Crusty backpacker haunt
Ao Hin Khok, Ko Samet T: (086) 843 5569 , (038) 644 035
Along with basic accommodation, well dug-in Naga Bungalows has a post office, internet shop, mini-library, tour desk, money exchange office, gem dealer, bar and restaurant, though the old muay Thai ring was missing at research time.
Climbing up the concrete steps with mythical naga serpents for handrails takes you to a concrete roofed platform with reception and many of the services mentioned above, all set haphazardly beneath the frame of a concrete structure that doesn’t look like it will be finished any time soon. Young staffers handed us keys and sent us up more steep stairs to check out the rooms -- security isn’t really a thing here. Set halfway up the hill and a better selection found all the way at the top, wood bungalows looked tattered but are the only backpacker-range rooms left on Ao Hin Khok. Relying on grungy cold-water shared bathrooms with Western or squat toilets, these come with tin roofs, firm beds, mosquito nets, wood floors, a few windows and log porches with plastic chairs. Expect some cobwebs. Set in a bright-pink cement structure, the air-con room that we checked out was rather gloomy, with “private” bathroom that requires guests to walk outside. At the top of the hill, an air-con stack with sea views and proper ensuite bathrooms and TVs appeared to be an improvement, though you’ll probably be better off at neighbouring Tok’s
While most budget travellers probably won’t complain, you’ll find better fan bungalows with private bathrooms down the road at Ao Pai Hut for about the same price. What Naga does have going for it is a fun atmosphere, at least if you're a younger traveller looking to meet and mix over cheap buckets. Expect patchy WiFi, jaded staff and some late-night debauchery.
Type of room, low and high season prices
Room: Quad fan share bathroom, low season: 900 baht, high season 900 baht. Notes: Bungalow
Room: Standard double room, low season: 1,200 baht, high season 1,200 baht. Notes:
Room: Superior double room, low season: 1,500 baht, high season 1,500 baht. Notes:
Location map for Naga Bungalows
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Aquamarine sea meets secluded coves and busy beaches on Ko Samet
, one of Thailand’s most popular islands and a handy getaway from Bangkok. The island offers no fewer than 16 beaches with a variety of different scenes, often with white sand so fine that it’s like stepping on silk-feather pillows.