The Overstay: Bangkok squat, commune, and hippy hangout

The Overstay: Bangkok squat, commune, and hippy hangout

The Overstay is a firm accommodation-cum-alternative community fixture in the city's sub-culture
The Overstay: Bangkok's hippiest hostel hangout
The Overstay: Bangkok's hippiest hostel hangout
The Overstay: Bangkok's hippiest hostel hangout
Bangkok's hippiest hostel hangout is described as a “six tiered cake of fun and living.”

Travelers arriving in Bangkok to look for hippy, gritty, or just plain alternative fun might be a bit disillusioned by Khao San road’s efficiently commercialized million baht strip. But for those brave enough to venture past the usual backpacking bubble, The Overstay Bangkok is a one-stop shop for the city’s unconventional crew –- whether resident or just passing through.

The Overstay’s website describes it as a “six tiered cake of fun and living”, albeit one situated in a haunted ex-brothel. It’s a hostel, it’s a bar, it’s a squat, it’s an artists’ studio; every floor has a different concept and use. The ground floor bar, honesty-run of course using stamps to record drinks bought in guests’ Overstay 'passports’, is the venue for the regular club nights. Move up a level and it becomes a hostel, each room sporting an elaborately painted interior, whilst the second floor above is an open-plan art gallery and cinema. Homeless hippies can find a place to crash for free in the third floor’s so-called refugee camp, although the long-time residents’ rooms on the two uppermost floors are decidedly plusher. To top it off, there’s a hammock strewn rooftop.

Founded by Israeli Yuval Schwok with just enough cash left in his bank account to cover the formerly abandoned building’s rent, The Overstay philosophy is one of a cultural centre and meeting place rather than just a guest house. According to Schwok it’s not just his brain child, but that of every guest that stays. “The idea was to make a business that respects people both staying and working there, a fair place that allows poor travelers to stay for free if they need to, where they can give back when they can.” Guests contribute by singing, painting, and cooking communally, and participating in the regular language swap lessons and even fire-eating.

The kind of place that makes you want to brush up on your performance art party tricks, The Overstay is somewhere you will either love or hate. Head over the river to Pinklao to find out which.

 

The Overstay, Bangkok

Charan Sanit Wong, Number 80-82 next to Soi 40, Pinklao