Beach shacks on the cheap
Wedged between the beach and a fragrant cashew orchard, Island Hut is one of Ko Mak’s last old-style bungalow joints and it remains a decent option for those who like it rustic.
Accommodation starts real cheap with a thin-walled longhouse divided into tiny rooms that come with only fan, hard mattress, mosquito net and use of bucket-flush toilets and cold-water showers in some dire shared bathrooms at the back of the grounds. We’d shell out an extra 100 baht for a tiny wooden hut with cement floor and attached bathroom made out of cinderblocks—these are similarly spartan but at least you get a porch.
Better yet, the 450-baht stilted shacks are made of coconut wood and come with a lot more space to go with rough hardwood floors, portable fans and hammocks strung to the porches. For just 100 baht more, the few basic beachfront editions—numbered A1 to A4—constitute good backpacker value. To find similar digs in the same price range you’d have to go down to isolated Baan Ing Kao.
While all fan huts could double as storage sheds and some grime should be expected in the bathrooms, we noticed that new metal roofs and wood panels had been installed on some since our last visit. We also liked the funky paintings of snakes and lizards found on some of the shacks.
Island Hut has also made a play for flashpackers by renovating five bunker-like concrete bungalows that bag you lounge chairs on tiny stoops set right by the sand. These were full so we couldn’t see inside, but the prices seem reasonable for beachfront air-con and we were told that the ensuite wet bathrooms come with hot-water showers and proper sinks.
You’ll find more than 30 huts in all, and those not set on the beach are packed close together among footpaths, fruit trees and quirky concrete tortoises and storks. The beach out front narrows at high tide, but we like the sense of seclusion with only undeveloped beachfront stretching on either side for at least 100 metres. A 300-metre stroll to the main road takes you to some good bars and eateries, including Swiss Sawasdee and Cafe Del Mak.
Island Hut has its own cement-floored restaurant pavilion and we’ve heard mixed reports about the Thai food. We’ve also had mixed experiences with the staff. Island Hut operates on a walk-in only basis and you’ll often find a bungalow or two available here when other cheapies are full.
Address: Eastern Ao Kao, Ko Mak
T: (087) 139 5537 ; (086) 835 3195;
Coordinates (for GPS): 102º28'24.88" E, 11º48'30.76" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under 600B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Sgl fan share bathroom||250 baht||250 baht|
|Bungalow fan private bathroom|
Add 100 baht for larger bungalow, 200 baht for beachfront.
|350 baht||350 baht|
|Bungalow air-con private bathroom||1,200 baht||1,200 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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