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Where to stay on Ko Muk?

Ao Kham or Haad Farang?

What we say: 5 stars

Ko Muk is a two-sided island. Civilisation, beach and accommodation are found only on relatively small stretches of the east and west coasts, connected by a narrow lane. The best beaches on both sides are each dominated by a single resort, Sivalai on Ao Kham to the east and Charlie on Haad Farang to the west. While both of these are solid, they're also beyond the backpacker price range.

By all means, go for Sivalai if you can afford it.

By all means, go for Sivalai if you can afford it.

As one local made clear, the beaches belong to the King of Thailand, not Sivalai or Charlie, so anyone’s free to enjoy them. If you prefer to stay close to the village life, opt for Ao Kham. If you want great sunsets, great swimming and more of a traveller vibe, head to Haad Farang. On either side, those in search of good budget value have some adequate options to choose from.

Not far from the pier on Ao Kham you’ll find Coco Lodge tucked in a grove of coconut trees and flowers. Their motto is “Back to the nature”, and this is embodied not only by the soft-spoken owner and laid back atmosphere, but also the accommodation itself. Bicycles and internet are free for guests, and the affordable rates haven’t gone up for years. It’s a quick hop to the beach through a cluster of trees.

A “back to nature” bamboo bungalow at Coco Lodge Resort.

A couple of hundred metres north of Coco Lodge, just past the pier, a handful of islander-run bungalow joints have popped up in more recent years. Of these, we took a liking to Nurse House thanks to its simple yet comfy seafront bungalows at cheap rates, and very welcoming staff. When not hanging around the charming restaurant that fronts the bungalows, the owner works in the nearby village health clinic, making this an especially good choice if you’re prone to injury.

Inside one of Nurse House's bungalows.

Inside one of Nurse House’s bungalows.

A 50-baht motorbike taxi or 20-minute walk across the island brings you to Haad Farang, where the majority of foreign travellers stay (although a steady stream of new resorts on the Ao Kham side is gradually changing this). It’s easy to get sucked into sprawling mid-range Charlie Resort here, but backpackers would be wise to poke around.

Like sunsets? Stay on Haad Farang.

Like sunsets? Stay on Haad Farang.

At the far western corner of the beach, Sawaddee Resort should do the trick if you don’t mind keeping it simple. The white wooden bungalows have seen better days, no doubt, but the under 1,000 baht rates for rooms in such a prime location make this one of Muk’s best budget options. The islander-run resort has a homely atmosphere, drawing lots of repeat customers in the dry months.

Near Sawaddee's corner.

Near Sawaddee’s corner.

If you don’t mind foregoing the beachfront location for a quiet hillside, long-running Mookie’s saw some major upgrades for the 2014-15 season. Traditionally a backpacker hangout, the new owner added comfortable concrete bungalows, at reasonable rates, that are a step above what you’ll find at nearby Rubber Tree. Staying true to its old gipsy ways, Mookie’s still offers a funky bar and tents for less than what you’ll pay for a plate of fish and chips at Charlie.

While the above places stood out during our assessment of Muk’s accommodation, there’s still not much to separate one bungalow joint from the next. Rubber Tree, Had Farang Bungalow and Mayow all remain decent choices as well. Most of the beds fill up during peak season around the Christmas / New Year holidays, but it’s possible to score bungalows as a walk-in for most of the year.

Added to Travelfish on: 27th February, 2015
Last visited or updated on: 27th February, 2015

Last reviewed by:
Usually found exploring Bangkok's side streets or south Thailand's islands, David Luekens is an American freelance writer & photographer who finds everyday life in Asia to be extraordinary. You can follow his travails here.
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