A January 2006 trip
to Bangkok by Kauai Boy
Quote: Budget accommodations in the Silom area of Bangkok
The capital and largest city in Thailand with a population of about 10 million, Bangkok has long been known as the “City of Angels”. Currently (January 2006), the dollar is quite strong here at about 1 to 39, so excellent deals in some very impressive hotels can be found for even the most budget-minded traveler.
Unless you’re a “chain-traveler” with membership in one of those frequent guest programs, I would recommend shopping around for a locally owned and operated hotel with little or no affiliation with any of the huge international brands. However, if chain hotels are your thing, there are a few of these in the Silom area -- Sofitel, Holiday Inn, and the Pan Pacific. And, relative to their U.S. or European counterparts, they are reasonably affordable. However, many of the non-chain hotels are quite comparable in terms of luxury, facilities, dining, etc. – at substantially lower prices.
Of course the most important factor when selecting a hotel is your budget. For my first set of reviews, I’ve selected hotels in the Silom/Suriwongse area that I would classify as budget hotels, with standard rooms going for less than US.
I recommend checking out the travel agents in town. Local hotels often offer discounts that are substantially lower via an agent than those available directly from the hotel itself. The rationale here is based on the thought that if you’re “walking into” a hotel and asking what the rates are, you must be desperate for a room.
In my descriptions of each hotel, I like to pay close attention to the property’s proximity to public transportation. The easiest is the BTS Skytrain, an elevated railway system that currently operates on just two lines – the Silom Line and the Sukhumvit Line. If you’re staying in the Silom area, you will have access to one of four BTS stations, as the train runs from Lumpini Park directly over approximately half of Silom Road before turning off to run along Sathorn Road and ultimately ending at the Chao Phraya River.
Buses are numerous and extremely cheap, but the routes are quite complicated. And yes, there is the ubiquitous taxicab – reasonably safe as long as you exercise caution and common sense.
A low-rise budget hotel, the Silom Village Inn is situated at the entrance of a small shopping center near the quiet end of Silom Road, about a 10-minute walk from Chong Nonsi BTS Station or a 15-minute walk to the nightclubs and street shopping at Pathpong.
All standard rooms are carpeted and furnished with queen-size beds, while one- and two-bedroom suites also have living rooms with sofa beds. All rooms have a bathtub, TV (international cable stations), minibar, and in-room safes.
There are no fitness/health facilities either in the property or its immediate vicinity. The Paragon Fitness Center in the Silom Galleria is about a 5-minute walk away. However, as is pretty standard amongst all Bangkok hotels, there are numerous massage parlors surrounding the hotel. There is also high-speed Internet access in the lobby (20 baht for 15 minutes).
Walk-in rates start at 1,299 baht/night (about US$33) and do NOT include taxes/fees. However, street-side travel agents, or even online booking sites, offer standard rooms for as low as US$28/night, TAXES/FEES INCLUDED. If you do decide to walk in, you might want to mention the lower online rates--management seems open to haggling.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 15, 2006
Silom Village Inn
284/11-13 Silom 22/1
+66 (2) 238 4680
The Silom Plaza Hotel is a mid-range to budget hotel that sits at the quiet business end of Silom Road, about a 20-minute walk to the busy Pathpong nightclub and shopping district. Going in the opposite direction, a 5-minute walk will take you to the luxurious riverside Shangri-La Hotel or the Oriental on the Chao Phraya River. Actually right on Silom Road (as opposed to being hidden inside one of the many small sois), the hotel is surrounded by numerous gem dealers and across the street from the Holiday Inn Silom, the Silom Galleria, and the new Baan Silom Shopping Complex. The nearest BTS station is Surasak, a 7- to 10-minute walk across the street toward Sathorn Road.
Standard rooms, ranging from 250 to 400 square feet, are carpeted and comfortably furnished with either two single beds or, according to the manager, a queen-size bed (actually a double bed according to one of the guests), with a minibar/refrigerator and TV in most of the rooms and bathtub in all rooms. However, as of early 2006, several floors are undergoing renovations, so some of the facilities and services may occasionally be unavailable. In fact, the day I visited the hotel, guests were complaining that hot water was turned off from around noon to 7pm.
In-house dining includes a lobby coffee house as well as decent Thai/Chinese buffet restaurant on the second floor. There is also a swimming pool, sauna rooms, and a small fitness room equipped with a few cardio machines and free weights.
Rates (peak season 2006) start at 1,200 baht/night (about US$30) NET; for another 200 Baht, you can get an American breakfast thrown in. While renovations are going on, management seems very open to haggling for a better rate.
