If anywhere fits the cliche of being a hidden gem, cute little Ban Narai River Guesthouse tucked away on the banks of the Ping River is it, but as using that descriptor is against editorial policy we won't say that.
The extremely pleasant and informative owner clearly recognises he’s onto a good thing, with the rooms, we think, a few hundred baht overpriced, so if you think of it as a pricey budget option rather than a flashpacker joint, you should be pleased.
They do offer a small low season discount and with word of mouth acting fast since they opened in 2016, and only six rooms to fill anyway, you can see their argument. Service is excellent, atmosphere is cosy and there’s nothing much wrong with the simple rooms, but you are paying extra for the location.
Ban Narai basically consists of a riverside, tree-bordered lawn with a single-storey room block and tiny cafe on one side. Access is by a narrow alley off Charoen Prathet Soi 2, so in the small array of alleys situated between busy Charoen Prathet and the Ping River. The garden must be pretty much next door to Galare’s and the entrance is fortunately well signposted.
The winding alley is lined with pot plants and printed information boards explaining the area’s history, which is a nice touch. The wonderfully located plot of land has been in the family’s possession for generations and we’d hazard a guess that the guesthouse project is perhaps the owner’s retirement hobby.
The six rooms are contained within a single-storey, white painted wood and concrete block at the rear of the lawn. A wide communal wooden balcony with chairs and Isaan cushions faces the river. Interiors are white and turquoise, clean and bright, though simple. All come with ensuite bathroom, hot shower and air-con, with mattresses are directly on the floor.
You are a hike from the Old City, but a rental shop directly at the end of the soi on Charoen Prathet has bicycles and motorbikes and Worarot Market or the night bazaar are only five minutes’ walk away.
Delightful and well worth a bit extra, with only six rooms and a burgeoning reputation you’ll be lucky to snare a room in high season—book well in advance.
Address: 11/5 Charoen Prathet Soi 2, Chang Klan
T: (094) 612 1112; (081) 595 0678;
Coordinates (for GPS): 99º0'15.21" E, 18º47'10.28" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 600B to 1,500B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Dbl air-con private bathroom||800 baht||900 baht|
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
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