Several new midrange resorts have opened their doors near the fishing villages on Ao Kham, but only the pricey Sivalai Resort has a beach that compares to Haad Farang on the other side of the island, where you'll still find a fair selection of backpacker-oriented accommodation.
If you're not sure where you want to stay on Ko Muk, here's a primer to get you going.
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... Read our full review of Where to stay on Ko Muk?.
West-facing "Foreigner Beach" is home to one large midrange resort and a smattering of cheap bungalow joints. Outside of peak season, ask for a discount and most likely you shall receive. Great sunsets are a perk of staying here.
This small bungalow joint is actually spread over a hillside that's a good 300-metre walk from the beach it's named after. It offers a few different options, including tents with fans, mattresses on the floor and shared bathrooms that are the cheapest options on Muk. Next up are standard fan rooms in an attached concrete building reminiscent of a bunker. Much better are the basic concrete... Read our full review of Had Farang Bungalow.
Stretching almost the length of Haad Farang under towering coconut trees, long-running Charlie seems to pull everything in its direction. Even if you're not staying here, you'll have to walk through the fairly large resort any time you go to the beach. The majority of rooms are concrete air-con villas, some with direct sea views. The one we peeped had a faint musty smell and some visible mould on... Read our full review of Koh Mook Charlie Beach Resort.
If you prefer a family-run spot and don't mind a rustic bungalow, pop into this rag-tag joint located just behind Charlie and across from Rubber Tree. The half-dozen huts are clustered around a lawn of four-leaf clovers (we kid you not). They're made almost entirely of knobby wooden planks and come with hard beds, mosquito nets, fans and large bathrooms with bucket-flush toilets, cold-water... Read our full review of Mayow Thai Kitchen.
Located a few hundred metres inland down an often-muddy lane, Mookie's was going through big changes during our last visit. The sign still said Cheapest bungalows on Muk, but the old huts had been replaced by brand-spanking new concrete bungalows that had just been painted light green. They're set in a neat line up on the hill and clash with the old hippie-style reception area and bar. The rooms... Read our full review of Mookie's.
Set on a hill just back from Haad Farang that's blanketed in, you guessed it, tall rubber trees, this was once our go-to bungalow spot on Muk. The place feels rather tired these days, however, and the concrete fan bungalows in particular could use a fresh coat of paint to cover the considerable mould that's accumulated on the walls. This is especially true for the cold-water bathrooms with spouts... Read our full review of Rubber Tree Bungalow.
Hidden in the shadow of Charlie Resort, little Sawaddee is the only other beachfront option on Haad Farang. The place seemed only half-open when we stopped by in late November: an old thatched pavilion sat derelict off to the side, the dining area for the restaurant was barely furnished, and staff were found lazing under the coconut trees. Still, the place is worth considering simply for its... Read our full review of Sawaddee Resort.
Home to the upscale Sivalai Resort, which fronts a gorgeous sand bar known as The Wing, the northeastern beach of Ao Kham also hosts a couple of good bungalow spots. Since our last visit, a pair of midrange resorts (Riviera and Pawapi) had been added on the lacklustre beach just south of Sivalai, though we found both to be overpriced and unkempt.
This place sounds like some kind of medical facility, but in fact its name comes from the fact that owner Mr Bell works in the village clinic. The friendly Trang native had just opened his five shiny new woven bamboo bungalows to guests when we last passed through. They're a step up from what you'll find over on Haad Farang, each with comfy beds draped in mosquito nets, soft lanterns, moveable... Read our full review of Ban Koh Mook Nurse House.
If you don't mind this side of the island, Coco Lodge is a step above any of Haad Farang cheap bungalow joints. Made entirely of bamboo apart from the thatch roofs, the stilted bungalows are set in a quiet coconut tree grove just back from Ao Kham and within a stone's throw of the pier. The rooms are thoughtfully designed with windows and cracks in the bamboo to allow for maximum airflow, and the... Read our full review of Coco Lodge Resort.
Sivalai is the Thai rendition of the English word, civilised, which tells you something about the sorts of guests that this large upscale resort tries to attract. With the cheapest villas running 5,000 baht in high season, this is not a backpacker hangout. The smoothly run but impersonal resort sprawls on a squeaky white-sand plateau on either side of the peninsula-esque sandbar that juts out for... Read our full review of Koh Mook Sivalai Beach Resort.