Silom Plaza Hotel
320 Silom Rd.
+66 (2) 236 8441
The Suriwongse Hotel (not to be confused with the Suriwongse Tower Inn Hotel, or the Suriwongse Hotel in Chiang Mai) is a short 3-minute walk from the Saladaeng BTS Station. The hotel is technically on Suriwongse Road, but its entrance and small lobby area is about a 50m walk around to its backside. It can also be accessed from Thaniya Soi 2, which is about halfway down Thaniya Plaza, on the left side when walking from the BTS.
For the basic single room, you get what you pay for: a basic room with a single bed and minimal amenities. However, for about US$20 more, you can get a reasonably furnished junior suite. All rooms are carpeted with TV (international cable channels) and bathtubs. Although the carpeting helps a little, sound insulation is rather poor, so light sleepers should really avoid this hotel, as it is adjacent to a very loud go-go bar (Jupiter 2000) that doesn’t close until about 2am.
Like most budget hotels, this one offers no health/fitness facilities. The nearest gym is California Fitness (day pass for about US$10), about a 5-minute walk to Silom Road. Another option would be to take a stroll to Lumpini Park, with nice jogging paths and an outdoor fitness area, complete with free weights, for just 50 Baht per day (about US$1.25).
Rates at this hotel range from 920 baht/night (about US$23) to 3850 baht/night (about US$95) for their largest suite. The rates are NET and are based on CASH payments--this hotel charges an extra 4% for using your credit card. I would recommend the Junior Suite at 1,930 baht/night (about US$46) if you decided to stay here. Also, to minimize the noise from the go-go bar, request a room as close to Suriwongse Road as possible.
410/3-4 The Executive House Bldg. Suriwongse Road
+66 (2) 266-8257
Hotel | "The Regent Silom"
A 30-second walk from the Saladaeng BTS Station, inside Silom Soi 2/1 (turn right at the “T”), the Regent Silom offers budget travelers comfortable accommodations literally in the center of all the hustle and bustle of Silom Road.
Tile-floor rooms range from about 220 square feet (Superior) to 440 square feet (Executive). With either two single beds or one queen-size bed, rooms are simply furnished with the basic amenities similar to a roadside budget Western motel. The smallest rooms and some of the medium-sized rooms have showers only, while the largest rooms have bathtubs. The water is heated via a small wall-mounted electric heater, so you will need to ration your hot baths, especially if you’re not alone.
There are no health/fitness facilities on property, but there is a California Fitness across the road (1-day passes are about US$10), and there are numerous massage parlors at or near the entrance of the soi. Also, right across Silom Road is the Silom Shopping Complex, which can be accessed via the BTS “bridge” to avoid crossing the busy road.
The Regent is, admittedly, in a very noisy area. A few steps out the door puts you in the middle of a popular “alternative lifestyle” hangout. Also, the entrance to the soi can be very congested, especially at night, when street vendors set up shop, and weaving your way through the crowd of tourists, club-goers, and hagglers can be a bit slow-moving.
As of early 2006, “special rates” are being advertised for as low as 999 baht/night (about US$25). This rate is NET--all taxes/fees are included. They’ll throw in a daily American breakfast for an additional 200 baht/night, but I do NOT recommend you doing this. You can get a decent breakfast in the area for a lot less.
60/15 Silom Rd.
66 (2) 632-7799
Another small budget hotel, the Wall Street Inn sits between Suriwongse and Silom Roads, but is accessible only from the former. From the Saladaeng BTS Station, you would need to walk the length of Thaniya Plaza from Silom to Surawong, turn left, walk past the Wall Street Tower, and take one last left at Soi Suriwongse Plaza. The Wall Street Inn is a short 50 meters more at the end of the soi. Though situated in the middle of the Pathpong go-go bar/nightclub/late-night-street-shopping district, this soi is relatively quiet, with the tenants of the adjoining buildings being mostly massage parlors.
Rooms have tiled floors and come with either two single beds or a queen. All rooms, including the smallest ones, have a bathtub, minibar, TV, and international direct-dial telephones. There is no fitness facilities on property, but there is an in-house massage center offering traditional Thai massage or an inexpensive (but effective) foot massage. Massages service can also be arranged in your rooms. Peak season 2006 rates start at 1,700 Baht/night (about US$43) NET for single occupancy, 1,900 Baht/night for double occupancy. This is actually rather high for this class of hotel, and I suspect you could haggle a bit for a better deal.
Wall Street Inn
37/20-24 Soi Surawongse Plaza, Silom