Had to write a review after reading the negative feedback left by others - really felt that Monkey Island was getting a bad rap. Koh Mak is the kind of place many travellers plan to spend a day or to on, but wind up extending their stay. We were no different, and in the end passed up the chance to travel on to Koh Kood, prefering to stay in the perfect beach-side hostel we'd found.
First things first - Monkey Island is a hostel, not a hotel. If you're expecting to be waited on by sychophantic lackeys, have your room cleaned every day, then go to a five star place and pay five star prices. If you have realistic expectations of what a hostel does and does not provide, then you will be very, very impressed with Monkey Island.
We arrived at the pier on Koh Mak, having come from Koh Chang. We had not booked anywhere, so listening to some recommendations from a few folks from the local dive shops, chose to jump on the Monkey Island fun-bus (a very colourful open-top camper van). When we arrived, we requested the cheapest room, and although we were checking in after the traditional start of high-season (November), were offered a room with fan and shared bathroom for 350 baht. Having already looked at their website, we were expecting to pay 600, so that was a pleasant surprise.
Totally disagree with other reviewers who say that their rooms were dirty and open to the elements. We had stayed the previous two nights in a place at Bang Bao, Koh Chang. For 50 baht less that the price at Monkey Island, we got a rickety wooden shack, huge holes between the boards, a terrible bed and a mozzie net holier than the pope himself! Our accommodation at Monkey was fantastic in comparison - solid concrete, gauze guards over the windows, and a decent net covering a large, solid bed. Could not ask for more. If you wanted your bedding changed, bin emptying, clean towels, etc, then all you had to do was ask.
The monkey bar is quiet during the day, but drink and food are readily available at any time. In the evenings, and especially on Saturdays, the place comes alive. Mr Tea is the resident music-man, and after the cheap, tasty buffet dinner, he entertains guests with some great live music, both western and thai. Anyone is welcome to have a go, and playing a bit of guitar myself, I was dragged up to play a few songs most nights. It was a great atmosphere - really friendly.
There's a beautiful beach only a few footsteps away from your room or if you're not a fan of salt-water there's a small pool next to the bar (which for a hostel I thought was a fantastic added bonus). Koh Mak itself is a great little island. A decent amount of bars, restaurants and guesthouse eateries to give your evening exploits some variety, but not too many that it's over-run and over-populated. A definite problem with some of Thailands' other island resorts.
In short, if you're a budget traveller, with realistic expectations of hostel life, then Monkey Island will definitely impress.
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- Also Known As:
- Monkey Island Hotel Koh Mak