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“Relax at "Mai Pen Rai"”

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Mai Pen Rai Bungalows
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 28, 2013

I have just spent ten glorious days unwinding at Scottish Fiona's and Thai Teep's stunning "Mai Pen Rai" bungallow resort. This was not my first time staying there and it wont be my last. The most glorious location and the staff are wonderful, the food delicious. My beachfront bungallow had direct views of the ocean and joyously lacking the incessant thud of air conditioning, it was a joy falling asleep to the sound of the waves. If you go, and YOU SHOULD, make sure to go and look at the prehistoric giant Monitor Lizards, swimming in the lagoon behind the restaurant. "Mai Pen Rai" is incredibly good value and a very peaceful, sand between your toes, haven from the worries of the world. If your looking for "Party Central", this is NOT the place for you. Noise and pandemonium will NOT be appreciated by those staying here for the tranquility of the location. I simply cannot find anything to complain about in "Mai Pen Rai" and I cant wait to get back again.
Andrew Bruce
Dumfries
Scotland

Room Tip: If any are available, book a beachfront bungallow.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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5  Thank andrewbruce
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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133 - 139 of 375 reviews

Reviewed January 18, 2013

We visited Mai Pen Rai in January 2013, staying for eight days. It was a beautiful, unspoilt, remote place, and bliss after the hustle and crowds of Koh Tao. The accommodation is not for those who like modern amenities - if you want air con, wifi, TV or hot water, go elsewhere. But those things are certainly not my idea of Paradise. What this place offers is truly precious - tranquility, simplicity and beauty. Yes, there is wildlife - it is in a national park after all. And it's all the richer for it. We were given a room on the rocks, ingeniously built into the rocky landscape - we had a large boulder for a wall in ours! The sound of the waves at night is gorgeous, and there was usually a light breeze which kept us cool at night.
The beach is lovely and clean - it's swept regularly. The restaurant food was delicious and was good value, and the staff friendly. There are several other places to eat nearby, too. Travel to and from Mai Pen Rai takes a while, but its part of the charm of the place that it isn't easily accessible, and keeps the beach quiet. There is a boat taxi to Haad Rin in calm weather in addition to the taxi to Surat Thani. Trips can be organised by reception and onward travel can also be arranged.
The electricity is generated onsite and they turn it off at night sometime around 1-3 am, until about 11am. We hardly noticed.
There were a few families with young children, and the staff were great with the kids - very patient and sweet.
One thing that surprised and saddened me was how easily other visitors seemed to throw away plastic bottles and cans. Why?? Please, if you go to this blissful place, look after it.

Room Tip: The beach huts are lovely and very convenient for the beach and restaurant. However, don't be pu...
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Tanera A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2013

We spent 8 nights at Mai Pen Rai, it was so relaxing, a real place to unwind and enjoy being in nature...we loved that you open the shutters and you feel the wonderful fresh air (no aircon)and hear the sound of the waves lapping and breaking on the shore...there are mosquito nets over the beds so you feel protected while you sleep. The gentle stroll across the beach to the Mai Pen Rai restaurant is good exercise as you will want to try out all the delicious dishes... the other restaurants are also nice and Plaa's is great for sundowners with a view across the jungle...Mr Singh gives a great Thai massage ... we were 5 families travelling together to celebrate my 50th birthday.. one family had small children and they stayed in the beach bungalows, the other families stayed on the rocks with lovely views and sounds of the sea. The teenagers all went to the half moon party in the jungle (which was better and more contained than the full moon party)... Mai Pen Rai arranged an amazing birthday celebration with a buffet dinner and table set up on the beach, it was truely magical with a delicious variety of food and even phosphoresence in the water that night (we all swam with goggles to see the underwater magic-what luck!) ...One family are very fussy travellers and I warned them that the bungalows are rustic, but they were very happy with the crisp white sheets and clean bungalow - the gaps in the floor boards and open windows were all part of the unique experience that is Mai Pen Rai....An early morning walk to Phu Dang waterfall is a must with a skinny dip in the rock pool if you are brave! If the local ferry is operating between Koh Samui, it is a much better way to get there than the Lomprayah and trip in 4x4 car over the mountain jungle, the ferry pulls up onto the beach and you jump on/off - no crowds, no delays... Spend a long time here, you won't want to leave! I am home and still longing to be there.....

Room Tip: On the rocks overlooking the beach or nearer the beach are best
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Susan D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2013

We chosed Mai Pen Rai because of tripadvisor and it is true it is absolutely amazing there, however we did not stay a single night.

