Art, coffee + pretty young things: Bangkok’s Good One Hostel Café + Bar

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Bangkok in June: it’s hot and sticky, and the start of the monsoon season.  Having arrived from an equally humid city (Manila, Philippines), it was fantastic to experience a little rain whilst I waited for my Uber to arrive.  To my delight, it was a humble Mazda kitted as though it was a sports car: many different dials in the macho red and black colours, free wi-fi on-board and bottles of distilled water.  I liked Bangkok already.  What’s more, the security officer by the airport gate was ever so helpful in talking to my cab driver through the phone, kindly informing him of my exact whereabouts in the large arrivals bay of BKK.

Thankfully, the 30-minute ride was short-lived as we drove up to the back alley that paved the entrance to Good One Cafe Bar & Hostel.  The monochromatic and bright interiors of the establishment glowed in the early morning darkness. 

I was greeted by a very eager Thai guy.  I was overwhelmed by his enthusiasm at 2 am – I was impressed by the friendly feel of the hostel already.  He saw my rugged look, and continued to pick up my rucksack as he explained the festivities that I narrowly missed upon my arrival. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see a working lift.  A true backpacker’s hostel, they understand that walking down several flights of stairs at ungodly hours are not everyone’s cup of tea.

The location

Good One Hostel Cafe & Bar is located in the Silom Area of Bangkok.  It was about 375 baht from BKK airport and a short walk way from the Chong Nonsi MRT station.  It was very easy to reach MBK Centre and night markets, as well as a reasonable taxi fare to the Khao San area of Bangkok (backpacker’s strip).  There were plenty of fairly-priced and upscale establishments nearby including vegan-friendly places, A-Ma vegan ‘buffet’ restaurant and Rocket. 

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What I particularly liked was the proximity to the financial district of Bangkok.  I felt completely safe walking around on my own, and this area of the city was very nice.  I did not want to stay in the backpacker area as I wanted to keep my stay in Bangkok rather chilled rather than filled with ‘typical’ backpacking pursuits (ping-pong shows and buckets).  This hostel is for you if you want to keep it rather low-key, but also meet a sociable crowd. 

There are two entrances to the hostel: one at the busy Silom road and another through a narrower back alley, so do not be alarmed if your taxi driver drives you through an alleyway. 

The room

I chose a bed in a mixed dormitory for 12 people.  I do not think I was fooled by my tiredness when I say that when the lights were turned on, I may have just found myself in a backpacker’s paradise.  It was squeaky clean, the working AC gave off sufficient cool air, and there was a curtain for each bunk bed to wean off any unnecessary noise or brightness.

The bed was pure luxury: fluffed-up pillows; a thick, reasonably-sized duvet; bright night lamp; pegs on the wall; a large locker compartment; and an electric socket.  What more could you ask for?  My friends and I felt as though we were transported back home to our own beds.  It has been a long time since our backs were properly rested on properly-cushioned beds. 

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For one, the minimalism and design is eye candy for many.  The interiors were fashionably styled so they matched the granite grey theme colour of the rest of the buildings.  The shared bathrooms within the rooms were well-equipped, too.  There were simple, concrete toilets with a luxury feel.  It was the the first hostel I have stayed at that provided their own toiletries, too (which I later found out seem to be the trend in SE Asia).

And for the ladies: they have their own hairdryer.  Granted, it was not salon-standard, but beggars cannot be choosers.  These little details make the boutique hostel worth every buck.

The facilities

Aside from the fantastic cafe and bar on the ground floor, there is also a small communal area on the 7th floor which houses a small kitchen and fridge, sofa, TV and a dining table.  Most guests did not use this, perusing the cafe area downstairs instead, but it was a quiet spot if you’d like some alone time reading or Skyping.

The basement housed the hostel’s washing machines too, and another toilet for the cafe customers. 

Other note-worthy amenities include the fast and free wi-fi on-site, and the simple and filling free breakfast (toast with preserve and cereal with a generous glass of milk – I bought my own 7eleven soya milk).

The cafe & bar

The cafe was a hipster’s haven.  It was monochrome, featured a timeless design and adorned with black and white photographs for sale.  Businessmen, hostel guests and university students would flock to this establishment during the day.

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The coffee, pastries and cakes on offer were absolutely delectable – almost good enough to eat.  The prices were also very reasonable, considering I was a backpacker on a budget in Bangkok.  Their matcha green tea latte was fantastic, and was served at a drinkable temperature (for once!).

The cafe also doubles as a bar where they serve beers and a handful of cocktails done very tastefully.  I have sampled their margarita, mojito and whiskey sour and can vouch for all three drinks.  Their cocktails are also very reasonably priced at 100 baht each!

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The service

I cannot fathom the service I received from this hostel.  Whenever I encountered a member of staff, I was always greeted with smiles and questions about my plans for the day and the rest of my trip. 

One evening, I was even given a free mojito as I waited alone on the ground floor for friends to arrive.  They were also very helpful in flagging down taxis for us, ensuring we were not going to be ripped off, and disclosing tips to find our way around Bangkok with ease.

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Lastly, the staff at Good One were all overwhelmingly chic and cool.  They had good tastes in music, fashion, food, interiors and art.  It’s often hard to encounter people travelling that share (and understand) your interests, and it’s even harder to find hostel staff that do, too.  It was refreshing to find both in the same place.

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The luxurious feel of this hostel made my first couple of days in Thailand run very smoothly.  Good One Hostel Cafe and Bar welcomed my stay in Bangkok, a city known in the Western world for its scams and seediness, with open arms.  I could not recommend this hostel highly enough to my family, friends and acquaintances.

Thanks to Good One Hostel Cafe + Bar for welcoming me in Bangkok.  As always, opinions will always be my own.

Follow my travel adventures on Instagram (@julianduiza / @kalemosscom), Twitter and Snapchat (both @julianduiza) for all things backpacking.

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