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We all know over the years Thailand has increased in popularity. Whether its expats, backpackers or now families are coming to Thai shores. Many ‘farangs’ come here to enjoy the culture, the beaches and the food. Last year 29 million people visited Thailand with an expected 34 million to visit in 2017. One type of visitor that regularly visits is the solo traveller. A solo traveller isn’t uncommon nowadays and is someone who seeks adventure and pleasure alone, but open to meeting new people from all over the world. They may derive from Europe, America or other parts of the world, and given Thailand’s growing popularity and paradise status among many, this won’t be slowing down anytime soon. There are many places now to visit in Thailand to meet other people, such as hostels, bars, restaurants, tourist spots – you name it. Even with the added social network features online such as Facebook groups like https://www.facebook.com/groups/SouthEastAsiaBackpacking/ or smart phone apps such as Tinder, meeting other people is easier than ever and more so in the happy smiles of Thailand.
Out of all the places I’ve visited in the world, in terms of having that social niche and expertise there is one place that cannot be beaten. That place is in Bangkok, and is socially ideal for travellers to meet each other. That is a place called Nappark.
You may not of heard of Nappark, but in the world of backpacking in Asia, it is well known. Nappark isn’t a hostel chain, nor a party hostel and doesn’t rely on foreign investors. Nappark is owned and ran by locals in Thailand, and is small personal boutique hostel situated and tucked in from the markets on Thani Road, two streets over from the famous Khao San Road.
Dorm rooms are only available here, which are regularly and professional cleaned. The air-conditioning is perfect and makes better sleeping for even the lightest of sleeper. The décor has an old wooden Thai style, predominately in black that makes for a dimmed setting and even cosier experience. The hostel has all the modern facilities such as great showers, reliable WIFI; secure doors, lockers, computers, a fridge and even a mini boutique-styled café outside.
But it is the social elements and layout that is key to making Nappark almost a social institution.
The reception area has a massive comfy mattress that can fit scores of people on. This is one of the key elements to meeting people. It’s comfy and ideal for people to lie around and chat, and is normally the area that makes for the beginning of any drinking games. The space makes it for everyone to be equal by sitting next to and around one another. If you enter or leave the hostel, the mattress that goes in parallel with the Nappark name, is right infront of you. Most importantly, this is an area that is only open to socialise until 12am. This gives Nappark guests the breathing space if sleep is more important than going out to explore is. Having that curfew is the boundary that emphasises what Nappark is all about. It is a place for one to get to know each other, chat, and begin their Bangkok experience.
Secondly and most notably is the outside common area, which acts as the gateway to the hostel and arguably Nappark’s most unique feature. The décor is wonderful, almost depicting a mini jungle stored inside a colourful greenhouse. The patterns and colours are quirky, authentic and charming. Even tiny geckos come and say hello as they slither on both walls. The walkway is 4/5 metres from the main part of Tani Road, which allows the noise not to drift and provide some solitude from the hustle and bustle typical on the streets of Bangkok. The areas of the seats are laid close together, leaving room for people to walk past, stand or say hey. This makes it almost impossible not to engage with a fellow traveller.
Nappark has high ratings and a wonderful service from nice local Thai workers. Due to the personal and small sized of Nappark, the energy inside the hostel rarely detaches from a happy one. People enjoy being here, and find it a cute place to start or begin their trip. Nappark isn’t just a hostel, it is a backpacking and social institution that gets it right. It boarders what a party hostel maybe and what a quirky hostel might represent. If anyone is looking to start the ever growing hostel trend, here in Thailand, Asia or the rest of the world, taking notes from how Nappark do things would be a great start.
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