I'm going to BKK in about a month for a few days before heading up north to Chiang Mai etc. I'm on my own and my priorities in a guesthouse are cheapness and a friendly atmosphere ie. other backpackers who are sociable rather than just keeping to themselves. I have been scouring the travelfish reviews but it's really hard to get a real sense of a place without actually asking people, plus a lot of the reviews and comments are quite outdated.
In short, I'm quite nervous about arriving in BKK on my own and being overwhelmed by the city, so any recommendations for a nice friendly guesthouse would be great... also preferably one that offers pick ups from the airport ! This is quite important to me but I'm no sure if it's a common thing in BKK so if it isn't it's not the end of the world. Anything near KSR would obviously be great but as long as it's easily accessible by foot / cheap public transport I'm cool.
I don't think it's very common for guesthouses in Bangkok to offer airport pickups - I'm sure there are plenty of hotels that do, but cheapness won't factor in there.
From what I saw, KSR was extremely social but also extremely noisy - so personally I'd go find some guesthouse a couple of blocks away and walk to the action.
I suggest you join couchsurfing.org and find a local host. If you arrive at a reasonable hour you can take the train link to a skytrain/metro... this is your best budget option and it's exactly what I'm doing - :)
Shanti is a great option. As mentioned, it's also in a great location ... in a nice little neighbourhood close to the water taxi, laundry joints, an eye-opening fresh market, and about a 20 minute walk to KSR. Also easy to get to. Definitely make a reservation if you go there. Food is good (from what I heard) but quite expensive, but there are lots of good eating spots in the area. It's okay for meeting people, but not the best place I've stayed for that.
If you don't mind sharing a bathroom, and you want to go really inexpensive in a pretty old-school joint, you could try the Apple II Guest House. It's an old family home (the family still lives there) that is also in a fabulous and quiet area, much closer to the KSR area, closer to the water taxi, closer to more eating spots, and about 1/3 the cost of the Shanti. But it's definitely a lot more basic. It's a far, far better place for meeting people as most who go there are amiable returnees, many of whom are great sources of information about the country and Southeast Asia in general. Apple II doesn't have a website (or wi-fi as far as I know) but you can call and make a reservation, though I don't think one would be required unless you're arriving later in the evening during peak season.
Thanks for the replies... is getting the skytrain into bangkok quite straightforward? Didn't really think of that option but I could probably manage that without getting lost / having a panic attack haha. Just checking flights now and I should be arriving at about 8am. Thanks for the hostel recommendations :) Might stay at Apple II initially just for convenience and maybe stay at Shanti Lodge another time (I will be going through twice) because it looks beautiful!
There's an airport train that you can hop onto on the lower level of the airport. It connects to the skytrain line, but the skytrain doesn't go to the KSR area. There are a few options for getting to the KSR area that include the airport rail line and skytrain, but if you're coming off of a long flight and aren't sure of where you're going, you might want to just hop in a cab at the airport and get delivered to where you want to stay. It will probably cost you around $12-$15 CDN. It's money well spent, in my humble opinion. Traffic aside, it will likely be faster and more comfortable.
You could also take the train from the airport to one of the stations near KSR (Phaya Thai, for example) and then flag down a cab from there. Fare would probably be around B50-B70 depending on traffic (maybe around B100-B120 for a tuk tuk). From the airport the cab ride would be a fixed price that would include the costs for the two toll roads that are usually taken.
Traffic will likely be heavy at that time of the day.
I hate taking taxis in BK, especially with a big backpack, would much prefer to hop on the River boat to KSR from the skytrain/metro even after a long trip, just the excitement of arriving alone keeps you very much alert. That being said, it's simpler to stay near a skytrain station in town the first day... http://www.suk11.com/ is one example, but there are many others - TF has a wonderful list of dorm options that aren't in the backpacker ghetto.
Oh about the taxi, always make sure they put the meter on, they often try to pull a fast one... I mean how do you know if it should cost 100 baht or 400 baht to get where you're going?
Hi Phiddy, when will you be arriving in BKK ? I will be arriving around 5-Jan at 2300hrs, and am thinking to find someone to share out the cost for a room.
If you are in BKK about that time and ok to share room, please let me know.
#11 yonggc has been a member since 19/12/2006. Posts: 2
im actually planned to go from 21/22-31 Jan. and would like to have someone to share too. and i will spend 10days there, have to catch the overnight train to chumphon on 22nd to catch the black moon party on koh phangnan on 23rd. if you're interested, let me know
#13 jolietang has been a member since 22/12/2011. Posts: 11