So now that I have my itinerary finalized, I need to work on where I'm staying.
Please give me your best lodging recs for:
Bangkok for 2 nights
Ko Pha Ngan
Open to anything; hostels, hotel, high end and low end. I'm looking to get a nice mix of hostels and hotels
#1 BAMAnug has been a member since 16/2/2014. Posts: 7
Oh wow. I can see why so many other respondents have given this question a miss - there are SO MANY options available in each of these places.
Okay, I can only speak for the islands, and I'll try to simplify it by suggesting a budget joint (maybe budget into flashpacker) and midrange place or two on each. Thing is, when it comes to Tao and Phangan I can think of DOZENS of nice places in each category.
One other thing - HOSTELS are thin on the ground in Thailand. But why stay in a hostel when your own budget beach bungalow costs less than a hostel bunk in most places? Still lotsa chances of interacting with others in the bungalow restaurant, on snorkelling trips etc.
TAO. Budget/flashpacker - do a google search for Siam Cookies and Char Bungalows at Sai Nuan 2 in the laid back south west or nearby Sai Thong Resort on Sai Nuan 1. For flashpacker into lower midrange - Ko Nang Yuan Dive Resort (one km off Tao's north west coast) and Montalay Resort at Tanote Bay.
PHANGAN: budget - Bamboo Hut on Hat Yuan. Budget/flashpacker - Bottle Beach One on Bottle Beach. Lower midrange - Cookies on Had Salad. Midrange and plus - Panviman Resort on Thong Nai Pan.
As said there are dozens of others. Maybe as you do research on the above joints you will see others you fancy.
The Travelfish site has an abundance of information on accommodation - try their iBook on Bangkok hostels, or the free travel guides in the Member Centre. Jump on websites like Tripadvisor, Agoda, Booking.com etc etc etc, read guide books, google...........there is no shortage of information.
Here are some Bangkok suggestions I came up with many, many moons ago in answer to a different thread.
In the old city, the blocks in between Thanon Tanao and the Rop Krung Canal. Not that I've ever had a problem passing through here, both at night and in the day, but the evening crowd of hobos, inebriated tuk-tuk drivers, and gregarious streetwalkers can be intimidating for first timers to SE Asia. Hotels like Boonsiri Place, where two German friends of mine once stayed (to their great chagrin), are best given a pass.
While Leonard is right in saying that "most hotels near grand palace are crap and traffic is bad around there", an exception to the rule is the Sala Rattanakosin.
Not only does it boast excellent views of Wat Arun and the old naval headquarters, but the hotel is also a stone's throw away from Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, and the Museum Siam. A short walk down the road will take you to the Memorial Bridge (beyond which is Phahurat and Chinatown, while Khao Sarn and the Taksin BTS station are easily reachable via the pier at Tha Tien, which happens to be located just around the corner. The only downside I can think of would be the dearth of eateries other than The Deck, but again, the area sees little traffic at night and Khao Sarn is only 45 baht away by cab.
Places like Baan Chanthra, Diamond House, and The Rajata on Samsen Road are also decent in terms of location. The vast majority of buses passing by - numbers 30, 31, 32, 53, and 524 - will take you to the Grand Palace. As for Phra Athit Pier, walking there will take you roughly 10-15 minutes. Eating-wise, the area has a fair number of late night street stalls as well as places that cater to western palates. Plus there's Kin Lom Chom Saphan, which offers a decent view of the Phraram 8 Bridge.
Somewhat less convenient are the guest houses on leafy Phra Sumen. It's a charming little neighbourhood with one very cool travel bookshop as well as shops selling flags and royalist paraphernalia. The two main bars - Rolling Bar and Brown Sugar - are quality choices to wind down the night. Walking down one end of the road will lead you to Khaosarn and Phra Arthit, head up the other and you'll find yourself on Ratchadamnern Avenue, in sight of Loha Prasart and the Golden Mount. Getting a taxi from here to the Vimanmek compound and Wat Ben should be a fairly straightforward affair. You can also easily access downtown Bangkok - specifically the Pratunam area - by using the Saen Saep express boat across the aforementioned avenue.
Dinsor Road on the opposite end of the Democracy Monument roundabout is another decent option, with numerous excellent daytime eateries and easy on-foot access to places as varied as the Golden Mount, the Giant Swing, Khao Sarn, and the Grand Palace.
I personally wouldn't recommend hotels around the Victory Monument. While close to Siam and the airport link station at Phaya Thai, the area has little in the way of charm and is noisy and crowded throughout the day and early evening.
Further along the BTS line there's Nana and Asoke, which you should just simply avoid. Despite the preponderance of quality eats in Sukhumvit 11 the streets around the two stations are simply vile, with overaged sex tourists rubbing shoulders with touts and thugs (some of the hotels there are certainly ones you wouldn't want to bring your kids to - the Rajah, for example, is a hooker den catering to Thais and Arabs in search of Russian blonds).
Staying a station away at Phromphong will bring you closer to Thonglor and Ekkamai, playgrounds of the rich where you'll find countless pricey gastro bars and oh-so-hip cafés (there are Quince and Opposite Mess Hall, for example). But really, this sort of cosmopolitan modernity can be found anywhere, whether in Bangsar or at Holland V, and besides, reaching the old quarter can be a right pain in the bum.
If you've got money to splurge, a better bet would be to stay around the Ploenchit and Ratchadamri stations, which are are excellent if you want to connect to Taksin or the airport, or in need of a shopping session at Siam or MBK. The sidewalks here tend to be bereft of touts and other lowlifes, and there's a good chance that your hotel will have a fantastic upper-storey pool, like the ones at the Sivatel and the Okura.