Breath of fresh air
Go beyond The Mangrove’s unassuming frontage to find spacious stilted wood-and-bamboo bungalows peppered over a forested hill as it tumbles down to meet the sea. Here you’ll be close to nature, in style.
Built mainly of wood, thatch and bamboo, the fan-cooled bungalows contain very little concrete, and no trees were harmed during construction. The design of each room utilises a vaulted roof design with a secondary roof at the top leaving an open space for air, but not rain, to flow inside. Also contributing to the breeziness are bamboo curtains hung over partially open sides and doors that can be pushed back to completely open the front side of the bungalow.
Ideal for nature-loving couples, the rooms are set far apart from one another with abundant trees giving most of the wide balconies some privacy. Bungalows set towards the top of the hill lend a feel of sitting among the treetops. Inside you get a mosquito net draped over firm queen mattress, cushioned chair, desk and spacious slate-walled bathroom with cold water. Decor is simple yet tasteful, with earthy colours complimenting smooth hardwood floors.
The Mangrove has only 10 bungalows and, at research time at the end of 2017, they can only be booked directly through the website or in person. Owners weren’t around when we stopped by; a German man who said he was a friend of theirs provided the info we needed. Rooms were full so we could only peek a bit from outside, but we adore the natural design and peaceful setting.
The Mangrove fronts a narrow but pretty patch of Ao Bailan’s only natural beach—the only other resort with direct access to the sand is neighbouring Bailan Beach Resort. Along the seafront stretches a very large deck near a tall thatch-roof pavilion where you can grab a drink. Branches of coastal trees reach far over the deck, creating a wonderful place to relax.
The Mangrove is located at the north end of Ao Bailan, within a five-minute walk of various restaurants and shops in the village. Further north on the way to Lonely Beach you’ll find the entrance to Bailan Bay Resort, an old-Thai run resort with dated air-con rooms in a similarly peaceful setting that puts you a lot farther away from everything.
Be careful not to mix up The Mangrove in Bailan with The Mangrove Hideaway, another stylish spot over in Salak Phet.
Address: Ao Bailan, Ko Chang
T: (081) 845 0707;
Coordinates (for GPS): 102º17'53.36" E, 11º59'32.27" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 600B to 1,500B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Bungalow fan private bathroom||1,200 baht||1,200 baht|
|1,500 baht||1,500 baht|
|1,700 baht||1,700 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.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Ko Chang