LAUGHING GECKO BUNGALOWS
Finding reasonably priced accommodation in Ao Nang during peak season was much more difficult than I originally anticipated. Many dorm beds were more expensive than we would normally pay for a private room and even then they were on the outskirts of town and quite far from the beach. Finding Laughing Gecko Bungalows was an absolute game changer to my time in Ao Nang and after a brief two night stay, I was disappointed I hadn't booked in for longer. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that within weeks I was back to stay again!
Laughing Gecko is located one street back from the Northern end of Ao Nang, on Nopparathara Beach where there is much less hustle and bustle and more peace and serenity than busy Ao Nang Beach. While the beachfront road is still lined with shops, restaurants, bars and street food vendors, there are less tourists and considering it was peak season, the beach was relatively peaceful most days. To walk into the main centre of shopping and nightlife in Ao Nang takes approximately 15 minutes and is a pleasant stroll along the beach most of the way.
The property itself is modest and rustic and run by a lovely Thai man, Nui. Nui is a perfect host and was always there to greet me with a smile. I booked my bungalow by emailing Nui via the Laughing Gecko website (www.laughinggeckobungalows.com). He was quick to respond to my emails within a day giving me the peace of mind that my accommodation was booked and I wouldn't be left looking for a place to stay.
I stayed in a double bungalow with private bathroom and it was spotlessly clean, spacious and very homey. The bungalow has power, a small fan and a large, comfortable bed as well as a set of shelves, which can be nice to be able to unpack some belongings rather than always living out of a bag.
The bathroom was very simple with only a squat toilet and cold water shower, but with the consistently warm weather in Ao Nang I would be surprised if anyone ever wanted a hot water shower anyway!
While there are plenty of mosquitos around the property, the huge box mosquito net covering the entire bed made for a peaceful sleep every night. There is a common area with tables and chairs and even a separate room with a pool table and dart board. Wi-Fi is available in both the common area and the bungalows and generally worked very well.
In the common area, there is also a fridge with cold drinks, beer and water all at very reasonable prices. While Laughing Gecko certainly isn’t a party hostel, the atmosphere was awesome, friendly and relaxed while still being close enough to plenty of bars and pubs if your quiet drinks in the common area, turn into a night out on the town.
Laughing Gecko also offers a nightly communal buffet dinner and the one while I was there was delicious. The food was great tasting, home-cooked Thai food and was a good opportunity to meet other people and have a casual drink. If you're lucky enough, Nui might also whip out the guitar for some excellent live music!
I couldn’t have been any happier with my choice of accommodation in Ao Nang and thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet of this property while still being in close proximity to all that Ao Nang has to offer.
* Update: After posting this review, I returned to Laughing Gecko for a further 2 weeks in early February and was greeted by the same smiling host, Nui and met another great bunch of travellers during my stay. I love everything about this place and would return again in a heartbeat!