Shambhala Bungalow Village is located on the beach at Plaay Laem. It is a small bungalow resort that is not available for online booking. We are expecting this to change in the future, and meanwhile it is worth taking a closer look at this resort as it is a good mid-range option for visitors to the beautiful beach of Plaay Laem.
‘Shambhala’ is a Tibetan word that means ‘place of peace, tranquillity and happiness’. The exact connection with Tibet is unclear. The management is Swiss and Thai and on their website they describe their hospitality as ‘Thai-Swiss style family run’. You have to presume that the name is a marketing ploy to appeal to hippy and New Age sensibilities, very much in keeping with the spirit of the area.
The resort is at the southern end of the beach. It has 14 bungalows for rent. They all have sea views. There are a couple of beachfront bungalows on the sand. All the bungalows are made in the traditional style with stilts, woven walls and hardwood floors. They are only 3 years old and have been well maintained.
Beachfront bungalows cost between 1,100 and 3,000 Thai Baht a night. They feature fan, locker and mosquito net. They have en-suite bathrooms with hot water. There is also a veranda with hammock and cushions.
Sea view Superior Bungalows are 20 to 30 metres from the beach in a pleasant garden setting. These bungalows have a fan with hot water shower. These bungalows cost between 850 and 2,300 Thai Baht a night.
There is only one Shambhala Deluxe Suite Bungalow. It is the only air-con accommodation on offer. It is a large bungalow situated on rising land about 50 metres from the beach. The bungalow has 2 rooms – one with a king size bed and another with 2 twin beds and a sofa bed. The bungalow can accommodate up to 6 people. There is one bathroom with hot water shower. The Shambhala Deluxe Suite Bungalow costs between 1,400 to 3,200 Thai Baht a night.
The final accommodation option is the Standard Sea view Bungalow. Interesting that they have kept the adjective ‘standard’ where other resorts have started using more attractive descriptions for room options. The standard bungalow has double bed, fan, locker, mosquito net and hot water shower. The main reason for the cheaper price is the smaller room size and distance from the beach.
The resort has only one air-con bungalow. It also doesn’t provide free internet throughout the resort. There is, however, a restaurant on the beach front. It is a pleasant spot with great views of the beach. They serve Thai curries, noodle dishes, sandwiches and French fries, fruit, shakes and grilled food. The menu is similar to other places in the area. The food is well presented and the portion sizes are good. The prices are reasonable for Koh Phangan.
There is also a bar and roof top terrace. At the back of the restaurant is a small library and internet cafe with public computers for rent.
Staff at Shambhala Bungalow Village can do laundry. They can advise about travel tickets, tours and water sports. The resort has one 3-man kayak for rent. They also have a few mopeds for hire.
The overwhelming response from Tripadvisor reviewers is that Shambhala Bungalow Village is a great place and that the staff are doing a great job. Mention is made of the clean rooms, great location, peaceful atmosphere and the friendly and helpful staff.
There are a couple of reviews that mention being unfairly treated and the mosquito nets having holes. Indeed for the same price as Shambhala Bungalow Village you can get bungalow accommodation with sealed windows and air-con.
As is often the case in Koh Phangan – part foreign management often means a better attention to detail but also a tendency to over-price. Take your pick about which you value more.
Shambhala Bungalow Village is a good mid-range option for Plaay Laem. It is a great beach with good water sports opportunities that is also free from the hoards that gather at Haad Rin.
While we commend their independent spirit we are not sure their business plan of not being on any booking website is really doing them any favours. If you are looking for value for money Sea Sunset Resort, Pimmada Hut and Sea Scene Resort are all on the same beach and have cheaper fan bungalows for rent that can be booked online.