U-Baan Hostel is so AWESOME!
Wow, it was soooo nice to finally drop that damn duffel bag! Note to self, never, ever, ever use a duffel bag again. It served it’s purpose for this trip, but it’s so hard to pack around. The shoulder strap, unless you have a really nice padded one, will constantly dig into your shoulder, and it’s just too big and bulky when trying to get on trains, buses, and other types of transportation! My suggestion to anyone thinking about traveling with a duffel bag is, DON’T…but that is only my suggestion, you might have to experience it yourself, just like I did.
So now, my duffel bag is sitting at my feet and I’m standing in front of the unassuming entrance here at the U-Baan Hostel, near the Wongwian Yai BTS (Bangkok Transit Station). Make sure and duck when you pass through the front gate, you will understand why once you’re there! U-Baan is run by Joy, and if you have been following my blog, you will find the details on how to contact her in my last post…OR just Google U-Baan Hostel/Bangkok and you will see that her place is very highly rated by many different sites! When you arrive, just call out to Joy, and if she’s not there, someone will let you in so you can rest your weary, jetlagged body.
U-Baan has many types of rooms with different configurations of beds, and they also have at least one private room, too! Joy does a great job of keeping the facilities clean, and all of the rooms have lockers so you can lock up your valuables, along with a separate lock and key to padlock the outside of your room if you and your roommates so desire. Truthfully, I never felt concerned with any of my belongings, and left many of my electronic devices on my bed or next to it. The travelers that frequent Joy’s hostel are some of the nicest you will ever meet!
The building is five stories high, so when you are on the rooftop, you do get a great view of the area. Many of the guests also hang out up there, talking, listening to music, and drinking the local Chang Beer. That is one of the great things about U-Baan…the people from all over the world that you will meet. The photo at the top of this blog post was taken up on the rooftop terrace one night while I was hanging out with some of my new friends from the Netherlands, US, and Denmark.
Joy has a really nice big community room on the first floor, too. There are four different style couches, a burl table in the middle, a fridge, and a few fans in the room, along with the local geckos, and the house cat, Polly. But, it isn’t the accommodations that make this place, it is Joy and her infinite wisdom on everything to do in and around Bangkok, and how to get to neighboring countries. She can help you with the best mode of transportation to get to each country, whether you should take the train or the bus, and which one will make your visa process the easiest for the different countries you might want to visit…Joy will definitely be able to give you some sound advice! She can tell you where to go to see all of the landmarks in Bangkok, what is the best time of the day to go there, whether it’s easier and cheaper to take a taxi and split the fare, or just ride on the BTS.
I remember my first full day…Joy’s recommendation to me was to go to Central or Siam Station and just go get lost. She is very good at knowing how to judge people, suggesting places to go and things to do, and she is right about 99.9% of the time! I can’t explain the thrill of getting lost in a foreign city, finding a dark passage way between two buildings that opens up to an unexpected row of food carts, or seeing all the street markets pop up at different times of the day that you wouldn’t see if you weren’t lost. Just make sure to keep your wits about you enough to look for landmarks so you can make your way back to wherever you started in the first place. Joy is amazing with all her help, her wisdom, her dry sense of humor, and really, pretty much everything about her makes the stay at her hostel great. BUT, that isn’t the only reason to stay at U-Baan!
Because of Joy’s personality, she seems to draw the coolest people on the planet. At least that’s how I feel about EVERYONE I have ever met at her place! From going out in groups of four or five and eating in the local markets, to wandering around Bangkok to places like the Golden Mount (Wat Saket) or the Forensic Museum, or even hanging together in groups of seven, eight or ten to Khao San Road, or Couch Surfing Meet-up’s, you will have the time of your life! I would have never dreamed I would be drinking Slovovitz (some damn strong alchohol!) with some new friends I met from Slovakia, or toasting my Chang beer with a doctor from France, and no Diego, you do not look like a pediatrician with that long hair and beard, ha ha, but you ARE one cool dude! The U-Baan won’t be the fanciest hostel you will ever stay at, but I can almost promise you it will be one of the most social places you will visit. I can also promise that you WILL make some lifelong friends there, and if you stay there once, and go back to Bangkok, my bet is that you will stay there again!
I did get lost at Siam Station just like Joy told me to, and I did find that small passage way with all of the food, got an amazing two hour massage for less than $20, discovered some of the coolest malls I had ever been to, and saw two or three different street markets pop up on my first full day in Bangkok, and now I am ready for whatever my future will bring…it doesn’t get much better than this does it? Well, I’m guessing it probably does!