Outstanding hospitality and value
Lanna-style boutique hotels have flooded the sois of Chiang Mai in recent years, and even though HeyHa555 Dormtel aims for just the opposite aesthetic, its owners offer up Thai hospitality at its Lanna best. Located just south of Chiang Mai Rajabhat University, guests at HeyHa are a short motorbike drive from the old city and have access to non-touristy, Thai student life at its best; 30 baht food stalls, karaoke bars, cafes and D-milk shops abound in the Chang Puak area.
The HeyHa555 facade is an impressive, minimalistic affair of wood and concrete. Its 12 rooms take on a similar air and are simple yet functional, with tempting duvets, attractive bathrooms outfitted with glass sliding doors, and pleasant, albeit small, floor-to-ceiling windows. The concrete floors and bricks can give the rooms a slightly clinical feel, yet the spaciousness beats anything at a similar price range in the old city. What’s more, the building was finished in December of 2012, making HeyHa a refreshing alternative for backpackers needing a clean break — if you’ll forgive the pun–– from a grimy dorm.
The cheapest rooms have one queen bed and go for 555 baht (HeyHa555! Get it?), though an extra 100 baht will place you in a much larger double room with a king bed or in a twin room, well worth the extra $3. On the higher end for a backpacker, HeyHa is an amazing value option when you consider all the extras; all rooms have private bathrooms, hot water, air-con, WiFi and cable, and guests are welcome to make use of the free rental bicycles, washing machine, and the common kitchen area offering complimentary tea, coffee and a choice opportunity to friend other guests. All in all, HeyHa 555 is a no-brainer choice for young couples or friends travelling on a budget but wishing to give themselves a bit of a treat.
The most outstanding draw of HeyHa555 lies however not in its rooms or in its communal fridge, but rather in its hosts, Tee and Ratcha, who go above and beyond when unasked, introducing guests to their local friends, showing them around the city, taking them along to shabu shabu dinners, and even picking them up from the airport.
And with hosts as chill as these, expect not a tour of Doi Suthep, but access and recommendations to the hippest, artsiest happenings in Chiang Mai. If you’re looking to explore beyond the packaged daytrips of Chiang Mai, personable Tee and Ratcha will be the best resource you’ll have.
By Claudia Sosa
Last updated on 25th September, 2013.