I have stayed at the Shanti Lodge also. Stayed several times. Some of the people there really don't seem very friendly, I agree. But there is one lady there, her name is Yuan, who is pretty friendly. She helped me out something incredible when I was in a tight pinch. I stay there when possible and bring a gift when I do go.
I always stay at the dorm and sleep well there. 100 baht I guess. There's a fresh market right outside the place also. The place isn't so far away from Khao San Road that it's inconvenient for someone who wants to get to Khao San.
Can get rooms for <500 baht.
Other other hand, Sukhumvit area is more upmarket and commercial and more places to party. You can still find affordable hostels/inns for <1000 baht.
Mate, soi 1 guesthouse was 250 baht a bed, clean and compared to Ko san rd, much easier to get around the city. sky train like 300steps away, I could walk to the Vietnam embassy.
we stayed close to the skytrain station "national stadium", very convienient - you are close to transportation and shopping centers, the RENO Hotel charged 800 Baht for a nice ac double with fridge, tv and balcony - it is in a quiet alley. (There were other guesthouses in this alley which charged about 600 Baht for a double, but Reno offers a much better standard).
Address 40 Soi Kasemson 1, Rama 1 Rd
Location The Shopping/Embassy Area
[ Edit: Edited at Jul 15, 2006 7:48 AM by samanaa ]