The location is one of the most beautiful in the world - & the staff at BB1 make this one of the most enjoyable places to stay. We've been for 4 years in a row & love the whole experience. Great diving with Paul too
- Free Wifi
- Free Parking
After having my bungalow invaded by rabid monkeys in Khao Sok (see my review of Art's Riverview Lodge), I wanted a place to relax, unwind and start to enjoy my vacation again. Luckily, during the one 30 minute period in Khao Sok where there was power I had been able to scribble down BB1's phone number. I gave them a ring from the bus on my way to Surat Thani, and booked a beachfront bungalow (fan, cold water only) for 450 THB a night and car/boat pickup for 300 THB. It turned out to be the most relaxing part of my 2 month vacation in SE Asia.
GETTING THERE: There are technically 3 ways to get to BB:
1. 2+ hour hike from Chaklokum along a route marked by empty water bottles. NOT RECOMMENDED, since route markers are missing along some stretches of the path and it is easy to get lost if you don't have an experienced guide with you. There are thorny plants, so I ripped part of my shirt and got 5 cuts in my left leg, and TONS of mosquitos - I literally got 60+ mosquito bites when one morning I decided I want to try it out, and set off with a big bottle of water and very small knapsack. I followed the path for 1.5 hours before the route markers all of a sudden disappeared - I doubled back twice to make sure I was going on the right path but I think the markers had been washed away by the river in wet season and now there was nothing to tell me where to go in dry season. Since my phone didn't work (I had AIS but somehow the call didn't go through), I just did my best to forge a path for myself down to the nearest beach, where I had the luck of being able to wave down a nearby boat making its way to BB that came and picked me up (I wrapped my sarong around a stick and waved it around crazily).
2. 30+ minute trip off-roading in a 4-wheel drive pickup truck from BB1. Not highly recommended, since the "road" is extremely bumpy (tons of potholes) and narrow at points - not for the faint of heart at all. However, this is sometimes the only option when the weather on the sea makes the boat option not feasible
3. 30 minute ride by long-tail boat from Chaklokum town - by far the best option, costs 100 THB one way, very picturesque. However, only available when there is good weather
I paid 300 THB for both my transfers in and out of BB1, though I think the going rate is around 200 THB (even at BB1, or that's what the car driver who picked me up from the port implied). However, I was fine with paying 300 THB because 1) both times were really inconvenient (6AM in the morning and then 9PM at night - in both instances because I was taking the night ferry to/from Surat Thani) and 2) I doubt I could've negotiated anything better on my own (a taxi driver quoted me 150 THB just to Chaklokum when I first stepped off the night ferry) and it was very inconvenient.
Note that they first quoted me 500 THB (!!!) for the transfer out at 9PM since it was late, nobody else was going, and was not a regularly planned trip but I was able to negotiate it down to 300. So definitely negotiate with BB1!!!
ROOM: I had Garden room 3 on the beach, a simple, fan-only, cold shower bungalow with a flush toilet. The fan was right over the double bed, which had a nice big mosquito net. There was a sink, plenty of plastic bags and a clothesline out front for doing your own laundry. I paid 450 THB a night - I think the regular price is supposed to be 600 THB (which is way too high!) - because it was low season and I stayed 4 nights. 450 THB is probably still higher than a similar place down at BB3, but I was happy with my room and didn't really want to move. I didn't notice any cockroaches in my room, and the main bugs I saw were mosquitos and these tiny bugs that flocked to my iPad at night when I read. Generally quite clean and reasonable.
ACTIVITIES: The best thing to do here is to relax on the beach - read, sleep, tan, whatever. They have a pretty nice lending library, including the Alchemist and Balzac and the little Chinese seamstress. They have fantastic wood beach chairs as well as plastic lawn chairs - on my last night I dragged a lawn chair into the edge of the water and read while sitting down with my feet in the surf, it was wonderful. I slept 10+ hours every day and read 2-3 books a day.
They also have snorkeling (includes gear, boat ride, and water and 1-2 stops to snorkel) for 500 THB, massages for around 250 THB at a nice, dedicated hut at the edge of the ocean (I got 2 aloe vera massages while here, which were not as strong as I would've liked but still incredibly relaxing - I feel asleep both times), canoe rentals for 100 THB, a trip to the Ao Kang Marine Park for 1800 THB (whole day trip including snorkel gear, food, as well as canoeing), and a pool. OK Internet available for 100 THB an hour (was able to Skype so the connection was fine), and boat rides to Chaklokum every afternoon for 100 THB each way.
I brought my own snorkel gear but half of BB is very rocky and there generally isn't much marine life to see other than sea cucumbers.
FOOD: Pretty good - the fruit drinks (around 30-40THB) and cocktails (80-100 THB) were only OK and they couldn't get me any fresh coconuts the whole time I was there! But the seafood curries were delicious (though sometimes they didn't have shrimp or squid, etc.; around 70-100 THB) and one day they had fresh kingfish that the owner had just caught earlier that day (150 THB?).
