Sleepless in Bangkok – Why It’s so Hard to Find Budget Accommodation and Where to Stay

Wondering where to stay in Bangkok without breaking your budget? Well, so were we.

While the cost of travel in Thailand can easily be kept on the cheap side, Bangkok is unsurprisingly the most expensive city. The majority of travellers to Thailand will arrive or depart from Bangkok and spend a few days in the city at least. Backpackers can grab a dorm bed for a little as £3 and double rooms in hostels can go for as low as £10 near Khaosan Road.

For the budget conscious traveller who doesn’t want the loud party scene that dominates the Khaosan Road area, finding budget accommodation in a more desirable location takes a bit more hard work. Luke and I set an accommodation budget of £20 per night for two, which is really the upper end of budget for Thailand, and went from there.

Budget rooms in Bangkok Thailand

How to Find Budget Accommodation in Bangkok

The main issue we had with finding budget accommodation in Bangkok is that because the city is so darn big, just rolling up to guesthouses and haggling is quite a mission. It seemed like most places don’t have trouble filling their rooms, but you would definitely be able to find cheaper places (which aren’t listed online) if you know the area where you want to stay and are willing to persevere going guesthouse to guesthouse.

If you don’t want to try your luck on the day or don’t have a specific part of the city in mind, then like Luke and I you can research online before you get to Bangkok. We used various websites to look for budget accommodation in Bangkok, but we always double check all of the accommodation we’re considering booking for reviews on TripAdvisor too – it’s well worth doing.

  • Hostelworld, Hostelbookers, etc.

We trawled through the usual hostel listing sites but struggled to find decent looking hostels that were a reasonable price in areas other than Khaosan Road. Not to mention that we left it a bit late – like the night before – to search, so the best deals would no doubt have been snapped up. If you’re smart and are booking in advance, then this is a decent way to go about it.

  • Agoda, Booking.com etc.

Our biggest mistake was using these websites! Thailand was actually the first country we’ve ever used them in and when we’d run out of ideas we started looking on here. The sites are notorious for annoying “book now” and “super saver discount” type phrases which are just not true. We booked into one place through here and it was definitely our worst night’s sleep in Bangkok.

  • Google Maps

We used Google Maps to search for accommodation as quite a lot of the hotels and guesthouses have their location pinned on the map. If you know the area that you want to stay in, then this is a really good option. However, Google maps rarely brings up the latest accommodation prices so knowing which are the budget accommodation options isn’t that straightforward.

  • Travel Blogs

We found our first successful place to stay in Bangkok thanks to a travel blog, but in general got mixed results from this approach. Googling “budget accommodation in Bangkok” mostly gave us hits for party hostels and backpacker scenes, or accommodation that really wasn’t all that budget friendly. After being patient and getting to page 4 or 5 of the search results though we had a bit more luck with finding places.

  • Airbnb

We stayed in a couple of places through Airbnb and had some hits and some misses, but in the end our best budget accommodation in Bangkok was thanks to Airbnb! Our search was narrowed quite significantly because we left it so late that we needed to use the “instant booking” option, but there was a huge variety of accommodation and you could definitely get more for your money on the site.

Luke overlooking Bangkok - Charlie on Travel

Which Area of Bangkok is Best for a Tight Budget?

We wanted to explore lots of different areas of the city, so we never narrowed our search by district and instead stayed in lots of different areas. While some areas are much cheaper than others, transport is also a big consideration as getting between places in Bangkok can actually work out quite expensive. A cheap room in one place may mean paying more for transport and might not work out as well for your budget overall as a slightly more expensive hotel that has good transport links.

