Charming islander vibe
Panka Yai Bay, Ko Bulon Lae T: (086) 290 2519 , (086) 967 0716
More of a family-run bungalow joint than an actual homestay programme, Chao Lae Homestay has about half a dozen simple but attractive wood-and-bamboo bungalows overlooking a shaded lawn stretching behind the bay.
Sturdy and well-kept bungalows have walls made of bamboo rods, woven bamboo and cinderblocks painted brick red along with hardwood floors and metal roofs. Cold-water showers, sinks and little sun windows join bucket-flush squat toilets in the cement bathrooms. Go on, be adventurous and acquaint yourself with the squat position.
Cooled by portable fans that you can keep spinning until electricity is turned off early morning, firm mattresses are raised off the floor and draped in mosquito nets. You also get benches, chairs and seashells on the porches along with several windows, though curtains would be nice. Above the shelves, snowy scenes of barns and pine trees will transport you to Switzerland or Quebec in winter—not what you likely expect on tropical Bulon.
The property blends into the neighbouring village and is operated by a large Chao Lae family offering the warm hospitality that Bulon is known for. They run one of the island’s best restaurants, itself decorated with red lanterns and a huge poster of Avril Lavigne. WiFi is not available, but one of the family members is a reliable source for boat trips around Bulon.
If the bungalows are full, Sawleeda Resort and Jungle Huts both have similar bungalows set a bit further from the beach along the path to Mango Bay, or you could head further inland to the concrete bungalows at Samila Restaurant.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 17th April, 2017.
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