Where I caught my zzzs in Thailand (Part 1)Reading Time: 6 minutes
As I have mentioned before, Thailand was my first real taster of real solo travel. I had taken a leap towards a long standing dream without the familiar comfort of my bed. As anyone taking such a leap, I had gone out and sought the wise wisdom of others who have walked the path before. Following a simple ask of ‘solo travel in Thailand’, my good friend Google, connected me with a long list of people who had gone before me.
After a very long journey from Zimbabwe to Thailand via London, I knew I would need to rest somewhere relaxing. I therefore booked myself in for a comfortable and cosy night at the Chatrium Hotel (also because prices were so reasonable). Once in Bangkok, I would explore the area and decide if I wanted to stay longer or move.
Chatrium Hotel Riverside (Trip Advisor Rated 4.5/5 Booking.com customer rating of 9/10 at £65/night)
A 5* hotel and as if that was not luxurious enough, I had a room with a balcony that overlooked the Chao Phraya River.
The room size was ginormous, I am sure I could have fit my family and friends who could have invited their friends as well. The bed would have comfortably fit 5 people with no qualms. But I guess that is luxury- an ability to get lost in a bed. From my room on the 6th floor, I could see the pool and hear the live music from the restaurant.
There was a dining room table and a kitchenette in the event that I wanted to make my own food-but I was in Thailand the food was cheap and amazing-why would i punish my taste-buds by cooking???
I had to stand in front of the full length mirror in the room a few times cozied up in the soft gown and bedroom slippers just to pinch myself in disbelief that I was actually in Thailand.
The breakfast is a good introduction to Asian cuisine as it coaxes you in gently. It is a buffet with very fresh fruit and variation of food options from cereal, fruit, pastries, western sausages and bacon, dumplings or they can make you fresh eggs or noodles. You can have your breakfast outdoors while you watch the boats go up and down on the river or indoors. As it was the end of April, I was torn between the river view while cooking my skin or enjoying the air-conditioning and people watching. I chose to protect the skin and sit in the artificial cool air circulation in the restaurant.
A complimentary shuttle boat service takes residents along the Chao Phraya River to the Saphan Thaksin Bangkok Mass Transit Station, which connects to the different sites and landmarks Bangkok has to offer. Overall, the staff were really friendly and it was comfortable. As it was convenient and nice I decided to stay there for a couple more nights. The environment was very serious and although I had small talk with a couple of other guests, I did not get to meet anyone to have long chats or drinks with(I did not want to be Jenny no mates anymore).
Centrale Guesthouse (Trip Advisor Rated 4.5/5 Booking.com customer rating of 8.3/10 at £8/night)
When I arrived in Chiang Mai I had no clue where I was going, so thankfully on the flight I made a French Canadian friend who recommended somewhere for me to stay. The guesthouse was owned by a French man and his Thai wife. The man spoke fluent English, French and Thai(which came in very handy when the cops decided to take an interest in me). It was here I discovered that battering for pricing is standard as I spent four nights in this guesthouse. The price I paid for the first night (pre-negotiation) was different from the other nights (post-negotiation).
The room I had on the first night was more of an family apartment with an ensuite bathroom, a living room with a tv, sofas and a bunkbed. The style was ok -bed was comfortable enough. However, after staying at the Chatrium I had to readjust my expectations. Although there was air conditioning the room was so hot, I followed Usher’s advice on dealing with heat to no avail. This must have made me irritable, and on top of that there was lots of noise that filtered into the room as i tried to sleep. Next morning I discovered that there was boxing studio just next to the guesthouse.
The guesthouse is right next to the entrance to the old town in Chiang Mai and therefore there was good access to the night markets, to enable one to view the temples as well as multiple areas to eat, work or enjoy relaxing massages. There was a guy that made fresh and refreshing fruit smoothies just outside the guesthouse which was a godsend in that Thai heat.
I spent a couple of nights in another hotel whose name i cannot for the life of me remember which made me feel uneasy. I am not certain why but the sounds of people walking around and weird noises in the middle of the night made me a little uncomfortable. (Maybe i subconsciously decided to erase it from my memory).
Deejai Backpackers (Trip Advisor Rated 4/5 not on Booking.com at roughly £15/night)
Deejai hostel was recommended by a few people I met during my trip. Therefore after returning from a friend’s place in Phrao I decided to try it out. As it was my introduction to solo hostel usage- I decided to go for a private room which felt more comfortable and made up than the hotel I had stayed in before I went to Phrao.
The room had a TV, fridge, comfortable bed and ensuite bathroom. As if that was not a good deal already, across the road the hostel also had a break out room, restaurant, bar and pool.
Each night here was an event organised at the pool which was a great chance to meet other solo travellers if desired. I met a girl from the UK who was travelling around Asia after having spent time in Australia. We decided to explore Chiang Mai together the next day. We visited the 3D museum, found an organic health bar which had amazing smoothie combinations with a resident cat and dog.
Where have you stayed in Bangkok or Chiang Mai? What was unique about the accommodation or area you stayed in?