A great pool for 200 baht
The pseudo-Lanna-style Ben Guesthouse has an impressive exterior and a clean, well-cared for interior and, despite a somewhat eccentric location, represents very good value for money in both the budget and flashpacker ranges.
The high point is their splendid garden and spacious pool, giving the place an upmarket resort feel which the backpacker, or lower flashpacker, rates luckily don’t reflect. Placed around the garden and centrepiece pool are several separate buildings housing the various room choices. An old teak building adjacent to, and above, reception holds the fan rooms while a couple of larger, two-storey buildings, either side of the entrance—one brick, one teak—contain the air-con options. The newest and largest block rises three-storeys to the rear of the latter and contains perhaps the smartest offerings but they’d clearly run out of Lanna ideas by then and it lacks the charm of the older wooden constructions.
Rustic fan rooms in the original, teak building are high on atmosphere but lacking en-suite bathrooms go for the knockdown price of 200 and 300 baht, low and high seasons respectively, although that does include access to the pool.
All air-con rooms in the brick and wood blocks have private bathrooms and are simply decorated with bare brick walls or varnished wood panelling respectively and are clean and comfortable. There are no private balconies but every room—including the shared bathroom versions—do have a table and chairs outside on communal veranda areas and they’re equipped with fridge, cable TV and WiFi.
We weren’t so keen on the rooms in the new block where, with white walls and floor tiles, the lack of decor was more noticeable though furniture and fittings were also much newer. Tiny balconies are designed for a sneaky puff rather than actually sitting on and they do go for the same price so as we assume, with that quantity of rooms, availability won’t be a problem, you can probably take your pick anyway.
Ben’s location is not a strong point, with their estimated walking time from the centre of 15 minutes somewhat questionable, especially with a backpack. Furthermore it isn’t particularly easy to find being located down a series of suburban back streets. A tuk-tuk to the bus station will set you back 60 to 80 baht or taxi to the airport 200 baht and they’ll happily arrange transport for you.
The guesthouse can arrange tours, tickets and trekking trips and also offer bicycles and motorbikes for rent for 100 and 300 baht a day respectively. Prices are very reasonable for what you get and there’s only a small high season supplement charged between November and February.
Address: 351/10 Sang Khong Noi Rd, Soi 4, can also be reached by Ratyotha Soi 1
T: (053) 716 775; (093) 316 7285; F: (053) 752 970
Coordinates (for GPS): 99º49'24.69" E, 19º54'15.36" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under 600B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Sgl fan share bathroom||200 baht||300 baht|
|Dbl fan share bathroom||300 baht||400 baht|
|Dbl fan private bathroom||400 baht||500 baht|
|Dbl air-con private bathroom||600 baht||700 baht|
|Triple air-con private bathroom||850 baht||1,050 baht|
|Quad air-con private bathroom||1,200 baht||1,500 baht|
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
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