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Smile Bungalow
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Reviews (109)
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Reviewed January 26, 2013

For those wanting a quiet, secluded spot and a wonderful beach, this is it.
Cons:
- hard to get to, you may pay more to get there than a night at the bungalow! I spent 200 baht on a taxi from the pier and another 150 for the boat.
- main reception guy greeted me with blatant mocking, rude tone, and generally unhelpful with my check in (I had booked and paid in advance on pagoda and he acted like he had no idea how this works). He gave me a bad taste in my mouth, made me feel awkward, hard to explain. He didn't treat my boyfriend this way.
- food in Resto sub par and overpriced. We went down the beach to bottle beach resort 2 for cheaper eats with bigger portions and better flavor.
- no internet or ATM.come with all the money you need

Pros:
- female staff very friendly, but often cooking or cleaning so you won't deal with them much
- bungalows are super cute and homey!
- beautiful beach location

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Julia B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2013

This was my second trip to Bottle Beach but my first staying at Smile (stayed last time at Bottle Beach 2, which has more budget bungalows). The 2-story bungalow set up the hill was perfectly fine - quiet, nice view, nice bathroom, wood floors. The beach itself is so lovely and perfect for swimming with soft sand and clear blue water. Food is decent and in some cases really good. We saw monkeys, large geckos, and an amazing huge spotted jellyfish. The hike up the lookout point is worth the effort. You will get a stunning view of the island and a nice breeze. If you need new towels or toilet paper, just ask. The scene there was a little older than in years past. I'd say the average age was about 30 for guests at Smile and there were many people with young children at Bottle Beach 1.

Smile is currently quite understaffed, so the guy who is there has to pretty much do everything himself. Communication was challenging when we settled out bill after staying for a week. We had prepaid for 2 nights by Western Union, and I had the receipt, and it seemed like everything was settled but as we were leaving to catch the taxi boat we were told we had to pay for the 2 nights that had already been paid - we refused and it got kind of tense. Also, we confirmed to be picked up from the pier upon arrival but no one showed up - normally not a problem as we'd just take the taxi boat, but it was 9pm and the boats weren't running due to high waves, so we had to run around to find a phone and pay to call Smile, and then wait for 2 hours for someone to arrive to get us after 30 hours of travel, which was not ideal. Others staying there had experienced the same. All of this is due to lack of communication between the people in Bangkok who do the booking and the people who live and work at Bottle Beach.

I would definitely recommend staying there but would not pay for any nights in advance again. There is always an open bungalow. Also, you will get a better rate if you do not book in advance. Make sure you bring the phone number of the front desk with you so you can call when they do not show up at the pier. You can't take a taxi there - it must be a 4WD vehicle. Better yet, call the front desk (not the Bangkok people who book by email) yourself the day before you arrive to confirm directly - or even better, arrive earlier in the day so you can take the taxi boat from Chaloklum which is much faster and a nicer way to arrive.

Worth the effort!!

Room Tip: The 2 story bungalows in the back get a nice breeze and are more private and quiet, if you don't mind the steep climb down to the bathroom.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ocellot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2013

Left booking a resort on this island only a few days before we visited so there were only a few options, the others being in excess of £100 a night but we weren't disappointed with Smile bungalows. If we had our backpacks then it would have been more ideal as its a perfect place for couples or families wanting some chilled out isolation, but we were on a long honeymoon so came armed with large cases - not practical. San, the owner runs a lovely beach bar with the Thai style cushions, western music (think the cd never changed, but I think you can put on your own if everyone else doesn't mind), choice of books, some basic groceries to buy. Food par for the course, though I did fall in love with the Snickers milk shakes they served up! Not sure about the recent bad review regarding male staff as there were clearly female cleaning staff on San's team and the main lady that seemed ever present behind the bar/reception was very nice too. Electricity run off generators so operates after 6pm through to 10am. Room basic but nice for the price with veranda and downstairs shower room. No air con but positioned fan and mosi net.

Room Tip: Try not to arrive at Hat Rin port as we did (not our fault) as you'll then be restricted to an air-con taxi up to Ban Chaloklam and then a long tail boat to get to the beach. Great to do the boat but we had cases and the water can get choppy in the afternoon too. Should be able to get a 4x4 songtheaw or maybe resort transfer from Thon Sala pier - be prepared for an enjoyable and bumpy ride to get to the beach!
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank matandclare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2012

We stayed in a small fan bungalow (450 B per night). The bungalows lie in a beautiful garden up a small hill. Our bungalow had seaview and was mostly clean. It was small (especially the bathroom) and the wall in the bathroom a bit moody. There was a mosquito net and toilet paper in the room.
The whole place is kept very clean, in the morning you always see the people working in the garden collecting old leaves.
The food is delicious and the restaurant is right on the beach.
The owners are friendly and organise everything for you (f.ex. getting to the next bay with taxiboat).
Bottle Beach is the most beautiful beach we stayed on during our Thailand trip. Swimming is possible at the bay and the sand is white and fine. Perfect to relax and enjoy your time on Koh Phangan!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Gecko1105
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2012

This place is a gem! The price is right. The bungalows are simple but offer a private bathroom, quite sleep, and the most incredible view off your own private balcony. You are steps from the ocean and their restaurant is simple, yet affordable. The Smile shake was my boyfriend's and my favorite treat in Thailand, aside from the mango and pineapple of course! We even tried to remake it at home, but it couldn't even come close. The staff was super friendly and very helpful when we asked for advice on what to see and do across the island. They sat down with us and explained in English (which is hard to find most of the time in Thailand) where the best beaches and things to do were on a map as well as where to rent from people that wouldn't rip us off. This was my absolute favorite part of my 9 week stay in Thailand. I promised myself I'd be back to Smile and Koh Phangan as soon as I got the chance!

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank nicoleclund
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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