I have read previous reviews of this place and am really surprised at the positive comments. I can't imagine how anyone could find this place good value.
We arrived on Dec 2nd and took a motorbike taxi (70b) directly to the Bamboo. We did so because we had read positive comments on Trip Advisor, and also because a local friend of mine suggested it was a good place to start looking for accommodation seeing as it is situated right in the middle of Ao Yai Beach.
I was immediately impressed with the lovely gardens (I realized later that while lovely, you are paying for this in a big way). We were shown an original bamboo bungalow, located at the back of the property for 450B. Then shown the same original bamboo bungalow closer to the beach for 650 baht. 2 of these bungalows were directly on the beach but these were both taken. The bungalow we ended up taking was behind the beach front ones (650B).
I later discovered that nowhere on the website were these bungalows priced at 650Baht. The original bungalows are supposed to cost 450B. Quite frankly they were a serious rip-off at 650. No one showed us the 650Baht Shell Bungalows (which were situated right beside ours), which were fully enclosed (less chance of animals),larger, new and really quite nice. The shell bungalows also had an outside light and each one had a hammock hanging on the large porch. When I asked the manager the next morning about what the shell bungalows were like, she said, "same same". They were not same, same as our neighbours ended up showing us theirs.
We found out that evening that our room came equipped with one single very dim light bulb hanging inside, no light outside. No light in the washroom either. I realize some people love staying in simple bamboo huts but charging 650 Baht for this was ridiculous. In fact, in 6.5 years of living in Asia, I have never felt so ripped off with accommodation.
The staff were unfriendly and not helpful, they seemed irritated every time you asked them anything. And they displayed no customer service to anyone that we could see. When they couldn't get the modem to work, my husband (who works in the field) suggested something and the very unpleasant manager argued with him. In the end, she did what he suggested and fixed the problem. In addition they now change the internet password every day. You have to wait around at 6 pm for the manager to enter the password into your computer. She will not give you the password because she thinks you will give it to outsiders. This is no joke ! What kind of paranoid is this ?
I should mention the restaurant. Very few people were eating at the restaurant and after one look at the menu, I could see why. I can't speak to the quality of food, but their prices were double anywhere else. I met someone who had a tuna sandwich with chips and a drink for 250B! I pay 50-70Baht for a tuna sandwich.
We moved the next morning (check out was at 10 am, rather early compared to other places), to Coconut a few doors down, and got a nicer bungalow with 3 lights for 250 Baht ! Very friendly family running the place and a reasonably priced menu too.
I can understand how some Westerners who perhaps haven't spent anytime in Thailand or on any other islands might think the prices were good (compared to what they would pay back home) but this is Thailand and believe me, you can get a lot more for a lot less, from people who are happy to have you !
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