourite spot to chill is the rooftop with long tables overlooking ornate rooftops and spires at a trio of nearby temples. Sparkling high above the streets, Wat Saket’s golden mount and the Loha Prasat of Wat Ratchanatdaram are both within sight.
While they don’t seem to go out of their way to engage with guests, staffers are very polite and helpful whenever guests need something. An advantage of staying here are the free tours (guests pay for their own food and transport) to not-so-typical places in Bangkok, including the historic (and delicious) Nang Loeng Market, the Baan Bat monk bowl village and another old community, Charoen Chai, that crafts paper offerings for Chinese funerals down in Chinatown. During our stay there was also a poster offering a chance to “play football with the locals.”
Depending on your point of view, the potential drawback is that Once Again is not a party hostel—in fact it doesn’t even serve beer. With so much space in a few different common areas, we found most guests with their heads buried in their phones rather than chatting with each other. For more of a social scene you’ll probably be better served by the nearby Here Hostel, which also ranks among our favourite hostels in Bangkok.
The location is hard to beat if you want to stay near loads of historical sights in the old quarter. Once Again’s sleek facade looks a little out of place on narrow Soi Samranrat, which is otherwise lined by humble street kitchens, traditional pharmacies and Wat Thepthitdaram across the street. Khao San Road is a couple of kilometres to the northwest, and you can catch a canal boat to Bangkok’s modern side at the nearby Phanfah Leelard Pier.
Once Again is often full, and should that be the case you won’t have to look far to find a decent bunk elsewhere. Around the corner on Mahachai Road, Golden Mountain Hostel is a smaller place with well-equipped dorms and a similarly low-key vibe. Also nearby is the older Niras Cultural Hostel, which has less-inviting dorms but also a couple of lovely private rooms set in an old shophouse.
Address: 20 Soi Samranrat (off Mahachai Rd), Bangkok
T: (092) 620 5445;
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º30'11.84" E, 13º45'10.58" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under 600B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
490 to 520 baht for eight-bed rooms; 570 baht for six-bed room.
|420 baht||420 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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