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Bangkok and I are old friends. It’s a city I always go back to — in my last seven month stint in the country, I made five separate trips there. And while I never, ever tire of Thailand’s sprawling capital, I do love exploring new corners of it. Ones that can make even a veteran visitor of the city look up in wonder.

Enter .

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House sits proudly in Bangkok’s , an apt nickname for the government protected oasis that is Bang Krachao. Cut off from Bangkok’s urban heart by the dramatic curves of the Chao Phraya river, crossing over to Bang Krachao is like going back in time.

Time traveling isn’t easy — but that’s half the point. A ride to Bang Na station on the MRT, a short cab ride to the pier, and a longtail boat across the Chao Phraya later, we found ourselves standing on the wobbly, bobbing pier of Bangkok Tree House, excited for two nights in the serene setting after getting bummer news in the big bad city.

We were greeted with a questionnaire about our stay — breakfast and dinner must be ordered in advance, so be prepared to commit to mealtimes upon arrival — and a rainbow-like array of herbal teas presented alongside a whole flower corresponding to each flavor. Grajiab (roselle) is an old favorite of mine, while anchun (butterfly pea flower), gek hoi (chrysanthemum) and matoom (bale fruit) were new to me.

I had been reading praise for Bangkok Tree House since it opened around five years ago, and anxiously awaited my own visit. The website read like it was written specifically to bait me — the hotel is dog friendly, bikes are complimentary, there’s an honestly bar with free sorbet, free firefly tours are given onsite, and the hotel is , powered by natural energy sources, and committed to clean. Anyone who has ever so much as glanced at the Chao Phraya knows that sadly, it functions as a floating garbage dump and Bangkok Tree House is committed to cleaning it by removing one kilo of trash per booking from the river.

And their special offers left me smiling — there are discounts for arriving by bike, presenting a Thai ID, or surrendering your iPhone or other mobile devices for a “digital detox” bonus of 15% off (available only to permanent residents of Thailand). How fun is that?

The undisputed highlight of Bangkok Tree House is its gorgeous collection of rooms, known affectionately as tree top “nests” consisting of three-level cube.

The first floor of each nest is a bathroom with outdoor bamboo showers and a toilet with glass underfoot (the serenity is interrupted by low tide and floating trash, unfortunately), while the second floor is a cozy bedroom with a beautiful balcony. And the top floor is an open-air sunbed perfect for enjoying the sunset, watching traffic float serenely by on the Chao Phraya, or napping with the river breeze.

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

I fell so hard in love with our bedroom, where we woke up each morning to palm fronds swaying in front of blue skies.

I had been super excited about the desktop computers in nest, which I’d read contained impressive libraries of eco-focused movies and documentaries. Unfortunately ours was not working when we checked in and our call to reception to report the issue was met with a giggle, so we gave up on that, and turned to our books instead.

One thing to keep in mind? You’ll have to specifically request having your room cleaned — we were disappointed to come back to an unmade room before we realized this.

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

And I truly couldn’t have been more in love with these tree top day beds. When I return to Bangkok Tree House someday, I’m packing a picnic and a bottle of wine and camping out up there for hours. They’ll have to pry me out.

Another optionΒ  sleeping at Bangkok Tree House is the “View With a Room” option, in which you spend the night under the stars on a beautiful open air platform. While certainly a romantic idea, I couldn’t quite picture where I’d stash my luggage. Another offering, the “River Nest” appeared to be a mattress floating on the river… which we assumed to be a practical joke — though you never really know!

If the nests themselves were the highlight of the Bangkok Tree House experience, leaving them was the lowlight — specifically in search of food. We were incredibly excited for the food at the onsite Reflections Restaurant, we’d pored over online and which we’d repeatedly read hailed as organic, pescetarian and in-season.

Well, this was our first hint that some things have changed drastically since Bangkok Tree House first opened its doors, but that is not what the restaurant is all about at the moment. During the day, the only food on offer was french fries and chicken wings (I’m not kidding) and a menu of smoothies that we picked from. Nightfall brought a dinner menu full of options, but I won’t sugar coat it — it wasn’t good. I can only assume that the management has changed as the beautifully presented photos I’d pored over bore no resemblance to what we were served. To be fair, the was beautifully presented and delicious (a holdover from the old menu?), while the other two dishes we ordered looked like something we’d get at a roadside stall, but unfortunately tasted a fraction as good and costed multiple times as much. We couldn’t finish them — which might not mean much coming from a picky eater like me, but from Ian? That was a bad sign. Breakfast was fine, but the homemade local fruit jams I’d read about have officially been replaced with cheap jelly packets.

