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“Backpackers bungalows - we left after one night”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of Smile Bungalow

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Smile Bungalow
Certificate of Excellence
Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
59 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Backpackers bungalows - we left after one night”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 February 2013

My wife and I stayed here for one night, but had originally planned for 3. It wasn't that it was terrible, but I think we've just got a little older and want a little more comfort - it was pretty surprising to us!

A year or two ago it would have been perfect for us, but I admit that we wanted a little more comfort. The bungalow was very cute, the view from the balcony was out to the beach, and t had a really pretty bathroom, covered in shells. But the four walls and ceiling didn't meet, as is the case with a typical bungalow, so geckos and ants were in all their glory. Not so bad, but the gecko poo on the bed was a bit much. The bed also smelled of sweat - must have been pretty old. When we checked in the guy wasn't exactly the most friendly dude either, and the food in the restaurant wasn't all that, although that didn't seem to be a problem for the millions of flies that homed in when we tried to eat.

The same evening we checked in we walked down the beach and found somewhere else - more expensive, yes, but like I said, we were willing to pay for a bit more comfort. If you're looking for a cheap place, then this is fine. You get what you pay for.

The location is great. Bottle Beach is gorgeous, and very remote.

We ended up at Bottle Beach Resort 1, if you're interested.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lara M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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96 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
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English first
Montreal
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 January 2013

For those wanting a quiet, secluded spot and a wonderful beach, this is it.
Cons:
- hard to get to, you may pay more to get there than a night at the bungalow! I spent 200 baht on a taxi from the pier and another 150 for the boat.
- main reception guy greeted me with blatant mocking, rude tone, and generally unhelpful with my check in (I had booked and paid in advance on pagoda and he acted like he had no idea how this works). He gave me a bad taste in my mouth, made me feel awkward, hard to explain. He didn't treat my boyfriend this way.
- food in Resto sub par and overpriced. We went down the beach to bottle beach resort 2 for cheaper eats with bigger portions and better flavor.
- no internet or ATM.come with all the money you need

Pros:
- female staff very friendly, but often cooking or cleaning so you won't deal with them much
- bungalows are super cute and homey!
- beautiful beach location

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Julia B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 January 2013

This was my second trip to Bottle Beach but my first staying at Smile (stayed last time at Bottle Beach 2, which has more budget bungalows). The 2-story bungalow set up the hill was perfectly fine - quiet, nice view, nice bathroom, wood floors. The beach itself is so lovely and perfect for swimming with soft sand and clear blue water. Food is decent and in some cases really good. We saw monkeys, large geckos, and an amazing huge spotted jellyfish. The hike up the lookout point is worth the effort. You will get a stunning view of the island and a nice breeze. If you need new towels or toilet paper, just ask. The scene there was a little older than in years past. I'd say the average age was about 30 for guests at Smile and there were many people with young children at Bottle Beach 1.

Smile is currently quite understaffed, so the guy who is there has to pretty much do everything himself. Communication was challenging when we settled out bill after staying for a week. We had prepaid for 2 nights by Western Union, and I had the receipt, and it seemed like everything was settled but as we were leaving to catch the taxi boat we were told we had to pay for the 2 nights that had already been paid - we refused and it got kind of tense. Also, we confirmed to be picked up from the pier upon arrival but no one showed up - normally not a problem as we'd just take the taxi boat, but it was 9pm and the boats weren't running due to high waves, so we had to run around to find a phone and pay to call Smile, and then wait for 2 hours for someone to arrive to get us after 30 hours of travel, which was not ideal. Others staying there had experienced the same. All of this is due to lack of communication between the people in Bangkok who do the booking and the people who live and work at Bottle Beach.

I would definitely recommend staying there but would not pay for any nights in advance again. There is always an open bungalow. Also, you will get a better rate if you do not book in advance. Make sure you bring the phone number of the front desk with you so you can call when they do not show up at the pier. You can't take a taxi there - it must be a 4WD vehicle. Better yet, call the front desk (not the Bangkok people who book by email) yourself the day before you arrive to confirm directly - or even better, arrive earlier in the day so you can take the taxi boat from Chaloklum which is much faster and a nicer way to arrive.

