Satun's traveller centre
14/22 Burivanich Rd, Satun T: (081) 097 9783 ,
(074) 311 805
On's Living Room is one of several good reasons why heading to Satun after your beach time on Langkawi or Ko Lipe is a fine idea. Smack in the middle of town, the friendly guesthouse/restaurant/bar is devoted to making foreign guests feel comfortable in this non-touristy city. Even if you don't stay here, you'll probably stop by for one reason or another.
The establishment operates out of a beautifully restored Colonial-era building, just down the street from Mambang Mosque and the night market. A nearby second location mainly serves as a bar, though the main restaurant also has an extensive bar where you can watch a satellite TV tuned to one of the many English channels. We didn't try the cocktails, but the coffee and Western/Thai food were superb.
Welcoming owner On speaks excellent English and offers two large private rooms overlooking the street on the second and third floors. Either of these essentially get you an entire floor, including a private hot-water bathroom, lounge, fridge and dining table all situated in a spacious area outside of the actual bedrooms.
The 650 baht rates would be worth it even if you were only paying for the bedrooms themselves. Spacious, immaculate and with a few charming decorative touches, they have large shutter-style doors that open to the fresh air. Soaking up the street sounds with a journal or book at the small round table is a great way to while away an hour or two before dinner.
The problem of open cracks in the louvered doors is solved by large glass doors that close over the shutters and seal things up for when the air-con is on — but still allow you to enjoy the view and heritage building atmosphere. Rooms also include comfortable queen-size beds, bureaus and desks spread over glossy tile floors. Because there are only two rooms, it's wise to reserve ahead of time.
If you're a solo traveller on a tight budget, On's also now offers a six-bed mixed dorm with air-con and shared hot-water bathroom. It wasn't quite ready when we last passed through, but we were told that lamps, outlets and lockers will be provided.
In addition to free WiFi and common spaces, including an outdoor garden cafe that could almost be called Parisian, On's rents out bicycles and motorbikes for those who want to go explore. On herself is also a goldmine of info on the area and can help to arrange onward transport. While her staff isn't quite as helpful, we found them to be good-natured and reliable. They also whip up one of the best English breakfasts in Southern Thailand.
If there's no room at the Living Room, we do not recommend the neighbouring Sinkiat Thani Hotel, which has awfully moldy and overpriced rooms. Cliff Man's Hostel, located a short walk north on Tirasathat Road, is an acceptable option if you're after something cheaper. If you don't mind being a bit removed from downtown, Bandahara Boutique Hotel is an equally comfy choice for around the same price.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 21st January, 2015.
The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.