Bed Station: My New Favorite Hostel in Bangkok

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One of the many things I loved about Bangkok is the huge selection of hostels – not the dingy, cheap ones, but those that are more upscale but still affordable. I have been here three times, and every time, I end up falling in love with a new hostel. I have stayed at Lub D Siam, Lub D Silom, and The Yard before. For this trip, I chose Bed Station. From the moment I checked in, I knew one thing – this will be a great place. As it turned out, I was right!

 

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Checking in was a breeze, though I have to wait for a couple of hours since I was there early! The staff at the reception was very welcoming. What a good way to start my day! Upon entering the huge wooden door,  you will be greeted with a two story foyer. The first level is where you can find the reception, cafe, and bar. There’s another common area on the second level. The industrial chic interior will give you a positive first impression!

 

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The reception. Spot the big stuffed toy! 

 

I stayed in a 6-bed mixed dorm for four days. The bed was one of the nicest from the hostels I’ve been. What I loved the most is that they do not give you a blanket, but a comforter! Yes, a fluffy comforter and not a thin sheet for a blanket! Each bed comes with a privacy curtain, reading light, and electrical sockets. There are also large lockers. Each room has electronic key card access.

 

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My bed just before I had a nap after checking in.

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This is how the 6-bed mixed dorm looks like. 

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If you are particular about the cleanliness of the bathroom, you will love Bed Station. There is a toilet in every floor. The shower rooms, meanwhile, are on the fourth floor. No worries, they have an elevator! No need to use the stairs!

 

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Even the bathroom looks stylish! 

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The common area looks pretty cool too! On the second floor, there are bean bags, desktop computers, flat screen TV, and PS4. On the ground floor, there is a long table. This is where stories are shared and fun begins. It starts with a cup of coffee or a bottle of beer, a simple hello or a quick question asking where are you from. Before you know it, you have already made friends and you start planning what to do, which, more often than not, will include partying in Khao San.

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A good spot to socialize or just be on your own 

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The kitchen as seen from the second floor. Free breakfast is served from 6:30 am to 10:00 am. 

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Grab a book or leave one 

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Khao San – the hostel’s resident cat and everyone’s favorite! 

The location of Bed Station is another thing I loved. It is near Siam, the main shopping district of Bangkok. It is also a few steps away from the Ratchattewi BTS Sky Train station. A few steps from the hostel, there is a nearby 7-11.

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Cafe just a few steps from Bed Station

More than the design and the cleanliness of Bed Station, it is the people that made my stay more memorable. Rose and Farook, to be specific, are the best! With a bunch of other guests at the hostel, we went to Khao San twice. From picking up a tuktuk to making sure you will have a good time, the two were very attentive.

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Khao San with my hostelmates 

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In a city that is overflowing with choices for accommodation, I am glad I chose Bed Station. If you are visiting Bangkok any time soon, I highly recommend this place. For sure, you will have a good time!

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Guess Who’s Back, Back Again!

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Myanmar and Bangkok 2016

 

Finally! After more than a year of hiatus, I am back! I’ve had my fair share of travel since my last post, and sadly, I have no time to write about each of them. As much as I would like to share and document those trips, I am too lazy to write about them! As a welcome back post, I am sharing some photos from my recent trip in Myanmar and Bangkok. By recent, I meant last June! These are just mostly pictures. Will be in Dumaguete soon, and I guess that is when I will start making more time to write about my adventures!

Yangon, Bagan, and Mandalay, Myanmar

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Having just recently opened for tourism, Myamnar is a treasure waiting to be discovered, a diamond in the rough. It is slowly attracting more and more tourists, so I suggest that you visit it while the crowd isn’t as dense as what you can find in neighboring countries.

Yangon was our first stop. It’s chaotic! If you can book a flight direct to Mandalay and skip the capital, it would be better. But if you want to spend a day or two here, there are some beautiful pagodas that you can visit. If you are looking for the best hostel in Yangon, I suggest that you take a look at Scott @31st street.

 

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Inside our hostel in Yangon, Scott @ 31st Street

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Color and chaos

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Looking for the best restaurant in Yangon? Look for 999 Shan Noodle House. It’s just near Sule Pagoda

 

Bagan is my favorite part of our recent holiday in Myanmar. It is literally a city of thousand pagodas. Catch the sunrise and sunset. Rent an e-bike, it is the cheapest way to go around. There are no taxis and buses, so you either have to rent a bike or a car. Most hotels will have bike rentals.

