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“3,5 but mostly because of the location and staff”

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Mai Pen Rai Bungalows
Certificate of Excellence
munich
Level Contributor
35 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“3,5 but mostly because of the location and staff”
Reviewed 18 October 2012

We stayed for almost a week with 4 friends at Mai Pen Rai.

LOCATION
The location is really beautiful, although not good for snorkelling as the water is quite mirky. The sand on the beach is quite rough but really clean. It is a 40 min taxi ride (200 Baht per person) from Thong Sala to get there and you are happy to survive it on the steap, bumpy roads and the dust.

ROOMS
We stayed at the bungalows on the rocks and our friends stayed on the river. They first tried to give every arriving person the bungalows furthest away from the beach and restaurant. You could clearly see they are not being used or serviced much The bedsheets were partly moldy, we had a bees nest in the room and the water in the toilet was brown. Summarized: they are not the nicest rooms of the resort.
To the person, who said the rooms are rustic and you just have to deal with that: rustic is ok, but ceartain things should be basic: no mold, running water, proper locks on doors and windows, lights and a general upkeep.

Our second bungalows were better but still lacked safety (tiny locks on doors and windows which could easily be broken with one push).

In the resort there is only elecricity from about 11am-1pm and 8pm-1am and this electricity is extremely unstable. DO NOT try to charge expensive electronis like smartphones, tablets, laptops etc. It will brake them. In our group an iPhone and a Mac Book got broken.
It is also hard to sleep without a fan in the hot nights (rooms do have fans, but as they also run on electricity they are useless).

RESTAURANT
The food here is good. Meal prices range from 80-250 Baht per dish, cocktail prices are 170 baht and a big chang was 80 or 90 I think. In our opinion it is slightly overpriced and the range of prices dont vary enough ( Pad Thai 90 Baht, Seafood Curry 110 Baht). Be careful when ordering a Bhang Lassi. Ask them first what it is.

STAFF
The receptionist was a little unfriendly to us for the first few days after I asked to change to a room without wasps (as I am allergic to wasp and bee stings) But all the other staff was extremely friendly, probabaly the friendliest on our whole 3 week trip. Give them a good tip, they deserve it!

We can recommend this place to anybody who loves a beautiful location and doesnt mind the lack of luxury.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with friends
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    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank paul c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (67)
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Deutschland
Level Contributor
83 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 October 2012

The bungalows are on the left side of the beautiful small bay Than Sadet, where the river goes into the sea.
We stayed in a fan bungalow (550 B per night). The bungalow was huge (compared to the other bungalows we stayed in during our trip) and had a two storeyed terrace with two hammocks and seaview. It was clean and there was a mosquito net (there also was toilet paper, towls and bedsheets in the room). We had to pass a small "bridge" over the creek to get to our bungalow, that was why it was very, very quiet at night.
Than Sadet beach is wonderful for swimming! Because there are only a few bungalows at the beach, it is very quiet at the bay. Perfect to relax! Also do a walk along the creek to the waterfalls, that was amazing.
The owners are young and shy, but help you when there's a problem. Food is good at the restaurant and there is a boat every day to get to the next bays or back to Haad Rin.
At Than Sadet there is hardly mobile reception and WIFI is not free and very expensive at Mae Pen Rai - so you have all the time to relax and enjoy your stay at this lovely place :)

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Gecko1105
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wellington, New Zealand
Level Contributor
423 reviews
138 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 205 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 September 2012

This is a special place, and we have visited now 3 times. The beach is very picturesque, in a cove at the bottom of hills, golden sand, turquoise waters, and huge boulders forming the points of the bay. We always get a bungalow on the boulders so you can sit on your deck and look out over the ocean watching the squid boats and the day trippers to visit the water falls. At night if you are lucky you get to see lightning way out over the ocean. . Its an all day swimming beach and even has some beachfront bungalows nestled into the trees. There are river bungalows as well, sitting over the river which is right next to the restaurant.
The bungalows themselves are very basic, wooden, shutters on the windows no glass, comfy bed, holey mosquito net (but never been bitten at night), fan, flushing toilet, cold shower, hammock on the deck, 2 chairs and table on the deck. If you are around on the boulders facing the ocean you will have to walk up and under some boulders to get to your room. We used to be able to get through with our packs on, but now being older we have to take them off to prevent injury! There are cracks in the floor boards, we always take our mosquito net and open a window and pin this over the window and the rooms get really hot at night as power is only on from 6pm to midnight (although that can be inconsistent sometimes as we had it at lunch time one day and to 4am in the morning).
We took a TA reviewers advice this time and for NZ$37 walk-in took the family room (No 17) right on top of the boulders that you walk under, this gave us 2 fans and more space so not so hot at night- you will always end up in some holiday photos sitting on the deck! The other 2 visits we never came across any animals but this time we saw pigs walking up the pathway, large monitor lizard and its baby under our bungalow, a snake and a spider in our room, and you could hear gheckos rustling around in our plastic bags at night. On our last night it rained, the river met the sea and the beach turned brown.
The restaurant is fabulous and has nice reasonably priced food. We love their thai style cashew nuts. We will always come back here for a few days when visiting Koh Phangan, its so relaxing and peaceful.

