There are a large number of guesthouses to choose from in Bangkok, and these are excellent options for those who are trying to travel as cheaply as possible.
However, both standards and prices for this type of accommodation vary widely, and visitors will need to take a close look at their room before checking in to make sure that they are getting a good deal.
The largest selection of guesthouses in Bangkok can be found in and around Khao San Road, which is a long street famed for its Bohemian atmosphere.
In addition to cheap and cheerful accommodation, visitors to this part of the city will find plenty of businesses that cater to the needs of budget travellers, from second hand bookshops to travel agencies and bars that sell cheap beer.
There is also the Soi Ngam Duphli area in Silom, closer to the newer centre of the city, along with others tucked away on Sukhumvit Road. It’s worth knowing that the online hotel rates are so cheap that they can compete with the guesthouses and offer a much more comfortable experience.
Bangkok guesthouses in the Khao San Road area
Khao San Road has become the main focal point for backpackers visiting Bangkok, and the area is a great place to use as a base as it is situated conveniently close to a number of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, while the Chao Phraya River is just a 10 minute walk away. In addition to the numerous guesthouses that can be found on Khao San Road, there are also plenty of options on Soi Rambuttri. It runs parallel, as well as opposite, to Khao San Road and is a slightly quieter place to stay, although there are also plenty of bars and restaurants located here.
Sawasdee Krungthep: Located in a quiet section of Rambuttri Road, behind the temple across from Khao San Road. This establishment offers a wide variety of clean rooms as well as friendly helpful staff and a laid-back restaurant area for watching movies. 30 Rambuttri Road, Phanakorn.
Shambara Boutique Hostel: Hidden down a small side-alley at the eastern end of Khao San Road, this is becoming an increasingly popular choice for backpackers as it offers clean, tastefully-decorated rooms and a charming terraced restaurant. 138 Khao San Road, Taladyod, Tel: (02) 282 7968.
Bella Bella House: A small gem of a place popular with locals for its clean, reasonably-priced rooms that come with and without air-conditioning, along with friendly staff and a good restaurant. Soi Rambuttri, Phra Athit Road, Tel: (02) 629 3090.
New Siam I: This simple place offers decent rooms for the price and is a bit quieter, being away from the bustle of the street, yet is thin on atmosphere. 21 Soi Chanasongkram, Phra Athit Road, Tel: (02) 282 4554.
New Siam II: Slightly more expensive but quiet, modern, and tastefully-decorated, with a friendly staff and a good swimming pool. This is a good option that is also located behind the temple across the street from the mouth of Khao San Road. 50 Trok Rong Mai, Phra Athit Road, Tel: (02) 282 2795.
Four Sons Inn: Situated on the bend of Soi Rambuttri is the popular Four Sons Inn, which features a decent bar and restaurant. 327/2-3-4 Rambutri Road, Tel: (02) 629 5812.
Chart Guesthouse: Located right in the heart of Khao San Road is this institution among Bangkok guesthouses. The restaurant is a popular spot for movie watching and hanging out with travellers, while rooms are clean and there is a wide variety to choose from. 62 Khao San Road, Taladyod, Tel: 086 310 4540.
Chai’s House: The family-run Chai’s House is a good, quiet option with a bamboo-laden outdoor lounging area as well as a decent restaurant. It’s also a very affordable choice. 49/4-8 Soi Rongmai, Chaofa Road, Tel: (02) 281 4901.
Bangkok guesthouses in Soi Ngam Duphli
Once one of the most popular guesthouse spots in the city, Soi Ngam Duphli feels a lot like the street that time forgot. Those who want to base themselves in the Silom district without having to pay through the nose for accommodation will find a good number of budget guesthouses.
ETZ Hostel: Clean, reasonable rooms, a free breakfast and good travel services make this one of the best options on Soi Ngam Duphli. 5/3 Soi Ngam Duphli, Tel: (02) 286 9424.
Madam Guest House: A bit unusual for Soi Ngam Duphli, Madam’s is a fairly small, wooden guesthouse that is distinctively decorated. It offers a break from the bare basic functional standard of many of the area’s guesthouses. 11 Soi Saphan Khu, Tel: (02) 286 9289.
Sala Thai Daily Mansion: This interesting guesthouse is located at the end of the soi (lane), and offers large rooms with shared bathrooms. It’s popular with long-term residents and has a rooftop terrace and sociable lounge area on the third floor. 15 Soi Sri-Bamphen, Phraram 4, Sathon, Tel: (02) 287 1436.
Bangkok guesthouses in other parts
Shanti Lodge: This is a relaxing place with nice rooms, good food, a lovely pool and a friendly atmosphere. Shanti Lodge is home to a number of long-term guests, especially during the low season (May-Oct.) 37 Soi Sri Ayutthaya 16, Si Sou Thewet, Tel: (02) 281 2497.
Merlin Lodge: This boutique budget hotel is located in a prime position on Sukhumvit Road and features 20 beautifully-furnished, air-conditioned rooms, a 24 hour coffee shop, a mini-mart, free wireless internet, and magazines. 2294 Sukhumvit road, Sukhumvit 64, Tel: (02) 331 3600.
White Lodge: Situated in the Patumwan district, a short distance from the shopping areas of Siam Square, MBK mall and the surrounding area, this is a popular choice with those who are looking for reasonably-priced rooms and friendly staff. 136/8 Soi Kasaem 1, Rama 1 Road, Tel: (02) 215 3041.
Riverview Guest House: Near Chinatown and the River City shopping complex, this establishment is a bit more comfortable and many of the rooms here really do have a river view. The rooms are quite large, and the 8th floor restaurant comes complete with a panoramic view. The place can be difficult to find, you should print out the guest house’s map and learn the direction before your trip. 768 Soi Panuangsri, Songwad Road, Tel: (02) 235 8501.
Tips on finding a Bangkok Guesthouse
While most of the guesthouses in Bangkok are aimed at budget travellers, many are comfortable and come with a range of optional extras. Some of the city’s more upmarket guesthouses are located down quiet lanes and can be as expensive as hotel rooms.
The price for a basic room in a Bangkok guesthouse starts from as little as 150 baht a night. However, these tiny, windowless cell rooms offer little more than a bed and a ceiling fan and are only for those on an extremely tight budget who don’t mind roughing it for a day or two. Guesthouse rooms that come complete with private bathrooms and a few other creature comforts start from 300 baht, while those who are willing to pay 400-600 baht will receive amenities such as air-conditioning and a mini-bar.
Many of the guesthouses in Bangkok offer twin or triple rooms, which are good ways to save money for those who are happy to share their room with a friend or two. Dormitories are not really common in Thailand, but there are a few to be found around Khao San Road.
Most guesthouses offer additional services such as laundry, ticket booking and baggage storage and also have an attached restaurant and bar. Although the food at these establishments tends to be rather mediocre to say the least, the drinks are cheap and these are good place to relax with a beer or two while chatting to fellow travellers.
Note! These recommendations serve as a guide to what’s available now, as Bangkok guesthouses are constantly changing hands and even closing down altogether, while new ones regularly spring up in their place. Although it is a good idea to take note of these, it is also best to spend time exploring an area independently and checking out what’s on offer.