The Survival Guide to Kabul©

Published internationally in July 2003 as Kabul: The Bradt Mini Guide.

First published in Kabul in September 2002 as a pamphlet.



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Last updated June 4 2004



Stay at the Gandmak Lodge and hear the story of On The Frontline.



There are numerous guesthouses, most of them in the Wazir Akbar Khan (WAK) area of the city. Most guesthouses in WAK are pretty much the same, though furniture, fixtures and fittings do vary. Charges range from between US$3060 a night (always negotiate, especially for long stays). Rooms usually have two to four beds in them. Dining and lounge facilities include satellite TV.


If you’re staying for a short period of time and are on a budget then you probably won’t be interested in luxury. But for long stays try to get your own room with a bathroom nearby and negotiate accordingly. It will always work out cheaper than renting a full house in WAK (prices per month were US$3,00010,000 or more in 2002, cash in advance).



Assa There are two guesthouses in this brand new chain in Shahre Naw. Assa 1 is located just off Flower Street, House 140, Street 5. Assa 2 is House 9, Muslim Street; tel: 070 27 4364, 27 6579.

The Assa guesthouses are the latest in fair-quality accommodation in Kabul. Facilities include satellite TV in the lounge and large, comfortable rooms. Assa 2 even has a swimming pool that they assure customers will be filled for the summer; however, it is currently little more than an extremely large bird-bath.

Rates: US$50 a night.



Bs Place (6 rooms) Qali Fatullah; tel: 070 27 6416; email:

Run by Matt Woods, an Australian, Bs Place is more expensive than other guesthouses but has a more modern feel then the guesthouses in WAK. The décor is well thought out, and there’s a good menu. The lantern-lit garden is great here in the summer and very popular (you’ll need to book for dinner as it does get full). There’s also a small gym around the back of the main house.

Rates: US$75 a night, US$65 for longer stays, including breakfast.



Chez Ana, Media Action International (12 rooms) Passport Lane; tel: 070 28 2699.

This place is run by Ana Pongrac from Croatia and NGO Media Action International that was set up by long-time Afghanistan journalist Eddie Girardet. Ana has featured in Croatian newspapers, Croatian Cosmopolitan and on Croatian TV. Lunch costs US$3 and dinner US$8; non-guests are welcome to book in advance for meals.

Rates: US$35–50 a night including breakfast.




Gandamak Lodge (17 rooms) Number 5, Passport Lane; tel: 00 93 (0)795 69904 Email:

Renowned BBC cameraman Peter Jouvenal set up The Gandamak Lodge. Osama Bin Laden apparently used to meet one of his wives here. This place takes you back in time with its collection of guns, historical pieces and good furnishings. Gandamak is open for breakfast (US$10) and they do candlelit dinners in the garden in the summer. Book before midday and for US$20 (US$15 for guests) you’ll enjoy a three-course meal. Drinks will cost you extra. Each room has free unlimited internet access.

Rates: US$45–100 a night including breakfast.


The Spectator April 12 2003: The place to stay in Kabul is beyond a doubt the Gandamack Lodge.



Helsinki (6 rooms) On the way to the airport; tel: 070 28 4305; email:

The Helsinki bills itself as a Scandinavian standard guesthouse 10 minutes drive from the city centre on the way to the airport. There’s a large spacious living room with a fireplace.

Rates: US$50 a night including breakfast.



Karwansara 117 Interior Ministry Road, opposite the Interior Ministry, next to the Malalai High School; tel: 070 29 1794 or 070 29 5520.

Karwansara is a guesthouse and restaurant complex in the same vast compound, each one in a separate building, both with echoes of colonial grandeur. The guesthouse is in an imposing, but slightly less charismatic building than the restaurant. The style and décor, as with the restaurant, are impeccable, but the rooms are chilly and some are very small. A gym and internet facilities are being built on to the guesthouse. There’s also a branch of the London Afghan Travel Centre here.

Rates: US$50 a night.



Le Monde (15 rooms) House 7 near the Sitara Restaurant in Shahre Naw; tel: 070 28 0751, 070 28 0741; email:

Two rooms have en-suite bathrooms and there are kettles provided in every room.  Meals are $8-10 a night and non residents are welcome if they book in advance. There are lounge bar facilities, DVD and satellite TV, and car hire facilities are available. The buildings have 3 separate spacious living areas, with open fire places for the winter, and great patios to sit on during the summer. The gardens in Le Monde are beautiful and spacious, making it pleasant to sit outside in the afternoons. It is managed by an Australian Chef so you are sure to have lovely home style meals while not being at home.

Rates: US$40–90 a night including breakfast.



Link to full list of guesthouses.


كابل، افغانستان

The Survival Guide to Kabul©