Lonely Beach At a Glance
250bt rooms, cold shower, fan up to 7,500bt for the pool villas
Lonely Beach At an Island Pace
Lonely Beach has become the backpacker hub and the party centre of the island. Situated far down the south west coast, up and and over a mountain, it is split into two parts, the beach section running for a few hundred metres from the bottom of the mountain, and a kilometre or so further along, the village section, laid out along the main street, with two sois running off it down to the rocky seafront.
Up until the late 1990’s, there was no connecting road and backpackers hiked the across the mountain to stay in simple thatch huts. Those huts have mostly disappeared or been upgraded, with accommodation now ranging from shared bathroom guesthouses, to densely packed rows of bungalows and mid range offerings, right up to the odd boutique and higher end resort. On the actual beach, there are just four places to stay, with the rest in and around the village.
Different bars, again either on the beach or in the village, take it in turns to host a party each night of the week, with a supposed cut-off time of 2.00am. Alongside these venues, there are of course a myriad of other bars offering something for every taste, plenty of cheap restaurants and cafes, a whole alleyway of tattooists, dive shops, a gym, massage, internet and tour shops. All in all, it is a fun and busy place to stay, attracting both the budget travelers and backpackers and those that are just looking for a good time.
Lonely Beach – Down the mountain and along the beach
Coming from the north, the road climbs out of Kai Bae Beach, first passing the main road entrance of Seaview Resort and then an excellent vantage point complete with visitor centre. The view from here is spectacular taking in the offshore islands, beaches to the north and to the south and the sea disappearing off the horizon.
The road, flanked by wonderful old trees towering above the surrounding canopy and with curves and tight corners aplenty, continues on up and over, reaching the clifftop annex of the same Seaview Resort, perched on the rock edge at the midway point, then the turning to Siam Bay, with a switchback corner immediately after, providing the first glimpse of Lonely Beach beneath.
Dropping down this last section of the mountain, the road passes the original huts of Siam Beach Resort on the hillside, its new bungalows on the mountainside and the villas and main building at the bottom on the beach, before it winds on around the back, past an undeveloped area of scrubland. The upscale Bhumiyama Beach Resort is located in the middle of the beach, the cheaper Nature Beach Resort next door and the cheapest Siam Huts at the southern end, with nothing on the mountain side but jungle and a few overfed monkeys.
You can walk through Nature Beach or Siam Huts to get to the sand itself, with the best section running north from Nature Beach to Siam Beach at the end. At the entrance to Siam Huts are a couple of sometimes occupied shop units on one side and on the other, a minimart, bakery and a cheap restaurant on stilts and from here, continuing along the road, it is an easy walk to the village itself. The area stretching from the road down to the sea here is now in development to create another whole mini-village.
Lonely Beach – In the village and up and down the sois (streets)
Joy Cottage sits by the bridge, with the tattoo shop, Danny’s in the shop houses just before and The Kitchen, one of the better cheap restaurants across the road alongnside others of a similar ilk. Soi Tian Chai 1, as it is has been somewhat grandly named, is the first street that comes off the main road running down to the sea.
Stone Free has its guesthouse a hundred meters or so along, with Sunshine Cafe adjacent and Himmel Bar and Ting Tong, both leaders in the party scene, almost opposite each other about half way down.These two also have guesthouses which sit across the street from their respective bars.
Maco Jaco Bungalows and the wooden rooms of Sunshine Cafe are in a small connecting street which joins up with Soi Tian Chai 2, itself running parallel 50 meters away. Sunflower Bungalows find themselves in the thick of the action after Ting Tong, with Friend Bungalows opposite after the row of tattooists.
Following the curve to the right at the bottom of the soi, you reach the bungalows of Sea Flower Resort, which sit on the rocky seafront and nearby the very basic huts of Ice Beach. The original party and backpacker Treehouse Lodge was located around here and so goes the story, the owner coined the name Lonely Beach as a means of attracting early visitors to her bungalows in the late 1990’s. The name is now universal, though locals do still refer to Hat Tha Nam, the real Thai name.
At the very end of the track, it is possible to to hop across the inlet and walk along the path past the new large-scale development to emerge at Siam Huts and the beach, a useful shortcut. Back at the soi itself, Sunset Huts, also one of the very first to open, sits at the end with its bungalows in rows along the seafront. Following them to the left leads you to Sky Beach and on the corner, Warapura Resort, a boutique resort. This is actually the bottom of Soi 2, so by taking this back to the main road, you complete the grid.
Along the way, the new somewhat interestingly designed hostel KLKL has recently opened, with Antenna Guesthouse a little further up, opposite the other end of the row of bungalows of Maco Jaco, on their cut through street to Soi 1. Marco’s Place, an Italian run guesthouse, Lam Yai Bungalows, on their very own little track, and the other entrance to Stone Free are all found round and about in this section.
Lonely Beach – On the hillside and leaving the village
Between the two sois on the main road, Ploy Inn offers rooms on the mountain side behind its restaurant, before another soi, Soi Tian Chai 3, heads inland with Day Night Bungalows at its start. Janina’s Resort, Easy House and Little Eden are spaced out further up and Oasis Bungalows has prime position at the top, with fabulous views out over the whole area, especially from its tree-house.
Kachapura Resort, a well designed resort in rolling gardens, sits opposite this soi, with the restaurants of Sleepy Owl and Baan Mai either side and Lonely Beach Resort, Fish Resort and Magic Garden Resort on the same side as you head south. Each of these resorts have their own roadside restaurants, with Magic Garden also one of three party venues in this section, Q Bar and at the very end Margaritaville, being the other two.
BB Divers, its shop, swimming pool, gym, dorm rooms and restaurant, The World of Tapas, dominate the mountain side of the road, while Exotic Bungalows, Janrassammee Homestay, Green Sun and Margaritaville provide more accommodation on either side.
A couple of curious huts are the last buildings on this side, but across the street, just after the new uncompleted Ting Tong offshoot, a final tree-shaded soi leads down to the new boutique resort, Nest Sense Resort and Paradise Cottage, with its bungalows, restaurant and bar by the sea.