Chill in China Chaweng
Run by laid-back and artistic Chinese guys who welcome everyone to join the mostly younger Chinese guests for a cross-cultural experience, Pepper Guest House turns the stereotype of Chinese travellers on its head.
Also known as Pepper Inn & Cafe, the little establishment occupies a narrow shophouse that stands out among neighbours – such as Samui Hostel and DD Guesthouse – thanks to a sunflower-yellow paintjob and a single faded red lantern placed over the entrance. We arrived to find a longhaired staffer strumming a guitar while another, donning black-frame glasses and a spiky hairdo, tapped away at a MacBook.
While English was not their strong suit, we appreciated positive and patient attitudes that quickly carried us upstairs to see the mixed dorms and private rooms. Black-and-white photos, shelves of books and some very cool Chinese-style art punctuate every corner in a building that feels almost like an apartment occupied by a dozen art and music students in Shanghai.
The six-bed dorm room is at least as good as the dorms at neighbouring Samui Hostel, perhaps better thanks to thicker mattresses with funky designs on the sheets and wider windows. Bunks are set on sturdy dark-wood frames and each comes with a personal electrical outlet and reading lamp with adjustable arm. The dorm and shared bathrooms with hot water appeared well kept.
Pepper is also a great choice for a private double room with an ensuite bathroom or relying on the shared facilities. Each of these was decorated individually and might feature colourful balls hung behind a queen-size bed or black-and-crimson Chinese patterns painted on polished concrete floors between twin beds. They’re spacious and equipped with tables and moveable fans in addition to air-con, with the best of them bagging you furnished balconies overlooking the street.
Pepper’s Facebook page features photos of slightly bewildered- but happy-looking Western travellers hanging out and playing music with groups of funky Chinese travellers. Some will find the language barrier to be a problem, though we feel this is a good opportunity to learn a tiny bit about Chinese culture – or counterculture – without going to China.
Address: 147/94 Moo 2, South Chaweng, Ko Samui
T: (093) 746 2781;
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º3'20.73" E, 9º31'4.46" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under 600B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Dorm air-con||200 baht||250 baht|
|Dbl air-con share bathroom||500 baht||500 baht|
|Dbl air-con private bathroom||600 baht||600 baht|
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
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