The only place to stay on Ko Mak that aims specifically for reggae-loving hippie-type travellers, Monkey Island remains a reliable budget choice near Ao Kao’s small eating and shopping strip.
Most rooms come in small lumbung-style bungalows with thatch covering exterior walls and roofs, and a mix of varnished wood and bamboo inside. They’re available with shared or private bathroom—either way you get cold-water shower, sink, mirror and Western flush toilet with partially open-air roof. Though dimly lit, the rooms we checked out appeared adequately kept.
Minimal interior space in the cheaper digs includes a firm bed, mosquito net, rusty fan and perhaps a few Thai handicrafts for decoration, but every room comes with a hammock strung to the porch. More than 25 rooms were squeezed into a property that’s not huge; bungalows numbered B1, B3 and B4 bag you a sea view for no extra cost.
While they were full for our most recent visit, you’ll also find some air-con bungalows with the same design as the cheaper digs but more space, hot-water showers and sliding glass doors opening to larger balconies. These are set back on a more private slice of the property to the west of reception.
Many guests stay mainly for the scene revolving around a lounge/restaurant/bar decked out in neon purple and green with cushioned seats on a seaside terrace. Much of the property is done up in graffiti wall murals depicting gorillas and baboons smoking joints and sticking their tongues out. Guests who book in advance get picked up from the pier in a VW bus with the roof ripped off.
We’ve heard good things about the food and the bar is one of the more happening spots on Ko Mak, hosting live music and jam sessions on most nights in high season. None of the three staffers even looked at us when we stood around waiting to be helped, and the guy who finally showed us around was straight-faced and business-like. But we did speak with a woman who was staying a month and she was happy with the service.
Monkey Island is the easternmost option out of a string of small resorts in central Ao Kao and the setting feels a bit more secluded than Baan Koh Mak and others. Plenty of non-resort eateries and shops are within walking distance, and we like how you can stroll further east along undeveloped beachfront until finally coming to Island Hut, which is also worth a look in the budget bracket.
Address: Central Ao Kao, Ko Mak
T: (039) 524 040 ; (089) 501 6030;
Coordinates (for GPS): 102º27'59.97" E, 11º48'47.38" 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 share bathroom||500 baht||500 baht|
|Bungalow fan private bathroom||700 baht||700 baht|
|Bungalow air-con private bathroom||1,500 baht||1,500 baht|
Up to 2,400 baht for the largest bungalow
|1,800 baht||1,800 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.
Provided by Travelfish partner Agoda.
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