James Guesthouse

James Guesthouse

Cheap and charming

More on Trat

More of a homestay than a guesthouse, James Guesthouse occupies an old wooden house owned by a personable older woman offering three rooms that are some of the cheapest in Trat.

Travelfish says:

Marked by an easy-to-miss sign near Rhak Muang Road’s western end, the house is accessed through a short tunnel-like alley marked by signs welcoming “happy people” who are “sabai sabai”. It’s a throwback to the old days of Thailand tourism, when locals opened their extra rooms to backpackers bent on spending peanuts for some privacy and a night’s sleep.

Old school. : David Luekens.
Old school. Photo: David Luekens

The rooms are set off a second-floor hall reached by teakwood stairs and they’re all simple and cosy, with ceiling fans spinning above thin, firm mattresses and several windows to keep from getting stuffy. You also get woven-bamboo walls, hardwood floors and use of small cold-water bathrooms that are shared among guests. All three rooms were full on our most recent visit.

Assuming the rooms hadn’t fallen to pieces since our last swing through, the value remains excellent and James strikes us as a particularly good choice for solo travellers on shoestring budgets.

On the ground floor you can strike up a conversation with the owner and other guests in a cluttered living room sporting bulky Thai-style wood furniture, a TV and a shared computer that didn’t look to be getting much use. Free WiFi has also arrived. There’s a kitchen with a shared fridge, and if you’re lucky the owner might lead you through an impromptu cooking lesson.

Your host. : David Luekens.
Your host. Photo: David Luekens

We’ve found her sweet and spunky in equal measure, and we always look forward to visiting with when passing through Trat. She identified herself only as “Mama James” (meaning James’ mother) before proudly busting out a photo album to show off photos of James himself performing important Thai government duties up in Loei province.

She seems to enjoy practicing her English with guests and has no plans to retire any time soon, we were told. Cheap, intimate guesthouses like these are increasingly hard to come by in Thailand—and this is one that you’ll likely recollect when those sleek dorm beds and “boutique” rooms all clump together in the old memory bank years down the road.

James is the most homestay-esque spot that we know of in Trat, but you’ll find a similarly affable owner offering a wider selection of super-cheap digs across the main drag at Garden Home.

Contact details for James Guesthouse

Address: West end of Rhak Muang Rd, Trat
T: (087) 137 9983;  
Coordinates (for GPS): 102º30'40.92" E, 12º14'33.91" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under 600B

Room rates

What we were quoted as a walk-in.

Sgl fan share bathroom 150 baht 150 baht
Dbl fan share bathroom 180 baht 180 baht

Reviewed by

David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.

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