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“Paradise is Plubpla!”

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Plubpla Koh Mak Retreat
Ranked #8 of 15 Hotels in Ko Mak
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Paradise is Plubpla!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 7, 2013

Plubpla truly is a special place. Large, contemporary and luxurious bungalows in a beautiful and secluded location. The resort is cleverly designed and very well maintained - the bungalows are spread throughout elevated wooden walkways, with ample room between and each one has a large decking area with two chairs - perfect for relaxing and looking out to sea! The bungalows are spacious, modern and very clean - unlike some of the rickety wooden bungalows you find on a lot of Thai resorts.

Plubpla is secluded, with no other resorts nearby and there is no pier so the sea is very quiet and peaceful. But as the island is so small, it's not a problem to get out and about. You can hire a bicycle or a motorbike, or if you're feeling lazy the taxis are very cheap. You can relax by the gorgeous infinity pool and take in the uninterrupted view of the sea looking towards Koh Kood. The restaurant has the same outlook too, with a decking area so you can eat open air, right next to the beach with the sea a couple of metres away - bliss. The food is good - especially the breakfast banana pancakes!

We stayed a Plubpla for 4 nights before heading to Koh Kood. But our resort at Koh Kood didn't compare to Plubpla so after just one night we called Plubpla's owner Mr Kwang to see if we could come back. He couldn't have been more helpful and even organised a speedboat to get us. The team Plubpla are lovely - very sweet and can't do enough for you.

A stylish, tranquil oasis, set on a gorgeous island. We'd be mad not to go back.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank MarioMorocco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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214 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Ko Samui, Thailand
Level Contributor
37 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2013 via mobile

The resort is secluded from others thus your privacy is guaranteed. I feel impressed with staff's attitudes in willingness for service. There's nothing too difficult for staff as everyone is happy to serve you. Each villa is scattered on the slope and is connected by the wooden walkway; a nice design and simple layout of landscape. From breakfast to dinner, all meal are impressive with taste and value for money. My package is inclusive of a one-day tour around island nearby where we enjoyed snorkling very much. We will definitely come back again and will recommend to friends.

  • Stayed November 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank KaewKoSamui
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guangzhou, China
Level Contributor
126 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 2, 2013

Plubpla Koh Mak Retreat (27 Sep to 3 Oct; end of low season. We extended our stay by 3 nights because we loved it)

Koh Mak is the ultimate get-away if you're looking for an amazingly beautiful place to relax, a tiny island that let's you explore everywhere, the best of the Thai people and their loving Sawasdee friendliness. A place where you can sit, drink and eat with your friends and like minded people at your resort. It’s quiet. Or as quiet as you want it. Koh Mak doesn’t have go-go bars… thankfully.

If you're wondering what Thailand was like 20 years ago ... time has treated Koh Mak very very well. I was in Koh Samui in 1993 … and feel like, in many ways, I’ve returned.

Interestingly, the island of Koh Mak is controlled by five large family groups … The five families essentially own eighteen (18) percent EACH of the island (about 90% of the 16 square kilometers are owned by the five families, and another 10% of the land owned by 'others; that's about 2.8 square kilometers per family). It’s for this reason that the island’s development is very controlled, and moving at a more controlled pace.

If you're interested in such, the owners of the hotels, restaurants will discuss some of the difference views held by the different family groups - as over time motivations (e.g., materialism, capitalism, etc. have started to have a more profound effect on the decisions being made).

Getting to / From Koh Mak:
We took the KohChangMinibus DOT COM minibus down from BKK at night (as it was the last few days of September, it rained all the way) and it took 5 1/2 hours, departing BKK at 01:00am. THB 4800. Total bargain as we got here, while sleeping (2 in the minibus)

Arriving in Trat, we hung out, relaxed, and waited for the highspeed speedboat which was THB 450 per person which left at 10:30; reserve if it's high season, you might not get a ticket.

Back to Plubpla.
I've lived in Asia off and on since 1994 ... and I've been to tons of imagined resorts, and even a few resorts. Plubpla is a true resort - and with a little attention to detail, it would be truly perfect.

Plubpla feels like it should be in Hawaii, not a developing country. When you're traveling down to the resort - and IT REALLY IS a resort - your first view is down the side of the 8meter/25foot high cliff-like embankment .... the resort is laid out beautifully below you, and between the road and the beautiful blue of the Gulf of Thailand. Pubpla's ownership is on site daily, and they 100% care about their guests. Tomorrow, when I leave, the owner is driving me to the pier.

The tile roofs, which are four perfectly tiled, and perfectly symmetrical, beckon. The intelligent lay-out of the bungalows surprises, and the incredibly forward thinking elevated walk-way is "completely western" - it's wide enough for 2 people to pass, it's level, it goes to everyone's hut, and it is well-lit enough to see where one's going even in the rain. ... and more than that, if you know how to make a mitre cut - you'll notice the woodwork is very well done. Really well down for hundreds of square meters of wood-decking, especially in the developing world; they embedded all of the nails, and then covered them with wooden plugs.