 

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One of the many pagodas you will find in Bagan

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Shortly after sunrise

 

Mandalay is not to be missed as well. We only had two days here. We had the tri-city tour and my favorite was Inwa. You have to ride a boat to cross the river and a horse carriage to go around. It is definitely one of the highlights of our Myanmar trip.

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We traveled as a group fo four all over Myanmar. Three of them went to Kuala Lumpur after while I continued my holiday in Bangkok.

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 One of my favorite spots. Somewhere in the ancient city of Inwa.

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Still in Inwa

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Super comfortable bus ride from Mandalay to Yangon, even if it took ten hours

Bangkok, Thailand

I spent a week on my own in Bangkok. My first visit was two years ao, and it was love at first sight. Its cosmopolitan vibe is a complete contrast from the rustic charm of Myanmar. During this trip, I did not visit any temple, museum, or any of the usual tourist attractions. Instead, I decided to take it slow – eat, drink, sleep, repeat! Haha. I was at the hostel most of the time, either sleeping or hanging out in the common area. For sunset, I would normally be in a rooftop bar. At night, I was drinking some more, mostly at Khao San or discovering new places.

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The Yard Hostel. This is where I stayed during my first three days in Bangkok. So much to love about this place!

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On my last three days in Bangkok, I stayed at Lub d Siam. I stayed here two years ago. It is just right next to  train station and walking distance to some of the best shopping malls in the city.

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Bangkok is never complete without visiting its rooftop bars. This one’s at Above 11 in Fraser Suites.

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Awesome toilet! Pee while enjoying a spectacular city view!

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Happy hour at Octave, Marriott

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Another awesome rooftop bar. This is at Vertigo, Banyan Tree 20160612_125741-01

At Sofitel, they have unlimited BBQ and beer on Sundays, inclusive of pool use.

 

That’s it friends! I know it wasn’t informative! Sorry! Will be back on track after my Dumaguete trip. Will try to make a better post! Cheers!

 

 

Bangkok, Thailand: Exploring the City of Angels On My Own

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Bangkok, Thailand: Exploring the City of Angels On My Own 

It was past 8 in the morning of January 4th when my flight from Phuket arrived in Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. My original plan was to travel from Phuket to Bangkok via the train-bus combo, which will eat up a lot of my time. Fortunately, two weeks before my flight, I was able to find good deal from Orient Thai Airlines. I booked a ticket for only 1,350 baht (1,700 pesos). From the airport, I took the bus going to Mochit then the Skytrain to the hostel where I stayed, Lub D’ Bangkok – Siam Square.

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Don Mueang Airport

When I arrived at the hostel, it was only around 10am. Their standard check-in time is 2pm. My bed was not available by then. After having settled the remaining amount I owed the hostel, I just left my baggage and went out. I have written a separate article about Lub D’ here.

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Lub d Bangkok – Siam Square

The hostel where I stayed is located in Siam, which puts me at the proximity of Bangkok’s shopping district. I went to Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, MBK, Centralworld, and other malls withing the surrounding areas. Looking for a place to have lunch, I ended up at Sizzler, located at Siam Center. I first found this restaurant in Phuket but have not had the chance to try it there. Sizzler is a huge American restaurant that offers buffet of salads and appetizers for every order of their entrees. I ordered their Spicy Grilled Chicken and iced tea. They also give you free bread. I highly recommend this place if you love American food. The salad bar itself would already suffice to choose this place above others when you need your stomach filled. The meal I had costs 399 baht (500 pesos). After lunch, I went around the malls again and walked on my way to the hostel. At 2pm, they already had my bed ready. Having little or no sleep from the past few days, it did not take long before I passed out.

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Salad Bar

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Lunch from Sizzler

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MBK

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Centralworld

It was already 6 pm when I woke up. I took a shower and went down the hostel to have a few drinks. While drinking, I took advantage of their free Wi-Fi and research about what to do at night. Bangkok is a city that is replete in terms of options for night-outs, which make it harder to choose where to head. I took the Skytrain to Saphan Taksin. I was supposed to ride a boat that will lead me closer to Khao San Road. It was already 10pm that time and turned out boat station was already close. I rode a motorbike instead and paid 150 baht (190 pesos). Khao San is known as Bangkok’s backpacker district and famous for its nightlife. I spent just about 30 minutes walking along its stretch and had another motorbike ride going to Silom. I had a couple of drinks in some bars along the area. At around 1am, I was hailing a cab to take me to Royal City Avenue (RCA), which serves as another nightlife center, believed to be home to some of the best clubs in the city. It took me almost 10 attempts before finally finding someone who could understand where I am going. A lot of the taxi drivers have a hard time understanding English, which makes it a challenge to go from one place to another via a cab.