Worth the effort!!

Room Tip: The 2 story bungalows in the back get a nice breeze and are more private and quiet, if you don't...
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank ocellot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bromley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 January 2013

Left booking a resort on this island only a few days before we visited so there were only a few options, the others being in excess of £100 a night but we weren't disappointed with Smile bungalows. If we had our backpacks then it would have been more ideal as its a perfect place for couples or families wanting some chilled out isolation, but we were on a long honeymoon so came armed with large cases - not practical. San, the owner runs a lovely beach bar with the Thai style cushions, western music (think the cd never changed, but I think you can put on your own if everyone else doesn't mind), choice of books, some basic groceries to buy. Food par for the course, though I did fall in love with the Snickers milk shakes they served up! Not sure about the recent bad review regarding male staff as there were clearly female cleaning staff on San's team and the main lady that seemed ever present behind the bar/reception was very nice too. Electricity run off generators so operates after 6pm through to 10am. Room basic but nice for the price with veranda and downstairs shower room. No air con but positioned fan and mosi net.

Room Tip: Try not to arrive at Hat Rin port as we did (not our fault) as you'll then be restricted to an a...
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank matandclare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Deutschland
Level Contributor
69 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 October 2012

We stayed in a small fan bungalow (450 B per night). The bungalows lie in a beautiful garden up a small hill. Our bungalow had seaview and was mostly clean. It was small (especially the bathroom) and the wall in the bathroom a bit moody. There was a mosquito net and toilet paper in the room.
The whole place is kept very clean, in the morning you always see the people working in the garden collecting old leaves.
The food is delicious and the restaurant is right on the beach.
The owners are friendly and organise everything for you (f.ex. getting to the next bay with taxiboat).
Bottle Beach is the most beautiful beach we stayed on during our Thailand trip. Swimming is possible at the bay and the sand is white and fine. Perfect to relax and enjoy your time on Koh Phangan!

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Gecko1105
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 May 2012

This place is a gem! The price is right. The bungalows are simple but offer a private bathroom, quite sleep, and the most incredible view off your own private balcony. You are steps from the ocean and their restaurant is simple, yet affordable. The Smile shake was my boyfriend's and my favorite treat in Thailand, aside from the mango and pineapple of course! We even tried to remake it at home, but it couldn't even come close. The staff was super friendly and very helpful when we asked for advice on what to see and do across the island. They sat down with us and explained in English (which is hard to find most of the time in Thailand) where the best beaches and things to do were on a map as well as where to rent from people that wouldn't rip us off. This was my absolute favorite part of my 9 week stay in Thailand. I promised myself I'd be back to Smile and Koh Phangan as soon as I got the chance!

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank nicoleclund
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 January 2012

My GF has been in Bottle Beach 4 times and called it her happy place on earth. I've been there twice myself and we always stayed at Smile Bungalow. We sent them a mail telling them when we would arrive and they arranged a pick up for us at the boat. I really like Smile bungalows, they defenetly have a great staff. It's worth taking a big bungalow as they are much nicer. We had a double level one for our last stay and really enjoyed it, pretty cool view. Just be aware the electricity doesn't go all day. Something like from 6pm to 10am as I remember. They organize fires on the beach wich are cool. I recommend this place, get there and enjoy your stay.
It ended up being cheaper for us to book online (we used agoda for this one) than to pay at reception as they have deals with them.
I found the other accomodation on this beach much busier and not as quite wich is the main reason why we liked smile.
Have fun there people :)

Room Tip: Get some sunscreen and a big towel :) We did a bit of boat fishing in the gulf if you feel like bri...
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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank denis_yay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Smile Bungalow

Property: Smile Bungalow
Address: 74 / 9 Moo 7, Bottle Beach, Ko Pha Ngan 84280, Thailand
Region: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Pha Ngan
Hotel Style:
Ranked #60 of 354 Speciality Lodging in Ko Pha Ngan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Smile Bungalow 2.5*
Number of rooms: 14
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