Staff were really friendly and helpful, though not always the best informed (one waiter informed me that the kingfish was all gone, the next confirmed that this was NOT the case, etc.).
ADDITIONAL TIPS: YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST BRING 50%+ DDT MOSQUITO REPELLENT. I had 20% DDT spray that I brought from the US (OFF brand, the same brand that BB1 sells in their store coincidentally) but it was TOTALLY USELESS. I literally got 80+ mosquito bites all over, especially on my feet and left thigh. It was so disgusting that when I showed the lady at reception she was actually shocked and just gave me a bottle of calamine lotion to use. Another traveler then told me that you must have 50%+ DDT repellent otherwise it doesn't work - so I went to the pharmacy at Chaklokum town (across from the 7-11) and bought 95% DDT which was THE ONLY THING THAT WORKED and helped ensure I had only 3 mosquito bites the rest of the time I was on BB.
Also, beware of the wild rabid dogs that are sometimes on the beach! One of the resort owners has a domesticated dog but some are wild, rabid and WILL BITE! One of the guests at BB3 got bitten by one and had to be flown to the nearest hospital! They are extremely loud, had a huge litter when I was there and sometimes would fight and bark very loudly at night. One night one of them ran toward me and I ran into my bungalow just in time.
All in all, this was the most relaxing part of my vacation - and whenever I need a mental break now, I always think of BB.
Bottle beach is one of the if not the most amazing beach I have ever been to in my life. It is totally secluded, you can only get there by boat or by one hell of a ride through the jungle. Before staying anywhere on this beach, you have to know and remember that you are staying in the jungle, literally. The resort was really nice, the staff were friendly and funny. YOYO, one of the servers will remember your name and call you by your name every time he see's you. The rooms are right on the beach, which is very nice. We stayed here for three nights, and during those three nights, we had one cockroach in our room and a spider the size of a baseball, which scared the living day lights out of me! But like I said earlier, you are staying in the jungle so expect anything. The beds are covered by a mosquito net, so I felt very comfortable sleeping. There are only 4 resorts on the beach, so your food options are limited. We ate at our resort and at Smile (next door) for the most part. The food was pretty good. Bottle Beach 1 offers a seafood BBQ one night a week and it is the best seafood BBQ that I have ever had.
When I return to Thailand, I will most definitely be returning to Bottle beach and Bottle beach resort 1!
Taking a boat here was definitely exciting. We had the most basic room and I wondered if any of the others were better. Particularly the amount of bugs in the room and cockroach hiding behind my backpack. That said, the mosquito net ensured I didn't have any trouble sleeping. As for the beach, I sort of felt like Robinson Crusoe. It is definitely private and relaxing. The resort is very nice, including restaurant and pool area. The food was great, particularly the seafood BBQ. But don't go there, because I want it preserved for when I can go back!
Really really really frustrating trying to book. No response from emails etc. Eventually got it sorted by someone from TA kindly helping! If you want to come here and are booking other places round it work on this first! Changing dates can knock it all back too which is what we did.
Best beach on the island. We were here a few years ago and expected the place to be busier as Samui gets busier, but were really pleased that if anything it was quieter. We remember boat trips in the day but didn’t really see any of those either. We met another couple who said the same, that it was quieter than a couple of years ago. The world economy has really hit Thailand tourism.
In Smile next door they caught a cobra in the kitchen! Remember you are in the jungle!
The room is cleaned every 2 days. In our room there was a hole above the shower with ants but wasn’t really a problem.
Washing on Samui is cheaper! 70BHT at BB. Check your washing, I should have done. When we had moved and it was too late I realised that a pair of shorts was missing.
One of the nights everyone was disturbed by the noise of music from Smile, but I don’t think this is common. I think it very odd that a place that is clearly sold on its peacefulness and family friendly has a resort that wants to play loud music all night! Yes of course young people are there too, but there are other places on the island for noise!
No limit on breakfast time which there is on other places so that was good for late get ups!
Saw someone have prawn crackers and had to have some! They are fab, the best we had in Thailand as is the prawn tempura. Had them every day!
People have said service was slow. We didn’t find this. Most places on Thailand are slow but no worse here certainly. Occasionally got the order wrong , the slim guy is better than the larger guy with English so it’s easier.
Very hard beds, very!
Continental breakfast included.
The addition of the pool is a really good one. Clean and very relaxed.
3% charge on credit card payments when at resort.
A lovely stay.
I have been to Bottle Beach a number of times and really like it. I like the fact that the bungalows are directly on the beach and that the beach is a good one where you can easily swim (which is not the case on all the beaches in Koh PhaNgan).
The bungalows however are starting to show their age and will probably need to be re-furbished in the near future. It was particularly warm when I was there (Thailand was having its hottest period for years) and so the fan in the room was really struggling. A number of people moved from the bungalows when I was there to some of the rooms in this or the neighbouring resorts that had air-con. I stayed there but got them to swap the fan for a better one, which was ok but still not great.
However I came for the location not the room!
They have changed the menu in Bottle Beach 1 since the last time I was there and the new menu is probably the least extensive of the 4 restaurants in Bottle Beach.