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Khao San Road

While in RCA, I went to Route 66. I learned about this place from my roommates at the hostel who were there the night before. They told me that it has a crazy party scene, which prompted me to give it a shot. Indeed, they were right. The place was huge and people were dancing, drinking, and having fun from anywhere you look. I had to pay 300 baht (375 pesos) pesos, which qualifies you for drink coupons of the same amount. Route 66 is a huge place that caters to almost every taste. There were different rooms playing different music. In one room, there is a live band. In the other room, you can dance to hip hop and RnB music. The best part to stay was outside. It is packed with more people but you will have generous space to move. Expect a mixed crowd of locals and tourists, mostly the younger ones. This is definitely a place that will give you a glimpse of how crazy Bangkok nightlife can prove to be. There are other clubs around RCA, such as Slim. Feeling tired and exhausted, I did not check any other place after Route 66 and decided to call it a night at around 4am. Because RCA is packed, there will be no problem getting a taxi as most of them can be seen lined up along the main road. Expect, however, that you will not be charged based on meter reading.

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Route 66

On my 2nd day in Bangkok, I woke up at around 10am. From outside the hostel, there is a stand selling street foods and I grabbed something to eat for breakfast. I had Thai Pork Barbecue and sticky rice for just 20 baht (25 pesos). After about an hour of researching, I decided that I would spend the day visiting some of the temples nearest the hostel. I bought the Skytrain Day Pass for 130 baht (170 pesos) and one day pass for the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat for 150 baht (190 pesos). These day passes will provide you with a cheap option to stroll around the city.

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Skytrain

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Chao Phraya River

I visited Wat Arun, or the Temple of the Dawn. To enter, I had to pay an entrance fee. I forgot how much it was. From its name, it is pretty obvious that the best time to visit this temple is during sunrise, although it is also a sight to be reveled during sunset. I spent about half an hour going around the temple.

The Temples of Bangkok

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After Wat Arun, I took a very short boat ride going to Wat Pho, which is just directly opposite the former. Wat Pho is more popularly known amongst tourists as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. You have to pay an entrance fee to enter. I was most probably mistaken as being Thai, which is why they let me enter without paying anything. I tried going to the Grand Palace after, but it turned out that their already closed by that time. The Grand Palace is open only until 3:30pm, so you have to be early if you want to see it.

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After a boat ride from Wat Pho, I was at Chinatown where I originally planned to have lunch. I did a lot of walking trying to find a Chinese restaurant to eat but I ended up eating Thai street foods again, which I found to be better because it was very cheap and food was good. There is nothing much to see around the area, which is pretty much just like other Chinatowns.

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Chinatown

Wanting to make the most out of the day pass that I got, I rode the boat again and went to River City, a shopping mall that offers a good view of the river and the buildings around the city. After strolling for just about 15 minutes, I found myself inside the tourist boat again on my way to Central Pier, where I took a short walk going to Lebua at State Tower. This is actually one of the things I was most excited about my trip. I went to the Sky Bar, which is located at the 63rd floor, considered as one of the highest club in the world. If you have seen The Hangover 2, you are most probably aware of the place. You can go to the Sky Bar just to take pictures, but you will have a limited view as the waiters will not allow you to take pictures of certain areas unless you order a drink. I ordered one bottle of Heineken from the bar, which costs me 400 baht (500 pesos). In turn, I was able to take better pictures of the city. Pretty much good deal!

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The view from River City

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Sky Bar at Lebua

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From the 63rd floor of Lebua

At around 7pm, I left Lebua and took a long walk going to the United Center building, which houses another famous rooftop bar in Bangkok. As against Sky Bar, Cloud 47 is a lot cheaper, especially when it comes to food. I got one pint of Asahi for only 230 baht (290 pesos). Cloud 47 is huge and not as posh as the other clubs. Still, it is very promising in terms of being able to rival the other rooftop bars in the city. The place was almost empty when I got there. The huge dance floor and DJ booth suggests that it could have been a venue to some of the city’s best nights of partying.

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From the 47th floor of United Center Building

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After Cloud 47, I took a short walk going to the train station and went back to the hostel. Here, I found my roommates drinking and I joined them. They were enjoying the popular Thai bucket while I opted to have Heinekens. Juan and Nora, my roommates, were from Columbia and they are going to travel Southeast Asia for 6 months, including the Philippines. They have a life we can all be envious about, to think that they are just 22. After a couple of drinks, I took the train going to Sukhumvit and walked all the way to Levels Club, which was located at the 6th floor Aloft Hotel. They do not have door charge but drinks inside were expensive. I only had a bottle of Heineken for 250 baht (310 pesos).