Room Tip: We love staying on the rocks and sitting on the deck looking out over the ocean
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank lynneandcarl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
54 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 September 2012

I loved this place. We stayed for 3 nights at the end of August and I could have stayed much longer!! We had a nice wee Bungalow on the Rocks with a great view of the Sea. The room was clean, airy, and it seems free of bugs too, which I was surprised about, seeing as the cabin is set back into the jungle a bit. It came with its own toilet and shower which was great and a nice mosquito net covering the bed too.

The bar was lovely, had a nice relaxed "Mai Pen Rai" feel to it!! ;) just chill and look out to the beach and forget about your worries. And just to add in there, the staff can take their time bringing you your drink orders so just be patient, you will eventually get them!! I saw a few people getting frustrated with the staff, but remember Thai people do not like to rush things!!

The beach was fantastic, a nice little private beach that didn't really get overly busy during out stay. There are cliffs to dive off into deep waters, snorkeling, boat trips, kayak rentals, plus much more!!

They have their own private taxi into the town centre which takes about 45 mins and is lots of fun, but I would advise to maybe try it once or twice or you'll be walking like John Wayne for the rest of your stay!! They also do a boat taxi to the pier too, this is just 5 mins walk into the town centre. And ther is also a taxi boat that goes directly to Koh Samui too for those who are taking flights!!

The place is very cheap to stay in and the food is excellent and drinks dirt cheap too. Transport is good. Be warned there are no ATM'S at the resort and they do not accept credit/debit cards so take money... but dont threat if you do run out as you can always nip into town!!

for those of you staying here for the full moon party, they have a boat taxi that leaves each hour from 7pm - 10pm and returns from 2.30 - 8am. cheap return tickets too!!

I can't recommend this place enough!!

Room Tip: I found the bungalos on the rocks were a little more private
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Daniel B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 September 2012

Mai Pen Rai exceeded all my expectations. Yes it's basic, but that is the whole point! If you want A/C, marble fittings, pool side service etc.. then there are plenty of very expensive 'resorts' on the islands which will meet all these needs - and they are largely identical to resorts all over the world! Mai Pen Rai captures the pre-development essence of the Gulf Islands. It massages the senses. You wake to the sound of the sea lapping gently against the sand and a sun rise which must be seen to be believed.. You cool down and go to sleep by opening the shutters and letting the sea breeze waft through your bungalow. You sit on your balcony in the evening and absorb the rhythmic sound of the rain forest which lies all around you. This little place is S. E. Asia at its very best. At $200 U.S. for 7 nights - it is beyond good value. Enjoy.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank JamesK595
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
133 reviews
67 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 169 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 August 2012

I spent several wonderful days during January 2012 enjoying my third visit to the glorious low impact, micro resort of "Mai Pen Rai", situated on idylic Than Sadet Beach, to the East side of Koh Phangan Island. The beach facing bungalows exude charm, are cosy within and my comfy bed encouraged sleep the moment my head hit the pillow. Hammocks hang enticingly outside each bungalow and the isolated bay has the sort of charm that those from the cold northern climes of Europe, dream of during our long winter months. "Mai Pen Rai" is owned by hard working Scot, Fiona Shaw of Tordarroch, and her charming Thai husband. They are always willing to help their guests in anyway possible and the constant stream of food coming out of their busy kitchen is mouth wateringly delicious and inexpensive to the budget traveller's purse. I thoroughly recomend a stay with Fiona Shaw at "Mai Pen Rai" and I cant wait to get back there next winter.
Best wishes to my fellow traveller's,
Andrew Bruce
Dumfriesshire
Scotland

Room Tip: "Mai Pen Rai" is VERY popular so book well in advance if you possibly can.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank andrewbruce
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
queenstown
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 August 2012

This quaint collection of hillside and beachfront huts are perfectly located in a gorgeous boulder fringed white sand beach.....

The huts themselves are basic, made of natural traditional materials. Sadly however they were made a good few years ago and very little if any attempt at maintenance has been made.

Rotting timbers, exposed nails heads, water leaks, and rusty fittings all point toward a couldn't care less attitude by the owners.

There are waterfalls a short walk away, once a favorite of the Thai kings, now however a collection point for months worth of plastic and glass bottles and accumulated rubbish.

Think twice before booking here, there are many other simple resorts on equally good beaches where it is obvious that a load more care and attention is shown by the owners... so reward them with your money and booking, and perhaps Mai Pen Rai will get the message and improve their act.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank rawene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mai Pen Rai Bungalows

Property: Mai Pen Rai Bungalows
Address: Than Sadet Beach, Ko Pha Ngan 84280, Thailand
Region: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Pha Ngan
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #46 of 362 Speciality Lodging in Ko Pha Ngan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2 star — Mai Pen Rai Bungalows 2*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Mai Pen Rai Bungalows, one of the oldest resorts on Koh Phangan - the place of pleasure for nature lovers and Artists. For an experience of the old Koh Phangan, this is the place to come away and forget all the stresses of the outside world. Mai Pen Rai is situated in a paradise infringed with swaying palms, and green turquoise waters. Here at Than Sadet the bungalows are built in harmony with the nature around with prices to suit travellers and back packers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mai Pen Rai Bungalows Hotel Koh Phangan

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