It was my second time in Bangkok, and I had just arrived at 11pm, totally exhausted after the long haul from Koh Phi Phi Island. Flashing fluorescent city lights were blinding me, and the irritating combination of horns and nightclub base rang in my ear as I sat in the back of a squeaky tuk tuk in New York City style gridlock. I could see Khao San Road in the distance, so I tapped the driver on the shoulder and asked him to let me out, figuring it would be much faster to walk. Fatigue started to set in, and my backpack felt like it had doubled in weight as I searched for a place to stay. I got a sudden whiff of Indian food, so I let my stomach lead the way. About half a block later I ended up in front of the Rainbow Hostel and Guesthouse, which had an Indian restaurant in its lobby. My mouth began to water as I shuffled around some patrons to get to the desk in the back.
I asked the man behind the desk for a room for the night, and he blurted “One room – Two American Dollars”. I waved my hand and said, “No, no. I’d like a single room, not a dorm room.” He rolled his eyes and said, “Yes, yes. One room – Two American Dollars.” A few red flags went up, but desperation took over. I was tired, hungry, on a serious budget, and certainly not in the mood to search for another hostel. I forked over about 60 Baht in exchange for a key to Room 201.
The stairwell was dingy, and what was once a wonderful aroma of Indian food slowly became an overpowering odour of stale spices. I passed a pile of garbage bags and scurried up the rest of the stairs in fear of rodents coming out to play. I located Room 201, and stuck my key in the shifty lock. The door popped open and it was like stepping into a film of thick, stale air. The room was windowless and tiny, with a lumpy old bed in the centre. The walls were stained and seemed to be seeping oil from the cooking downstairs. Dying to pass out, I gave the mattress a few smacks to make sure nothing was living under the blanket. I then whipped off the blanket with one hand and a magazine in the other, ready to attack any critters that came crawling out. Realizing that paranoia was taking over, I took a few moments to calm myself down. I covered myself up in socks, tapered sweatpants, and a hooded sweatshirt to lie down on top of the blanket at the edge of the bed. I was fast asleep within a matter of minutes, and woke up in the morning bite-free and well rested.
I suppose I can’t really complain about the Rainbow Hostel and Guesthouse because it gave me what I needed – a place to sleep during a quick stop over, and easy access to the train station in the morning…all for $2!