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Levels

After a drink at Levels, I took the cab going to Patpong. This is one of the most recommended areas in Bangkok basically because of its naughty nightlife. Here, along different alleys, you will see different types of go-go bars. You will be approached by touts offering a one-of-a-kind show that has made Bangkok nightlife popular. I was supposed to try their ping-pong shows. However, from an earlier conversation with my roommates, they told me to just skip it as it is no good. There were really girls doing weird things, but they seem to be drugged and have minimal or no energy at all, apart from the fact that most of them are losing the youth of their body. I just grabbed beer from the street, ate at Carl’s Jr. and headed back to the hostel at around 4am.

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Patpong

I woke up before lunch the next day and went around the malls again to do a bit of shopping. The malls were huge and filled with people, offering everything that you will need. I decided to just shop at Platinum Fashion Mall and skip the others. I had lunch at KFC inside the mall’s food court. After around three hours of going around, I went back to the hostel to rest for about an hour and head to Asiatique. From the Central Pier, I took one of the free boats going to Asiatique. This is another huge shopping destination with an abundant list of restaurants offering a good view of the river.

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Platinum Fashion Mall

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Asiatique

After Asiatique, I went to Baiyoke Sky Hotel, which serves as the venue to another place that has made Bangkok famous – The Rooftop Bar. I had to pay an entrance fee of 400 baht (500 pesos), which qualifies me for one free drink. The bar is located at the hotel’s 83rd floor. It offers another good view of the city but I do not find anything promising about the bar itself.

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From the 83rd floor of Baiyoke Sky Hotel

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The Roof Top Bar at Baiyoke

From Baiyoke, I walked all the way to Centralworld, another shopping complex and home to some of the newest nightlife destinations in Bangkok. I went to Horizons, which is located at the 19th floor and offers a good panoramic view of the city. I ordered a bottle of beer for 200 baht (250 baht).

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From the 19th floor of Centralworld

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Horizons

I visited Khao San on my first night in Bangkok and did not enjoy it that time. My roommates, however, had an entirely different story. They told me that I was most probably there too early. Convinced by the fun they had, I checked it again on my last night. I was surprised to see how different it was. This time, it was livelier and louder. I grabbed bottles of Singha from the stalls around the street for a 100 baht (125 pesos). I also went inside Hippie de Bar and The Club for some drinks. It was more expensive than the price from the street. I also had a lot of street foods paired with my beer. At around 2am, you can see vendors selling balloons and hiding when they see cops around the area. The balloons turn out to be what they call laughing gas, sold at 100 baht each (125 pesos). I tried one at first and talked to some other tourists and saw how much fun they were having. This convinced me to have another laughing gas, but I still did not match the level of fun they had. The balloons were filled with nitrous oxide gas, which was used as anesthetics, and you are supposed to have it inhaled to have a good time. It is illegal to be sold in Bangkok, which explains why vendors are in a rush to hide every time they see cops.

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Laughing Gas

On my last day, I woke up at around 10 am and headed to the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, which was just a few steps away from the hostel where I stayed. I had my bags packed the night before so that I can have free time before heading out of Bangkok. I left the hostel at around 11 am and took the train going to Suvarnabhumi Airport. I arrived at the airport around 12nn. I boarded a 2pm flight from Philippine Airlines going to Manila, which I got for 3,745 baht (4,700 pesos).

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Bangkok Art and Culture Center

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Suvarnabhumi Airport

The next time I am in Bangkok, I will sleep all day and drink all night. I heard a lot of stories about people falling in love with Bangkok for a number of reasons. There are people who loved it for shopping. There are foodies who raved about Thai cuisine. There are some who liked the cultural experience they had. In my case, it is most probably the nightlife that made Bangkok now one of my favorite cities.

Lub d Bangkok Siam Square: Best Value for Money

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Lub d Bangkok Siam Square: Best Value for Money 

What makes a hostel the best choice of accommodation for a solo traveler? Obviously price is its biggest selling point. If you do not have the luxury of cash or ownership of a credit card with an attractive limit, sleeping in a hostel would be the best way to explore a new place without extravagantly spending. It also offers an environment that is appealing to anyone traveling alone because you will have the opportunity to mingle with the other guests. It is common in hostels to have a common area where you can drink with other people, play games, watch a movie, and engage in conversations. It also offers cultural diversity and the opportunity to learn more not only about the country that you are visiting, but also the countries where the other guests are from. It also somehow forces you to go out and explore your destination, unlike in hotels where you might be tempted to just lounge by the pool for hours or be pampered by room service. Lastly, they are generally staffed with people who are hospitable and who will treat you like you are in a friend’s house and not in some place with an uptight environment.