So sadly no, I can’t rave about the food at Bangkok Tree House, which is a major bummer because of how isolated the hotel is — you pretty much have no other options. Luckily there’s plenty else to get excited about.

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

Like exploring Bang Krachao. The biggest draw in the area is the weekend floating market, though we found plenty to entertain us while lazily biking around on a weekday, including marveling at the mix of humble local homes and what we assumed were posh weekend getaways of the Bangkok elite. We also stumbled upon the gorgeous, crumbling Wat Bang Nampueung Nok, bought bananas and snacks from roadside stands, and shrieked with delight (okay, maybe that was just me) when a chihuahua-sized Asian Water Monitor muscled across the path in front of us.

People seemed genuinely happy to see us ride by, and we returned so many friendly waves that I finally got the hang of riding one-handed. I sometimes raise my eyebrow at Thailand’s Land of Smiles slogan, but here? It was true.

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

Biggest tip? Enjoy getting lost — and don’t fall in! Many of the narrow paths are guardrail free. For those looking for a more structured experience, tours are available.

Can you believe buzzy Silom is just six miles away?

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

As night falls, the sleepy Green Lung of Bangkok fades to black with little fanfare. But while evening entertainment is limited — sunset from the day bed and the firefly tour just about overs it — it’s pretty magical.

Cameras are strictly forbidden on the firefly tour, lest you disturb the gorgeous, synchronized blinking of these fairy tale creatures. I grew up chasing fireflies and thus was skeptical how much the tour would wow me, but I was quickly corrected as we approached the seemingly star-studded mangrove a short boat ride from the hotel.

One thing to keep in mind is that the guides speak only Thai, which makes sense considering not only were we in Thailand but also Bangkok Tree House caters primarily to domestic tourists. Still, something about it rubbed me the wrong way — obviously the onus is on us to learn the local language when we travel or live in a foreign country but we weren’t even acknowledged with a smile, and when the other guests — a young couple from Bangkok — kindly attempted to translate into English for us, the guide just plowed over them by speaking in Thai again. If you’re Thai isn’t quite up to snuff, I recommend bringing headphones and just enjoying the show without the stress of trying to understand what’s going on.

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok Tree House

Our experience at was definitely mixed. The hotel shows clear signs of aging, we weren’t greeted with the cold coconuts and welcome note on a leaf that many reviews raved about, the kitchen has obviously undergone a major change (and not for the better), staff seemed skittish around us and service was slow. But all that said — we loved it and we will totally be going back. While it might seem I had quite a few complaints throughout this post, the design of the hotel is just so stunning and the overall experience just so unique, it really does weigh out to a net positive, and I’m sure we will appreciate it even more upon return with our expectations properly adjusted.

So, is Bangkok Tree House right for you? If you’re into design, sustainability, quirk and getting away from it all, then yes. If you’re a first time visitor to Bangkok looking to tick off every major sight, then no. If you’re a Southeast Asia expat or a Thailand local (Bangkok residents on staycation make up the majority of the hotel’s guests) or are just looking for a different kind of capital city experience, then yes again. A two night stay is perfect.

And when to go? If you want to visit the local floating market, enjoy a lively atmosphere and rub shoulders with Bangkok hipsters, weekend will be your jam. But, be prepared for crowds of day trippers taking pictures and hanging in what you’d expect were guest-only portions of the hotel — while I didn’t personally experience this as I visited during the week, many reviews complained of it. If you’re looking for a peaceful respite like we were, head over on a weekday. We pretty much had the place to ourselves.

And it was quite a place to behold.

Would you stay at Bangkok Tree House?

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Many thanks to Bangkok Tree House for their hospitality in hosting us one night. We paid out of pocket for our second night and all opinions are my own.
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42 Comments...
  • Jessica
    July 8 2016

    I love these kind of accommodations! I think it’s great they give discounts to people for a digital detox haha. I’m gonna bookmark this one πŸ™‚ & love for the pictures, can’t stop checking them out!

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2016

      It really was INSANELY photogenic. We had so much fun exploring the nooks and crannies!

  • OH MY GOODNESS! My teacher self is beaming right now, because I just learned about this tree house in my teaching art to kids course this past spring! My next project this summer is to develop a teaching unit based around this tree house and have students design their own buildings out of wood, keeping this tree house and their eco-innovations in mind! Hope you loved it – looks so gorgeous πŸ™‚
    Amanda | Lesson Plans & Layovers recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2016

      Um, that sounds like an amazing class — where can I sign up?! πŸ™‚ So fun!

