Pick of the backpacker crop
Most northern beachfront bungalows, Haad Yuan T: (086) 470 2625
Set towards the northern end of Haad Yuan towards, but not on, the bouldered headland, and overlooking some excellent beachfront, Big Blue delivers clean and reasonable comfortable fan-cooled bungalows at flashpacker rates.
Long running and friendly, with a couple of rows of sun recliners and a volleyball net, Big Blue does a far better job of capturing the full, sociable vibe of a beach club than Barcelona does down at the other end of the beach.
Good-sized fan bungalows are lined in rows running back from the beach and, with the exception of some scattered standalone bungalows leading into the hillside, have no real views to get excited about. Each has a decent balcony with chairs, and hammock hooks if you happen to have your own. There are no mosquito nets, but the windows are fitted with screens to keep the evil beasts at bay. Bathrooms won't win any Elle Decor awards, but they do have flush toilets and cold-water showers – which is about all you can expect at this price. Overall, room quality is mixed and it is a good idea to take a look at a few if the first one isn't up to scratch – the good bungalows here are solid value, but the older ones feel musty.
Big Blue has a large beachside restaurant serving typical beach guesthouse fare and has recently added a two floor wood and bamboo structure that gets even better views. That said, many guests (and non-guests, the recliners are open for all) still choose to eat and drink in the white plastic chairs on the sand (the friendly staff will deliver fare to you).
The beach out front is excellent, with good swimming and there's a floating platform a little offshore for if you want to lounge around on the water proper. Big Blue is walk-in only (no bookings) meaning in high season, especially around Full Moon Party, they're full, so you may need to stay elsewhere until something becomes available here. Flashpackers try Barcelona while budget travellers should aim for Ocean Rock on the southern rocks, or Eden on the northern rocks.
By Stuart McDonald
Last updated on 24th October, 2016.