Aug 28 2012
A short ferry ride to the pocket of countryside known as Phra Phradaeng (or Khung Bang Kachao) — right across the Chao Phraya River from south Bangkok — and you could be falling asleep to the sound of crickets and frogs rather than karaoke and tuk tuks. While those like luxe should head straight for Bangkok Tree House, the area also offers a few laid-back homestays and guesthouses that offer comfort and quietude for cheap.
On the banks of the river at the east end of Bang Nam Phueng village, Bang Nam Phueng Homestay offers simple but inviting fan rooms with several windows and mosquito nets in an old wood house for 450 baht. Bathrooms are shared, but breakfast and dinner are included. The chilled-out family who run the homestay also rent out bicycles for 50 baht per day, so you won’t miss out on exploring this cycling paradise, although no one will mind if you prefer lazing the days away while watching the boats drift by.
Bang Nam Phueng Homestay has its own pier, reachable by longtail boats that shuttle a trickle of passengers across the river every 20 minutes or so between 06:00 and 21:00, departing from San Phawut pier in Bang Na (see directions below). The cost is 15 baht per person and these boats leave from the red-roofed pier on the right if facing the river in Bang Na (tell them you’re headed to “tha reua homestay”). The homestay is just off to the right after climbing the stairs from the pier.
A short bike ride or decent walk inland on the south side of Bang Nam Phueng village, not far from where the Bang Nam Phueng floating market sets up every Saturday and Sunday, Phuengnang Homestay offers comfy and spacious rooms set in traditional Thai-style wood bungalows. Each come with fans, air-con, TVs, fridges, free Wifi and spotless hot water bathrooms to go with simple white curtains and dark wood trim.
Phuengnang’s rooms also feature spacious front porches although the bungalows are stacked close together, making it not the most private of set-ups. Still, the pleasant grounds are filled with potted plants, trees and touches like old-fashioned Thai-style lanterns, and friendly staff serve up excellent Thai food on a relaxing patio beside the forest. With rooms costing 1,000 baht per night Phuengnang is not really a homestay in our book, but it’s a solid option with a good reputation for those seeking creature comforts.
Another few hundred metres further past Phuengnang on this sleepy little road brings you to our favourite of the bunch: Py Aoy Long Stay. Again, Py Aoy’s collection of six bungalows scattered in a peaceful wooded area don’t truly qualify as a homestay but rather more of a chilled out bungalow spot that wouldn’t be out of place down on the islands.
While 700 baht will bag you a basic but cosy wood bungalow with air-con, fan and hot water, we would spring for the 800 baht editions further back that are perched over a shallow pond with plenty of shady trees and other foliage. Charming, semi-private front porches with tables are perfect for jotting a few lines in your journal, and each of Py Aoy’s bungalows struck us as the perfect writer or artist retreat. Free WiFi is available if you don’t want to entirely leave the real world behind, and Py Aoy also rents out bicycles for 50 baht per day and has a small restaurant/coffee shop.
Both Py Aoy and Phuengnang can be reached by following the raised bicycle ways that meander through the village from either the main pier or homestay pier to Bua Phueng Patthana Road (you’ll want a compass — just keep going west until you hit the road). Go left onto Bua Phueng Patthana then take the first right onto Wat Bang Nam Phueng Road and your first left after that, following signs to Phuengnang Homestay. The easier way would be to either hire a motorbike taxi from the main pier or call ahead and request to be picked up there, or you can rent a bicycle at Bang Nam Phueng Homestay even if not staying there.
To reach San Phawut pier from Bangkok, take the BTS sky train to Bang Na and leave the station through exit number 2. Walk straight at the end of the stairs and either catch a taxi to “tha-reua san-phawuet” or walk the little more than a kilometre to the pier by taking the first left onto San Phawut Road, which will take you past a clutch of great street food carts and markets before ending at the pier next to Wat Bang Na Nok.
Mint green skiffs transport passengers to the main pier on the other side of the river for 4 baht from 05:00 to 21:00 daily, departing from the white-roofed pier to the left if facing the river. The red-roofed pier to the right has longtail boats to homestay pier and other smaller piers around the peninsula. Alternately, a taxi can get you to the area for 150 to 200 baht one-way from just about anywhere in south Bangkok or Thonburi.
Bang Nam Phueng Homestay
Bang Nam Phueng, Phra Phradaeng
T: (028) 196 762
Moo 9, Bang Nam Phueng, Phra Phradaeng
Tel: (024) 613 8101 ; (081) 820 0219
Py Aoy Long Stay
Moo 7, Bang Nam Phueng, Phra Phradaeng
T: (028) 150 377 ; (086) 882 4753
Travelfish.org always pays its way. No exceptions.