Lush and comfy
Lush and jungly, Shambhala sits on a great stretch of Plaay Laem Beach and offers an excellent standard of well maintained classic Ko Pha Ngan beach bungalows.
The setting is lush, with palms and banana trees (we could almost reach some bananas from our balcony hammock) delivering a generous dose of privacy to just about all the bungalows, each of which has a good size deck with at least one hammock and a table setting.
Inside the bungalows are clean and well kept. They are simple affairs – ours had a double bed on a raised platform with a small shelf for books and two bedside lamps. The window looked out onto the terrace (you'll only get a decent water view from the front huts as the foliage blocks much of the view for most of the huts). The hot water bathroom was clean and like the room, well looked after.
Bungalow decks have plenty of space for lounging around and the front ones are ideally placed looking out over the water. The resort restaurant shares the beachfront with the front huts and does well priced Thai food along with western standards and it is a good spot for a cool drink in the afternoon heat.
Shambhala also has a few salas in the garden – initially we thought they were massage salas, but they are actually rented out as rooms with shared bathroom facilities – and are a reasonable option for those on a budget (though for not much more you can get a simple hut at Beach99 just down the beach a bit.
WiFi is available, but the signal didn't reach our room towards the rear of the resort – it was fine in the restaurant though. One peculiarity here is upon check-in the staff wanted to take our photo and attach it to the reservation on the computer, when we refused the staffer took a photo of himself instead – odd.
As a walk-in, rates seemed to be extremely variable – it took staff a while to decide what to charge us and then, when they didn't have change they knocked 100 baht off. Rates listed here are from their website.
For the money this is a solid flashpacker option on Plaay Laem – recommended. If you're looking for something a little cheaper, consider long running backpacker hangout Cookies, or, just past the rocks to the south, Beach99.
Address: 69/10 Moo 4, Ao Plaay Laem, Ko Pha Ngan
T: (077) 239 620;
Coordinates (for GPS): 99º58'35.55" E, 9º43'25.35" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 600B to 1,500B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
In a sala
|450 baht||900 baht|
|Superior double room||950 baht||2,200 baht|
|Beachfront bungalow||1,100 baht||2,500 baht|
|Family room||1,200 baht||2,500 baht|
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Ko Pha Ngan