I will be arriving in Bangkok on January 25th and would like to book a hostel for that evening.
I will have come from a guided tour of India and am planning to travel round SE Asia for 5 months... but I must admit I haven't sorted out much in the way of an itinerary and will be on my own, so it is likely that I will be quite terrified when I get to Bangkok!
I want somewhere that is cheap, close to the airport, and most importantly, full of friendly backpackers and travellers who will help put my mind at ease! I will also be actively looking for people to befriend and travel with.
I have looked at the options on the Accommodation page but would like to hear people's personal recommendations.
Cheap depends on what you think is cheap. For some travelers cheap is only $100 a night. For others maybe closer to $20 a night. When you ask for hotel or hostel help you should include a price range.
Thailand is easier to do than India. Cleaner food, more respect for foreign women (should be no problem riding on a bus in Thailand) and better organized tourism.
How long will you be in Thailand? Without a round trip ticket or plane ticket out of the country you may have to buy a tourist visa.
Close to the airport is only okay if you intend to immediately fly out of Thailand in a few hours. Otherwise go in the city and get it over with. Nothing much to do near airports anyway so you would needlessly be spending money on taxi rides. Bangkok has 2 airports. Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi. Suvarnabhumi has cheap rail service available to midnight.
If you are young Khao San Road area is popular. Keep abreast of protest areas in Bangkok and maybe decide on your hostel during the last few days before flying in. In Thailand hostels are about the same price was small guest houses or small, private hotels.
Lub D Hostel and Suk 11 Hostel are popular and you can use the Skytrain to get around the city. Close to Christmas they are probably booked up. But after the middle of January things may loosen up. Close to Hualamphong Train station (also subway) is the Baan Hualamphong Guest House and the Train Inn. Also you can choose hotels in other areas of Bangkok if protests still are in the news. Bangkok is a big city.
In my opinion, Thailand is much safer, cleaner and easier to do than India! You survive India Thailand should be easy. Read over some of the old posts for currency, scams, visas, hotels, hostels, etc. After Bangkok not so many hostels available anyway.
New Road Guesthouse is one of the best I have ever stayed in when travelling. Friendly people and cheaper than lub d and others.
Have you tried pre-booking, which may save money.
This may also give you some peace of mind as you will know where you are going, and not have to be concerned with it when you arrive. There are a number of websites offering this service, they may not even charge a booking fee.
I know that if I was planning a trip, I would want to leave as little to chance as possible, so I hope my suggestion helps.
Karazyal, thank you for bringing the visa issue to my attention, I'm a bit annoyed that my travel agency never pointed that out to me! I'm not sure whether to get a tourist visa (which I still have time to do, but have no idea whether to get a single or multiple entry one as I don't know how many times I'll want to come back to Thailand!) or just book a flight out of Thailand, although I'm a bit reluctant to do that as I might change my mind about where I want to go next when I get there.
And yes, I should have pointed out, I'll be arriving in the International Airport.
As I stated in another post, Tland will give you a free 30 day visa waiver when flying into BKK using a UK passport. Tland wants visitors, they are not trying to discourage them. Just leave before your 30 days are up and everybody is happy. Have a great time in SEA.
I'll be arriving in the International Airport.
Both Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi have international flights. Suvarnarnabhumi is the major airport. More discount airlines arrive and depart from Don Muang along with some domestic flights.
If you intend to stay in Thailand for less than 30 days after flying in and then visiting another country you can just book another flight to India, Vietnam or wherever you want to go to. That flight is "proof of onward travel" out of Thailand. For me, round trip to Bangkok is much cheaper than 2 one way flights. Flying to nearby countries or even going overland and return to Thailand (for me) is cheaper than two one way flights to and from Asia. From the US some one way flights cost almost the same as round trip using major airlines. Just do the math! (Unless it is too late!)