Bangkok Guesthouse Review: Shambara Boutique Hostel

I’ve no trips until the end of the month, so in order to have something to blog about, I’ll be writing reviews of accommodations, airlines and services that I’ve used in my travels last year. I figured now’s the time to do it, as people are making plans for their trips in the coming months. I hope you find these posts useful :D

This was my second stay at Shambara. I stayed there before, on my first trip to Thailand in 2006. Not a lot has changed: there are still only 9 rooms, the bathroom is still shared, footwear is still strictly not allowed inside, and it’s still always full.

Shambara room 3
Room 3

Shambara’s biggest appeal is its location: it’s in an alley off Khao San Road. If you’ve been to Bangkok or have researched about the city, you’d know that KSR is the backpacker’s hub. This is where most of the young and first time backpackers go to stay in Bangkok, because everything a traveler needs is in Khao San Road. Cheap accommodation? Check. Clothes and accessories? Check. Bootleg CDs and DVDs? Check. Foreign exchange and ATMs? Check. Pharmacy and convenience stores? Check. Travel agents offering cheap tour packages to Thailand’s islands and beaches? Check. Restaurants and bars serving Western food and cheap booze? Check. Thai street food? Check. McDonald’s, Starbucks and Apple Store? Check, check, check!

Basically, if you want to meet other backpackers and party until sun up, you go to Khao San Road. Of course, the problem with party places is that it can get really noisy at night, which is bad if you need to get some sleep for your early flight to Krabi. That’s where Shambara is at an advantage. Since it’s in an alley, KSR is close enough that you’re literally just a few steps away from the party, yet far enough not to hear it in your room.

Shambara Guesthouse common area
Shambara’s common area

Another great thing about staying in Khao San Road is that it’s near some of the main tourist attractions of Bangkok: The Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Po (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn). The first three are just one bus ride away, while Wat Arun requires a ferry ride across the Chao Phraya River. For me, that’s another appeal of staying at Khao San: the Chao Phraya River express. When I’m feeling cheap and not too lazy to walk to the ferry stop, I’d take the river express down to Sathorn station, where I board the BTS going to the malls. Though it’s much easier and the route’s much direct if I take a cab, I like the novelty of riding the ferry down the river. Also, I don’t have to deal with the terrible Bangkok traffic.

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Oh wait, I’m supposed to be writing about Shambara. The room I got on my last trip was so identical to the room I stayed in before. Actually, I think it IS the same room I had before: single room with aircon. As I said in my previous review, the room is just right for one person. There’s enough room for my mess, and I love that there was a small side table for my phones, medicine and bottled water (I was sick when I stayed there last June). There was a narrow ladder-like thing for hanging clothes and an electrical socket for electronics.

Save for that missing jalousie panel on my window, the room was still the same shape as the last time I slept there. Surprisingly, after 3 years, Shambara still looks and feel the same. I love it. There are places that seemed so different and depressing after just a year, so it was great to find out that Shambara has kept the quality of their boutique hostel.

Shambara Restaurant
Al fresco dining at Shambara

Since I stayed longer last June, I was able to try eating at Shambara’s restaurant. They had an outdoor and indoor dining area. While al fresco dining seemed like such a quaint idea in the late afternoon or in the evening when there’s mood lighting, there are mosquito and other insects that come from the trees and plants. They put mosquito coils, but if your blood’s really tasty to them bloodsuckers, be sure to slather a healthy amount of repellent before heading there for dinner. The food was good, though not spectacular. It’s pretty pricey, specially since there are plenty of cheaper and better alternatives in Bangkok. If you love pulp though, I suggest you try their fresh orange juice. It’s like 90% pulp, 10% juice.

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If you want to stay in the Khao San Road area, I highly recommend staying at Shambara. However, if you ask me where to stay in Bangkok without specifying a locale, I would recommend a different place.

Edited January 19, 2010 (forgot to write about Shambara’s services)

Shambara advertises that they have wi-fi in the guesthouse. When I was there, however, I was told the hostel’s Internet was in the fritz, therefore no-wifi for the guests. It was just as well, because it turns out, there’s an additional fee for wi-fi access (and only for a limited time).

They also offer a laundry service — THB 150 for a load of laundry. I find that this is too pricey, specially if you don’t have that many clothes. Better to take your laundry to the laundry shops.

Shambara Boutique Hostel and Restaurant
138 Khao San Road

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 9 Comments
  1. dyanie says:

    in Khao San Road, live shows check! haha! :P

    apir for that note “Before you add that comment”!

  2. nina says:

    Dyanie: Nakakarindi na kasing sumagot ng tanong na paulit ulit lang :P May mga nagagalit pa at nagrereklamo!

    Oi, hindi sa Khao San ang live show ah! Sa Patpong yun XD

  3. wow! this is really helpful. I stayed in KSR too during my solo trip to Thailand last December and I plan to go back. Gotta look for this place next time. =)
    Your site is really impressive, it’s neat & simple yet very informative. *clap clap*

  4. dyanie says:

    when we went there kasi, ang daming live shows sa KSR eh hehe :P

  5. Dan Wu says:


    I’d like to book one double&fan Jumbhee(white champak) OR CHA BA(SHOE FLOWER)room for the coming Feb 13th to Feb 15th (check in on Feb 13th and check out on Feb 15th ).

    My name is Dan Wu, coming from China.

    I’ll fly from CEI to Bangkok on Feb 13th, arriving time will be 22:55pm with the flight No.FD3257, PLS keep the booking until 24:00. many thanks.

    If the booking succeeded, pls send me the confirmed email to, thanks.

  6. chyng says:

    “Nakakarindi na kasing sumagot ng tanong na paulit ulit lang :P May mga nagagalit pa at nagrereklamo!”

    Dami mo kasing Fan Mail. Ü

  7. nina says:

    Pero tignan mo naman, may mga matitigas pa rin ang ulo XD

  8. km_02 says:

    Your blog is great! Very helpful!

    However, if you ask me where to stay in Bangkok without specifying a locale, I would recommend a different place. – Where? :)

    • nina says:

      Sukhumvit, Siam and Silom are great alternatives to the KSR area. What’s great about Khao San Road is that it’s near the major attractions: Wat Phra Keaw, Wat Po, Wat Arun, Grand Palace, etc. It’s also the backpacker’s area where there are a lot of cheap food, souvenirs, etc. But it’s also a very touristy area. What I like about the alternatives is that it’s along the BTS line, which is a great way to get around Bangkok. It doesn’t help that it’s so easy to go to the malls from there too ;)

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