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!

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!

 

 

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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Capsule Hotel and Sauna, Phuket: Be at the Heart of Bangla

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Capsule Hotel and Sauna, Phuket: Be at the Heart of Bangla

Traveling alone and on a budget, one thing that I found hard to plan on my recent trip to Phuket was my accommodation. There is an abundance of choices, depending on the area where you would like to stay. I chose Patong because of its proximity to the nightlife center. I searched through Google for several weeks to see some hostels and found Capsule Hotel and Sauna. I first stayed in a hostel in Singapore and I knew that this was the perfect type of accommodation if you are traveling on your own and if you do not want to punch holes in your wallet. It’s also a good way to meet new people, if you are the friendly type.

If there is one thing that makes Capsule a good choice, it would be its location. It is situated at the center of Bangla Road, which is the liveliest soi in Patong. The hostel is located at the basement of the Bangla Mall. Just a few steps from its entrance, there’s 7-11. On the first floor of the mall, there are some places to eat like KFC and Burger King, among others. In less than a minute from the hostel, you can see all the bars and clubs lined up along Soi Bangla. Bangla is loud and alive almost until the early hours of the morning. When you are inside the hostel, however, you can no longer hear any noise from Phuket’s liveliest party zone.

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Capsule is located at the basement of this mall

Capsule offers two kinds of accommodations. You can opt to choose Korean-style dormitory beds at 250 baht (roughly 325 pesos) per night. If you want a bit more privacy, they have deluxe capsule units that are available at 350 baht (about 450 pesos) per night. I chose the latter and stayed in a room with at least 10 units. The hostel is new, which explains why their rooms are very clean. Staying inside the capsule is not recommended for those who are claustrophobic as it is small. In my case, I did not have any problem with its size and liked my capsule a lot. There are individual reading lights in each capsule, mirror, and socket. There is also a rolling blind, which gives you a bit of privacy.

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The capsules inside the room

Upon check-in, I was given sauna uniform, towel, and blanket. From the reception, there are two separate entrances, one for men, and the other for women. Upon entry, you will see their shower room and the line of lockers. They have almost everything that you will need in this area – shampoo, soap, lotion, toothpaste, hair dryers, and clothes steamer, among others. As per the hostel’s FB page, it says that they have 300 lockers and 27 shower rooms.

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From the shower rooms

As you exit the shower rooms, you will be led to the common area. This is where the Korean-style dormitory beds are. This is also where they have their computers (they have free Wi-Fi within the hostel). They have two huge TV screens as well. If you have nothing to do, you can just stay here and mingle with other guests. They also have massage chairs.

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Dormitory Beds. The place suddenly got full on my second night

On both sides of the common area are the rooms with the capsules. They have at least 140 deluxe capsules, around 10 in each room, or at least in the room where I stayed. The only problem I had in the room was that it is common to be awakened by the alarms from other people’s phones, especially those checking-out or going out early for a tour.

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How the capsules look like. Taken from Capsule’s FB page.

At the end of the common area, on the right, you can see the toilet. On the left, you can see the four different types of sauna systems – Finnish-style Sauna, Korean-style Sauna, Steam Sauna, and Ice Room. If I am not mistaken, the saunas are open until 10 in the evening.

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Sauna rooms

At most nights, before heading out, I would first grab a few beers from 7-11 and stay in the common area. This is the place where you can get to hang out with other guests. As usual, conversations would often start by asking where is the other person from. You can also see people playing games – a good way to break the ice and know each other better. After a night of drinking, this place is still often packed with guests trying to sober up.

I had my room booked through Agoda a few weeks before the trip. The booking was supposed to be from January 1 to 3 only, but I decided to have it extended for one more night, which shows how much I liked the place.

If you want to book for tours, you do not need to go far as you can do so in the reception. Just book ahead of time as their schedule and availability varies. In my case, I had to book my Koh Phi Phi day tour outside since they do not have an available slot that fits my schedule.

Capsule Hotel and Sauna is the perfect choice if you want to be as close as possible to all the pubs, night clubs, and go-go bars. If you like hitting the beach, this is also an option that you will not regret. It will take you about two minutes of walk to Patong Beach.

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From Capsule’s FB page