Most of the cheap bungalows at Coach are located right on a stretch of sand lined by coconut and umbrella trees, making this a great old-school option if you’re looking to forget the world for a while.
The bungalows are old but solid for the price, made from either wood or bamboo or concrete – or a mix of all three – with faded metal roofs. Hard beds are raised off the floors and draped in mosquito nets, cooled by wall-mounted fans and the sea breeze that usually flows through the non-screened windows. You also get a hammock and plastic chairs on a porch, and bucket-flush toilets in basic wet bathrooms with hot water in the pricier rooms and cold in the oldest beachfront editions.
We dug the colourful tapestries, prints and hanging seashells in rooms that have sheltered more than a few beach bums over the years. Coach is an especially good choice for long stays. After walking in we were told that a two-night stay was fine, but the only booking site offering rooms at Coach, Hostelbookers.com, says that it’s a minimum three-night stay.
This is an extremely laid back spot, run by a family that lives in a wood house at the back of the grounds. We arrived to find a longhaired younger guy munching on curry and rice in a sala; he responded to every one of our questions with an “okay” and an awkward chuckle and smile. The “staff” supposedly offers free WiFi and a restaurant, but the place is best suited to non-fussy backpackers who don’t need anything more than a roof, bed and hammock.
We’d suggest heading to nearby Munchie’s Resort to eat; it has newer fan-cooled bungalows but the 1,200 baht price tags seemed steep to us. Coach is one of several laid-back and long-running bungalow joints on this stretch of the south coast: you could also try neighbouring Lee Garden or Papillon, or head a little further east to French-run Sarana Bungalows, which has a small swimming pool and decent fan bungalows for 700 baht a night.
Nearby Mateo Restaurant also has a few simple wood bungalows for rent; it’s owned by a local Muslim family and is worth considering for more of a homestay experience. Note that the thumping bass from nearby Infinity Beach Club can be clearly heard until around 01:00 at Coach and neighbouring resorts when parties are going on.
Type of room, low and high season prices
Room: Bungalow fan private bathroom, low season: 400 baht, high season 550 baht. Notes: Up to 600/750 for larger concrete bungalow with hot water
Ao Baan Kai, Ko Pha Ngan
T: (077) 238 432
Room rates: Under 600B