Drop off the map here
Every now and then we come across a place that makes us want to drop our bag, throw our feet up and lose a week – Moon Dance Magic View is such a place.
This is a throw back to a Ko Tao that doesn't really exist anymore, but it is the Ko Tao we fell in love with over 20 years ago. At 1,250 baht for a basic bamboo bungalow, this isn't cheap, but, if this is your kind of place, it will be money well spent. Afterall you're not really paying for the bungalow, rather you're renting the isolation and the incredible cliff-top views that make this a truly magical spot. With the decks big enough to dance on (just be careful not to fall through one as we almost did), and a moon rising overhead, you've got Moon Dance Magic View.
Yes, we liked it here.
The bungalows are boho, thatch roofed lacquered bamboo and rattan affairs, and they are simple, we mean really simple. Decks are bouncy – we're not joking saying we almost went through the deck – but they're seriously oversized and generally bigger than the rooms. Given their size, that they are well shaded by the swaying trees, are strung with a solid hammock or two and have some deck settings (more bamboo), it is easy to see how a lost afternoon could turn into a lost week at Moon Dance Magic View.
The interior is as basic as it gets. Think a well-screened mattress on a bamboo base and a standing fan and perhaps a small shelf set, and that is it. Bathrooms are open to the elements, and are, well, basically finished, with a throne set under a thatch shelter, a shower and basin, but there is heaps of space – in the room we were shown you could have played ping pong in the bathroom area.
Hibiscus and frangipani surround the bungalows at the ground and trees sway overhead and, because of the cliff location, there's a bit of breeze swirling about, so pack some books for that hammock swinging with the wind in your ears.
Some of the bungalows have amazing out to sea views (late sleepers should note this is on Ko Tao's eastern coast, so it does get bright early) but it is the restaurant and bar terrace that takes the cake. Perched along the cliff front with tremendous views to the north and south, umbrellas give some respite from the morning sun.
While we swung through one absolutely crystal clear morning, we imagine the late afternoons must be brilliant despite lacking a sunset vantage point. In the evening the grounds are strung with lamps and lanterns. It must be magical – and extremely chilled out. Watch your step at night.
From the clifftop, take a look down below and you'll see a roped trail and set of steps running down to a large sunning platform and a set of concrete steps where you can make your way down into the water to snorkel the crystal waters and around the two small boulder outcrops just offshore. Bliss.
Note the railings, both on the bungalows but especially on the clifftops and the climb down to the water are not at all kid safe. Be sure to keep an eye on little ones.
Moon Dance Magic View is extremely isolated, set on the northern headland around from Ao Leuk. The road is very sleep and slippery in places – novice scooter riders should exercise considerable care. It is located past Baan Talay and is reached by a separate, in places, very steep, road which splits off from the main thoroughfare between Mae Haad and Ao Tanote.
Address: Far northern headland of Ao Leuk
T: (089) 909 0083; (077) 456 762;
Coordinates (for GPS): 99º50'45.66" E, 10º4'27.7" 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.
|Bungalow fan private bathroom||1,250 baht||1,250 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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