Photo: Close to nature.


Luxury camping

Central Ao Yai, Ko Phayam T: (081) 849 5296 (085) 679 9568


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Friends serves terrific food along with luxury tents and a few bungalows in a convenient location. The attention to detail makes it one of our top picks on Phayam.

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Two-room tents are set on raised wood decks and sheltered by thatch roofs. Forget the images that typically come to mind when you think of a tent—these are the types you might stay in on an almost luxurious safari. Each comes with axe pillows and tables out front, quality mattresses and electrical outlets. There are no fans, but a breeze usually flows through netting that can be left open or zipped up for more privacy. Small thatch-roof bathrooms are attached to each platform but the glass basin sinks are situated outside.

Our kind of camping.

Our kind of camping. Photo: David Luekens

Friends also offers wood bungalows with soft mattresses raised slightly off wood floors, fans, screens on all windows and porches with wooden chairs. Attached cold-water bathrooms with partially open roofs have bucket-flush toilets and rain showerheads. While the blue-and-white bungalows with hanging seashells are lovely, they’re located at the centre of the property so privacy is lacking. We’d pay the extra 350 baht for a beachfront bungalow set off to the side and made of wood and polished concrete, with glass-top roundtables and some interesting Thai-style designs painted on walls behind the beds

The owners, a Thai interior designer and German dive instructor, have created a relaxing and friendly ambiance that made us want to stick around. They assist Burmese staff to churn out Western, Thai and Burmese dishes that are worth crossing the island for. Solar panels guarantee that power is switched on from 18:00 to morning; we were told that it typically runs 24 hours in high season. WiFi is free and kids will love the beachfront trampoline.

Don't want to camp? No problem.

Don't want to camp? No problem. Photo: David Luekens

Nearby Hornbill Hut is another good choice for a sturdy wood or concrete bungalow for slightly less cash. Further south on Ao Yai, JJ Resort has similarly cushy tents and is also worth considering. Friends fills up quick during high season, do reserve ahead of time.

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Walk-in rates at Friends

Type of room
Type of room, low and high season prices
closed or n/a
600 baht
800 baht in peak seaon
Bungalow fan private bathroom
closed or n/a
1,300 baht
1,600 baht in peak season
Beachfront bungalow
closed or n/a
1,650 baht
1,900 baht in peak season
Room: Tent, low season: closed or n/a, high season 600 baht. Notes: 800 baht in peak seaon
Room: Bungalow fan private bathroom, low season: closed or n/a, high season 1,300 baht. Notes: 1,600 baht in peak season
Room: Beachfront bungalow, low season: closed or n/a, high season 1,650 baht. Notes: 1,900 baht in peak season

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Where is Friends

Central Ao Yai, Ko Phayam
T: (081) 849 5296 (085) 679 9568
Coordinates (for GPS): 98º23'23.45" E, 9º43'44.33" N
Room rates: 600B to 1,500B

Map for Friends

Map for Friends

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