Slow it down
Sai Thong is a classic bungalow joint on a secluded beach that casts a spell of tranquility on guests – as long as they’re not too picky.
The long-running resort extends over the length of Haad Sai Nuan and part of a second cove to the south, with plenty of open space that will make you forget all about the countless buildings in Mae Haad and Sairee. Guests can use free snorkelling equipment or spike a volleyball over a bamboo “net” after lounging on the khaki sand. We arrived to find a guy practicing on a tightrope strung to a couple of the towering coconut trees.
Wood bungalows with metal roofs and wood floors come in a few different sizes and are all equipped with fans, firm mattresses, mosquito nets, hammocks on the porches and concrete cold-water bathrooms with sinks and Western flush toilets. The 500-baht hut that we checked had seen a few rainy seasons, adding character along with a few bumps and scratches.
Some of the largest bungalows with wide windows are placed on stilts over the boulders at the far northern corner of Haad Sai Nuan, while a few of the smaller rooms come two to a building. The mostly Burmese staffers appeared to be doing a great job of holding down the fort on a particularly busy day. The receptionist spoke solid English and kept a smile while explaining the options.
The resort offers a little Thai massage sala along with a restaurant and WiFi that we wouldn’t expect to work too well considering that the owner “hates technology,” according to the Facebook page. On that note, be warned that more than one fake Sai Thong website has been put up to scam potential customers; the real Sai Thong only accepts reservations by phone or in person.
If Sai Thong is full, pop next door to Siam Cookies to check out similarly rustic fan bungalows, also for around 500 baht, or simple air-con rooms for 800 to 1,200 baht. You might also like the similarly secluded Tao Thong Villa, which unlike Sai Thong can be reached directly by motorbike or taxi.
Address: Haad Sai Nuan, Ko Tao
T: (077) 456 868; (081) 606 1333;
Coordinates (for GPS): 99º49'0.27" E, 10º4'25.93" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under 600B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Bungalow fan private bathroom||500 baht||500 baht|
Up to 900 baht
|700 baht||700 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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