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“All that you could ever want” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Dolphin Bungalows

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Dolphin Bungalows
2.5 of 5 Ranch   |   Thong Nai Pan Yai, Ko Phangan, Thailand   |  
Hotel amenities
Paris, Ile-de-France, France
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“All that you could ever want”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2012

Before going to Thailand I'd read myself stupid on Tripadvisor trying as best I could to ensure that paradise would be as heavenly as possible. The problem is obviously that paradise is a subjective idea, and so this review speaks for two young men of 26 and 36 who aren't particularly bothered by insects or by the dark. I'd read a lot of reviews of resorts on the islands of Thailand that bemoan the proximity of 'jungle', the presence of insects, of low lighting at night (in the jungle), etc etc etc. These reviews seem terribly ill judged; let me begin by affirming that at Dolphin Bungalows you are in the jungle, which is to say that your bungalow will be surrounded by trees and plants and protected from the sun and the rain by the forest canopy, connected to the rest of the resort not by concrete walkways, but by the natural floor covering of sand and grasses (so nice!). This means also that you are in the company (you are the guests) of the various creatures that live in this environment, the lizards, ants, flying insects, semi-wild dogs. Some of which may enter your room at some point during your stay (not the dogs, but they may sleep outside and make noises at night). And at night, yes, its dark, but then, we can hardly expect flood lighting in the jungle on a small tropical island in the gulf of Thailand can we? This is what you get.

All of that said, Dolphin Bungalows is almost shamefully comfortable. It looks and feels authentic, like an island settlement, nestled amidst the trees just beyond the beach. There is no concrete, sandy paths connect the bungalows and the bar/reception. Outside each bungalow is a little water container so that you can rinse your feet before you retire. Gentle lighting is hidden amongst the vegetation, I had the impression that this was to avoid interfering too much with the natural habitat, but it also created a wonderfully dreamy atmosphere too, when swinging on one's personal hammock on the bungalow porch before bed. And the room was comfortable, the bathroom was big, it was clean, we had everything we needed.

At the bar there is wifi and a seriously great menu. If you order the thai beef salad make sure you ask for less chilli, unless you are a fan, because it was seriously hot. I felt terribly western dashing for the toilet before I was even half way through. The breakfast is comprehensive and it is thoughtful. It isn't just a series of western dishes warmed up, there are interpretations. Everything is though about. Cocktails aren't half bad either. And the ambience is so nice. It made me think about the lounge/trip hop era of the late nineties. I seemed to have found the source of all that posturing. But I couldn't tell if this was based on that, or vice versa. There were certainly several chilled ibiza style playlists in the air, and the oriental decor wasn't exclusively thai nor authentic. But it all worked. The various tables, seating areas were all raised off the ground, they encouraged you to remove your shoes, running water was audible around you... The cliché brought to its logical conclusion but in an environment where it can't fail to seem natural. I can be a culture snob of the worst proportions, but I was totally happy, stretched out on the floor with a coconut shake by my side, afloat a haze of cicadas and, i don't know, nightmares on wax or Talvin Singh, glimpsing the play of fire on the beach beyond the trees..

We were here for the full moon. For those who are interested, the taxi to and from the full moon is fine, it isn't long. But the routes vary, and you may be lucky or you may be unlucky, it might be smooth or it might be hellish. On the way back from the full moon, if you're of a delicate constitution, you might get a bit queasy. But its worth it to be able to chill out in the luxury and calm of thong nai pan yai, as opposed to the filth and rancour of haad rin. to each their own though.

There were quite a lot of boats (the traditional pretty kind don't worry) moored on Dolphin's side of the beach. So when swimming we tended to walk up the beach a little way, or often to the other side near Candle Hut /White Wind. Not a problem for us, but something to bare in mind for someone who wants the minimum of transition between bed and beach. Oh and there is no swimming pool. Which was one of my favourite things about the place.

Thong Nai Pan Yai is what it is all about. It is quiet, oh so quiet. Yet there are myriad places to drink, eat, and the Pharmacy Bar a little down the beach from Dolphin can sort you out for something to smoke if you are that way inclined. Just be sensible and don't make too much noise about it. In the little village on the road behind the beach there were young Thai guys openly smoking outside a tattoo parlour all night one evening. The place is eminently chilled.

