Sleeping in a shipping container by the sea might not sound that appealing, but Think has done it right. Once you've got the air-con pumping, these are some solid, if unusual, beachside lodgings.
The brightly coloured (we had red) containers are in two clutches, one lot behind the restaurant and bar (garden view) and the other facing directly onto the beach (beachview). The beachview ones carry a hefty premium and given they're otherwise pretty much the same inside as the garden view ones, they're of debatable value; the garden view ones are better priced.
Inside your container, you'll find an absolutely immaculate room – seriously, this was one of the cleanest rooms we saw in all of Samui – though to be fair, with rooms on the small side we guess there is less to clean. Smooth tiled floors have a slight bounce, but the bed has real linen, there are bedside tables, a flatscreen TV suspended in the corner, there's an attached spotless hot-water bathroom, free WiFi and, most importantly, air-con.
As you're essentially living in a metal box, the room gets insanely hot without the air-con and it was like a blast furnace when we walked in; once cooled though, the environment is just as comfortable as any typical air-con room. Containers also have a small terrace deck with seating but you'll in all likelihood never use it, instead spending your time in the attached beach bar and restaurant, which is also excellent.
The restaurant and bar continues with the container theme, with at least three containers stacked to create a split level upstairs/downstairs bar with a funky decor – think toaster ovens stuck on the wall, soft drink can collections, bicycle wheels made into lighting fixtures and so on, with plenty of bright coloured paint and mismatched furniture thrown in to create a memorable place to hang out in.
The food is reasonable – they serve a mix of Thai and Western standards – and the staff are excellent. Prices are decidedly flashpacker, but there is nowhere backpacker priced on Lipa Noi, so we think the premium you pay to stay here is worth it. If you're looking for another option, the owner of Think has a second brand new property called i-Talay over near the Intercontinental. It's also great and has very small beachfront huts for 1,000 baht.
Address: 38/48 Moo 2, Lipa Noi
T: (077) 485 619; F: (077) 489 620
Coordinates (for GPS): 99º55'37.37" E, 9º29'27.89" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 1,500B to 4,000B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Superior double room|
|1,500 baht||1,800 baht|
|Deluxe double room|
|2,200 baht||2,600 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