Feb 15 2013
One of Ko Samui’s old favourite budget bungalows, Shangrilah is still around – although you may not think so, as their website seldom works, and they’re hard to reach by email. They were closed for a while, but are now back up and running, which their repeat guests are happy about.
Shangrilah is tucked into the back corner of beach row in Mae Nam. It has a beautiful and clean beach, and compared to other beaches on the island the sea is quite deep here. Other than a few hammocks swinging between the palm trees, there’s no equipment on the beach, as opposed to several neighbouring hotels that have tacky plastic beds littered about.
The grounds are well kept and watered frequently, leaving the inner core green and lush. The resort is set back from the ring road, so there’s no traffic disturbance, and the only sounds you hear for the most part are the mynah birds chirruping away.
The restaurant is rather average with certain items being pricey and others moderate, and portions are could be bigger. However, Shangrilah is within walking distance to several bars and restaurants thriving off the bungalow communities tucked into beach row. The Mae Nam Thursday night walking street market is also a short walk away, in the loop road by the Chinese temple. Walk via the beach or the main road.
Staff are friendly but only a few speak a bit of English. The residents consist of mainly German families and older German couples as well as older regulars from Scandinavia and Europe escaping cold winters. There seems to be a sense of community, as these travellers meet up each year, so congregate and socialise. Most guests tend to book longer stays, although shorter stays are most certainly allowed – if you can get a room. There’s rarely a vacancy, so book in advance.
Bungalows range from small fan rooms with cold water, for 400 to 500 baht depending on season, to large air-con rooms with hot water, TV, fridge and a lounge for 2,600 to 2,800 baht per night, again depending on season. Bigger fan rooms go for 600 to 700 baht, and an air-con room with hot water and a seaview is 800 to 900 baht.
The cheap bungalows Shangrilah is known for are simply furnished with wooden floors and a basic bed as well as a fan. With two windows, there’s good air flow, and the raised bungalows have small verandahs. Toilets are Western and there’s a shower – although as mentioned, for the cheaper ones, it’s only cold water. Rooms are cleaned three times a week, if you leave your key at reception.
Shangrilah has free WiFi throughout, and signal is good even on the beach so you can update your travel blog while swinging in a hammock. There’s plenty of parking, as well as a massage sala. The resort attracts backpacker and flashpackers as well as their regulars, who are looking for simple accommodation in a scenic setting on a clean beach, (mostly) free of vendors. Being on the northern shore, you’ll catch both sunrise and sunset.
1/2 Moo 4, Mae Nam (Driving west on the ring road, about 1km past the Mae Nam traffic lights, there’s a pillar with several resort signs, one being for Shangrilah. Turn down and follow a windy road towards the beach and Shangrilah Bungalow)
T: (077) 425 189
www.shangrilah.net (not always working)
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