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Whether you’re in the Thai capital to check out its incredible street food scene, tour the city’s countless glittery Buddhist temples or simply shop until you drop, you’ll also want somewhere convivial and affordable to rest your head. Our pick of the best hostels in Bangkok effortlessly combine design, atmosphere and value. Settle in and consider yourself at home.
The funky lobby at Yim (“smile” in Thai) is reason enough to stay here – and that’s before you’ve even set foot in the contemporary dorms. Unlike many hostels, all dorms have natural light and garden views, and there are also double and twin private rooms, some with balconies, and with a mix of private and shared bathrooms. Yim’s location in Bangkok’s Huai Khwang might be a tad off-putting at first, but it’s right beside a subway station and also ideally set to allow you to get more of a feel for Bangkokians’ everyday lives.
Probably Bangkok’s most well-known name in hostels, Lub d (which translates as “sleep well”) has two properties in the capital, as well as in Phuket and Koh Samui, Cambodia and the Philippines. Lub d’s Siam and Silom hostels are close to Skytrain and subway stations, allowing you to hop around the city with ease. While dorms are bigger than at some hostels (private rooms are also available), facilities are extensive. What sets Lub d apart from the competition is the array of activities laid on by staff – from bar crawls to local rice whisky tastings – to help newbie travellers get a feel for Thailand.
Economising by staying in a hostel usually means foregoing such luxuries as a pool. Not so at Refill Now! This swanky all-glass hostel might be located a trek from downtown, in eastern Bangkok’s Phra Khanong neighbourhood (some way from the Skytrain, too), but we reckon that’s a small price to pay to be able to kick back in a stunning tropical-garden oasis. Six-bed dorms are well equipped with the essentials and, as well as private rooms that share bathrooms, there are very impressive vintage en-suite loft rooms if you can swing the slightly higher prices.
If a slide (yes, like in a playground!) isn’t enough to get you to check into Here Hostel, we’re not sure what is. But don’t dismiss this as as gimmicky kind of place – the airy decor inside this restored colonial-style house in Bangkok’s historic old-town area is remarkably stylish, with agreeable modern touches. The location, just south-east of Democracy Monument, puts you around a 10-minute walk from Khaosan Road, and rooms range from four- to 10-bed dorms to twin and double private rooms – the best are loft-style, with en-suite bathrooms and chic balconies.
Originating in Cambodia, lively hostel chain Mad Monkey now has this Bangkok base, on Phra Sumen Road in the old town, less than a 10-minute walk from the craziness of Khaosan Road. It’s another of those rare hostels to come with a swimming pool, as well as an on-site bar and restaurant. You might stay in the dorms, which are decent enough – but we suggest throwing a bit more at one of the en-suite private rooms for comfort. They even have desks.
In northern Bangkok’s trendy hipster-heaven Ari neighbourhood, the Yard has two clues in its name: it references the hostel’s central garden space and also plays on the Thai word for “relative”. The idea here is that guests feel like a friend of the family. As part of the charming approach, the Yard makes a point of welcoming Bangkok residents to stop by for drinks, mingling with the international guests, so it’s easy to make local friends. Four- and six-bed dorms and gorgeous private rooms (all in eco-friendly shipping containers) are bright, airy and modern, while free extras include breakfast, bicycle hire and even two months’ worth of luggage storage.
The Onion’s unique location sets it apart from the pack. Named after the area’s numerous wholesale onion shops, it’s mere steps from the entrance to Bangkok’s 24-hour flower market Pak Khlong Talat, a celebrated tourist attraction in its own right. That means it’s also just back from the riverfront, from where public boats take you to both the business and old-town districts. As a restored shophouse, it has an unusual layout, but the dorms are comfortable. Top-floor private rooms are available, too, while the tiny-but-cute, cottage-like kitchen is the gathering point for your free breakfast.
Alex Robinson contributed additional reporting to this article.