  • Those Tiek’d and Chuck’d feet could easily pass for Scott and me, hehe =)

    Ever since you posted that map photo awhile back, I’ve been looking forward to this post! Can we stay here when I come visit you next year???
    Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2016

      Absolutely! We were thinking we’ll do a Thursday and Friday nightstay next time, and check out the weekend market the day we check out — and bring snacks πŸ˜›

  • Ron Peace
    July 9 2016

    Hey Meihoukai, bummer on the Lasix but you got to check out one the cool little gems I’ve been wanting to go see in BKK! I’ve been holiday making in BKK for years now and just recently read about the Bang Krachao area. The tree house looks like a welcome reprieve from the grind of BKK living. BTW the next time your in LA visiting pops do look into Dr. Charles Manger he’s known for saying yes to people who have been told by numerous Dr’s they were NOT Lasix candidates. And the exam and evaluation is free but I’m guessing the cost at >$5k ( I paid for a friend to get her’s done here about 8 years ago @$5k USD) I can say the service was first rate and the doctor has 20+ years experience. I hope this helps, I’m getting to the point I need corective lenses full time and it sucks so I’m thinking doing it too πŸ™‚
    cheeers!!! ron;)

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2016

      Thanks for the recommendation Ron! I’ll definitely look into that doctor — would be interesting to get a third opinion in the USA.

  • Dominique
    July 9 2016

    Hotel goals! You stay in some wonderful places, Meihoukai! My impression of Bangkok wasn’t so great when I visited 7 years ago. I was silly though and stayed on Khao San Road, what a rookie mistake πŸ™‚ I need to go back to explore this apparently beautiful city for real!
    Dominique recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2016

      Even I stay on Khao San Road sometimes πŸ˜‰ It can be fun!

  • Karlijn
    July 9 2016

    This look absolutely stunning and it will definitely be on my list the next time I visit Bangkok. I love this city like crazy too and I can’t believe it’s already been two years since I last set foot there. Thanks for your beautiful post and photos!
    Karlijn recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2016

      You’re so welcome Karlijn! I feel the same way anytime I’m away from Thailand for too long… it just feels unnatural!

  • Ashley
    July 9 2016

    Oh my god, this place looks incredible! Currently swooning over those tree top day beds! It’s such a shame about the food, though.. not sure who thought chicken wings and fries would be an appropriate lunchtime offering!? Ha.
    Ashley recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2016

      Ha yeah it just REALLY stood out to us because we’d read so much about what a unique restaurant it was and then it was… so different from what was promised online — no meat vs. chicken wings only is quite a change ha ha.

  • Julia Nix
    July 9 2016

    What could win me over is the rooftop deck. Perfect for winding down. Not into their bedroom (I’m that interior-crazy, and maybe it’s just me who likes darker walls πŸ™‚ For such a small hotel, day trippers can be a bit too congested and lack of privacy. And, I just saw on their website, they even have a bed on the river. OMG!!!!! How to sleep….

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2016

      Ha yes, we could never quite figure out if that was a practical joke or not!

  • Kelly
    July 9 2016

    Bad food aside, this place looks like a seriously awesome way to escape the city and enjoy a change of scenery. I really love the design, and those day beds…ahhh!!! I actually remember reading about this place before my first trip to Bangkok and realllyyy wanting to stay here, but I knew it would be the wrong choice for a first trip to the city. Maybe one day!
    Kelly recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2016

      Yeah it’s definitely not convenient for getting around the city πŸ™‚ We stayed two nights and the second night we did leave to leave to go to dinner and a movie and come back and that was fine but I wouldn’t have made more than one outing.

  • Sandhya
    July 9 2016

    Very pretty, lovely pix and more like rises above the trees kinda house no!? Is the privacy cool? In India we do have the traditional tree houses on a safari trip or then if you do some jungle visits. This one of course sports a modern design & the levels bit is new. Love the cut away feeling much.

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2016

      It’s actually more private than you might think. Our shower was super private despite being open air and the nests up top are designed in such a way that you don’t really see your neighbors. Very clever design!

  • Markus David
    July 10 2016

    Sounds like the owners/Staff never intended this to be a hotel for foreigners! …like many of the thai People who are not tied to serving/catering to the millions of tourists…are tired of their homeland being flooded with folk who have clue about thai culture. And I bet they specifically didn’t make your stay awesome cause the knew the last thing their local Thai guest want to do is hang out with a bunch of Farang!

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2016

      Hey Markus, while there are definitely plenty of hotels in Thailand that are not “intended for foreigners,” as you say, I don’t really think this is one of them. The website, menus and many signs are in English and the owner regularly invites foreign journalists and bloggers to stay at and cover the hotel.

