Photo: Thailand's most famous bridge?



Most of the budget guesthouses and hotels in Kanchanaburi run along the banks of the River Kwai. These range from thatch shacks that look like they'd wash away in the next storm to solid and comfortable midrange and luxury rooms. Overall, we find the standards of Kanchanaburi's budget accommodation to be poor. Many places are in need of renovations (or just a good deep clean), have apathetic and/or rude staff and generally don't deliver what's promised. This is one destination where it's worth shelling out a little extra baht for a quality room.

Apple's Retreat
Backpacker - Under 600B
153/4 Moo 4, Thamakham Rd, Kanchanaburi
T: (081) 948 4646

The illustrious Apple and Noi moved their headquarters across the river a few years ago and established Apple's Retreat in a quiet and peaceful riverside setting. Unlike other options on the west side of the river, Apple's is just beyond the bridge so it's only a 10-minute walk to the main traveller strip. An important aspect of the retreat is Blue Rice Restaurant, which is known by locals,... Read our full review of Apple's Retreat.

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Dheva Mantra
Toprange - 4,000B to 8,000B
9/99 Moo 3, Thamakham Rd, Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 527 666

This sprawling resort located a few kilometres out of town on the west side of the river doesn't cut any corners when it comes to luxury. Surrounded by modern buildings with a tasteful colonial style, the resort's centrepiece is a seriously massive saltwater swimming pool with spacious patios and a kids' pool. The resort also offers a fitness studio (personal trainer is optional), full service... Read our full review of Dheva Mantra .

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Ploy Guesthouse
Flashpacker - 600B to 1,500B
79/2 Maenam Kwai Rd, Kanchanaburi
T: (082) 475 3443

With stylish, comfy rooms and a helpful staff, Ploy offers the best value on Maenam Kwai Road. Accommodation is in two whitewashed thatch-roofed buildings that face each other across a tree-lined lawn. All rooms are spacious, spotless and come with air-con, dark wood furniture and WiFi. The superior bags you a fridge and lovely open-air garden bathroom while the deluxe also gets you cable TV. A... Read our full review of Ploy Guesthouse.

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River Kwai Bridge Resort
Flashpacker - 600B to 1,500B
Vietnam Rd (off Maenam Kwai Rd), Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 514 522

Though it takes its name from the famed nearby bridge, this small resort isn't a tacky motel meant to house tourists -- it's an attractive spot offering stylish accommodation. White bungalows are spaced throughout a lush tropical garden, and though they're packed close together, they get more than enough privacy thanks to the many trees and tropical plants. The resort's location off a quiet... Read our full review of River Kwai Bridge Resort.

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Sam's House
Backpacker - Under 600B
14/2 Moo 1, Maenam Kwai Rd, Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 515 956

Sam's House has rows of log cabin-style rooms perched over a swamp. Though the reed-choked water is attractive, the half-sunken fountains that litter the grounds and the metal catwalk that leads between rooms spoil the scenery. With bamboo walls, lots of windows and small terraces, the cheapest huts are fairly pleasant and mostly clean, though bathrooms are on the grungy side. Larger wooden... Read our full review of Sam's House.

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Bamboo House
Backpacker - Under 600B
5 Soi Vietnam, Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 624 470

Floating across from a wild stretch of palm trees and riverweeds, the rafts at Bamboo House offer an ideal spot for relaxation. With just a mattress on the floor, the shared bathroom raft rooms are unquestionably primitive -- but they nail the laidback riverside atmosphere Kanchanaburi is famous for. The rafthouses have shady decks, and one lucky room even has a hammock that dips over the surface... Read our full review of Bamboo House.

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Blue Star Guesthouse
Backpacker - Under 600B
241 Maenam Kwai Rd, Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 512 161

The Blue Star's wide array of rooms are located near the action on Maenam Kwai but just far enough away that you're assured a quiet night's sleep. Despite mouldy and damp bathrooms, the cheaper air-con rooms up by reception have terraces with lounge chairs and offer very competitive value. Pricier new rooms in the adjacent building are spotless and come with TVs, though are lacking in charm.... Read our full review of Blue Star Guesthouse.

Camelia Resort
Flashpacker - 600B to 1,500B
9 Cambodia Rd (off Maenam Kwai Road), Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 624 884

Set at the edge of a bare grassy lawn next to the river to the north of Maenam Kwai Road, the three-storey accommodation blocks at Camelia Resort are a little uninspired. To their credit, they're positioned so that all of the rooms offer brilliant views across the river, which can be enjoyed from the room's large balconies. Ask for a second or third floor room for the best views and more privacy.... Read our full review of Camelia Resort.

