Baan Phu Lae is situated on the southernmost beach in Koh Lanta, before the marine park part of the island. It's a bit of a journey to get there - about 90 minutes from the ferry as I remember it. The last part of the island is bumpy dirt roads. But if you're looking for peace and quiet, it's definitely worth it. Unlike most of the other beaches on Lanta, there are no huge concrete resorts, german pizzarias and souvenir shops. Just a chilled atmosphere, a beautiful beach and three small bungalow resorts (all resorts have about 10-20 bungalows). There are plans of building a luxury resort on the beach, but when we talked to the owner of Baan Phu Lae, he said that the building had been postponed at least a couple of years, because of the financial crisis.
Baan Phu Lae consists of 5 beach front bungalows (all with beautiful ocean views) and 4 second row bungalows (most with decent ocean views). These bungalows have fans. There are also a couple of air con bungalows, but they are located on the other side of the small dirt row and with no ocean view, so I wouldn't go here for the air con bungalows.
We got a beach front bungalow (ask for beach front if you can get it). Concrete, bamboo and thatch bungalows. The room is not huge, but big enough for a bed and extra space to keep your stuff. I would quess about 12 square meters. The bathroom was simple, concrete floor, toilet, sink and shower all in one. Part of the bathroom roof is open, so fresh air all the time. We had a lizard living in our bathroom ceiling, leaving us little "presents" on the floor every morning :-)
Small veranda with a hammock and beautiful ocean view.
We found the staff friendly and helpful. The owner is a big guy called Pop who just likes to chill out and relax. The staff consisted of a couple of twentysomething guys and a couple of ladyboys, all were friendly and smiling.
The chef is a drama queen called Rosie, who did a drag show one of the nights we were there. Very entertaining. She tried to scam us of a little cash - so beware, don't lend her any money ;-) But hey, this is Thailand, some people will try and get a little extra, and I don't blame them. And she was friendly all along, so no uncomfortable situation. We ended up tipping her the same amount that she wanted to "borrow" (500 baht). We stayed on Lanta for 15 days and ate at several other restaurants and resorts. The food at Baan Phu Lae was the best, hands down.
Regarding the (2) bad reviews the place has gotten on this page: Of course there's going to be bugs, and a little dirt (sand from your feet get into your room etc.), in a place like this. A couple of mosqouitoes, a couple of spiders, the beforementioned lizard. That was about it regarding bugs. No big deal. If you want a fancy resort, go to a fancy resort. Regarding the staff, our experience was: We stayed next door to a canadian couple who did nothing but complain and scowl the whole time they were there (they should definitely have gone to a fancy resort). The staff wasn't paticularly keen on them, but helped them anyway (as they should - it's their job). If you just smile and act friendly, the staff will smile right back at you. They won't come and clean your bungalow automatically, but if you ask for it, they will do it right away - the same goes for changing sheets on the bed.
There are small motorcycles for rent in the place next door (you can rent through Baan Phu Lae for the same price and they will arrange for a motorcycle to be ready for you). If you can't drive a motorcycle (don't be put off, they are basically just scooters, you don't need a license), the transportation is limited to one car that goes to the ferry (center of city) in the morning, and one that picks you up in the evening (150 bht each way). So I would definitely recommend that you rent a scooter if you want to explore the island - we did so on several occasions.
The clientele consisted mainly of couples and/or friends in their 20's and 30's.
It should be mentioned that the beach right in front of the bungalows is not that swimmable, as there are rocks in the water, but if you just walk about a hundred meters down the beach, you have an amazing soft and sandy beach. This is definitely not something that should keep you away from Baan Phu Lae, just thought that I would mention it :-)
All in all, a perfect place to go if you're looking for a quiet, laid back place, with a beautiful beach and a charming staff that aren't just doing their job, but also take some time to talk to you and socialize
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.