If you choose Mai Pen Rai be aware that the rooms are not closed, so animals and insects can come through a lot of holes in your house.

We booked 5 nights in the Rock Bungalows, which are fantastic and very lovely. But be aware that electricity stops at 1am and starts again during the day.
However when we arrived, a green snake (1, 5 meters) was in our bathroom. Later we saw a second snake that passed our way. Then we decided we have to leave.
For adventurous travelers this is a great place- for us it was not- we need a closed room.
The beach bungalows looked a lot safer but were booked out.

Beautiful place with untouched nature.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank flyingbird25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2013

Spent a week on Fiona's and Teep's Beach in December. What a wonderful and lovely place. The bungalows are all built individually shaped into the landscape be it rocks or woods. One wakes up in the morning to the sound of only the waves of the sea... The cook is doing a wonderful job preparing traditional thai dishes with fresh regional products.

If you feel like relaxing, enjoying nature and a quiet retreat away from the large tourist streams, the perfect place!

Thank you Fiona and Teep! You are great hosts.
Chantal

Room Tip: Bungalow with sea view!
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled solo
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Thank suentla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

We stayed here (both age 26) for 5 nights in october. After a very bumpy and kinda scary jeep ride for about 45 minutes through the hills and rainforest (recommend taking a couple of beers for the journey to soothe the nerves) we finally arrived. We were greeted with a warm welcome and instantly loved the setting of this place,very isolated with only 1 other beach bar and the most beautiful white beach with only a handful of sunbathers.
We stayed in the bungalows on the rocks,which were accessed by a 5 minute walk along the beach and a good steep walk along the paths built into the cliffs. We had a hard case each which made this walk quite difficult (especially in the heat) but luckily the lady who showed us to our bungalow carried my case on her head, very kind of her and much appreciated!
The bungalow was basic but nice all the same. The bed was built over the top of a rock and the bathroom was also very natural looking (the shower was only cold water which was refreshing in the heat). One of the best things about being on the rocks was sitting on the balcony or in the hammock as night fell and hearing all the nature come to life as it got dark. We were lucky that the bungalows either side of us were only occupied 2 nights,which added to the atmosphere of the place.
Walking for dinner was an experience,as sometimes it was pitch black and negotiating all the paths and squeezing through the boulders was fun! We saw a snake, a big iguana and lots of birds and squirrels on this walk.
The bar/restaurant was full of carved wooden seating and wee nick nacks everywhere,everytime we went for food we noticed something different! The food was all lovely and also a good selection of cocktails,all very reasonably priced. Go see the monitor lizards in the river at the back of the bar,amazing creatures!
Overall, we had a wonderful stay here although we would only stay for 2-3 nights next time. After the madness of the full moon party and of travelling around the islands we came here for a total relax. After a couple of days though we found the food selection to be a bit limited and the lack of electricity at night to be frustrating. We had a few bad nights sleep because it was so warm without a fan and the mozzy net wasnt doing its job-lots of bites in the morning.
This shouldn't put you off going, the lack of electricity, the isolation and the wildlife makes this place really special but maybe just for a short stay to unwind before moving on.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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1  Thank charl86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2012

we had a beautiful stay in a big bungalow on the rocks in mai pen rai. it is a very beautiful and peaceful place. the bungalow was great except the showers were waaay too cold! i loved the sense of adventure at pai pen rai.. climbing all the way to the top of mountain and taking great pictures was fun. we never wanted to leave to go to the center where all the action was going on. the only drawback to the place is that its quite far away and the road to get there is BAD so the tuktuk rides are quite expensive.. other than that it was a great stay. oh and the food was great as well!

Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
Thank nadaatalla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mai Pen Rai Bungalows

Address: Than Sadet Beach, Ko Pha Ngan 84280, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Pha Ngan
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #47 of 379 Specialty Lodging in Ko Pha Ngan
Price Range: $12 - $24 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Mai Pen Rai Bungalows 2*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Mai Pen Rai Bungalows, one of the oldest resorts on Koh Phangan - the place of pleasure for nature lovers and Artists. For an experience of the old Koh Phangan, this is the place to come away and forget all the stresses of the outside world. Mai Pen Rai is situated in a paradise infringed with swaying palms, and green turquoise waters. Here at Than Sadet the bungalows are built in harmony with the nature around with prices to suit travellers and back packers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mai Pen Rai Bungalows Hotel Koh Phangan

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