As a backpacker, I’ve been to quite a lot of hostels around the Philippines and South-East Asia, but nothing is comparable to Siam Journey Guesthouse in Bangkok.
Truth be told, I used to manage this hotel for a number of times, but I’m saying this from the perspective of a traveler. You may also check online reviews that can support this. Siam Journey ranked 80th out of over a thousand of specialty lodging in Bangkok on Tripadvisor. Their average rating is 8.6 across three hotel booking websites (Agoda, Hostelworld, and Booking). This hostel has been accommodating travelers for over 10 years now and their ranking is still high. So, what is the secret behind this?
I agree that not all hostels are created equal. Some are posh but lack good vibes. If you frequently check into a hostel, you know what I mean. It’s true that people stay in a hostel to save money, but more than that, we stay in a hostel to meet new people and hear new interesting life and travel stories.
The location and the vibes of Siam Journey Guesthouse will surely be hard to beat. The hostel is located in Phaya Thai District, Central Bangkok. The place is not surrounded by high-rise buildings, fancy restaurants, loud and crowded bars, but is situated in a real Thai neighborhood. When I first arrived in this guesthouse, I took a walk around the vicinity and I couldn’t believe that a successful hostel can blend in with a residential area. I couldn’t think of a place in manila similar to that.
Once you get out of the door, you won’t see anything fancy. All you can see are Thai people conversing with one another at the small alley, clothes hanging outside, and kids playing on the street. No pretentions; just authentic local experience. Aside from seeing tourist spots, I believe this is what most foreigners would love to experience whenever they visit a certain place. They’d love to immerse with the local community, to see how ordinary people live their lives and where people eat.
And speaking of eating, Siam Journey Guesthouse is just a stone’s throw away from what they call “Food Street.” It’s a street where you can possibly find most, if not all, your favorite Thai food. In fact, one restaurant name P’Aor brags that they serve the best Tom Yum Soup in Bangkok. Well, I couldn’t agree more. During lunch time, I can see long queues. They also have photos of celebrities who have been to Food Street.
Aside from food, you can also avail of a good Thai massage for as low as 160baht/hour and a haircut for 100baht. Believe me, it’s hard to find a cheap salon in Bangkok. Wondering if there are any 711 stores nearby? Oh yes, there are five surrounding the guesthouse. Isn’t it awesome?
The place is also located between two BTS stations namely Phayathai and Ratchatewi. You can walk from Siam Journey Guesthouse to the sky train stations. Note that BTS Phayathai is linked to the train going to the airport, so Siam Journey is the best place to stay in if you have a flight the following day. I can guarantee you that the guest house’s location and price starting at 300baht/night is the best that you can find around the area.
But that’s not the only thing that makes this guesthouse amazing. Did I mention it’s a volunteer-run hostel? It is run by people from all over the world who loves to travel.
It was the first week of December when I decided to push my luck and manage this small guesthouse in Bangkok. I grabbed the opportunity when my friend Krish asked me to replace her since she would be flying to Europe. I was really excited since I have been dreaming of having my own hostel someday. I never thought that the opportunity will change my life forever.
They say that you can travel the world and never leave your chair when you read a book. And I agree, but I didn’t read books here in Bangkok to travel the world. I listened to stories of hundreds of people who visited the hostel.
I worked with different volunteers who had many interesting life stories. There is a student from Boston studying international relations, a lawyer from Malaysia, a psychologist from Germany, a mountain tour guide from Turkey, a hairdresser, blogger and photographer from France, a student from South Korea and Taiwan, a licensed diver from Peru, a fashion designer from Vietnam, a backpacker and a biologist from Spain, a social worker from Australia, a lead waitress from the US,and a local from Thailand. People from all walks of life sharing their experiences make me feel that I’ve been all over the world. Probably, the cheapest way to travel.
Siam Journey Guesthouse has been a home to some foreigners who frequently visit Bangkok. It would not be surprising to see familiar faces every month since a lot of guests come back whenever they are here.
The guesthouse is not a usual place where you just check in, stay and check out. It’s a place where you can meet friends and interesting people to hang out with. The guesthouse was built with wide open spaces for people to interact and know one another and I believe they champion the formula for turning strangers into friends.
Strong Wi-Fi connection is available all over the guesthouse. There are three air-conditioned dorm type rooms. They have a common area where guests can watch a movie, a dining area, a computer station, a kitchen where guests are free to cook their meal, a veranda to hold a small party, and hot and cold shower. Also, the guesthouse offers free water and coffee.
If you are interested in staying at Siam Journey Guesthouse, you can get a discounted rate by clicking on this link. Interested in being their next volunteer? Feel free to contact me.