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A Travel Review: Guesthouse - Prom Tong Mansion - Ayutthaya, Thailand

Travelling on a budget does not mean you have to suffer or compromise. Especially in Thailand where the quality of guesthouses rivals that of 3 and 4 Star hotels in many other countries.

What is especially appealing about Thailand is that tourism seems to have grown from the bottom up. What I mean is that Thailand, long a haven for backpackers in their teens and early twenties, has grown up along with their target demographic. Those backpackers and their friends are now doctors and lawyers and civil servants in their home countries and are looking for a bit of exoticism in their travel as long as its clean and safe.

Prom Tong Mansion is a case in point. A few years ago the choice of accomodation in Ayutthaya was limited to expensive skyrise type hotels on the one hand and very basic backpacker accomodation on the other.

Ayutthaya is not a prime tourist destination like Chiang Mai or Pattaya. The city is located at the junction of the Chao Phraya, Lopburi and Pa Sak rivers. The old city is on an island formed by a bend of the Chao Phraya on the west and south sides, the Pa Sak on the east side and the Klong Muang canal on the northern side.

Because it is located on the main north-south railway linking Chiang Mai to Bangkok, many tourists stop there overnight to visit the many temples, both new and ruined, which are accessible by walking around the city. It is a charming University town, as peaceful and sleepy as any urban centre in Thailand ever gets. The relative absence of tourists gives the city a charm which is not found in many other places in the country.

Four years ago a local Chinese Thai businessman wanted his two daughters to return from abroad so he could enjoy their company in his later years. One was was working in the UK and the other in Switzerland. He began building a new guesthouse and the two sisters, Jeeda and Rita, run it to the European standards they are accustomed to, with a large dose of Thai hospitality.

There are three stories, with 6 or 7 rooms per floor. Doubles and singles. The rooms are luxurious by European standards, with nice furniture. The bathrooms are a little basic, Thai style, but quite functional. Each room has TV and air-conditioning.

Most important is the presence of good WiFi connection throughout the whole guesthouse. If you don’t have your own laptop there is a public PC to use. The main floor has a cafe style restaurant running alongside the building. It is a delightfully shady spot where free breakfast is served in the morning. A lovely peaceful spot to plan excursions or check email in the heat of the Thai midday.

The two sisters are well known for their willingness to help travelers, whether it be advise on how to travel to their next destination or arranging a tour or directions for seeing Ayutthay. The guesthouse has a relaxed, hospitable and laid back feel to it – without any compromise to service or cleanliness. If you are staying in Ayuttaya, Prom Tong Mansion is your first choice. It may even be worth lingering there a couple of extra days to enjoy this beautiful oasis.

Reservations and prices for Prom Tong Mansion are available on their website: http://www.promtong.com/
They have awards and recommendation from Trip Advisor: http://www.tripadvisor.com/
Booking is also possible via Hostelworld: http://www.hostelworld.com/
Dont let the name fool you Hostelworld has an extensive listing of good and budget priced hotels on their web searches. Cost conscious travelers would be well advised to add this search service to their list when making travel plans.
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