On a recent trip to Bangkok, the City of Angels, I was looking for a hotel that’s convenient to the airport train after arriving into the city – and found the True Siam Phaya Thai near the terminal station of the Airport Rail Link & BTS at Phaya Thai just a few minutes walk away. It’s a budget hotel with local flavor that can serve you well for a short stop-over in Bangkok!
Location: The True Siam is located less than 10 minutes walk from the ARL/BTS station at Phaya Thai, making it convenient for short stays before or after arriving into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK). The direct train will take about 30 minutes making the trip quick and reliable and a great alternative to a taxi. (see my tips for Getting Around Bangkok) To walk to the hotel, you have to cross a major street with Bangkok’s crazy traffic and walk up a small alley to the hotel – less convenient than hotels connected to BTS and requiring more time than I thought based on the map, but still very good. From the BTS station, you can get anywhere in Bangkok quickly and easily via train. There are a few fast food restaurants in an office building at the food of the alley and the many malls of Sukhumvit Road are just two BTS stops away.
Service: I find service at most Thai hotels, regardless of the price category, to be very friendly when compared to other countries. Against those high standards, the staff at the True Siam was rather average. Check in was cool and complicated by the request for a cash deposit of THB1,000 (instead of accepting credit card) and the oddity of having to sign the receipt immediately for having received the deposit back – a potential source of problems later. Like many independent hotels in Thailand, the True Siam offers travel agent services, I was offered a map at check-in and there are plenty of tours available from the desk to fill your itinerary. Housekeeping had done a thorough job and prepared my room well – it was clean and all supplies fully stocked. Check-out was quick and I received my deposit back without issues.
Room: My standard room had a king-size bed and was spacious. The room has white floor tiles, making it clean and cool – but together with the white walls and limited decoration, it feels a bit stark. The bed and close are from dark wood for a nice contrast and there is some Thai art over the bed as well as a red silk bed throw. There is a chair and low side table in the corner, as well as a wall-mounted TV and a fridge. The closet is mid-size and has a small safe. All of it was working well, but looked very basic. You get a water kettle, free tea/coffee and water as well as a minibar with drinks and snacks for a charge. The bathroom is equally clean and basic, with a glass-enclosed shower in the corner, the toilet on one side and a pedestal sink on the other. The free WiFi internet was reliable, but slow at an average speed of 2.8Mbps – enough for email and web browsing and video streaming at standard resolution. The room has a strong air conditioner – but it’s old and very loud. Add the street and hotel noise and I had a hard time sleeping!
Amenities/Restaurant: While the hotel sits on a not-so-nice alley, the entrance to the hotel is a pleasant welcome with a lot of wood!
The hotel doesn’t offer a pool or fitness room, but does have a restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It looked nice enough, but I didn’t try it – there are so many food options in Bangkok, I rarely eat at hotel restaurants.
Bottomline: The True Siam Phaya Thai is in a convenient location and offers a large, clean room. At my price of $50/night, it is poor value – it is a budget hotel charging a mid-scale price. If you just have one night between flights and want to be in the city, the True Siam is a candidate as long as you can book it at a rate of $30-40 and just want a clean room.
Otherwise, the ibis Nana or ibis Sathorn offer nicer rooms at lower prices. For a similar price, I have stayed at the much better Holiday Inn Express Sathorn, HIX Sukhumvit Soi 11 and even Park Plaza Sukhumvit who offer friendlier service, nicer rooms and better amenities!