Like many long term travellers in South East Asia, Bangkok has become a kind of base for us. Whether for vaccinations, visiting dentists or getting visas for the next destination we have spent quite a bit of time in the city. On our last visit we discovered a different way to stay…
Air BnB is a website that allows people to rent out rooms in their home (or their entire home) to people over the internet. It spans the space between couchsurfing and boutique hotels and you can find examples for any budget on the site. It is strongest in the United States (where it was founded) and in big European cities. However, when we last visited Bangkok we found they also have a decent selection there.
We got a nice one bedroom condo with air conditioning (essential in May!), a swimming pool, fast wifi, a kitchen, a washing machine and more for about 800 THB a night. The location was in a block of condominiums about a 10 minute drive from the southern end of the MRT (skytrain). The other inhabitants seemed to be middle class Bangkokians and a few ex-pats - there was a "beer garden" with street food stalls inside the complex which was great for people watching (and pretty good for eating). The location isn't ideal for tourists with a limited time in Bangkok but it's perfect for travellers who have already seen the sights and want to be a little bit away from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
Having a flat to yourself is a lovely feeling after a while on the road (and having a washing machine is AMAZING!). We found it a great way to recharge the batteries for the next round of travelling and would recommend it to anyone in a similar situation.
You will have to plan a little bit in advance in order to make the most of Air BnB because when you find somewhere you like the look of you submit a request and then you need to allow time for the host to respond. We left it a bit late (submitting a request 24 hours before we arrived in Bangkok and not having access to our email while travelling to Bangkok) but luckily it still worked out OK. Next time we'll try to find somewhere a bit earlier though!
Note that the price displayed on the Air BnB site can seem a bit deceiving at first - when you get through to the final stages there are suddenly some additional fees added on. One is a fee that goes to Air BnB (the rest goes to the host) and another is a cleaning fee (charged once per booking so that the host can have your mess cleaned up after you leave). Even with these fees taken into account we found it compared favourably to hotels with similar facilities.