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“Total relaxation”

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Mai Pen Rai Bungalows
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Total relaxation”
Reviewed 1 December 2013

My bf and I came here after meeting some other travelers in Thailand that recommended it as budget accommodation with excellent food. We got a secluded room on the rocks and I was impressed by the superb view and nice design of the bungalows. Thai bungalows are traditionally very airy - so expect a few bugs. The bungalow we stayed in near the rocks had a excellent view of the ocean, a mosquito net, a balcony with hammock, and a very large bathroom. The only downside to the room was that the fan was a tad week, but the bed was raised up so that ocean breezes from the window hit us while sleeping making up for the lackluster fan. The shower hose was also a bit off and wouldn't stay in place properly.

The food though is what really makes this place top notch. You are far away from the main city since you are tucked away in a park on a very rough road, making the kitchen here one of the few places to eat. No worries though, they have something for everyone. Amazing curries, whole fried fish in tamarind sauce, fresh coconuts, and self-serve coffee available at all times... (instant though, I mean, this is Thailand still). The service is also superb. The ladies working here work super long hours but none the less are always ready with a smile. They also have a small store and you can buy mosquito coils (recommended), candles, and a lighter for reasonable prices. The decor is also artistic and lovely.

The best thing to do here is laze around all day long. You can also book a trip on their flagship boat Orion for a day trip to Ang Thong or take a hike up through the park. I'd say this place is best for those a bit more adventurous because the power will go off for a few hours each day due to national park regulations on the use of generators. I'd recommend bringing some flashlights or headlamps with you. Also, this small resort is very practical. For example, when you take the truck from the port to the resort, if the resort needs ice - they will just stop to get it and put it in the back of the truck with you. This kind of stuff may bother some people who expect a more "Western" experience, but I promise you, if you just go with the flow - you will have a positively superb time!

I can't wait until I can come back. Oh, on a final note, the crowds for the full moon party won't bother you here. For the party, there is a boat shuttle to the party beach for those that wish to go. But other than that, if you stay at the bungalows during the full moon, you won't even notice that it happened.

Room Tip: The beach side rooms are a bit more noisy due to the crowds on the beach during the day. I'd re...
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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3 Thank 699kathrynm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Cambridge
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 December 2013

There is no doubt that Mai Pen Rae is set in the most gorgeous surroundings, and the food at the restaurants is delicious, but don't expect to do any day trips once you are here...it is very remote and organising taxis was difficult. Great if all you want to do is lie on the beach, but not good for those who want to do activities, and it is expensive to get to the Full Moon Party. The bungalows were more 'rustic' than we were expecting, with electricity only on at certain times of the day, but once you get used to this it is pretty nice.
Service at the restaurant was rude and slow. Always half the group had finished their meal before the others even got theirs, although good service is hard to find in Thailand at these prices.
Value for money was good here, we were a group of students and found the food prices fair.
All in all, perfect for a secluded, relaxing, quiet beach break, but not for those who want to see and do a lot on the Island.

Room Tip: ask for a bungalow with a sea view to see the sunrise!
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank magicalmad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Level Contributor
78 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 November 2013

This has been one of the best if not THE best places we have ever been on vacation! We stayed for two weeks in the first bungalow on the rocks. The bungalow had an amazing sea-view and a couple of great hammocks along with a funky rock bathroom. The food at the resort was great and definitely try the Snicker shakes! They have a cool, relaxed vibe for anything you are in to, and it is a nice pace compared to Khao San road. We stayed two weeks, ate all of our food there and drank a decent amount as well, it was about 500$ in total, a pretty great deal! You may even see the local pig that wanders around the paths as well! The pad thai at the restaurant up on the mountain is the best of the three, and their Massaman curry is great, too! If you are around Mai Pen Rai for the weekend, go for the BBQ buffet that had whole barracuda, crab legs and loads of other great stuff on it!

