The people make it great
A friendly, frisbee-loving owner and cute air-con bungalows make up for the lack of a catchy name at Holiday Beach Resort, one of our top picks in Ko Mak’s flashpacker bracket.
Sporting teal trim on brown siding to go with metal roofs, the cheapest bungalows are small but adequate for the price. These are set behind the larger rooms and come with several windows, firm beds, mosquito nets, hot-water bathrooms, fans in addition to the air-con and hammocks strung to front porches, including some with partial sea views. The bungalow we peeked into appeared clean.
Lined up in a half-oval around a large seaside lawn, the more spacious concrete bungalows come with wider windows, hardwood floors, fridges and unobstructed sea views from the porches. There’s also a family bungalow made of concrete that sleeps five and has a larger porch. Despite minimal decoration, we like the unpretentious sea cottage feel that pervades all of Holiday’s bungalows.
The resort has a notably large restaurant area with seating in a pavilion and out under the open sky on a concrete patio. Here we met the owner, an affable Thai man who offers WiFi, kayaks, mountain bikes and frisbees for those who wish to join him at the associated Koh Mak Disc Golf by Pom, situated just up the road on the way to Ao Suan Yai. A couple of disc golf “holes” are also found at the Holiday property should you want a chance at avoiding embarrassment.
Accessible to the rear by a dirt lane lined by palm trees, the property is fairly large (by Ko Mak standards anyway) and the bungalows well spread out, and we salute the owners for not squeezing in more rooms even though the resort is often full in high season. The spaciousness extends to a beachfront where a sign dictates the house rules: “Relax, unwind, enjoy.”
We also like Holiday’s location towards the quiet western end of Ao Kao but within walking distance of non-resort restaurants and shops. But the owner really makes this place stand out for us; he greeted us with a smile and was one of the most welcoming people we met on the island.
Holiday is one of a few places on this stretch of Ao Kao that fall into the same price range. Neighbouring Blue Sky Resort has similarly equipped concrete bungalows but the staffers we met there weren’t as welcoming. A little further east, Baan Chailay isn’t bad if you bag one of the beachfront bungalows, though we found their rooms in the attached concrete building overpriced. If you have more cash to flash, check out Big Easy.
Address: Western Ao Kao, Ko Mak
T: (086) 751 7668 ; (089) 591 6969;
Coordinates (for GPS): 102º27'33.09" E, 11º48'49.75" 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 air-con private bathroom||1,000 baht||1,300 baht|
|Deluxe bungalow||1,500 baht||1,800 baht|
|Family room||2,500 baht||2,800 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.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Ko Mak