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New Phiman Riverview Guesthouse

Riverside hippie hideaway

West end of Samsen Soi 5, Bangkok T: (085) 404 8326(081) 486 5865

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New Phiman Riverview Guesthouse

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New Phiman Riverside is an oddity that will be heaven for some hippie types and bloody awful for those who like things neat and tidy. With a shantytown feel and splendid views of the Chao Phraya, it’s one of the most peculiar places to stay that this writer has ever come across.

Near the dead-end of Samsen Soi 5, a ramshackle muay Thai ring and ancient banyan tree make it clear that you’re not in tourist-land anymore. A left down a narrow alley—then the first right, then another right, then a left—leads you to a thin metal door. A pair of cartoonish baby faces signal that you’ve arrived.


Welcome! Photo: David Luekens

After stepping inside you’re first met by a couple of bright orange-and-yellow parakeets in a cage. Across from them sits the main guesthouse building with a lineup of small rooms sporting firm beds, mosquito nets, portable fans, clothes-drying racks on hardwood floors and perhaps a funky mural painted on the thin walls. These rely on a couple of shared bathrooms with grungy cold-water showers and waterspouts set over utilitarian tiled sinks.

Further back sits a mixed dorm that looks like it belongs in the islands or jungle. The longhouse with creaky bamboo floors and thatch walls and roof comes with two raised platforms on either side, each with four thin mattresses draped in mosquito nets. Backpackers carve out little nests while stowing valuables in large bureaus beneath the platforms. Bring a padlock. Fans keep the air moving and we were told an electrical outlet is found somewhere. To use a toilet you’ll have to walk outside and into the next building over.


Memorable. Photo: David Luekens

Also hosting a grimy common kitchen on the ground floor, a somewhat more sturdy looking building features a second-floor “suite” with high ceilings and bed space for three to go with some chairs on a good-size balcony with river views. The attached bathroom is situated out on the porch, with a tiny open-air sink that can be seen from elsewhere on the property.

New Phiman also has one fan-cooled bungalow with thatch walls and roof, a double mattress on laminated floor, some hanging seashells and a door that you can open to watch the river flowing no more than a few metres away. It’s an unforgettable setup for those who don’t mind being close to nature; just be sure to keep that door shut at night to keep the monitor lizards out.

Lodgings are rather threadbare.

Lodgings are rather threadbare. Photo: David Luekens

All four buildings join ramshackle walkways around a central pond blanketed in water plants. The result is a cluttered feel not unlike the surrounding village with its tangle of dilapidated wooden houses. The guesthouse is also not particularly clean; expect dusty corners inside rooms and an unkempt look throughout. A sign in the dorm instructs guests to not bring food inside, adding that “All rats and ants smell food from afar and may come.”

Now for the saving grace: a riverside common terrace affords splendid views from plastic lounge chairs spread beneath a thatch awning draped in umbrella trees. Here guests can relax and watch the boats chug beneath Rama VIII Bridge from what is truly a unique perspective on Bangkok. On our last visit, a few guests played their own selections of reggae and electronic music through speakers, while another sat practicing his guitar nearby.

Stunning riverside setting.

Stunning riverside setting. Photo: David Luekens

Be aware that New Phiman does not have WiFi, and noise from the music, guests and boats should be expected at night. We’ve enjoyed our conversations with the eccentric owner, though we can see how things could go south if guests show up expecting a more typical guesthouse experience.

Despite being located only a kilometre northwest of Khao San Road, the New Phiman is tricky to find. Walk to the far western end of Samsen Soi 5 and take a left down the narrow concrete walkway closest to the river. Locals and signs will likely point you the rest of the way—arriving before dark would make things a lot easier.

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Walk-in rates at New Phiman Riverview Guesthouse

Type of room
Type of room, low and high season prices
Dorm fan cooled
180 baht
180 baht
Sgl fan share bathroom
250 baht
250 baht
Dbl fan share bathroom
350 baht
350 baht
450 baht for a larger room
Bungalow fan share bathroom
450 baht
450 baht
River view
Triple fan share bathroom
650 baht
650 baht
Triple fan private bathroom
1,000 baht
1,000 baht
River view
Room: Dorm fan cooled, low season: 180 baht, high season 180 baht. Notes:
Room: Sgl fan share bathroom, low season: 250 baht, high season 250 baht. Notes:
Room: Dbl fan share bathroom, low season: 350 baht, high season 350 baht. Notes: 450 baht for a larger room
Room: Bungalow fan share bathroom, low season: 450 baht, high season 450 baht. Notes: River view
Room: Triple fan share bathroom, low season: 650 baht, high season 650 baht. Notes:
Room: Triple fan private bathroom, low season: 1,000 baht, high season 1,000 baht. Notes: River view

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 Check rates at New Phiman Riverview Guesthouse on

Where is New Phiman Riverview Guesthouse

New Phiman Riverview Guesthouse
West end of Samsen Soi 5, Bangkok
T: (085) 404 8326(081) 486 5865
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º29'51.17" E, 13º46'2.56" N
Room rates: Under 600B

Map for New Phiman Riverview Guesthouse

Map for New Phiman Riverview Guesthouse

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