Jolly Frog – Kanchanaburi, Thailand

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I came to Kanchanaburi for the first time somewhat by fluke. I had met up with a good friend who was in the midst of guiding a tour around and tagged along for a few weeks. Sure enough this brought me here, but not to the Jolly Frog quite yet. Out one night at the Sugar Member Bar I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of the guesthouse which in turn sparked a discussion the following day for a trade of services. I returned in two weeks to help in the kitchen in exchange for accommodation/food. What I planned to be a month turned into 4 months as I felt no desire to leave.

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I feel to some degree myself, I am biased when talking about this place I had grown to love. I have now returned more than half a dozen times as I have a special connection with it. On that note though, I have brought a handful or so friends here, all more than happy they added it to their itinerary and met countless others who had been drawn here for their own reasons, and very rarely do I hear any slanderous comments.

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The guesthouse itself is centrally located in the town set back a touch from Maenam Khwae Road (the main traveler road) down a short street you’ll first come across the reception and restaurant. The rooms themselves are some of the cheapest available in town if not the cheapest. From 100 Baht for a single fan room with shared bathroom up to 320 Baht for a double with air conditioning. The rooms laid out in a rectangular fashion with one side opening right up to the River Kwai. In the middle of all this is a beautiful peaceful garden that is well maintained with hammocks and sun chairs to relax the day away in. A set of stairs will bring you down to the dock on the river as well as the couple of raft houses available.

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While the rooms may look outdated, they are comfortable and clean. The toilets are all Thai style (not squat) that must be manually flushed with the bucket of water always present beside. There are no hot water showers as is the same in many places, but only my opinion, it’s not really necessary anyways. Each room has a porch or section on the balcony that faces towards the generally quiet garden like a mini oasis tucked away. The atmosphere is laid back with quite a diversity of people from all walks of life. From the quick stay backpackers, long term expats, frequent returners like myself and many Thai coming to vacation here as well.

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Sunset over the River Kwai from the Jolly Frog garden

The restaurant like many Thai restaurants have a seemingly endless menu and here like the accommodation is very well priced. A smaller western style selection with all your basics like breakfast, burgers, steaks an schnitzels, but the Thai food is definitely the route to go (this goes for all restaurants here really). The menu may seem endless, but this is only due to the large variety of Thai dishes that can be made with similar combinations of ingredients. A slight tweak there and an ingredient change there and it’s a whole new dish. From the whole fish, soups, stir fries and yams (type of salad) you won’t go wrong. The large groups of locals you’ll see coming to eat here as well backs up my claim of a quality place to indulge.

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As I write this it is coming time to be on my way yet again after a couple days postponed already. I’ve always found it hard to leave here, but luckily I know I will be back in the not so distant future. The place to come for a day or stay for a month, I hope anyone who comes only enjoys it at least as much as I do.

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