Great value dorms
If you're on a budget and happy with dorm accommodation, Samui Backpacker Hotel is absolutely the first place you should head to in Bang Rak. It delivers on excellent and extremely clean dorms and solid private rooms in a fun and sociable setting.
You'll find Samui Backpackers Hotel set a short walk back off the main road through Bang Rak. Signposted from the main road, follow the pathway down past some old school concrete chalets, which were being refurbished at the time of our visit in mid-2016, and keep going, till there's a downhill slope and you'll see the reception and social area on your right, the private rooms in an off-peach coloured longhouse setup to your left, and just after them, a purpose-built, gleaming white two-storey dorm.
A lawn area separates the social area from the accommodation, which is dotted with lounge furniture, a sala, some table settings and other stuff to relax in, on and around. There are two dorms here, one on the ground floor of the white building and one on the upper floor. Each has 20 bunk beds, on firm black metal frames with decent mattresses and red linen. The red and black combination continues through the dorm with red-cushioned sofas with black pillows and red locker doors with black details.
The private rooms are in a single longhouse looking across the lawn to the common room. As with the dorms, these rooms, while simple, are well considered and extremely clean. Linen is in hues of purple, shelving is on hand, there's a flatscreen TV and original art decorates the walls. Bathrooms are spotless. Both the dorms and the private rooms have chilled air-con throughout.
The graffiti-strewn mint green common area across the lawn is home to reception, a table tennis table and a pool table and they'll happily sell you cold drinks. The friendly woman who showed us around was professional, friendly and obviously proud of the humming establishment they have going here. The whole spot is far enough off the road to make this one of the few places you can stay within easy walking distance of the beach without being worn down by the traffic noise.
If they're full -- and there is a chance of this, as they said they get very busy, so consider making a reservation if your dates are locked in -- we also liked 2W Beach Hostel, which is right down at the far western end of Bang Rak, run by an especially friendly woman from Bangkok. 2W has both dorms and smart private rooms with kitchenette but as they're located right on the beach road, noise is a problem there.
Another option is Friendship, a two-storey building a little to the west of here, and which has large private rooms with air-con and a veranda overlooking the road from 800 baht. We much preferred here though. If you're looking for a clean dorm with a switched on staff and a social setting, Samui Backpacker Hotel is an excellent choice. Recommended.
Address: 76/1 Moo 4 Bang Rak
T: (095) 727 9231;
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º3'25.99" E, 9º33'30.19" N
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Room rates: Under 600B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Dorm air-con||300 baht||300 baht|
|Sgl air-con private bathroom||700 baht||700 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.
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