The huts - great. The beds are comfortable, the AC more than enough, the showers (2) have hot (enough water). It would be great to have slightly more water pressure (but that's A my pet-peeve and B not very green in a tiny island in the Gulf of Thailand. The mini refrigerator gets plenty cold. There's a flat screen TV - but why? I mean, look at the photos.

The layout of the room is fantastic - you walk into the main room, the bathroom to the side. Best, the AC faces the bed - so you have lots of options on how it blows on you. There are swing open windows in the front and the back of the unit Missing are the mosquito nets - but all told (we shut the doors usually) we've had only a handful of mosquitos bothering us; there's usually a breeze .... so I think that helps.

The infinity swimming pool is deep enough in the deep end to dive into (it might be deep enough that most 5 year olds -even the ones which swim well) - won't WANT to go into. The shallow end is slighly deeper than ankle deep ... and there is an interim depth so that the transition isn't difficult.

The pool water is the perfect temperature, so clean, with so little amount of chemicals, I'm sure that there must be some new technology out there which I'm unaware of. I didn't come across any sand in the pool - and as there's a beautiful white-ish beach within 10 steps of the pool ... they do an amazing job cleaning.

There are free bicycles for you to get your exercising FREAK on with - just getting up the drive way was too much for me- give me a scooter, there's no reason to break a sweat.

The beach is white-ish sand, with a very flat rockish/coralish bottom after the first 20 feet / 7 meters from the waters edge. The great thing about the water is that the water never gets deeper than 1.5m (5 feet) unless one goes extremely far out. There are some tiny fish to see, but in order to see anything interesting, you need to swim about 250 - 350 meters / 800-1000 feet from the shore; that's a long way.

With that said, I did see an amazingly beautiful puffer fish which was about 40cm / 14inch wide and about 60cm / 20 inches long - eyes the size of billiard balls.

The beach gets covered with hermit crabs at night - they're there in the day time ... but MAN are there HUNDREDS .. and the biggest ones we saw were bigger than a tennis ball in size.

We had ZERO problems with mosquitos at the resort, nor did we have sand flies ....

Walking the grounds is fantastic - the soft grass is an option .. or the sea edge in the sand....the breeze coming in off the water. The soft rain - or even the monsoon rain (July to End Sept/early October). Even when it rains, it's hot enough to walk around in a t-shirt and shorts (or less, just don't go naked - that is very much frowned on.

The restaurant is an outdoor pavilion with room for about 40 people, breakfast is very tasty - they'll do eggs for you however you want, you can show up late and still get food ... the coffee is fantastic (they have an imported machine that grinds and makes the coffee), and the bread is fresh. I'm super impressed with the breakfast. The furniture is very comfortable, and I love the large couches to lie down on.

The lunch and the dinner served the best foods I've had on the whole island. Normally I go to other places - but there's no reason to (excess for change of environment.) Order anything Thai and one of us tried it, and loved it.

Want to rent a scooter? they'll organize it for you. A word to the wise - driving on concrete streets covered in mud is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT and SUPER DANGEROUS. Where sneakers, long pants and the helmet. We watched a local crash just because she was taking her mother and daughter, and the tires slipped.

SO WHAT COULD BE BETTER?
When I hang out in the restaurant pavilion - which overlooks the gulf and the pool, I tend to hang out all day ... In those cases, I think that the waitresses and waiters leave dirty plates on the table for MUCH too much time (hours). Solution?We just put the dirty dishes on the table next to us.


Soap / shampoo in the bathroom – personally I’d prefer it if they had refillable dispenses (it’s more economical for them, and more sustainable for all of us).

In the pavilion, it'd be great to have more Plubpla provided extension cords (I brought my own ... but most people don't).

Plubpla is losing revenue as waiters don't come around frequently and ask if you want anything else. Occassionally, you can be left alone during the middle of the day for more than an hour. Solution? Scream out Sawasdee (smiling) and they come.

The pavilion stereo system has about 2 CDs of music that rotates - super annoying. Solution? We just played our music when no one else was there. ..

The bungalow #1 has a "jacuzzi" tub on its balcony ... and the view is fantastic and 3 adults could easily sit inside the tub; it is homemade from concrete with beautiful tiles - and super deep. The issue is that the water heater / water pressure means that you need to turn it on four (4) to five (5) hours before you can use it. Solution? None really. I suppose if you're going to charge double for that bungalow, get another waterheater. I used it twice ... and realistically I would have only used it one other time.

