Most backpackers still opt for one of the cheap guesthouses clustered along the river and nightlife towards the southern end of Mae Nam Khwae Road. Families or anyone who likes their peace and quiet may be better off toward the northern stretch of Mae Nam Khwae Road, or just across the bridge on the west side of the river. Those looking for more local flavour could stay downtown along the river or on Rongheabaoy Road, while travellers with vehicles might consider settling in further afield.
From tired old guesthouses to spiffy new resorts, Kanchanaburi hosts dozens of places to stay. The bulk of accommodation is found along the River Khwae Yai towards the northern end of town off the touristy Mae Nam Khwae Road. Overall we’ve found the standard to be sub-par when compared to other Thai destinations of a similar size, with unstable WiFi and lazy staff being common offenders.... Read our full review of The best places to stay in Kanchanaburi.
While located within steps of many restaurants, travel offices, museums and the Death Railway Bridge, these places are well removed from the loud nightlife found further south. Apart from No. 25 Hostel and Sabai@Kan, all of these have riverside locations as well. The main disadvantage of this area is that you’ll be up at the northern end of town and it’s five kilometres from here to the old town, war cemetery and bus station.
The Bamboo House has evolved a lot since the days when it had nothing but a few rundown rafthouses on a tranquil stretch of the River Khwae Yai. Budget travellers can still grab a rundown woven bamboo raft room with a thin mattress on the floor, portable fan and porches with a couple of chairs. Guests staying in these use shared cold-water bathrooms set up on the lawn. Families also have what... Read our full review of Bamboo House.
Opened in 2012, Good Times led a charge of new flashpacker-range properties to offer an alternative to the cheap guesthouses and ageing city hotels. Some will find it too commercialised but it’s hard to argue with a central riverfront location and quality rooms starting at just over 1,000 baht. Situated on a large property overlooking the river and a lagoon loaded with goldfish, the... Read our full review of Good Times Resort.
Dorms are a tough sell in a town where you can still find a private fan room for 100 baht, but No. 25 Hostel does a good job if you’re after a clean air-con bunk or private room with perhaps more of a social scene. The hostel is set in a converted two-storey white brick-and-concrete house set back from Mae Nam Khwae Road on a side lane—no river setting here. A simple ground-floor lounge... Read our full review of No. 25 Hostel.
Located just off the river and a short walk south of the Death Railway Bridge, the small Sabai@Kan Resort features a pair of two-storey buildings facing a small swimming pool and garden. A motivated team of receptionists showed us a couple of large and immaculate rooms with comfortable beds raised off shiny white tile floors, shower curtains in modern bathrooms, nearly floor-to-ceiling... Read our full review of Sabai@Kan Resort.
Sporting elegant rooms and a pool in a low-key spot just north of the Death Railway Bridge, U Inchantree is one of the plushest places to stay in Kanchanaburi town. An indie resort no longer, the Inchantree is part of the U group that oversees more than a dozen properties in several Asian countries, making this a good choice if you prefer more professional service. Rooms are set in two-storey... Read our full review of U Inchantree Resort.
This area covers Kanchanaburi’s most tightly packed collection of guesthouses located near the city’s longest strip of bars, including some seedy ones. Apart from Thai Guesthouse, every one of these places has a riverside location. Thanks to a ban on live music after midnight, late-night noise isn’t as much of an issue as it used to be.
The long-running Blue Star remains a strong backpacker choice in a relatively quiet location. While it’s missing a rafthouse option, the log bungalows and standard rooms in a couple of concrete buildings offer a wide range of choices. Our favourites are the bungalows set on stilts and reached by footpaths raised above a swampy lagoon filled with tropical palms and flowers. These are far... Read our full review of Blue Star Guesthouse.
Situated just far enough north of the rowdiest nightlife to stay reasonably quiet, Ploy Resort sets itself apart with terrific riverside common areas and stylish rooms. While not without its kinks, this remains a top pick for lower end flashpackers. Most rooms are set in a pair of white concrete motel-type buildings topped with thatch and fronted by dark-wooden doors and terracotta tiles. The... Read our full review of Ploy Resort.
