Bangkok has been on the tourist trail for decades now and because of its long-lasting popularity among backpackers there is no shortage of budget accommodation to choose from. Currently Bangkok has more than 400 hostels to choose from plus an array of other cheap accommodation offerings. For those who are searching for a hostel in Bangkok there are some key things to consider when making the choice about which hostel to choose.
Firstly, whether you are choosing a budget hostel, party hostel or the more luxurious and upscale flash packer hostel, your first consideration should be on location. As with all real estate choices the saying rings true for hostels as well, “location, location, location”. Since Bangkok is a city that suffers severely from urban sprawl there are a variety of accommodation providers in all areas, so choose the area you wish to be in first, then search for hostels with some of the other characteristics or tell-tale signs that it is worthy of your patronage.
The second most important consideration when making a plan to stay in a hostel in Bangkok is to determine what you are looking for in your accommodation provider. Are you interested in a party hostel? Looking just for a place to rest your head? Do you want a place that offers a mix of things?
If you are in search of a party hostel, take a look at the hostel’s website, Facebook page or other social media and online presence to see their photos, reviews and other indications that guests are having a good time at the hostel. A party hostel has to have a great social atmosphere and a large inviting common space to accommodate guest interactions. The best party hostels in Bangkok have nightly activities such as drinking games, family meals as well as fun events like karaoke or quiz nights. These activities are intended to bring guests together in the common area to meet the other guests, socialize, drink and generally have a good time with other like-minded people.
If you are searching for a hostel in Bangkok that simply offers a cheap place to lay your head you can easily tell from the reviews and pictures that it is void of a social scene and lacks other niceties like quality staff that speak English and fun activities to encourage guest interactions. These cheap hostels usually are further away from the center areas of the city and have either no common space or very small areas to congregate. Generally, these hostels are rated below a 7.5 on booking websites and are of the lowest prices. Typically, I would stay away from any accommodation provider that is unable to maintain a review score of an 8 or higher. With so many hostels on offer in Bangkok, there are plenty that are cheap with quality review scores indicating that the hostel is going out of their way to provide budget travelers with a quality night’s sleep at discount rates.
Another important point that we mentioned earlier is the staff. It is very important for the staff to speak English well in order for them to be helpful to their hostel guests. If your potential hostel choice is getting poor review scores for the staff it may very well be because they lack the language skills necessary to assist guests.
Lastly, you should consider reading through some of the reviews the hostel receives from past guests. Hostel reviews provide valuable insight into what the hostel is actually like. If a hostel in Bangkok has a large number of reviews it is a good indication that other travelers have felt strongly about their opinions on the hostel and wished to share them with other travelers. Most often hostels receive reviews from guests who want to share their positive experiences and provide tips to other backpackers.
However, sometimes guests wish to harm the hostel’s business by providing negative feedback due to a miscommunication with staff or some negative interaction with staff. Read the reviews with low scores and consider if the reviewer is focusing their comments on the staff or with more important features of the property itself, the location or the overall cleanliness. Generally speaking, if the review comments speak mostly to poor staff or a negative interaction with staff, the overall review score is not reflecting the true character of the hostel, but rather the frustrations the guest had with one member of the staff.
In summary, the most important thing to do before choosing your hostel is to check out the location, the hostel character, the language abilities of the staff and to read some reviews. You can tell a lot about the hostel and how much it cares from the reviews. If the hostel management or ownership are responding to all reviews, chances are it is a well-run hostel with staff and ownership who care a lot about providing backpackers with quality accommodation.