Usually you won’t have a problem dropping into a city and finding accommodations on the spot. But sometimes it’s nice to plan a place to stay and eliminate any potential stressful situations. Of course a hostel booking website is the best place to go to check out all your options and seal a bed for yourself, but I also have here a short list of some of my favorite places to stay in Thailand.
A Forest Story Hostel
This is a small hostel (two air conditioned dorms, each with six beds) located in Mae Haad, just next door to one of my favorite bars on the island. For now it’s one of the cheaper options on Koh Tao. There are plenty of restaurants near, and it’s a three minute walk down to Mae Haad beach (it’s about a 15 minute walk to Sairee, the main “party” part of the island). Free tea and cookies are always available, but the mosquitoes can be brutal at night if you want to hang out in the “forest” area, which we did quite often while I stayed here.
Sai Thong Resort
This was the first place I stayed when I went to Koh Tao, and I never wanted to leave. This “resort” is a series of bungalows a couple minutes’ walk from Sai Nuan beach. If you stay in one of these bungalows, which can be pricier than the hostels you’ll find in Mae Haad or Sairee, you’ll get a deck with a hammock, and if you’re lucky, a view of the clear blue sea. There is a resort restaurant with decent food if you want to hole up in your island resort, otherwise, it’s a 25 minute walk back to Mae Haad, or you can order a taxi boat.
Hi Friends Hostel
I’ve been to this place a couple of times after early morning bus arrivals to Bangkok from Chumphon (where you may bus back up from the Eastern islands). It’s in a nice location if you’re a party person–a five minute walk from Khao San Road. There’s hot water and the rooms and bathrooms are always clean. The employees are nice and can order you a van to the airport for super cheap!
This is a popular youth hostel in Bangkok, and definitely my favorite. The dorms are air conditioned and very clean and the beds are incredibly comfortable. It’s a really great place to start off in Bangkok as they have some cool walking and bike tours of the city, and it’s a pretty social hostel; we played some drinking games at night, and each time I stayed I met cool people and had a really great time.
The Living Place
I can’t say enough good things about this hostel. The owner is the selling point for me. Aree is a painter with an infectious laugh, and is one of the kindest, most honest people I’ve ever met. The Living Place is another hostel where I always meet good people and have a really great experience. It is pretty clean, and was just remodeled. If you’re looking for some quirk, this is the place for you!
I stayed here one night on the way to Chiang Khong. The rooms were remarkably clean, and there’s a cool little rooftop you can chill on (and dry your laundry). Oh, and they have a washer and dryer if you’re into that. There’s a restaurant here too, and you get free breakfast in the morning (as in the usual toast and coffee). Simple, decent place to stay for a night or two.
Baanrimtaling Home Stay
You’ll most likely stay a night in Chiang Khong if you’re heading to Laos, and this is a decent place to spend it. The home stay is right on the Mekong River, and if there’s no smog, you’ll get to see a killer sunrise. Pretty clean and decent food in the restaurant. I’ll be staying there again if I’m ever back in Chiang Khong.
If you ever find yourself in Nong Khai, I love this place. It’s a really beautiful guesthouse. The lobby is a big wooden room full of antiques and next there’s a grand, high-roofed garden/dining room. The walls of the rooms upstairs are super thin and we were lucky to have been alone there for the majority of our time there, but if you’re a light sleeper, or know you won’t appreciate listening to your neighbor’s two hour skype conversation, could be a bad choice for you. But it’s very clean; one of the best bathrooms I’ve ever been in while traveling.