      The majority of visitors are Bangkok locals (I think the manager said 60 or 70%?) but that doesn’t mean others aren’t welcome.

  • Jojo
    July 10 2016

    Service is one of the most important thing to me. If I go somewhere with terrible service and great food, I would not go back. I believe that would be the same for hotels too. It is also not only rude to you but also the couple that was trying to help when the firefly guide talked over them.

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2016

      I agree that service is really important, especially in restaurants. In hotels I think it’s a little less important to me… if I get really great service at a hotel it definitely stands out, but if I just get so so service it doesn’t ruin the whole thing. Here, the food is more important because you are so isolated you don’t really have any other option!

  • becky hutner
    July 10 2016

    It won’t surprise you to hear this place looks right up my street! Dying over their 1 kilo of trash cleanup per booking and discount for digital detoxes! Wow.

    Random Question — is it possible to reach the hotel without taking a boat?
    becky hutner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 10 2016

      It is, but it’s a lot longer of a journey actually. There’s one bridge where you can reach the Green Lung by bridge but it’s such a crazy backroad way (and then you end up having to walk for a bit with your luggage since cars can’t drive all the way up to the Tree House) that we opted for the boat both times we arrived and departed! Because taxis are so reasonable in Bangkok we found it convenient to take the private boat across the river (it’s like five seconds of a journey) and then just take a taxi to our final destination, though you could do it crazy cheap by walking a bit, taking the public boat across the river, taking a taxi to the nearest Skytrain station, and hopping on from there.

      One thing I never really got a straight answer on is if you could hop on a river taxi, like the kind that go all the way into the old city where the Grand Palace is, from here. If so, I’m sure it would be super long but a nice way for those who are interested in the big tourists sites to reach them (because the Skytrain doesn’t go there — crazy).

  • Alaina
    July 10 2016

    I think that might be the most photogenic place I’ve ever seen! How beautiful is your room?! + love the ants on the wall, haha.
    Alaina recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 11 2016

      I admit I was crossing my fingers for one of the bee or butterfly rooms, but the ants did grow on me πŸ˜‰

  • Cassandra
    July 10 2016

    It’s hard to believe that such a beautiful, fun place exists! ? <3 The rooftop daybeds… I wouldn't want to leave!
    Cassandra recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 11 2016

      Seriously! Bring a bag of snacks and a good book and you could spend all day up there!

  • Steven conte
    July 10 2016

    I would have never imagined that this kind of city exists in Bangkok. I currently live in Chiang Mai and I am definitely visiting it very soon. Did you find it expensive?
    Steven conte recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 11 2016

      Hey Steven! Rooms start at $125-150 a night. Well worth it for such a unique experience!

  • Cate
    July 11 2016

    This place looks nice, though I am sorry about those unkept promises! Are you able to see the Bankok skyline from the roof?
    Cate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 12 2016

      You definitely do see some skyline action! It’s a pretty gorgeous sunrise and sunset spot, that’s for sure.

  • Eva Casey
    July 11 2016

    Despite the food being bad this place looks really cool!! It seems like a unique area in Thailand, too (at least as far as I can tell from reading various stuff online about Thailand as I’ve never been). Those ants on the wall would seriously freak me the eff out though! hahaha
    Eva Casey recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 12 2016

      I was just grateful they weren’t spiders πŸ˜‰

  • Angie Away
    July 13 2016

    This makes me want to give Thailand another try… matter of fact, all your posts do! I take back what I said when you asked if I’d ever come back πŸ˜‰
    Angie Away recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 14 2016

      Talk about music to my ears! πŸ˜› I’d be honored to give the Angie and Meihoukai Away tour of Thailand!

  • Frank
    July 14 2016

    This sounds (and looks) like an awesome hotel! My girlfriend and I are planning to travel to Bangkok soon and I think she’d love this place. I’m just not sure about the “ants” on the room walls though, ants freak me out a bit LOL

    • Meihoukai
      July 15 2016

      You can request a butterfly or a bee room πŸ™‚

  • Gabrielle
    January 5 2017

    Hi there. I am so glad to have found your review on this place. I am visiting Thailand soon and after being twice before I really want to get away from the beaten track of the South and do some untouristy things and this would be perfect.

    Is there anything else you can recommend like this? Thanks πŸ™‚

    • Meihoukai
      January 12 2017

      Hey Gabrielle! Check my destinations page and click the links for these cities — highly recommend Lopburi (though you won’t find much glam accommodation there) or Khao Yai wine country or Khao Sok National Park. All are a bit off the beaten track and amazing highlights of Thailand for me. Hope that helps!