We’ve long had a soft spot for Tamarind thanks to the sweet woman who has greeted us with a smile at reception on several visits over the years. Offering rooms in a rafthouse and a two-floor concrete building, the guesthouse is still a worthy alternative to Jolly Frog or Blue Star if you prefer a more homely atmosphere near the nightlife. The old rafthouses with woven bamboo walls have seen... Read our full review of Tamarind Guesthouse.
Easily overlooked Thai Guesthouse has comfortable rooms, a strategic but quiet location, personable owners and a homely vibe that we found refreshing after checking out the larger places to stay. All that’s missing are river views. Staying at Thai makes a lot of sense if you plan to walk or bicycle around town: the location places you within a five-minute walk of the nightlife strip, night... Read our full review of Thai Guesthouse.
The Jolly Frog’s cave-like rooms are not for everyone, but those who put up with them can laze in hammocks while watching the sun set over the river before chatting with seasoned travellers over cold beer and notably good food. Throw in room rates that seem frozen in the 1990s, and there’s plenty to like about this old-school backpacker institution. Walking past shops offering bicycle and... Read our full review of The Jolly Frog.
Located within walking distance of the nightlife strip across the Sud Jai Bridge, these two tried-and-true flashpacker spots are both good choices if you want a quiet night’s sleep without straying too far from the action.
Apple and Noi are veterans of the Kanchanaburi tourism scene who left their old location on noisy Mae Nam Khwae Road to open Apple’s Retreat alongside Blue Rice Restaurant and cooking school on the quiet west side of the river—while the air-con rooms are solid, it’s the hosts that make the place special. Set in a modern two-storey concrete building on the inland side of the road, the 16... Read our full review of Apple’s Retreat.
One of the more charming places to stay in Kanchanaburi, Thai Garden Inn is a miniature resort with bungalows overlooking a well-kept garden and swimming pool in a soothing spot just off the river and it’s an especially good choice for families and couples looking to avoid the party noise. Freestanding bungalows are made of coconut wood and concrete and built close together with chairs on... Read our full review of Thai Garden Inn.
Featuring a few old-style guesthouses along with a newer flashpacker option, this narrow riverside lane is strategically located between the old town, the war cemetery and Mae Nam Khwae Road.
A newcomer as of 2016, Sky Resort has comfy rooms and a swimming pool so big that you’ll probably forget about the total lack of character. Situated on the inland side of the lane, three two-storey room blocks surround the pool and each has a furnished balcony to go with glass doors allowing natural light to flow inside. While lacking any shred of decoration, interiors are spacious, clean... Read our full review of Sky Resort.
Offering a range of budget rooms including some of the better cheap rafthouse options in town, the long-running VN Guesthouse continues to stand out among the riverside options on low-key Rongheabaoy Road. Sporting woven bamboo walls, cheap linens on firm beds, clothes-drying racks, choice of wall-mounted fan or air-con and cramped hot-water bathrooms, the raft rooms all have furnished... Read our full review of VN Guesthouse.
Surprisingly few places to stay are found along the old town and riverside streets in downtown Kanchanaburi, around two to three kilometres south of Mae Nam Khwae Road. We really like this area, and dirt-cheap Nita Rafthouse is a fine low-budget choice.
One of the only places to stay in this colourful part of town, Nita Rafthouse is an old standby with a floating tangle of rustic rooms and cluttered common areas forming a homestay vibe. The easily overlooked place draws mostly older repeat guests; we arrived to find a couple of long-haired Swedes lounging on peeling sofas in the eclectic living room while a few tattooed French folks drank... Read our full review of Nita Rafthouse.
Quite a few upscale resorts are found several kilometres outside of Kanchanaburi town and one exceptional option is listed below. You’ll find several more places to stay—such as the midrange Float House River Kwai; flashpacker-range Sai Yok River House; and budget Yayei Homestay—along the way from Kanchanaburi north to the Sai Yok area.
From a very well-sized lagoon-style swimming pool to delicate gingerbread woodcarvings and teak spiral staircases, Dheva Mantra sets a high bar for luxury in Kanchanaburi. Guests arrive to sprawling gardens, passing an elegant rotunda on the way to a lobby that could pass as a ballroom used by a late 19th-century aristocratic society. Designers achieved the colonial-period design with such... Read our full review of Dheva Mantra Resort.
The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.