Awesome sunrise views
Thiwson Beach Resort is a family-oriented bungalow resort set on the beachfront on Ko Yao Yai’s scenic northeastern shores. Once a more basic budget choice for travellers, Thiwson has moved upmarket in recent years, but it still delivers excellent value and, of course, the same awesome sunrise sea views.
Four bungalow styles are on offer here. On the beachfront are the deluxe sea view bungalows, some for families with two connected bedrooms, and some detached bungalows, all with air-con, open-air bathrooms and large wooden verandas. Along the next row back are five superior bungalows, also with air-con, while five fan bungalows sit just behind them. Up the hill across the road in a more jungly setting are two air-con deluxe hilltop bungalows.
Except for one of the superior bungalows, which is in concrete with tiled floors, all the bungalows have a back-to-nature feel in polished wood, with wooden beds and balcony furniture.
Rates for the individual bungalows range from 1,200 baht to 3,200 baht from November through April and drop down to 800 baht to 1,600 baht the rest of the year, while the family deluxe rooms are 3,500 baht in low season and 6,000 baht in high season.
Though breakfast is not included, we found Thiwson to provide a lot of thoughtful extras in the price, including juice and a cold refreshing towel on arrival, WiFi, hot-water shower, two fresh bottles of water daily, a mini-fridge, satellite TV, sets of beach, bath and hand towels, screens on the windows and sliding doors, a good-sized wardrobe, a water urn at the steps for washing your feet before entering, and a broom. Though there’s daily cleaning, the broom was handy for keeping the floors free of sandy footprints.
Thiwson’s seaview pool and jacuzzi with wooden decking and a scattering of sun beds is a great spot to gaze out at the Phang Nga Bay karsts and contemplate the changing colours of the sea and sky, and it stays shady through much of the day. The surrounding tropical gardens are lovely and well tended.
At the open-air restaurant under a vaulted thatch-roof sala, prices on the menu (by Ko Yao Yai standards) are reasonable, mostly Thai dishes in the 100 to 150 baht range. The dishes we tried were good, especially the tasty laab kai, though you’ll need to ask if you want them spicy. A couple of kayaks are set on the sands for guest use and the reception staff can help arrange transport and tours. Motorbikes are available for rent for 350 baht a day. As a family-run resort, the atmosphere here is low-key and friendly – granny might come out to greet you occasionally.
Thiwson is one of only two resorts on this long stretch of sand in Chong Lad bay. The other is the Better View, another bungalow resort that’s a bit swankier. The land in between them appears to be getting prepped for development (February 2014), so if noise is a problem you might want to check upon booking if building is yet underway there. Chong Lad village is the nearest “town”, about two kilometres to the north, where you’ll find an ATM and a few local food shops.
Though its rates have moved up from its days as a backpacker hideaway, Thiwson remains a great value spot at the mid-range price level. Families and couples especially seeking some peaceful and relaxing beach time will have a ball here.
Address: 58/2 Moo 4, Ko Yao Yai Rd, Ko Yao Yai
T: (081) 9567582; (081) 7374420;
Coordinates (for GPS): 98º35'50.17" E, 8º3'17.21" N
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Room rates: 1,500B to 4,000B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room|
|800 baht||1,200 baht|
|Superior double room|
|1,100 baht||1,900 baht|
|Deluxe double room|
Seaview (Hilltop: 1,100 low, 2,000 high)
|1,600 baht||3,200 baht|
|Family room||3,500 baht||6,000 baht|
Lana Willocks is a freelance writer from Canada based in Phuket. Her love affair with Thailand began on a university exchange programme in Bangkok, then she returned to Phuket on the auspicious date of 9-9-1999 and never left.
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