River Inn
Backpacker - Under 600B
284/15-16 Sangchuto Rd, Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 621 056

Sitting on the same grounds as the River Kwai Hotel, the River Inn is a relaxed, budget alternative to its more formal sister. Though the lobby is a little dark and the carpet in the hallways is dingy and torn, the rooms at River Inn are pleasant. While not smartly decorated, they're large, functional and clean and all come equipped with air-con, TVs, desks, fridges, WiFi and tiled bathrooms.... Read our full review of River Inn.

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Sugar Cane Guest House 2
Backpacker - Under 600B
7 Soi Cambodia (off Maenam Kwai Rd), Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 514 988

Sugar Cane 2 is located a fair distance from the main backpacker enclave toward the Death Railway bridge, making this friendly guesthouse a quiet and relaxing option. Sugar Cane 2 has two main options for accommodation -- rooms in a longhouse-style set up looking over the shady car park, and four air-con rooms in a rafthouse. The former are clean and fairly good value, but the rafthouse is... Read our full review of Sugar Cane Guest House 2.

U Inchantree Kanchanaburi
Midrange - 1,500B to 4,000B
443 Maenam Kwai Rd (north of the bridge), Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 521 584

The days of the Inchantree Resort offering incredible rooms for under 1,000 baht are over -- the place has been taken over by the U Hotels and Resorts empire, which runs over a dozen hotels in five Asian countries. The group added their own touches of style to the rooms, including art featuring dark silhouettes of trees and the Death Railway bridge behind fluffy king size beds. All rooms come... Read our full review of U Inchantree Kanchanaburi.

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Aajam Guesthouse
Flashpacker - 600B to 1,500B
Northern stretch of Maenam Kwai Road, Kanchanaburi

Located a fair distance towards the quieter northern stretch of Maenam Kwai Road, Aajam lacks style and charm but delivers what it promises: a quiet night's sleep by the river with air-con, WiFi that works and TVs that have English-language channels. The cheaper rooms are in a single-storey motel-style building overlooking the river and are a bit rundown, with springy beds, large TVs and basic... Read our full review of Aajam Guesthouse.

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Green View Guest House
Backpacker - Under 600B
40/2-5 Maenam Kwai Rd (0pposite Bangladesh Rd), Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 518 910

The Green View has the mossy green feel of an abandoned plantation, which is fitting because no staff could be found on our first try. Tucked away on a leafy lane off Maenam Kwai Road, it's surrounded by an overgrown forest of banana palms and mango trees, and this is the only place with a true back to nature feel on the east side of the river. Despite the seclusion, the traveller strip is only a... Read our full review of Green View Guest House .

My Home Guesthouse
Backpacker - Under 600B
18/1 Maenam Kwai Rd, Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 625 555

Located two minutes past Nirvana Guesthouse, not far from the train station and across the street from Baa Bar, My Home opened in 2012 and offers a handful of simple but clean rooms set back a short distance from the road. Dirt cheap fan rooms with shared bathrooms are in crummy little multi-coloured sheds and are hardly worth mentioning, but the more upmarket rooms are of a far higher standard... Read our full review of My Home Guesthouse.

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Nita Rafthouse
Backpacker - Under 600B
27/1 Pak Praek Rd (just south of Song Kwai Rd), Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 514 521

Set at the bottom of a weedy path and surrounded by floating restaurants, Nita Rafthouse is easily overlooked. This is further emphasised by its location: docked near the JEATH war museum, it's the only accommodation in this part of town. Perhaps because of this, it has an air of abandonment: the lobby is cluttered, the bathrooms are grungy, and the rooms are a bit dusty, but they have woven... Read our full review of Nita Rafthouse.

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Noble Night Guesthouse
Flashpacker - 600B to 1,500B
8/1 Soi Bangladesh (off Maenam Kwai Rd), Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 515 275

The Noble Night is a sprawling guesthouse complex that stretches all the way from a busy stretch of Maenam Kwai down to a swampy section of the river. Although they come with air-con and TVs, the rafthouses float over the swamp and offer virtually no view across the river. Standard rooms have hardwood floors, ample space, fridges and bureaus, and while these offer solid value they're situated... Read our full review of Noble Night Guesthouse.

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Pong Phen Guesthouse
Flashpacker - 600B to 1,500B
5 Soi Bangladesh (off Maenam Kwai Rd), Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 512 981

Pong Phen has a variety of rooms in a friendly tropical atmosphere with crowds of happy travellers gathered around the bar and large swimming pool with river views. Basic air-con rooms in a motel-like building around the pool offer bamboo furniture and little else -- except a pool within two steps from your door. These are good options if hoping to meet other travellers as rooms are on top of... Read our full review of Pong Phen Guesthouse.