It'd be great if Plubpla had a large album of tourist activities to do around the island, recommended places to visit, informational brochures (like the fact that the Koh Mak Seafood restaurant will have a taxi come get you and take you home for FREE if you eat there). Just a little more organization in this area would go a long way. Perhaps even consider having a taxi for free for guests to take 2 times a day - reducing the need for us to rent our own scooters, or pay taxi fare. Highly recommended go over to the SW side of the island and rent kayaks to go out to Koh Rayang nok – it’s SUPER BEAUTIFUL… it’ll take about 2 hours round trip and minimal canoe/kayak ability.

While we are on a tiny island ... the Internet is insanely horrible. I live in China and I know horrible internet. It doesn't compare. It's so slow that the simple Google.com homepage sometimes would take 3 or 4 minutes. Perhaps this is outside of the management's abilitiy to fix ... but there might be a way to allow guests to buy 'premium' Internet for an increased cost.


It's not the destination that makes travel fun. Good luck!



When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable. -Clifton Fadiman

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank rawsushi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangkok, Krung Thep, Thailand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 25, 2013

We impressed Plubpla Koh Mak from our first step. Warm welcome from staff,...great layout, lovely infinity pool, nice staff with the best service minded, fresh seafood & yummy as original Thai style! We never found any resorts like home as PLUBPLA KOH MAK RETREAT.
>>> We will come back again surely.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank Prae D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 29, 2013

This is a lovely little resort, prettily and sensitively designed with good facilities. It's true that there is no internet access beyond the restaurant area and even then it is slow and patchy, but its more than enough for checking email, using Skype to call an airline, and so on. This is a retreat, a place to relax, unwind, be with yourself and the people you love without all the distractions of everyday life or major tourist resort life. The bungalows are lovely. The pool is nice. The ground immaculate. The views perfect, and the island itself quite charming and delightfully free of all the usual resort town rubbish that blights so many places in Thailand these days. The beach is fine, but I think the hotel could clean it up regularly ... there's lots of nasty trash washed up. The staff are laid back and reserved, and that's good too, but they will do anything they can for you if you ask. It is indeed a journey to get there from Bangkok and when I crossed from Trat it was early wet season and the trip was rough and wet and I thoroughly enjoyed it the spray in my face, my drenched trousers and all the Thais laughing and having fun. I did not have to carry my own luggage, ever. I want to return and recommend this resort and its people most enthusiastically.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank Vivian1951
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 26, 2013

The island is made accessible considering how remote it is. We can't expect such a small and intimate place to have an airport on it, now can we? It would then no longer be private, right...
Each beautiful modern bungalow is its own mini paradise.
The rooms and pool and restaurant are simple and elegant, and therefore it is possible to keep everything immaculate. The staff were outstanding. I love not being plagued Western Style with sales. I love asking for what I want, and getting it, not being bothered and interrupted all the time with drink requests. Really, getting up to get such affordable drinks with glass and ice at such a BEAUTIFUL location, is an absolute treat. The wide open restaurant feet away from the sea. The delicious food at prices that are so low. The super simple walkways to each private bungalow. It makes me feel bad to read reviews by people who, well, where do you think you are travelling to? If you think you belong at this resort, than you do. Reminds me of the feeling and atmosphere 20 years ago when I first went to Koh Chang. Except, way higher end. To get this vibe, these rooms, anywhere else in the world, would cost double the price. And yes, there is shallow water and very attractive black rock. Note this before you go and enjoy the lovely pool. Rent scooters or the golf cart to visit beaches. Please everyone, the comments on trip advisor can really affect a persons life, and business. Please lets all take into account where we are talking about and for example not fault remote islands for intermittent wireless. And just because a server isn't a grinning fool doesn't mean he doesn't want to help you.
We really really loved this resort and having been there last February, we are going again this November. All the way to Thailand just to go to Plubpla. It's that quiet, that private, that perfect. Make sure to contact me if you have specific questions. I know how important our choices are.

Room Tip: I do not need a jacuzzi. And because there are 3 rows of bungalows, and each one is thoughtfully pla...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank FRUITPLATE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Hague, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 15, 2013

Stayed here 7 nights (in stead of 4) and liked it a lot.Quiet place (low season), lovely infinity pool, very nice family and staff, great food. Enjoyed our days reading and relaxing by the pool and strolling around the beach. Perfect ending of our trip to Cambodja & Thailand.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Josine S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Plubpla Koh Mak Retreat

Property: Plubpla Koh Mak Retreat
Address: 50 / 5 Moo 2, Ao Pai Beach, Ko Mak 23120, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Trat Province > Ko Mak
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Ko Mak
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Plubpla Koh Mak Retreat 3.5*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Voted the most beautiful resort on Koh Mak, even by the other resort owners on the island. All beach, sea view Villas on a serene private beach. Amazing endless swimming pool with jacuzzi seat and always enough sun chairs and tables in the restaurant. The Koh Mak Retreat is truly a place where you can get away from it all. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Plubpla Koh Mak Retreat Hotel Koh Mak

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