While some of the bungalows could stand to be fixed up a little,* overall this is an attractive place, and you get a sense that it’s loved and that its owners want to take good care of it. The grounds surrounding the bungalows stand out as being especially pretty. You can’t help but be fond of the dwarf chickens that wander around the garden at their leisure, and enjoy the hammocks facing the dock. The greatest asset to this place, however, are the people it draws, and its communal setup, which makes it easy, if not inevitable, for even the shiest of guests to strike up a conversation with other fellow travelers. I will cherish the ones I took part in while there, with fascinating people from all over the world. Under different circumstances, then, I would have gladly rated this resort four stars out of five, instead of the three I ended up giving it.
What displeased me, and determined my final assessment, was the staff’s reluctance to divulge the rates of the additional services provided on site prior to our arrival. In a place so secluded and distant from everything (including ATMs), you really need to be willing to invest a little money in the activities on offer, unless you are looking to do absolutely nothing for the entire duration of your stay. I had a feeling this would be the case and requested information on what was offered and on how much it would cost via email, on more than one occasion, so that I’d have enough cash at my disposal. My questions to this effect were simply ignored. As others have pointed out in their reviews, some of the recommended activities—and indeed even the evening meals, which it would be hard to avoid for lack of readily accessible alternatives—come with price tags bigger than you would perhaps expect.** So why not be more forthcoming?
All in all, it was a fun experience and we were able to see and do enough—though not everything we would have liked to—with the money we had brought along. Nevertheless, I think prices should either be stated on the resort’s website or provided to those who request them, given how secluded the place is. The irony of it is that we would have spent more, and hence the resort would have profited more, had we simply been forewarned of the cost of things.
So while I would recommend Bananas Bungalows to a friend, I would also advise him/her to bring along plenty of pocket money.
*In our stone bungalow, the bottom sheet had several holes in them, and the A/C unit was so loud it was hard to sleep with it on during the night. At 1400-baht/night, that seems a little substandard.
** As an example, the four-island tour, which we enjoyed a lot, costs 2000 baht, regardless of how many people take part in it (but that’s not including the required 200 baht/person entrance fee to the park). The evening meal costs 150 baht. A can of beer costs 50 baht. For instant coffee we were charged a steep 45 baht. It adds up quickly.