The Lonely Planet’s : Top 5 Author Pick

Authentic location, awesome views and scruffy rooms."

Perched on the river in Chinatown, far from the backpacker ghetto, this is a fantastic choice for those who really want to see and feel Bangkok. Above the basic rooms sits a wonderful rooftop restaurant with magnificent views and a breeze worth gold in this town.

You'll find the River View among narrow laneways where the motor of daily life turns and hums, men weld in scrap metal kingdoms and women ladle out noodle soup. Birds squawk from wooden cages as cats skulk in shadowed doorways. This is true local living. If you are happy without air-con, the fan rooms are the ones with the wonderful views over the river and the adjacent pagoda, and those without bathrooms have balconies. More expensive rooms have less vista but come with air-con, wooden furnishings and fridge. OK, so the mattresses are crummy and the bathrooms could do with a scrub - get a massage for your back, wear flip-flops in the shower and then go chill out at the wonderful rooftop restaurant/bar. There you have an exceptional panorama over Chinese dragons and the city sprawl with the Chao Phraya river snaking majestically through it all.

Reviewed by Annabel Hart

AUTHOR EXPERIENCE The rooftop is a wonderful spot to read or write, sip a beer or eat some inexpensive Thai food - particularly at sunset when Bangkok turns its lights on and becomes a lady of the night. Around the corner on soi Wanit 2, across from the Harbour Department, a little stall called Pet Tun Jao Tha has rice noodles with roasted or stewed duck.