A great choice
In business since the late 1980s, Thai-Canadian run Seaflower bungalows remains the pick of the bunch on Chao Phao, with a range of good rooms, lovely gardens and a perfect, centre of the beach location.
Seaflower offer a wide variety of rooms catering to most budgets, but it is flashpackers and families who will feel best served by their accommodation options. While we're not sure if any of the rooms date back to the 80s, some are a bit long in the tooth, so if you're just walking in, be sure to ask to see a couple if the first one isn't quite what you were hoping for.
We had a garden air-con view and it was solid, with plenty of space inside with a bit of wall art, the bed has a wooden frame and decent linen (though the mattress was very soft and a bit lumpy) and a clean, marble finished hot water shower. Aside from the main glass windows, there are a series of smaller screened windows that really help to bring more light in – helpful given there is so much shade throughout the resort.
Out front the room had a free-standing sala (in lieu of a veranda) with a strung hammock and a couple of deck chairs. There's no seaview to speak of – thanks to the gardens here only the very front rooms have proper beach views – and you pay for it! More budgetish wooden and thatch fan-cooled affairs are towards the rear of the resort, on the north side of the restaurant, while the closer to the beach you go, the pricier it gets.
Seaflower has a good-sized restaurant that does Thai and Western standards with both communal tables and raised individual sections scattered with low slung tables and axe pillows for seating. Prices are reasonable for the area. Down by the beach, the attached Heaven Bar offers more seating, including some beach loungers and plenty of cold drinks. This is a comfortable and convivial place to see out sunset and the barman is a chatty, friendly guy.
Seaflower is going to appeal in particular to people who have travelled to Ko Pha Ngan "back in the day" and would like to stay at a place with the same kind of vibe but with a few more creature comforts. See their website for full details on pricing as they have numerous categories of rooms. Recommended. If full, Seetanu Beach Bungalows and Blue Ocean Garden are both further south along the same beach and are solid options.
By Stuart McDonald
Last updated on 24th October, 2016.