Room Tip: The rooms on the rocks are a bit of a tricky walk at night! Bring a flashlight or stay on the beach...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Tyler S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Georgetown, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 October 2013

from the moment we travelled across the mountain road and arrived at Mai Pen Rai Bungalows - Fiona and the Staff treated us special. Our daughter and new son-in-law were married on the beach in front of our bungalows. The wedding feast was awesome and plentiful and the Staff couldn't have been more accommodating. The flowers to set off the wedding procession were perfect. The restaurant had everything you needed from breakfast to dinner and snacks. Fabulous place to join with friends for a wonderful wedding celebration.

Room Tip: Beach bungalows were great but even those that stayed in the rock/cliff area loved it.
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank JanMCQWIN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seoul, South Korea
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 October 2013

Stayed at Mai Pen Rai Bungalows (on the Rocks) in November 2012 for five days. I have a few things to say about the resort.

After reading some good reviews about this place, I choose to stay for five days expecting pure peace and relaxation. One thing that I didn't consider was the weather. It started raining from the day 1 - and didn't stop until the day I left (I kept stayed expecting the rain would stop eventually but didn't). Couldn't do anything. The picture perfect emerald sea that I imagined became murky muddy brown, the room became damp, the sheet smelly, my clothes (even those in the suitcase) became a wet sponge. Couldn't open the windows as the rain was pelting outside, so the room became even more unpleasant. At one point, the rain started to leak from the ceiling at which time, I understood the presence of an odd looking basket in my room (clearly not to be used as a rubbish bin). The water from the shower and sink became murky like rainwater...

Ill prepared at best, I didn't buy any food at Thongsala before heading into the resort and as going to the restaurant meant that I had to tread the rain ridden steep rock stairs (slippery as h*ll) before stepping onto the rain and seawater soaked beach and walk for 300 meters, I just stayed in the bungalow hungry. I eventually ventured out at lunch times, unbrella-ed and soarly unhappy, to the restuarant on the other side of the beach. They served good wholesome food... which was my only consolation at that time (prawn crackers, Thai curries, yum).

At night (being solo traveller), it became terrifying. As more rain came, the waves became angry and hit the rocks underneath the bungalow every 2 seconds with mighty force, sounded like a sonic boom. Couldn't sleep, terrified at imagining that the bungalow would give way to the wave any second (of course it wouldn't but terrifying nonetheless). The light in the room was dim, I couldn't read, so I counted the geckos staying with me on the ceiling or went onto the balcony and watched planes departing from Koh Samui, or counted the calamari fishing ships on the sea horizon, hoping they'd come and rescue me.

It could have turned out better, had the weather been good. The beach, when I saw it on the day I left, restored its emerald color, the room, for the first time in five days, wasn't damp and the view from the bungalow was perfect. The restaurant was good, and the staff was really kind and helpful. My suggestion? check the weather before you had out there, and bring some snacks just in case.

Room Tip: Bring food (snacks) and lantern. The lights for the whole resort go out at 12am after which you can...
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
4 Thank Raholme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nelspruit, South Africa
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 October 2013

This was our second stay at Mai Pen Rai. Was just as nice as 2 years ago. We had, thanks to Fiona, the same bungalow "on the rocks" as last time. Beautiful view from our balcony of the beach and the sea. They have some new beachside bungalows,which look very nice, but nothing can beat the view from the "rock" bungalows. Food is still excellent and cheap. Bungalows are basic, but very spacious. We sleep with the shutters wide open to get natural airconditioning from the seabreeze at night. Had 2 big ghekkos in the bathroom, catching mosquitos. Really excellent value for money!!

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank thailandfanbe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Munich, Germany
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 September 2013

After reading other reviews we knew more or less what to expect, We had a bungalow on the rocks for us and the three kids (4, 7, 11 years) with a stunning sea view, basic but nice, We brought torches for an easy return to our place after dinner in one of the 5 restaurants at the beach, all of them offering good food, we also liked the breakfast, the kids prefered Plea restaurant where they served croissants for breakfast... When there were to many boats coming from other ( I guess less nicer) beaches we escaped to the neighboring beach (5 minutes walk) in front of an abandomed resort, there was literally nobody but us and a few horses. We stayed 6 nights and had a calm, relaxing stay with lots of reading, playing, swimming, sunbathing, watching monitor lizards in the river and on the rocks and nice food. Would definetly recommend.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Ulrike_Muc
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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