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“A Lump in my throat Every time I think of this place!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mai Pen Rai Bungalows

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Mai Pen Rai Bungalows
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
18 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“A Lump in my throat Every time I think of this place!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 January 2010

Unusual title I suppose but very true, in a good way. Mai Pen Rai is located on an unspoiled beach cove on the east side of the island, far away from the craziness and development that one finds on the west side of Koh Phangan. This place was a true nature lover's paradise and if it is quiet and stilness and beauty and inspiration you seek, this is the place. If you need noise and lots of other tourists and shopping, you won't like it here. Time stands still here and I don't think I have ever had a similar feeling anywhere I have travelled in the world. The rooms are old Thai style bungalows but that doesn't mean run down- just simple. The family bungalows are big, with huge bathrooms, and are only a bit more money and are so worth it. Excellent balconies with perfect views of the water and the beach- and all the privacy one would want. We didn't really care for the food at their restaurant though, but that was perfectly ok, because at the top of a steep staircase is a place called Plaa's that had some of the best Thai food we ever ate, at very cheap prices- and the views from the top of this place were astounding, early in the morning for breakfast and later at night when it was so dark that all you could see out on the horizon were the lights of the fishing boats. Truly unforgettable and the four days we spent here were over way too soon and I really really hope we will get back to experience Mai Pen Rai Bungalows again someday...yep here is that lump in my throat again!

  • Stayed May 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank boneplay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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362 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Level Contributor
21 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2010

Want to get away from it all? Then head to Mai Pen Rai and stay in what is surely one of the most beautiful, out of the way, old fashioned backpacker bungalow 'resorts'.
This is one of the most characteristic places I've stayed in a long time, and it's impossible to find fault with the place. It's out of the way, so don't head there if you're planning on getting out and about all week, although if you do need to go exploring, book a taxi to the full moon party, or plan your onward journey, then Fiona, Katie, Steve and their team of locals will go out of their way to make sure your needs are attended to.

Great place, and to prove how much we loved staying there for new year, we're heading back in a couple of weeks.

  • Stayed May 2009
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Stevemac1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
norway
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 January 2010

Well i was looking at going to thailand alone the first time in jan08 and wanted to get to a place far a way from it all that bee work and the stress days in europe. I had been sitting in front of my pc for a long periode of time to find i place far away from bangkok and pattaya or the other place`s. And i had a frend up in chaklom and i cald him and said can you check a place for me mate? and yes he did cald me back and said where did you find this mate? pack your bag and go he said you will not be sorry, so i did and boy was i in for a big supprise! I was not preperd for what i got really i was not the taxi ride from thong sala was fun like home on bad roads in norway hehe and only 150 baath, 300 bath if you need private pick up. Came to this beach and said to my self YES THIS IS IT...... Stunning place the bay with a child beach like some what of a king kong beach if you come by sea way, I stay at the rocks first time a bit far away but oh so nice and chilld and every bungalow is diffrent by design inside and some what out side. The owners are so great and warm they are and so goes for the rest of the pepole that live and work there you can not give Mr Teep or Mrs Fiona enough credit of how this place is run and chilld and so down to earth that this place stays in your hart and you wanna go back and i did :-) so in jan 2009 and then for a longer stay about 6 week`s and yes going back again this winter also. The resturang is very good chilld out nice music great staff and you will always meet someone to have a drink with share a meal and talk long in to the night as well the staff of mpr are so cool and nice Nok and Baow are to pepole that really make you fell so welcome and the guy that sells hand made craft`s is to such an nice cool man Porn long good talks i had with him. And for the area around thansadeth well where should i start ok the royal stream many place to take a good book and bee gone and chill in nature and yous`t bee, the other beach of thong reng is time glass sand littel but oh so nice pic`s can not justyfy that place, Take a boat trip with Teep`s boat the orion to ang thong marine park you all will not regret that done it twice hehe. And do rent a good bike no less than a 250 lady biks are no go the roads are bad some place`s or rent a pick up this island has much to offer and this island is not yous`t the party place that you read in the news not at all. So if you look for a place far away and a place that will stick to you and you will remeber a long time if not your whole life this is it not many place`s like this no more so take the trip to this Beautiful place in paradise and you will never ever regret it by far! Thank you Mai Pen Rai for every thing you gave back to me in memorys and good time i hade at your place... Thomas.

  • Stayed January 2009, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank thedriver133
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Arlington, VA
Level Contributor
41 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 November 2009

First, you should understand that these are fairly primitive beach accommodations on a tropical island - so the typical measures of cleanliness and room quality do not really apply. That being said, this place was fantastic!

I stayed at Mai Pen Rai in May with my wife. We wanted to have a low-key island experience after a few hectic days in Bangkok. We stayed in a room on the rocks. The view was breathtaking. The beach was fairly empty, which was nice. It was a great place to relax.

