Ao Nuan Bungalows is one of the few spots left on Samet where you’re more likely to hear the song of birds and drill of cicadas rather than rumbling speedboats and parties. Throw in a private cove location that puts you within easy walking distance of the conveniences of Ao Wong Duean and Ao Tubtim, and you’ve got one of our all-time favourite places to stay on the island.
Accommodation is simple but tasteful, in a tropical way; the handful of wood bungalows compliment the wooded hillside on which they’re perched. We checked out a thatch-roof A-frame hut with a good-quality mosquito net draped over a simple mattress on a bamboo floor with a movable fan and sea view from the attached deck. Fan rooms rely on a few shared cold-water bathrooms that require a stroll outside.
A good option for honeymooners on a budget, the air-con bungalow that we were shown is set further up the hill and comes with ensuite hot-water bathroom to go with woven grass mat, traditional Thai floor cushions and shelves on either side of the room. Each of the detached bungalows is a little different from the next, so ask to peek inside a few if possible.
For a long time the resort didn’t even have a phone, catering to backpackers who were not keen to share their “secret” hideaway with Samet’s ever-growing crowds. While the soft-spoken owner has since added a phone and free WiFi, her place still soothes guests to the bone. She has stuck to an aversion to tech by keeping virtually no online presence — don’t expect to find this one on the booking sites.
If your visit is a fleeting one, at least sit down to enjoy one of the simple seafood dishes made by the cool staff. Rates are fixed throughout the year and you could argue that the fan bungalows are overpriced, but you really won’t find a more tranquil spot on the island. Just don’t forget to pack a torch and mozzie repellent. And beware: it’s hard not to lose track of time at a place like this.
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Bungalow fan share bathroom|
Up to 1,200 baht for larger room.
|800 baht||800 baht|
|Bungalow air-con private bathroom||1,500 baht||1,500 baht|
|Family room||3,000 baht||3,000 baht|
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
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Our top 10 places to stay in and around Ko Samet