Everything a backpacker needs
Three J Guesthouse combines a homely atmosphere with eclectic decor and top-notch hospitality. Throw in volumes of info on exploring the area and comfortable rooms at budget prices, and you’ve got one of our all-time favourite places to stay in Thailand.
The 12 rooms share a property with the family home of Mr Charin, who speaks excellent English and does a wonderful job of making guests feel at home. In recent years he’s begun travelling more himself, often leaving the guesthouse in the trusted hands of his son, James, who is equally friendly and also speaks very good English.
Set in a few attached buildings with logs and stone for outer walls, the rooms are small but charming, well kept and solid for the prices. Queen beds are outfitted with comfy topper cushions, soft linens and locally made quilts. Wall-mounted fans are provided in addition to air-con, which gets switched off if you opt for the fan rates. Hot-water heaters work well in wet bathrooms with Western-style flush toilets. Photos of local attractions and duck pond designs adorn the walls. A couple of larger freestanding bungalows are great options for families on a budget. Most rooms come with private tables placed out front.
You can also grab a seat on a sofa in a large shared living room or one of several semi-private tables in a central garden area with lots of orchids and palms. Guests are welcome to use the fridge and dishes in a fully equipped kitchen set next to a common room with long wooden tables, where hearty Western breakfasts are served. Befriending other guests is easy here.
Mr Charin offers countless maps along with more than enough info to make your stay in Kamphaeng Phet as stress-free as possible. WiFi is free and fast, and several bicycles and motorbikes are available for rent. Mr Charin also runs Three J Travel, offering day tours to Khlong Lan Waterfall and other attractions in Kamphaeng Phet province and beyond.
On top of all that Mr Charin operates Khlong Mod Daeng Garden, a package programme that takes you into the mountains for hiking, swimming at waterfalls and a visit to a traditional Pakakayor (a sub-group of the Karen) village to learn silk weaving. It costs a reasonable 2,500 baht per person and includes accommodation, food and transport in the Three J Jeep.
The one slight disadvantage of Three J is a location that puts you towards the east side of town down a side road. From here it’s a manageable one-kilometre walk to the night market and riverfront, and a three-kilometre bike ride to the historical park. We feel that the guesthouse is absolutely worth the walk, but those who must stay closer to the river could opt for a room in the 300 to 500 baht range at the very basic Ko Chokchai Hotel, marked by a blue sign with only Thai script on Ratchadamnoen 1 Soi 8.
While Kamphaeng Phet doesn’t draw many travellers, most of those who do visit stay at Three J. It should be fine to walk in for most of the year but we suggest calling ahead during peak season, from mid-December to February. Pick up at the bus station can be arranged with some notice.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 14th June, 2016.