Our first stop in Bangkok and we were in for a surprise.
The flight from Mumbai to Bangkok isn’t a long one but our impatience to get our trip started made it seem like we were on a non-stop flight around the world and in no hurry to land. But we soon did and stormed through Immigration, collected our bags and were off to the taxi stand.
Once out of the airport, we were hit by something we didn’t quite expect – the heat! I’ve been to Bangkok many times before but I didn’t expect it to be this hot in November. We soon hopped into a cab and were on our way to Feung Nakorn Balcony, a place that would be home for the next couple of days until we left to Chiang Mai.
Feung Nakorn Balcony is in old Bangkok, not Sukhumvit or Silom that I was usually accustomed to. So it’s natural that I began getting a little tense as we got closer. Where were all the sleek modern buildings I was used to? What about all the stories I’d told Rave about how Bangkok is far removed from its grungy, grimy portrayal in movies? The Bangkok we were driving into seemed to be steadily inching closer to grungy with each high speed turn of the super-cooled cab!
It took a bit of searching around before we hit the right road, even though we flashed the road map and address in Thai to the cabbie before we left the airport. I think we were both a bit in shock when we reached the large sign announcing Feung Nakorn Balcony but we both just nervously smiled at each other. We were facing what seemed like a tiny two-car parking lot. Between the cabbie, the security guard and us, we whisked our luggage into the parking lot. There seemed to be just one question in our minds. Where was the ’boutique hotel’? So we turned to each other and…smiled nervously.
The smiling security guard gestured in a direction that led through the little parking shelter. The 10 metre walk seemed like the walk of a lifetime. Had we fallen prey to a scam on our very first day? Are we the lead characters in one of those internet stories where a young gullible couple falls for those fabulous pictures of a property only to find out it’s the exact opposite when they get there? Surely this can’t be the place we were invited to stay?
We turned the corner to enter Feung Nakorn Balcony and everything changed.
The heat. The humidity. The doubts. All gone. We had just stepped into an oasis in a desert.
Feung Nakorn Balcony was more than everything we imagined it to be. As we stepped in, the rain began hammering down. And it was the best possible welcome. The rain splashing over the fish pond. The beautiful little garden looking fresher than it possible could. And the smiling faces that greeted us as we told them we had a booking.
Feung Nakorn Balcony is actually an old converted local elementary school. The quadrangle has now been converted into a beautiful garden and the classrooms are now rooms and suites for guests. Nestled in old Bangkok, right behind Wat Suthat, Feung Nakorn reflects all the old world charm and values of Bangkok in sharp contrast to Downtown Bangkok.
Feung Nakorn Balcony is the first and only boutique hotel situated on Fueang Nakhon Road, one of Thailand’s first roads built during the reign of King Rama 4th. The surroundings largely comprise old jewellery stores that have pretty much stayed the same for generations. We were told some of these stores have been in business for close to 4 generations. For those interested in spending time in the old city, there’s no better location than Feung Nakorn Balcony. It’s right behind Wat Suthat, one of the lesser popular temples. The Great Swing is within walking distance and just down the road is a nice morning market with little eateries tucked away all through. For the serious visitors who want to catch the rest of the old city sights and temples, there’s a lot to choose from. The Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew), The Grand Palace, Wat Pho (that houses the Reclining Buddha Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn, accesible by ferry for 3 Baht from Wat Pho) and Monk’s Bowl Village are all very easily accesible from Feung Nakorn Balcony. For the more adventurous, Bangkok’s famous Khao San Road is also pretty close! We pretty much visited all of them and you can find them on other posts from Bangkok. For more on what’s there to visit, you can visit their page here.
At first sight, Feung Nakorn Balcony seems like a small little getaway. But we soon found out that our little oasis had 4 suites, 30 standard rooms and even 4 shared dorm rooms! Standard rooms are about 24 sq.m. and comfortably accommodate 2 people. The rooms in themselves are quite quaint and each room has a unique theme color of its own. The one thing I’m pretty particular about while travelling is my bedding. Luckily, I had no complaints about the one we had. Large, comfortable and pillows that are just right! At the corner, the room also had a large dressing table and mirror that was conveniently located in a cove of its own.
The room came with freshly washed linen and toiletries, tea, coffee and snacks, and more than enough room for our luggage and us. All rooms are non-smoking but there’s convenient seating area outside each room with ashtrays, so you don’t need to head down to the lobby to catch a smoke. The wifi works great all through the property and there’s also a computer in the lobby that’s free for guests.
There isn’t a long list of facilities and services at Feung Nakorn Balcony. And we didn’t really need any. The TaNao Bar & Restaurant serves up some delicious food. We tried quite a few things from their menu and we were quite surprised with the quality of food. It was simple, without any elaborate presentation and more importantly, it was delicious. And you can’t beat the view. TaNao overlooks the calming garden, with it’s own fish pond covered under the canopy of trees. You can choose to sit under the sun or indoors and our choices were largely determined by the sun. My first taste of spicy pork and rice after a long long time wasn’t disappointing and the fried soft shell crab are simply fantastic. TaNao is especially great to lounge by as the sun sets, when Feung Nakorn Balcony takes on a whole different look. There’s clever lighting that transforms the entire place, making it warm and even more welcoming.
In the end, unlike many other places we stayed at in Bangkok, Feung Nakorn Balcony is more than just a place to go back to sleep. It’s a welcome break from the bustle of Bangkok. A sort of private escape from the traffic, neon lights and non-stop Gangnam Style lifestyle that seems to envelope the city. It’s old world charm embellished with a lot of taste. It’s filled with friendly, helpful staff that are a perfect reflection of the property itself – warm, comforting and everything Thai hospitality should be.
Feung Nakorn Balcony
29 Soi Fueang Thong, Fueang Nakhon Road,
Kwang Watratchabopit, Phranakorn, Bangkok 10200
Tel: +66 2622 1100
Deluxe Room at THB 1,650 (regular season) and THB 1,800 (high season)
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