Hostels are not normally something we would opt to stay in. In fact, they are something that I tend to steer completely clear of but whilst researching our trip to Thailand I stumbled on a couple of properties that actually appealed.
I will even go as far as saying that when I first looked at the images of one hostel, I couldn’t even tell it was a hostel. Nice exterior, en-suite double rooms. These features really went against everything I had come to understand a hostel to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I am sure if I had gone travelling alone whilst in my 20’s, a dormitory in a hostel would have been ideal. Not only are they after-all cheap, but they are also extremely social-able places. However, I am not in my 20’s and the thought of sharing a room with people I don’t know is now the last thing that appeals to me.
With all of these thoughts firmly stuck in my head I was very reluctant to book anything with hostel in its title, even if it did promote double bedrooms but as always, Paul was determined that we mix up our trip a little by staying in various accommodation in various price brackets. I have to say now, looking back and reflecting on my behaviour, I was a bit of a spoilt brat. No longer will I simply assume that a hostel is a dive; a place you go when money is so tight and you have no other options.
Of course, I am also not that naive. I am pretty sure that these places do exist and that research is the key to success even when it comes to hostels. I am also now convinced that more and more hostels are now catering for a different type of traveller – the older, couple orientated kind that still wants to save money whilst travelling but stay in a bit of comfort.
With that in mind, we have a few hostel suggestions for the more discerning hostel dweller. Hopefully, this will make your decision on where to stay a little bit easier when you are planning your next trip (or perhaps your first trip) to Thailand.
6 Hostels Worth Visiting in Thailand
#1 Happynest Inspiring Hostel, Chiang Rai
It may have just been us, but trying to find somewhere we actually genuinely liked in Chiang Rai was difficult. With over 100 hotels and hostels, you think that this would be an easy task, but when we factored in we only wanted somewhere to stay for a couple of nights in order to see the White Temple and the Black House, we didn’t want to spend a fortune.
After days of searching however, I initially came across photos of this property not knowing it was a hostel and instantly decided that we would stay there. On closer inspection, I realised it was close to the old town, the night markets and on the main road meaning that we could get to the sights easily; it was the ideal choice.
The Happynest is run by three guys that met at school. They wanted to create something sophisticated in their hometown that also infused their passion for design, and I think it is fair to say they have achieved this.
The breakfast area looks out onto the bustling streets while the rooms above are peaceful and well laid out. Each floor also has its own kitchen area and a small common room meaning that you can either sit peacefully on your own reading or perhaps working or you could join in with social events often arranged by the hostel for its residents and locals alike.
The double room that we stayed in was larger than most hotel rooms, with a private bathroom, several modern features including a large TV and free WIFI plus slippers and free water.
If you did prefer dorm rooms, the hostel also has 6 and 8 bedrooms available as well as family rooms.
For us, Happynest was most definitely the best place to stay in town – the rooms were cheap and clean, the guys were extremely welcoming and the location was spot on. They also helped to arrange the cheapest scooter hire in town and gave us information on what to do further out of the city if we had time.
#2 Mad Monkey Hostel, Bangkok (Maria of Travel With Maria)
Mad Monkey Hostel is a chain of famous party hostels in Southeast Asia. It has 4 branches in Cambodia, 3 in the Philippines and 1 in Thailand. For couples, there are 3 room types: Twin Bunk Room ( 2 bunk beds), Twin Room (2 single beds) and Double Room (1 double bed) all equipped with a private en suite bathroom with a hot shower, airconditioned plus swimming pool access. For some lovey-dovey moments, the third one is the best but just to give other options for those who have tight budgets but still want some privacy.
Khao San Road is a backpacker’s mecca but it is sometimes a rowdy place. That’s why Mad Monkey’s location in Bangkok is just right – it’s a few minutes away located in Rambuttri Village. It’s close enough to experience the crazy nightlife but guaranteed to have a quieter environment. The walls and interiors of this hostel are painted by volunteer creatives who stay there for free in exchange for their skills. Once again, this is a party hostel so this is not for couples don’t want to mingle with others over a beer pong game and don’t want free beers.
#3 Sleep Walkers Poshtel, Chiang Mai (Gina & Zeke from Jet Set and Forget)
Sleep Walkers is a new kind of hip hostel located in Chiang Mai. The rooms and communal areas are very modern, and they offer private rooms for 1-2 people and dorm rooms for 3-8 people.
What makes this place so amazing is that all room types have the bathroom located inside of the room. If you are a couple sharing, you only need to share the bathroom with each other, and not the other guests on your floor, which is a major bonus.
Sleep Walkers also gives you the ability to pay for certain amenities that you may only find in a hotel (linen and towels are included in the room rate). For example, you can rent a bathmat for 300 baht ($3.00 USD) to make your stay more comfortable. Most hostels do not offer these kinds of luxuries.
We are unsure why there is a statue of a NASA spaceman outside the building, and the staff did not seem to know either. But it certainly checked off the cool factor in our book!
#4 Cooper Hostel, Bangkok (Charlie & Kristina from Maptrotting)
This boutique hostel caters for all types of travellers, it has dorms with shared showers and comfortable double rooms for couples or families.
The Cooper hostel has a very friendly and welcoming vibe which made us return to the hostel on our second visit to Bangkok. We especially loved our tastefully decorated double ensuite bedroom. It was comfortable, clean and spacious.
The funky reception area is also always clean with fresh flowers sitting on the table and well suited for digital nomads wanting to do some work on the go. The large table in the middle is equipped with extensions and power sockets for you to stay fully charged and connected.
The founder May is, no doubt, the face of Cooper Bangkok and makes sure everyone is well received and has a pleasant stay at her hostel. We will definitely be heading to Cooper Bangkok on our next trip to Thailand.
#5 Lub’d Siam, Bangkok (Hannah & Adam from Getting Stamped)
#6 Monkey Dive Hostel, Khao Lak
As we travelled further down south we realised just how expensive some hotels could be. Where in other parts of Thailand we could book into a hotel for less than £40 a night including breakfast, due to its beachside location and package-holiday appeal, Khao Lak has to be one of the most expensive places we visited during our trip. Therefore, we decided to split our time between two locations at opposite ends of town.
Monkey Dive hostel was our top choice while staying close to Nangthong beach. At only £9 a night, we really couldn’t argue at the price although we did wonder whether the website offered a true representation of the property for that kind of money.
Luckily, it was probably even better than we anticipated. As soon as you wandered through the door there was a vibrant feel about the place but not hectic. The rooms are basic but the beds were comfortable and extremely clean. In fact, whilst mentioning cleanliness, I swear someone was cleaning 24 hours a day.
The rooms are all themed with the sea in mind. The area has become known for its diving and therefore each room has a name reflecting this – manta, shark, etc. Possibly the best thing about this hostel, however, is the outside space. There are plenty of picnic benches, slouching chairs and beanbags to relax around on plus plenty of drying space for your wet swim and dive gear.
Close to the main street, there are plenty of places to eat, drink and shop nearby. However, the main reason for coming to this area is the beaches – some within walking distance, some just a short scooter ride away.
Whether a couple, travelling in a group or on your own the atmosphere here is welcoming.
What I have realised is that it is important to remember that labels shouldn’t cause judgement. Just because something is called a hostel it doesn’t mean it is going to be a shabby hell-hole full of idiots who you would prefer to avoid. There are some fantastic places to stay out there and as long as you are prepared to pull away from your own bias and prejudice, you may just find a little gem – I know we did.
Have you stayed in a hostel that you would recommend to others? Whether in Thailand or anywhere else in the world, we would love to hear about other great hostels to visit.
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