29 March 2010
One of the many reasons why I wanted to go back to Bangkok is to set my foot once more in Lab d Bangkok Hostel in Silom Road. Yep, you got me right here, I wanted to go back in order to sleep in a hostel.
I have been here previously during a short backpacking trip with college buddies back in 2008 and I must say that I was really very impressed with our accommodation even if we were book then in the dormitory. Back then it was fairly new and as was expected of all new establishments, it was all neat and clean. When I stepped back inside this hostel (more than 2 years after the first visit), I was very amazed that it still looks very much as clean and neat as how I remembered it.
This relatively new hostel is supposedly designed by one of the most regarded designers in Thailand. Amongst the accommodations to choose from are eight-bed mixed dormitories, a ladies-only dormitory, and a private dormitory for 1-2 people (this means no attached bathroom). It would be good to note that the bathrooms are very clean (I reckon it is cleaned several times a day) and has separate ones for male and female. Of course apart from the dormitories, there are the normal double rooms with attached toilet; these are located in the 4th floor. Unfortunately there are no elevators going up, I suppose they did this purposely for guest to burn off calories coming in from the delicious food all over the city.
The lobby of this hostel is a great place to simply hang out and meet new friends. If you are not the sociable kind, there are several computers in the lobby for you to connect with friends back home and rave about the grasshopper you just ate at the end of Khao San Road. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that they have high speed internet access even in the rooms; when I say high speed, I mean high speed – enough for me to download a copy of The Beach overnight.
A library is also available at the lobby which contained several guidebooks for the countries in the Southeast Asian region as well as some reference on Thailand. The in-house travel agent is available if in case DIY tour is not your cup of tea. I have to commend the people manning the travel agents and the front desk as they are very helpful in all my questions regarding directions.
Location wise, I would say it is good since it is located in the quiet part of the city – Decho Road to be exact, just off Silom Road (which some people say it is the heart of Bangkok City). A 10-minute walk is all you need to be in the Chong Nonsee station of the BTS sky train, from there you will be connected to most of the major districts in Bangkok. Further down is the infamous Patpong area, home of the famous night market, the red light district and a whole bunch of kathoey.
Pricewise, I would have to be very honest though that it is a bit on the higher end of the scale for a budget traveler. The good thing though is that they have regular promotions every once in a while (like for us, we for buy 2 nights and get the 3rd night free), you just have to check regularly their website or HostelWorld for it.
One may wonder the meaning behind the name, I just learned that Lub D is a Thai word for “sleep well” – truly apt I should say, and that is one coming from a person who just slept most of the time for this particular Bangkok adventure. I heard from the manager, Piyawee, that they will be opening a new branch in Bangkok soon. Now this is something to look forward to and I hope it will already be open when I next visit the City of Angels.
28 July 2009
The guesthouse where we stayed for a good 2 nights during our recent trip to Penang was one of the best that I have ever tried. It was clean, comfortable and very homey, reminded me so much of my mom’s ancestral house back home in the Philippines.
Old Penang Guesthouse is a beautifully restored shophouse located in Love Lane, one of the backpacker areas in Georgetown, Penang. The location is very accessible and easily within walking distance to the various sights in town.
Despite being recently renovated (it was done 8 months ago according to one of the staffs), the building still retained its old world charm. This was evident in the original mosaic-tiled flooring, intricate artworks, an airy inner courtyard, the wooden floor in the 2nd storey, and the wooden shuttered windows. Practically, every aspect of the guesthouse reflects some history of the region.
Beside the inner courtyard, there is also this lounge where the guest can just sit down comfortably and read a book or watch TV.
They have lots of books as well; particularly travel guides to help you plan on your itinerary in Penang or your next destination. They also offer tour, visa and transportation assistance to their guest; all this they do at a very competitive price.
The rooms are all air-conditioned and are clean in every aspect of the word. The beds were comfortable although the pillow could have been a bit thicker though. We were lucky enough to get the room with a private bathroom but the common toilet and shower was not so bad as well as it is regularly cleaned by the guesthouse staff.
The staffs, headed by Paul, were very helpful and very hospitable. A plus factor was that they were very knowledgeable about Penang in general. Ask them for directions, they would answer instantly – same goes if you ask them for food recommendation, they would tell you the place to eat as well as the direction going there.
Lastly, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I paid 70 MYR/night, which got me a private air-conditioned room with an attached toilet. This came with free use of their towels (very important for me as I hate bringing my own towel during trips), breakfast (consisting of toasts and jam), free flowing coffee and WiFi access (not too reliable though). This was good for 2 persons already. A very good value for money, I can definitely say.
Old Penang Guesthouse
No.53, Love Lane,