Wedged between the beach and a picturesque cashew orchard to the east of Ao Kao, Island Hut has a number of basic thatched wooden bungalows clustered close together.
The small beachfront huts are plopped right on top of the sand, almost within arm's reach of the sea, and have funky turquoise and yellow paint jobs, cement floors and a window facing the breeze. The bungalows set further back are mostly on stilts and some are tiny and rather dilapidated -- but in the way that cheap island bungalows should be. The faded, unfinished wooden walls make them feel like small barns (no, this is not the Hilton). All rooms have hard beds on raised platforms with mosquito nets along with hammocks and deck chairs out the front. Basic cold-water bathrooms are on the grimy side and come with bucket-flush toilets. The restaurant serves authentic Thai food at a decent price, and the friendly family who runs the place will undoubtedly make you feel more than welcome -- though minimal English is spoken. The road behind the resort is home to a couple of great restaurants, and it's only a 10-minute walk along the beach to the more developed strip. The owners told us that they sporadically close down during rainy season.
Type of room, low and high season prices
Room: Bungalow fan private bathroom, low season: 250 baht, high season 350 baht. Notes: 100 baht less for single travellers
Room: Beachfront bungalow, low season: 350 baht, high season 450 baht. Notes:
Ao Kao, Ko Maak
T: (087) 139 5537
Room rates: Under 600B