It is another rainy day in Hanoi! This is not the rain that you can walk the streets in and enjoy the coolness of rain and delight in a city dripping in wetness. This is the pissing rain that drenches you in 10 minutes or less. I need to do something useful besides reading in a cafe, so here are some decent places I've layed my head in.
Everyone says that Thailand is being overrun by tourist which is true. However, if you want trekking, great to decent beaches, lovely food, meditation classes, massage courses, cooking lessons, or soaking up Thai's amazing Buddhist cultural heritage come and join the masses who have fallen in love with the only land in Southeast Asia that was never colonized.
CHIANG MAI (northern Thailand)
I highly recommend staying at the GRACE HOTEL which is located on 27/5 Moon Muang Road, Soi 9, T. Sriproom A. Muang. The telephone number is 66-053-418161. Grace Hotel is very clean. The rooms are quite large but sparse with only a bed, fan, desk, chair, wardrobe closet, and bathroom. The hotels has a nice restaurant which serves yummy breakfast and excellent Hill Tribe coffee. I don't think you can find Grace Hotel on the Internet. It is a place filled with annual visitors to Chiang Mai, so call to make a reservation. Please note I paid $3USD a night for a room on the third floor in August 2005 (low tourist season).
If you want to stay in the madness that is known as Khao San Road but need a little respite run to SHAMBARA BOUTIQUE HOSTEL. The address is 138 Khao San Road (it is in an alley off the main road). The telephone number is 66-2-282-7968. It is a fairly new hostel with less than 15 rooms which are all beautifully decorated and very clean. The hostel also has a nice courtyard to have a drink or meal in. I paid $8USD for a air-conditioned room in August 2005 (low tourist season). Please note that I did have to share a bath but it wasn't a big deal. You can book a room for Shambara on websites such as Hostelworld.com or Hostels.com.
If you are staying in Bangkok and really need to stretch your baht try the BANGKOK INTERNATIONAL YOUTH HOSTEL which is a member of the Hosteling International network. The hostel is located at 25/2 Phitsanulok Road, Sisao Theves, Dusit. The telephone number is 66-2-281-0361. Please note that you don't have to be a youth or a member of Hosteling International to take advantage of the clean dorms, singles, or doubles which are offered here. However, if you aren't a member of Hosteling International you will have to pay an extra 50 Thai Baht per night to stay at the hostel. I paid around $4 USD a night for a bed in an air-conditioned dormitory room. The room was clean and had an attached bathroom. I think it is a pretty good deal for Bangkok.You can reserve a bed or room on various websites like Hostelworld that cater to backpackers.