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Rainbow Lodge
Backpacker - Under 600B
48/5 Rongheabaoy Rd, Kanchanaburi
T: (081) 763 0116

The seven brightly coloured bungalows at Rainbow Lodge perch crowded together on a hilltop over the river. Fan rooms are a bit dingy and you'll have to either sacrifice a TV in favour of hot water or vice versa, but they are cheap. Air-con rooms are small and have an odd selection of furniture, but TVs and hot water are included and they have a sort of small cottage charm. The glass-fronted VIP... Read our full review of Rainbow Lodge.

River Kwai Hotel
Midrange - 1,500B to 4,000B
284/15-16 Sangchuto Rd, Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 513 3489

From the outside, the River Kwai Hotel has the faded facade of a grand hotel past its prime, but renovated rooms are far more inviting. This is Kanchanaburi's token town centre four-star hotel, with all the facilities you'd expect. It has a swimming pool and fitness room, and all of the 160 rooms have air-con, fridge with minibar, desk, WiFi and LCD TV on the walls. An extensive buffet breakfast... Read our full review of River Kwai Hotel.

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Sugar Cane Guest House 1
Backpacker - Under 600B
22 Soi Pakistan (off Maenam Kwai Rd), Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 624 520

Affiliated with Sugar Cane 2 further up river, Sugar Cane 1 offers a more central location and greater number of rafthouse rooms. The rooms on land are a little smaller than the bungalows at Sugar Cane 2 but are similarly simple and comfortable. There are several different varieties of raft room: some with fan, others with air-con, and the better rooms have an outside seating area. Rooms are... Read our full review of Sugar Cane Guest House 1.

T&T Guesthouse
Backpacker - Under 600B
1/14 Maenam Kwai Rd (one road before China Rd), Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 514 846

Located just to the south of Jolly Frog, T&T is a lushly landscaped spot with two floors of rooms in a concrete building and three rooms in a rafthouse. The raft rooms are extremely basic, and come with just a mattress on the floor and a shared outside toilet. The rooms on land are a better deal: they're simple, but come with TVs and comfortable beds. A small restaurant looks out over the river,... Read our full review of T&T Guesthouse.

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Tamarind Guesthouse
Backpacker - Under 600B
29/1 Maenam Kwai Rd, Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 518 790

At first glance, the Tamarind appears to be one of Kanchanaburi's best budget guesthouses. Staff are friendly, rooms are clean and have a pleasant scent, WiFi is free and the rooms on land come with TVs. After spending more time here, you realise that beds are painfully hard, WiFi doesn't really work, TVs are old and cheap and some are hardly manageable due to static, walls are paper thin and... Read our full review of Tamarind Guesthouse.

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Tara Bed and Breakfast
Backpacker - Under 600B
99-101 Maenam Kwai Rd, Kanchanaburi
T: (086) 337 4540

Another new edition to Kanchanaburi, Tara occupies a painfully bright yellow building above Snooker Bar. All rooms are clean, spacious and equipped with soft, comfy beds and 32 inch LCD TVs. Rooms with shared bath are spacious and offer solid value for the money. The more upscale air-con rooms are decorated with Thai art work and offer loads of space, dark hardwood desks, safes, fridges and... Read our full review of Tara Bed and Breakfast.

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Thai Garden Inn
Flashpacker - 600B to 1,500B
74/11 Moo 4, Kanchanaburi
T: (085) 819 1686

Located across the river among sprawling banana farms, the Thai Garden Inn feels like a secluded countryside village. Rooms are in pleasant individual wood cabins, which curve around an open yard. All have private bath and come with either fan or air-con to go with framed Thai artwork, firm beds, woven bamboo furniture, fridges and front porches with chairs and tables. A decent bar and restaurant... Read our full review of Thai Garden Inn.

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Backpacker - Under 600B
44 Rongheabaoy Rd, Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 514 082

The centrepiece of VN Guesthouse is a large, blocky rafthouse. Rooms are large and fairly clean, though the furniture is a bit worn, and the laminate floors are scuffed and torn. Perhaps the best thing about the rafthouse is that each room has its own private balcony overlooking a wide and scenic stretch of the river -- though note that all rafthouse rooms don't actually face the river. Air-con... Read our full review of V.N.Guesthouse.

Jolly Frog Backpackers
Backpacker - Under 600B
28 Soi China (off Maenam Kwai Rd), Kanchanaburi
T: (034) 514 579

The long-running Jolly Frog is an old backpacker favourite, and if you stay here you're likely to mingle with some ageing regulars. Aside from the rock-bottom prices that haven't seen an increase in years, it's a little difficult to see what keeps them all streaming back. Staff are notoriously rude, lazy and disorganised, and while the spacious, hammock-strewn lawn with river views is indeed... Read our full review of Jolly Frog Backpackers.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Kanchanaburi? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.

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