Before our trip, I booked our Kunming and Khon Kaen hotel through Agoda.com. When we flew into China it was going to be late, We didn’t know the city or the language, so I wanted to make sure we had something reliable to go to. When we flew into Khon Kaen, on a national holiday, we landed fairly late, so I wanted to make sure we had a place to go to right when we landed.
I liked booking on Agoda and I highly recommend it. Some things I like about Agoda, is that you can choose the room type on the site, so you know what you are getting. In the states most hotels come with either 2 full beds, 2 full queen beds, or a king bed. (Sometimes with couch sleepers as well.) In Thailand and China rooms come all sorts of different ways from a shared room with bunks, to a private king. Once in China I stayed in a room with two king beds and one full bed. Its nice to see the different rooms and beds available on the website. When using Agoda, I was able to see what beds we were getting and I knew we would all have a comfortable place to sleep.
I also liked being able to pay with our credit card. In Thailand we always paid cash, which was just fine, but sometimes it was nice not having to make sure we had enough cash on hand when we booked a room.
Agoda also has a taxi option that helps call a taxi so you can get from where you are to where you want to be. We didn’t use this function since we had a shuttle already lined up. Agoda would be a great way to get places to stay when you don’t know the language.
One thing I noticed while living in China and vacationing in Thailand is you pay more per person/per bed than you actually do per room. If it was just Chris and I traveling it would have been a lot cheaper. On the flip side, if the kids had shared their own room, we wouldn’t have paid much more than we did on our trip with us sharing a room. Our kids liked sharing a bed, in fact in one hotel we paid for two extra twin mattress and the kids ended up sharing one, so for the most part we basically paid for three people instead of four, since they could share one small extra bed.
We didn’t have high expectations with our hotels. We knew we would only be sleeping there and that’s the only time we would be spending in our rooms, so pretty basic was fine by us. In Thailand and China the beds are either rock hard, or mostly hard, its just what it is. I personally like it, but it can be surprising if you aren’t used to it. NONE of our hotels had soft beds, although some where a little softer than others. My two requirements for a hotel were private bathroom, and air conditioning, aside from that I was pretty open to whatever.
Kunming (April 12-One night)
Xingyu Boutique Hotel $25.00 (800 baht)
2 full beds plus a sitting room. (Free shuttle to Airport)
Chris didn’t love this hotel, but I thought it was plenty nice, and besides a few details could have been one of our nicest ones. Chris didn’t like that we requested a non smoking room, but the only thing that made the room non smoking was because we weren’t smoking it in. There was an ash tray and smoking in the hallways and rooms near us. We all woke up with sore throats due to the smoke, and I didn’t like that about the hotel either. People smoke in China, everywhere and its basically impossible to escape, so I forgave the hotel for that since its a China thing, not necessarily the hotel.
The other thing Chris didn’t like is that it had a squatty potty. Honestly I like my squatties and lived with one for four months in China. Chris doesn’t love them though, and there was a learning curve with the kids.
Aside from those things the room was clean and big. Beds were hard, but again that’s China. There was plenty of room for all of us and we slept as well as could be expected. Best thing about this hotel was the free shuttle to and from the airport. It made that part of our trip so easy and stress free. We also could walk to restaurants from the hotel which was great! I would book again, not sure if Chris would, but I think you’d pay at least double and no shuttle to get anything better out of a place. (Just speculating.)
Khon Kaen: (April 13-One Night)
The Garden Room Khon Kaen $30 (950 Baht) per night
1 Queen Bed, 1 twin bed (Free breakfast)
We were really impressed with this hotel. It was clean, spacious, and very comfortable. When we first got here Chris said, “wow its nice, probably the nicest place we’ll stay.” The places we stayed, on average, were nicer than what we were expecting though. We had nice cold air conditioning. The bathroom was nice and roomy, we had a fridge and we had a nice balcony. The breakfast was good. We got an omelet, and some rice pork breakfast soup. The kids got grilled ham and cheese. They did use the weird Thai butter here that has a weird taste, but other than that it was pretty good!
Yasothon: (April 14, 15-Two Nights)
Orchid Garden Hotel $27 (850 Baht) per night
1 queen bed, 2 twin mattress that we paid extra for.
This hotel was right around the corner from Chris’ old apartment, so that was fun. When we were asking for a room, I think it was 450 baht, but adding extra beds was about 200 baht ($6) extra per bed. We got the kids their own extra beds, because they thought they needed it, but they ended up sleeping together anyways. Oh well.
This hotel was nice, but nothing fancy. It had a queen bed and then we ordered two extra twin mattress for the kids to sleep on. It also had a little table and chairs, and a fridge. The bathroom wasn’t super nice, but it did have a toilet. This hotel, every time Ryan went in the bathroom he came out soaking went either from the toilet squirter or the sink. We liked this place and would stay here again if we were in Yasothon.
Khon Kaen: (April 16, 17-2 Nights)
The Garden Room Khon Kaen $27 (850 Baht) per night
We came back to this hotel. We knew it, we liked it. I thought it was the same price to use Agoda, but looks like it was cheaper when we just showed up with cash. Although it wasn’t a national holiday this time, and $3 isn’t much. We stayed in the exact same room.
