Bangkok Feature

Bangkok Boutique Hotel Review: Phranakorn Nornlen

While planning our trip to Thailand in January, I was excited to stay in a hotel in Bangkok. As Meagan has mentioned before, we met as roommates in Thailand and lived about an hour north of Bangkok. Because of that fact, I’d never stayed in Bangkok overnight. After getting a few ideas from guidebooks, I also looked on TripAdvisor to see what was ranked highly. I was pleasantly surprised to see a charming, small hotel near the top. I immediately looked into it and then booked it. It’s called Phranakorn Nornlen, and it’s one of the most adorable places I’ve ever stayed! Read ahead for my Bangkok Hotel Review:

Bangkok Boutique Hotel #bangkok #thailand #phranakorn-nornlen

Phranakorn Nornlen is located in the heart of Old Bangkok and is truly an oasis in the middle of a hectic city. Their motto is about embracing “slow life,” and it’s certainly easy to do when you’re in the compound. The building itself is a beautiful, old teak mansion, and there’s plenty of space for lounging on pillows in the open air first floor. The surrounding area is not touristy so you get a taste of authenticity in how people live in communities in Bangkok. But it is within walking distance to the Thewet Pier river shuttle stop where you can take a leisurely boat ride to get to the Grand Palace and the Reclining Buddha. It’s also just a taxi or scary tuktuk ride away from the BTS Skytrain.

Bangkok Boutique Food #bangkok #thailand #phranakorn-nornlen

The hotel has a rooftop restaurant that serves basic Thai dishes, including pineapple fried rice. We ate there upon arrival because we’d been traveling that day and were famished. Breakfast is included in the room rate and is quite the spread. There’s also a tea service during the day if you’re in your room and want afternoon tea. What more do you need in life?

Bangkok Boutique Art #bangkok #thailand #phranakorn-nornlen

The décor of the hotel matches the antique building it’s housed in. There are cute, vintage displays everywhere you turn. Plus, there’s amazing art from a local artist painted on the walls. The style of the rooms are consistent with the rest of the hotel. The bedding uses batik cloth that you can find in the market and… If you like the style of the décor, they have a shop on the first floor where you can buy similar goods.

Bangkok Boutique Room #bangkok #thailand #phranakorn-nornlen

If you’re not already sold on booking the Phranakorn Nornlen while in Bangkok, we found the extra services the hotel made available extremely thoughtful and useful. For example, we had a late flight out so were able to store our luggage in the baggage deposit for free while exploring Chatuchak Weekend Market for last minute shopping. Additionally, showers on the first floor were available for use to freshen up before heading to the airport even though we’d checked out in the morning. There’s also a service to help with transportation needs, such as calling us a taxi to airport. The staff also went above and beyond. Our final memory of leaving Phranakorn Nornlen is that four staff members were leaving at the same time so they helped us with our luggage and saw us off in our taxi.

Hope you’ll consider staying in this lovely guesthouse if you’re traveling to Bangkok soon! What’s one of your favorite accommodations ever and why?

Stephanie grew up road-tripping across the U.S., but her first flight was to Australia, and she’s been hooked ever since. She lived abroad in Thailand, where she met Meagan, and in Ghana with Peace Corps and has been to over 30 countries on 6 continents. She travels for the adventure, the stories, and nature.
jj feature photo

Everything You Need to Know about Chatuchak Market in Bangkok

JJ FindsIf you find yourself in Bangkok on a weekend, Chatuchak  Market (or Jatujak or JJ) is a must! It’s Thai shopping at its finest, which means it can be crazy, overwhelming, and exhilarating. Crazy because it’s only open Saturdays and Sundays, and it’s popular with both locals and tourists so it’s always packed. Overwhelming because it’s one of the largest markets in the world and the largest in Asia, and you truly can buy anything here. And it’s exhilarating because you can find some absolutely stellar finds for a bargain! Some of my favorite “sections” of the market include antiques, home decor, and handicrafts, but there are also books, clothes and pets.


Here are a few tips to help you have an amazing experience!


Depending on the season and your schedule, go early to beat the crowds and the heat. The market opens at 9am and closes at 6pm, but sometimes vendors pack up early, so keep that in mind as well.

Getting Around

If you want to be more strategic with your shopping, plan ahead of time using Nancy Chandler’s map of Bangkok, which includes a color coded map and guide of the market. The map can be purchased on the Nancy Chandler website, but it’s also available in bookstores and news agents in Thailand. It’s also extremely valuable when exploring other parts of Bangkok. As a bonus, the beautifully illustrated map can be framed and used as home décor.  Even with a map, make sure you let yourself get wonderfully lost since you never know what treasure you might stumble upon. (Note: This is not a sponsored post. We’ve owned a few copies of the map between the two of us, and we think it’s so very helpful.)

Take Breaks


Take a break from shopping to enjoy a treat, such as mango ice cream

There’s a ton of delicious food and sweet treats to devour, so grab something and find a place to rest your weary feet. Also, make sure you stay hydrated especially if it’s a hot day.

Just Get It

If you see something you want, buy it! Don’t make the mistake of assuming you’ll see the item and regret not getting it. The last time I shopped at JJ, I wanted to get sticky rice baskets and saw some but passed them by. And of course I didn’t see them again and kicked myself for not buying them in the first place.

Speak Thai & Use Cash

Learn some basic Thai shopping phrases to use to bargain but also to be polite. Many people do speak English, but you can get a better price sometimes by speaking Thai. Also, though credit cards are accepted by some vendors, cash is preferred and will usually guarantee a better deal.

Here’s a little inspiration for you as you contemplate whether make Chatuchak part of your Bangkok experience:

Stephanie grew up road-tripping across the U.S., but her first flight was to Australia, and she’s been hooked ever since. She lived abroad in Thailand, where she met Meagan, and in Ghana with Peace Corps and has been to over 30 countries on 6 continents. She travels for the adventure, the stories, and nature.