The restaurant has the best green curry we have ever tasted. And their traditional thai breakfast soup was delicious. So were the coconut shakes. Every meal we had there was excellent and very cheap. If we could've taken the chef home with us we would!

Should you want more excitement, they have a few waterfalls a short walk away, and a 4x4 for rent. I recommend them both. Driving on the dirt roads and through the island is a cool experience.

Some of the typical island issues are the limited hours for electricity, old/rustic shack materials, and the occasional wildlife roaming in the room. But hey, you're in paradise living on the beach, so relax and enjoy!

  • Stayed May 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank ivebnevrywhereman78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sevenoaks, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
45 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 October 2009

Spent 4 nights at MPR in the middle of a 2 week tour of Thailand and there were tears in our eyes on departure but I'd not regard it as the perfect place that some say.

I think biggest problem is that the place has become a victim of its own success ! - thers probably about 50 bungalows altogether and so there's no intimacy, and at times the staff struggled to cope.

That said, its a wonderful wonderful place, perfect for chilling on the beach and watching the world go by, but if we returned to the area we'd stay at the bungalows that have just been built just over the footbridge - there's a much nicer beach there and the whole atmosphere is how I'd imagine MPR was 5 years ago.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Dave_Lob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wellington, New Zealand
Level Contributor
422 reviews
138 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 202 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 October 2009

Our second visit to these bungalows and they didn"t dissapoint. Delightful beach location with an out of the way vibe helped by the transport to and from by way of local ferry and exciting songthaew ride over the so called road. We had a bungalow on the rocks which is basic but with an excellent bathroom built into the rocks and magical sea views from the deck. The restaurant on the beach serves excellent thai dishes at great prices. The beach offers excellent swimming both at low and high tides unlike the other side of the Island.. Overall for 400Bht a night this place is fantastic value for money if you are looking for a place to relax swim, read and eat.

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank lynneandcarl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
82 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 September 2009

If you are looking for a laid back and easy going atmosphere this is the place to be.
Mai pen rai bungalows are accessible by a 40 min drive from Thongsala or by the sea with a longtail boat, you really need a 4 wheels drive jeep because the road in the middle of the jungle is very bumpy. (I really don't suggest you rent a scooter because it could be really dangerous for the road condition and for the approaching big suv's, since in some curves you really don't see if there is another vehicle approaching)
There is the resort pick-up from Thongsala everyday at 1pm at 150bath one way, taxi rate is around 800bath and you can get a jeep rented for 700/1000bath a day.
For the first nights we had a family bungalow that was located on a small hill facing the beach.
The wooden bungalow had 1 double bed and on the upper floor two single beds, there is a fan in every floor, mosquitos nets over the beds, a really cool bathroom made with real rocks, a private terrace with one hammock and a table with chair with a wonderfull view over the beach and the sea.
Prepare to be a bit on the wild side, since bungalows don't have hot water (but it's really not such a big issue, it's really hot outside), there is a power cut from 1am to 11am (and as for the cold water, it's not an issue, going around at night with a torch makes the place even more special) As the place is near the jungle there are some insects, but no problem at all. just the flies while you were eating were annoying. For mosquitos just get a lotion and no problem.
For some nights I moved to a bungalow on the rocks, same layout of the family bungalow but it was just one floor and for 2 people and it was facing the sea directly (location is a bit far from the beach compared with the bungalows on the hill and those direct on the beach, but just a 5 min walk) the view is amazing and so realaxing when you lie on the hammock with the sound of the water crashing on the rocks.
The mai pen rai has a restaurant where you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner (the spicy papaya salad and the mai pen rai curry are delicious).
other restaurants available are from the other bungalow resorts nearby, two restaurants on the hill top with a great view and 2 on the beach (one is the mai pen rai) and another next to the mai pen rai.
At night there is not much to do, but sometimes there is a dj playing live music and the atmosphere is so laid back, very nice; a tv with satellite programs and dvd is also available for guests.
There are also some excursions available, we took a daytrip to Ang Tong National Park and it was nice.
A wi-fi connection is available (obviOusly WHEN power is on) and there are also some pc'S available for those without one) it's not free.
On the beach you can also rent kayaks at 100bath-hour
I really don't reccomend this place for people looking to be pampered or a fancy place neither for older people with moving problems then the way to the bungalows is not so easy, being over the rocks. (just the beach bungalows are easy accessible).
as read on a previous review I really don't find that some of the people working there are not in the mood to do it. LING (if i can remember the right name) looked maybe at first time rude but she was so funny and all the other stuff are nice and corteus.
For the price you pay and for the atmosphere this is the place to be, MAI PEN RAI!!!!

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank roadster76
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 #47 of 353 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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