Budget

Where Cheaper is Better

by Colleen Clark

Resorts in Koh Samui

Few countries do luxury as well as Thailand. Private plunge pools, clifftop villas, and personal butler service have become the norm on places like Koh Samui, where five-star resorts are starting to luxe up the island's beach-bum reputation. And the relatively low prices make that bang-for-your-buck glamour particularly enticing. However, these resorts tend to strip away the very things that made Thai beaches famous: the laid-back lifestyle; the super-fresh, spicy street food; and the lazy nights spent sipping drinks with locals. So instead of booking a blinged-out beach villa where you'll waste your time in Louboutins eating bland pastas, we suggest Cactus Bungalow. At this easygoing resort, a beachfront bungalow with platform beds and local textiles will set you back just $42 per night. Vendors nearby shill 50-cent pad thai for barefoot beach dinners and guests from other resorts often wander down to sip Singhas in the sand at the open-air bar. You may not have 24-hour room service or Frette linens, but we'll trade Italian sheets for the privilege of being footloose and dress code–free any day.

Cactus Bungalow
175/7 Moo 1
Bophut Beach
Koh Samui, Thailand
Tel: 66 77 245 565

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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