Nong Khai (April 18-1 Night)
สามออร์ริเวอร์ไซด์ $19 (600 Baht) per night
2 full beds, (free breakfast for two people)
There were several hotels right in a row along the Mekong River. We tried the first one, but they didn’t have enough beds in one room for us, but they told us to try this hotel. It did have enough beds in a room, so its where we stayed! Chris told them that we had 4 people and they were going to charge us 800 baht, but when they found out we had kids, they only charged us 600 baht. I found this to be a good rule of thumb for pricing for us, basically charging us for three people. This room was nice and comfortable with good AC, a balcony overlooking the Mekong and an elevator. The bathroom was cool and had a window looking into the bedroom. There was a restaurant behind this hotel, and I think they were basically ran by the same people. We got two free breakfasts, but the breakfast was just rice soup, and Chris was the only one to eat it.
There were some ants in the room. Again, not too rare for Thailand and not a big deal, just making note. (Not the only hotel we stayed in to have bugs.)
Loei (April 19, 20 -2 nights)
Loei Palace Hotel $50 (1600 Baht) per night
Queen or King bed with a twin bed (Free breakfast buffet and swimming pool)
This hotel definitely looked nice form the outside. It had nice staff that spoke English. There was a restaurant and coffee shop in the hotel. The pool was beautiful and the rooms were comfortable, clean, and spacious. I will say though, the actual room wasn’t any fancier than any other place we stayed. The pool was worth it for the kids, but probably not worth staying at places this expensive the whole trip. A few nights were fun though!
I did sleep the best here, and the breakfast was the best here. But we, aside from swimming in the morning, didn’t spend much time at our hotel. But I definitely recommend it and would stay here again.
Dan Sai (April 21-One Night)
Loei 1000 Miles Resort $25 (800 Baht) per night
Full Bed and a Twin Bed
This one was definitely the worst hotel we stayed in. There were ants in the room, again this isn’t that uncommon, and they didn’t bother us, just noting. Someone outside was smoking, so we could smell the smoke. The worst was the toilet. It was facing the wall to the shower and there just wan’t any room to sit. I had to step over and straddle the toilet to go potty. Not ideal. It was cheap and it did the job. I would probably not stay here again, but who knows.
Phayao (April 22- 1 night)
Phayao Gateway Hotel $50 (1600 baht) per night
Queen Bed and 1 Twin Bed (free breakfast, supposed swimming pool)
Phayao was the only place we had a hard time finding a hotel. We went to one and they only had two twin beds. We went to another and they didn’t have room. I think we went to a total of 6 hotels that night. It was late, kids fell asleep in the car, Ryan would kind of wake up crying that he wanted to stretch and lay down. We were ready to be done driving for the night. We came to the Phayao Gateway Hotel and we stopped to see if they had a room. They did, but it was going to be more expensive, but they had a pool so we thought it would be worth it, but more importantly just having a place to sleep was worth it.
The rooms were OK, and we slept pretty good. We woke up and had breakfast, then went to check in on the pool, sadly it was being cleaned and wouldn’t be done until that afternoon, after check out. So without swimming we checked out and we were on our way. Everything here was a bit of a let down, but the breakfast we decent. I probably wouldn’t stay here again.
Chiang Rai (April 23, 24, 25, 26 -4 nights)
Uncle Singha’s Hometel $15 (500 baht) per night
1 Queen bed and 2 sleeping pads on the floor for the kids.
This was our cheapest place we stayed and we stayed here the longest. This place was interesting…we were looking at google maps for a place to stay, and this place popped up. We had decided previously that instead of booking online, we would just drive to the place and book in person. That way we could be sure they had exactly what we needed. We pulled up and its a house. There is a sign on the outside saying Uncle Singha’s, so we knew we were in the right place. There was a lady outside watering plants, come to find out shes the house keeper. Chris talked to her and she asked if we had a reservation. We said we didn’t, but we’d like to maybe stay. He told her we had a mom, a dad, and two kids. She showed us a room that we could stay in, but there weren’t enough beds, but she had mats the kids could sleep on. She showed us the mats and the kids seemed OK sleeping on them, so we decided to stay there. We paid her for two nights and we figured if we liked it we could stay the other two nights as well, but if we didn’t like it, then we could bail after two nights.
The house was like a shared house Air BnB. We had our own room and our own bathroom. The bedroom door could lock from the inside, but it also came with a master lock for the outside of the bedroom door, that way when we were gone we could lock up. The other rooms in the house were rented out to other guests. (Although the first night was the only night other people were staying there.) The kitchen and common rooms were shared. Everyone could use the fridge, sink, etc.
This ended up working out great for us, and we stayed all four nights here. I do wish we had a fridge in our room mostly for cold water bottles, but sharing a fridge wasn’t too bad. The rooms were very clean and nice and I felt like we had enough privacy.
It was definitively worth the price and I’d stay here again and recommend it!
Kunming (April 27- 1 night)
Xingyu Boutique Hotel $25 (800 Baht) per night
We came back to this hotel when we were in China again. I booked it even before we had left on our trip. We had the exact same room we stayed in before.
On Average we paid $27 (880 baht) per night, the median amount spent being $25 (800 Baht) per night. Not too bad! (Especially because some of these rooms included breakfast or shuttles!)