Staying in a hostel forms a part of your travel experience. The people you meet and the conversations you had will always make you reminiscent of the good time you had during your last trip.

Given the many things that make a hostel inviting, I was convinced that it was the best choice for my accommodation in my recent trip to Bangkok. With the help of Google, I found Lub D Bangkok Siam Square. Siam is considered to be a shopaholic’s haven. While I do not really like shopping, I still opted to stay at Lub D because I loved the place the first time I read about it. When I visited their website, I was already decided that it is where I am going to stay. Try visiting their website and you will see what I am talking about.

I booked my accommodation at Lub D through Hostel World. For a 4-day, 3-night stay (Jan 4 to 7), I paid a total of 1,800 baht (2,250 pesos) for a Basic 4-bed Mixed Dorm. I booked it about a month before my trip and had to pay 10% deposit. I had the remaining amount settled upon check-in.

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Lub D offers 5 different room types. For more discerning travelers who seek privacy, there are Econo Twin, Econo Double, and Double Deluxe Rooms that are available. If you do not mind staying in a room with strangers, you can choose from Ladies’ Deluxe Dorm and Mixed Dorm, both of which have 4 beds in one room.

The check-in time at Lub D is 2pm. I flew out of Phuket at 8am and was already at the hostel around 10:30. I was advised that no room is available yet so I had to leave my things and head out. I came back at 2pm and was given my electronic keycard and room number. I stayed at the third floor of the hostel, Room 305. Upon entering the room, there were two bunk beds. The first guest to arrive gets the opportunity to choose the preferred bed. I chose the bottom bunk from the bed facing the door. There are personal lockers in each room. You have to bring your own lock for security purposes. In my case, I just put my bag inside the locker and did not bother getting a lock at all. There are also individual reading lights, sockets, and a card holder that will activate the room’s AC. The mattress and blankets were thick, clean, and comfortable. The room has minimal and captivating design.

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The Room

The hostel’s building has four floors. The Econo Twin and Econo Double Rooms are located on the fourth floor. The Deluxe Dorm, the room where I stayed, is on the third floor. On the second floor are the double deluxe rooms. The theater is also found on the second floor. Meanwhile, the ladies’ deluxe dorm is located at the ground floor. The gender-separate shared bathrooms are located on the first, third, and fourth floors.  The bathrooms were clean and spacious, with complete toiletries.  The laundry area is also on the ground floor. There are coin-operated washing machines that can prove to be useful for people who are traveling for an extended period of time. Here, you can also see vending machines, including one that sells condoms. To enter the main area, you need to tap your access card on the glass door located near the baggage storage and reception area. The hostel can keep your luggage for as long as two months for free. In front of the reception, there is a waiting area of generous size, 8 desktop computers, and a desk for booking various tours and other inquiries. They have free Wi-Fi throughout the hostel. Your password will be based on your bed and room number.

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The Bathroom

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The first thing that you will see upon entering the hostel is their bar. This is the place frequented by guests who would like to have a drink while getting to know other people. At most nights, I will also drink here before going out. It has a relaxing ambiance and a wide selection of drinks that can prove to be perfect for warming up before experiencing the infamous Bangkok nightlife. The bar also serves light breakfast.

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The Bar

Another thing that makes this hostel ideal is its location. It is near MBK, Central World, Siam Paragon, and Siam Discovery, among others. It is a few steps away from BTS Skytrain, National Stadium Station. Getting around Bangkok will never be a problem because the train station is just a stone’s throw away.

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Terrace at the 3rd floor. You can see the escalator going to BTS Skytrain

The hostel has very accommodating employees who will be more than willing to extend a helping hand in whatever way they could. Because taking the taxi around the city can prove to be a disaster, considering how barely the drivers could understand English, you can ask for help from the front desk. If you are heading to a specific club, give the name of the club and the employee will write it in Thai. Give this to the driver and you will have lesser of a problem commuting.

My stay at Lub D made my Bangkok trip worth sharing. I was inspired to travel more, especially with the experiences of my roommates. Nora and Juan, two students from Columbia, are traveling Southeast Asia for 6 months, including Philippines. Zooey, who is from Turkey, traveled Thailand with for 6 months. Most of the other people in the hostel are traveling throughout Asia for an extended period of time. I felt quite a loser as I was on vacation only for a week. The hostel, the guests, the employees, and the experience in general made me keen on planning my return to Bangkok. Lub D Bangkok Siam Square is indeed a place worth recommending.

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