12 Dec 2007
Koh Sukon Beach Bungalows,Trang, Thailand
Bungalow
A$29/£13.80 night
7° 5'43.02"N 99°33'56.69"E
1 room
Including breakfast

 

Koh Sukon (Sukon Island) is about 30 minutes by longboat off the mainland. We booked one night to check it out and to get agent to arrange the transfer from Trang town - A$1.70/80p each for the approximately 30 minute road trip and the same amount again for the 45 minute trip on the daily 12 o'clock public boat. The resort pick-up collected us from the pier for another A$1.70/80p each. The resort arranges a budget daily transfer back to Trang (A$5/2.40 per person), leaving the island at a very early 7am - in practice it cost less as we paid the boat fare directly and got local price plus a small premium. If the times don't suit, you can get there independently - the road trip to/from Trang costs about the same, negotiating hire is around A$8.50/£4 per boat (probably no more than 4 people) and A$1.70/80p from the pier to the resort. Getting back is more difficult as hiring a boat isn't such an easy option but it can be done if you can be bothered going to the pier and hoping someone will speak enough English - but the resort will do a private transfer on their boat then a shared truck to Trang for A$51/24.

Koh Sukon Beach Bungalows rates as the most basic place we've stayed at so far. The cheapest bungalows (of course we did) were identical to the next class up except there was no air conditioning - at this time of the year it's not needed, and in any case it only operates 6pm to 9am. A$32/£15 gave you air conditioning (but you lost the sea view), the next class up had air con and hot water and the next class air con, hot water and a sea view. There were also some deluxe bungalows at A$66/£32. Cold water in the tropics is warm enough for a cool shower, so it wasn't a hardship and didn't justify the extra money for us as we wouldn't have used the air con. We had a look in case we wanted to upgrade and the interior was exactly the same - basic but clean with comfortable mattress and pillows. One oddity was the toilet. At first glance it was an ordinary toilet, but there was no flush - a big bucket (with a conveniently placed tap to fill it) sat next to the toilet for manual flushing. Even the most expensive bungalows had the same basic interior and manual flush toilets - just a better view and bigger verandas with hammocks. The nice sized verandah's in the cheaper units had chairs and a clothes drying rack. The rooms were serviced with clean bedding and towels every day. There was a wall mounted fan which could be aimed away from the bed so it could move the air without blowing you away, and (THANK YOU) fly screens on the front and back windows so you got a good cross breeze all day and night without the mozzies.

There were no TV's or phones, but one computer with internet access - not cheap at A$1.30/65p for 10 minutes, but it's an island and they were paying satellite rates, so it could have been a lot worse. There were also a swag of books to borrow, the Bangkok Post (English language newspaper) every day, magazines previous guests had left behind for others to read, more than enough hammocks, sun beds, deck chairs and tables and chairs on the beach and around the beautiful gardens. There was also volleyball, badminton and footballs to keep people amused as well as floaties and the obligatory inner tube for playing in the sea, buckets and spades for the littlies and some kayaks. All of these were free, the only extra charges being for bikes and the motorbike which were reasonably priced and could be hired for as little as one hour. We were told it would only take about 2 hours to cycle around the whole island.

Electricity on the island only operates 11 hours per day - 9am-2pm and 6pm to midnight. The resort has a generator which gives power between midnight and 9am, so really it's only off afternoons between 2 and 6. Early next year there is a cable being laid on the seabed which will connect the island to the national grid, so electricity will be 24 hours.

The resort restaurant was and quite good, breakfasts were Asian, eggs or pancakes. There was a small tourist restaurant over a kilometer away (no good at night as there is no street lighting) and apart from the other 2 resorts that was about it for eating options unless you took the 3 or 4 km walk into the village where there were some basic canteens. Food and drink prices were about what you'd expect to pay in a tourist restaurant on the mainland, which surprised us a bit as we had expected it to be on the expensive side.

The location is magnificent - right on a beautiful swimming beach. It was a good 30-40 minute walk to the village, where there were a hand full of small mini marts. A couple of other bungalow operations were the only things in between the resort and village apart from local inhabitants - the islands' population is around 500, and all very friendly&. Walking was great, seeing non-commercial rubber production, with sheets of raw product hanging on washing lines to dry.

Koh Sukon Beach Bungalows is not, as we expected, a backpacker haven. If anything we were about the youngest people there! There were a couple of families with little ones, and a couple of Scandinavian families with teenagers, but apart from an American couple in their thirties on honeymoon, everyone seemed our age or older - some a lot older.

If you want to party this isn't the place for you - nightlife is nonexistent and singles are a rarity, but if you want to relax, read and swing on a hammock you'd be hard pressed to find anything better.