  • Khaosan – The Khaosan Road area is definitely the cheapest but it’s also the most touristy and doesn’t have the best reputation among local Thai people. Expect loud music, cheap beer, and unpredictable room standards. Staying in Khaosan Road means taking taxis more often, and while they’re cheap in the day, prices rocket by night.
  • Silom – We liked the Silom area in terms of value for money for accommodation, but it wasn’t all that close to anything and the BTS and MRT lines were a bit far away as well. The best transport option here is to take a taxi just to the nearest BTS or MRT station, also not great for the budget.
  • Phaya Thai – This area was awesome. It’s very central and has good BTS and MRT line connections, making getting around the city easy and cheap. Our favourite Airbnb accommodation was located here too.
  • Sukhumvit – Staying in Sukhumvit was the biggest mistake ever. It’s a really expensive area and although we had a budget hotel, buying food cost a lot. Unless you love shopping malls, there’s not much going on here and it’s far away from most of Bangkok’s historical and cultural attractions. The BTS line runs through Sukhumvit but it’s a long train ride to other areas of Bangkok.

Shopping mall in sukhumvit bangkok - charlie on travel

What’s the Best Budget Accommodation in Bangkok?

Fortunately, we’ve done all the hard work researching and trying out the best budget accommodation in Bangkok for you. If your accommodation budget for Bangkok is around £20 per night for a double room, then you’re in luck.

I had originally been searching for “quirky budget accommodation in Bangkok” and “budget boutique hotels in Bangkok,” because Luke and I were so excited to be in Thailand and in a cool city like Bangkok, that we thought it’d be fun to find somewhere unique to stay. That’s how we came across Luxx. It’s a no frills kind of hotel, but the rooms are clean, the wifi is excellent, and the best thing about it is the very unique wooden bath tub in every room. The cheapest room is quite compact but the bed is a good size and there’s certainly enough space.

There are two Luxx hotels and the cheaper one is located in the Silom area.

Price: 1200 baht / £22 per night | Address: 6/11 Decho, Bangruk Bangkok 10500

Budget Accommodation in Bangkok - Luxx boutique hotel Bangkok room - Charlie on Travel

  • Mooncome Homestay, Phaya Thai

We were so glad to come across this city-based homestay on Airbnb! It’s run by an amiable and welcoming young couple who were nice to chat with and provided us with a healthy vegetarian Thai breakfast of rice, veggies and pineapple. The room was really big, and the only minor downside was that the bed was hard. The homestay is located near Sanam Pao BTS which makes getting to other places in Bangkok very easy. The neighbourhood of the homestay surprisingly had a great, hidden area covered in fake grass where there was a health store and a vegetarian food stall.

Price: 1050 baht / £19 per night | Address: Given upon booking with Airbnb

Vintage bedroom with walk-in closet – Houses for Rent

House in Bangkok, Thailand.

With so much choice in Bangkok, it’s easy to end up getting overwhelmed by the idea of hotel hunting. Hopefully this breakdown of how Luke and I went about finding budget accommodation in Bangkok will help you out.

Do you have any other recommendations for great budget accommodation in Bangkok?

Charlie Marchant

Charlie is a long-term traveller from the UK who writes about simple ways to travel sustainably, including how to become a house sitter and slow traveller, eating local and vegetarian, and making responsible travel choices.

3 thoughts on “Sleepless in Bangkok – Why It’s so Hard to Find Budget Accommodation and Where to Stay

  1. When I was in Bangkok in April this year for the Songkran Festival, I had an entire studio in Silom all to my girlfriend and myself for about £25 per night. It’s definitely not cheap but we wanted a comfortable place to rest at night after all the water fight.

    We had to walk for about 15 minutes to reach the nearest BTS station, but all is good until Songkran Festival starts. Silom Road was closed off because it was one of the main venues for a massive water fight and we had to get wet every time we wanted to take a train.

    There were times we had to take a taxi or an Uber to reach a BTS station or the downtown area where all the cultural and historical attractions are simply because we didn’t want to get wet. :P
    Wayne Liew recently posted…Suria KLCC, KLCC Park and Gazing at the Majestic PETRONAS Twin TowersMy Profile

    1. Hey Wayne – that’s awesome about the studio apartment! I think that £25 per night for a whole apartment is pretty cheap for 2 people in Bangkok. Did you find the apartment using Airbnb?

      Haha! Songkran Festival sounds like a funny – but also kinda annoying – time to be travelling :D

      Thanks for sharing!

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