Great views from some bungalows
While Thongson Bay is dominated by the upscale Melati, private residences and rentals that are slowly concrete carpeting the western headland, tucked away on the eastern end of the bay sits the more budget orientated, old school Thongson Bay Bungalows.
It would be fair to describe the bungalows here as classic island huts that have been perched on the rocks and hillside here for quite a while. That is to say they are not in A+ condition -- especially the bathrooms -- but if you are fine with that and especially if you plan to spend a significant amount of time swinging in the hammock enjoying a book, you could do far worse than here.
The bungalows are mostly concrete rather than wood and thatch, though they do have wooden decks with hammocks, and those a little further from the restaurant, snaking up the eastern headland, enjoy the best views – in some cases the views over the beach are excellent. Decor is frumpy but bright. The bungalow we were shown had deep yellow walls and a pink embroidered bedspread with pink sheets underneath, and towels formed into a gigantic heart. The bed frame was a wooden four-poster affair, one that would normally have a mosquito net, though in this case the netting was more decorative than functional.
Thongson Bay Bungalows has a large beachfront restaurant, we imagine in part so large because they attract a lot of custom from the neighbouring Melati with guests looking for more down to earth prices. Regardless of clientele, the outlook is great. Also, a quick note, they're deadly seriously when it comes to climbing on the near horizontal palm tree out the front of the restaurant – the sign is there for a reason, so don't do it!
This is an isolated location, ideally suited to hammock swinging and book devouring. If you're planning on spending a significant amount of time off exploring, you will absolutely need your own transport for comings and goings. Staff are decidedly laidback, swinging between friendly and indifferent.
The beach out front is solid and good for swimming, apparently with some decent snorkelling for fish, not coral. If Thongson Bay Bungalows is a bit too downmarket for your tastes, but you still would like the isolation, consider Melati next door, or Idyllic Samui on another bay up the coast; both are considerably more expensive than here. If you're looking to spend less, look back at Choeng Mon proper, perhaps at Island View or Honey Cottages.
Address: 12/3 Moo 5, Thongson Bay
T: (077) 417 465; (081) 891 4640; F: (077) 417 465
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º4'33.44" E, 9º35'11.85" 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.
|Standard double room||800 baht||800 baht|
|Superior double room||1,500 baht||1,500 baht|
|Deluxe double room||3,000 baht||3,000 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 Samui