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Somsak Homestay or Baan Pa Glen is nestled in a big forest at Pilok village, Kanchanaburi province, which is about a 4-hour drive northwest of Bangkok. It's a former tin mine and the perfect place for nature lovers who are looking for adventure. The friendly hostess, who is called Pa Glen or auntie Glen, runs her homestay with the motto, "No pollution, no crime, no drugs, eat well and sleep well". No crime refers to a safe place to stay.

The home made, old-fashioned English cakes at Somsak Homestay are so delicious that people go there just for the cakes. During your stay, you can help yourself to cakes any time. What is more, Auntie Glen doesn't use any additives. Other than her signature chocolate cake, you can try Thai banana cake, carrot cake, orange cake, pudding cake and coffee cake. Trust me, they're yummy, especially when they are fresh out of the oven!

Homemade orange cake at Somsak Homestay in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

History Of Somsak Homestay

This little home in the big forest has a unique history, that begins with love. What brought this Australian lady to an isolated mine in Pilok, near the Burmese border, was her husband Khun Somsak Setabandhu, whose family had run the tin mine concession for over 100 years. While Somsak studied mining engineering in Western Australia at Kalgoorlie University School of Mines, he met his future wife.

Somsak Homestay is located at the site of a former tin mine in Thailand.

They met at the church badminton court in her hometown, Kalgoorlie. At the time, Somsak was the badminton champion of Western Australia. Her brother, as the captain of the church badminton team, had invited Somsak to coach his team.

The couple spent 3 years in Australia, then they got married and settled down in Thailand. Somsak worked at his family's tin mine in Pilok during the weekdays. Since it was too rough for a woman to travel and live at the mine, auntie Glen taught English in Bangkok where she lived with their son. Over the weekends, Somsak spent time in Bangkok with his family.

Pilok was the second largest tin mine concession in Thailand, after Phuket. The village had been very prosperous due to the good income from its two tin mines, until the World Tin Market collapsed in 1985, leaving 600 Thai and Burmese workers at Somsak Mine jobless.

This broke Somsak's heart because the mine had been his life and he cared so much for his workers' wellbeing. He got stomach cancer and died in 1994. Before his death, auntie Glen promised that she would go to live at the mine and take care of the 7 families and 5 single workers who had no place to go.

It was really difficult in the beginning, until a foreign miner bought the mining equipment which enabled her to start up the homestay.

Room And Board

Somsak Homestay offers a few types of rooms and cottages, which are decorated mainly with bamboo. No a/c is needed as it's cool all year round.

Somsak Homestay is nestled in a big forest in Kanchanaburi.

The all-inclusive price is 1,400 baht a person per night, as of June 2013. On weekends and holidays, there is an additional charge of 200 baht. The price includes room and board, a day trip to nearby attractions and transportation to and from Pilok police station, where you can leave your car at no charge during your entire stay. Note that it's exclusive of the entrance fee to the national park.

Meals are served separately for each group of guests, so there is privacy. Auntie Glen always comes around to keep you company and make you feel at home.

The friendly hostess at Somsak Homestay in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

Since the homestay is in the middle of the forest, the electricity is from a petroleum generator, which runs for three hours a day, starting at 6 p.m. From 9 p.m. until the morning, the electricity is from a hydroelectric generator, that is powered by the water in the stream next to the homestay. When it rains a lot, only the hydroelectric generator is needed. Even though there is no electricity during the day, you can always take a warm shower as the water heater uses gas.

Room Reservation

You can reserve the room with Khun Charlie, who has been with auntie Glen for 40 years. His mobile number is (081)325-9471. It's best to call after 6:30 p.m.


The main attractions in the area include Thong Pha Phum National Park; Baan-E-Tong village, located next to the Burmese border; Jock Kradin waterfall; Jet Mit waterfall; Chang Suk Hill, on a clear day you get a 360-degree view of the area, including the Andaman Sea; Mitrapap Pass; Nern Sao Thong, this is a hilltop where Burmese and Thai flags mark the border.

A male hornbill at Thong Pha Phum National Park, Thailand.
This playful hornbill greets the visitors at Thong Pha Phum
National Park's headquarters.

Thong Pha Phum National Park in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.
From Thong Pha Phum National Park, on a clear day, you can
see the water reserves for Vachiralongkorn Dam, in the distance.

Jock Kradin waterfall in Thong Pha Phum National Park, Thailand.
At the end of the 300-meter path, you'll find the unique
Jock Kradin waterfall.

Baan-E-Tong border village in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.
A souvernir shop at Baan-E-Tong village.
Day trippers are served lunch at a restaurant in the village.
Blue swimmer crabs from the Andaman Sea is a popular
dish that can be ordered at an extra charge.

Mitrapap Pass in Thailand offers a stunning view of Burma.
A short walk through Mitrapap Pass allows you to see a
gas separation plant at Tenasserim region, in Burma.
The gas is from Yadana offshore gas field, south of Yangoon,
and the pipeline connects to Ratchburi power station in Thailand.

Best Time To Visit

Since Pilok is nestled in the dense forest at Thong Pha Phum National Park on the Tanaosi mountain range, there are only two seasons, that is cold season and rainy season. The cold season is from November to April, while the rainy season runs from May to October.

It's really beautiful in the cold season with fog in the early morning, and once the sun light breaks through the clouds it reflects in the dew drops on the grass and plants. In addition, the landscape is painted with colorful flowers wherever you go. At the coolest, the temperature can go down to -3 degrees celsius.

On the other hand, there is a different feel during the rainy season when everything is lush. The rain keeps the air cool and comfortable. Nature comes alive with the sounds of rushing water in the stream, the crickets and the giant frogs. What is more, the rough ride on the four-wheel drive is more exciting when parts of the 5.1 km red-dirt road, to the homestay, is muddy.

Note that Pilok has most visitors during the cold season, so it's best to avoid long weekends and holidays during that time.

Additional Information

Somsak's grandfather Phraya Sri Suwan Kiri was the first governor of Sangkhala Buri, which is a historical border town in Kanchanaburi province. He built three small pagodas on top of the three dunes, at the Three Pagodas Pass.

Frink mineral water is bottled locally and served in the rooms at the homestay. The water source is in a virgin forest in Thong Pha Phum National Park.

Alcohol is not available at Somsak Homestay since it goes against Auntie Glen's motto. However, guests can bring their own if they like.

Since Somsak Homestay is located next to a running stream, in a valley, there are hardly any mosquitoes. Auntie Glen said that after the tin mine was closed, there is no malaria in the area.

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