At the end of the beach there's this big traditional house built into the cliff. Its a massage parlour/restaurant called White Wind, with a high end feel (but still completely affordable for those wielding western currencies). Book yourself a massage here, it was seriously the best we had. Best i'll ever have I'm sure. The food is nice too. Not special, but nice. It is raised a little way off the beach, so you dine overlooking the bay which is nice. However, the place is next to Candle Hut Resort, one of the most commercial on the beach, which is noisy and panders to the kinds of holiday makers that really ought to stay in the Costa del Sol, producing the occasional whiff of sewage/stagnant water to boot too. The only negative on the whole beach.

And did i mention how beautiful this bay is?

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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74 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    38
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Eden, Australia
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2012

We were told that the restaurant at Dolphin Bungalows had the best breakfast on Koh Pangan. Quite frankly, it was the best breakfast we have had anywhere in Thailand for a while!

The Morning Glory Hash Browns were so good, I had them both mornings that we ate there. We also enjoyed the beautiful wholemeal bread that came with some of the dishes. The eggs were rich and tasty and the coffee was good. Top that off with comfortable cushions and a terrific view, and you have a great start to the day.

We were staying at the other end of Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach, but it was well worth the walk!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Paris, France
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2012

5 of us stayed at Dolphins in May, at first we wanted to stay in Ko Ma but it was fully booked at the time. So we changed beach and thought Thong Nai Pan might be a good compromise - which it was! it's a long beach that has a great choice of places to eat and drink, and yet is still pretty quiet. Great location if you want to be away from the full moon party, but still be able to go out for a drink (+ they will organise taxis to the Full Moon party). The bungalows are very nice, we got the cheapest one for 2 of us, and a family room for the other 3, both were great. Each have a hammock outside the door and outdoor furniture. It's a short walk down beautiful gardens to the beach (the very pretty and cosy restaurant is the part of the resort that's directly on the beach, the rooms are right behind). Staff were very friendly, and Kim was very helpful and reactive with emails before we arrived. We had come to stay for 2 nights initially, but stayed 4 (and in the end we took a day trip to Ko Ma and realised that although it is amazingly beautiful, we would have probably been a bit bored there).

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2012

We stayed at Dolphin Bungalows on the last days of our Thailand trip. Perfect way to end a vacation. The Dolphin has different categories of bungalows in a beautiful jungle-like garden with lots of exotic plants. We decided for a luxurious A/C bungalow which is maybe a little overpriced. The spacy bungalow was beautifully decorated with a very comfortable bed, a feather comforter and we enjoyed the front terrace with a bamboo hammock.

One of the biggest plus of the place is the beautiful bar/restaurant, facing the beach with big chill out gazebos and sitting areas. The staff was very friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2012

Travelling with 3 other friends we spent a week at Dolphin Bungalows with a few days either side of the Full Moon Party. Beautiful bay to unwind and relax. So happy with accomodation and service. Ate a lot of our meals here (Some of the best food of our travels so far) and Dolphin makes it very easy by allowing you to put it on the account (including a tour and transport to full moon party) and pay at the end of our stay. Excellent value for money. We will definitely be back

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shanghai, China
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2011

This place does everything right: though few (if any) of the bungalows have a direct ocean view, the sound of water can be heard everywhere thanks to the koi-filled fountains around every bend of this very green, very friendly property. Prices are reasonable (we paid 800baht for a bungalow with hot-water; 600baht with cold). Restaurant serves mainly western food, but there is a fantastic Thai resto next door (also with reasonable prices).

Room Tip: Book for the duration of your stay- we didnt and were shut out due to high demand.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Central, New Zealand
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2011

Thank you so much Giet and Kim for your wonderful hospitality , you have made my stay in Thailand so much easier, it is difficult when I cannot speak Thai, and you looked after all my arrangements for me and made my stay on Koh Phangan remeberable.
I look forward to staying in your tranquil gardens that the bangalows are nestled amongst again and eat your great food.
Mem

Room Tip: Quiet Oasis, email Kim she is English speaking, kimgiet@hotmail.com
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dolphin Bungalows

Address: Thong Nai Pan Yai, Ko Phangan, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Phangan
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #66 of 226 Specialty Lodging in Ko Phangan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Dolphin Bungalows 2.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
To all our friends the new Dolphin Bar % Cafe is soon to be launched at its new location in Thong Nai Pan Yai.Find us in the heart of the village close to Thai Terrace Bungalows..Another creative space for travellers and friends to enjoy. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dolphin Bungalows Hotel Koh Phangan

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