tips for staying in a hut

Posted from Koh Chang Tai, Trat, Thailand.

Welcome to Koh Mak!

Welcome to Koh Mak!

It’s low season and I’m kind of bored. And happy. And calm. But bored. It’s a side-effect of being sober and being alone, or so I’ve concluded. Or it’s because I’m in a hut on a nearly deserted island living rustically. But before I get into my tips of how to survive living in a hut, let me first tell you about this place. You can read about the island I’m on here.

Empty beach.

Empty beach.

I had called ahead to a “resort” called Island Hut (087-139-5537) on Koh Mak and told them I was coming over on the 10:30 a.m. speed boat. They sent someone to come and get me at the pier. The young man grabbed my backpack from me and walked it to the pickup truck where I got a free ride to the “resort.” The pick up truck isn’t in the best of condition, but I did know I was booking into a budget accommodation. There are some very luxurious resorts on the island, but when you’re on the road for two months one has to be a bit frugal.

My escort to Island Hut. At least I didn't have to walk.

My escort to Island Hut. At least I didn’t have to walk.

There were only three huts booked out so far and so I got my pick when I arrived. There were beachfront ones for 400B/night or ones just a bit farther back for 300B/night. Decision made. Stay on the beach. (The prices are higher in high season.)

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The beach front huts aren’t right on the water, but they’re close.

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Probably the best-priced restaurant on the island.

The hut is basic. Like really basic. I have a toilet with just a seat, a sink, a mirror and a shower with fairly poor pressure and no hot water. I have a normal Asian mattress and a mosquito net. I have a fan, a shelf, two pillows, a blanket, and a window that opens with no screen. Who needs a screen when the hut is just slats of wood with huge ventilation holes everywhere? The bathroom is also vented. But for $14/night, what does one expect? To me, as I don’t really care about luxury or not, this is perfect. I’m in heaven. I wake to the waves and fall asleep to the waves.

The second row of huts in the garden.

The second row of huts in the garden.

A little bit about Island Hut. Some of the popular sites will tell you it’s a budget location right on the beach, and they’re right. It’s budget. The farther from the beach you go the cheaper your hut. But apart from the budget label the place is a nice family-run joint with only a few higher-end huts. The bungalows in the back garden are pretty, though, and raised higher than the ones on the beach. I’m not sure why this is. Maybe for a view?

There are two streams flanking either side of the property, but these are also output streams – as in these are sewers – as in this is where your poop goes. Best not to swim too close to these, especially after a hard rain.  You can get your laundry done for 50B/kg here. Also, you can run a tab and pay for everything at the end of your stay, making it very convenient.

 

But there’s a few thing to know when you live in a beach hut.

The only good mosquito is ...

The only good mosquito is …

bugs

You’re in the tropics. There will be bugs. So bug spray is a must. Dengue is more endemic in these parts than malaria, so a bit of deet, coconut oil or the stuff the locals use will go a long way. DO NOT eat in your bed! Think about it. You can get Tigerbalm from almost anywhere and it works quite well to stop the itch. But sometimes you need some heavy duty stuff from home.

 

 

A blurry image, yes. But the truth is in the netting.

A blurry image, yes. But the truth is in the netting.

mosquito net

These are necessary and oh so necessary. Occasionally I’d get ants on my bed, but there wasn’t much I could do about that. I never ate on the bed. Best thing I found was to tuck the mosquito net around the bed before sunset. That way as it got dark I wouldn’t need to turn my light on and attract bugs while trying to fit the net around and potentially let them inside my safe-haven.

 

 

The view may be beautiful, but at some point you gotta shut the window.

The view may be beautiful, but at some point you gotta shut the window

lights and windows

Lights attract bugs. If you want your cabin filled with these critters, than by all means, keep em on. I found using the outside light worked great as it provided enough of a glow so I could see around. I just kept my window open until I was ready for bed and then I shut it and turned the light off before bed. The door was another thing. I’d heard of people getting unexpected visitors, like scorpions or spiders or snakes. But let’s face it, they can get in through the floor boards.

 

fan

If you don’t spring for AC than you’re gonna need a fan. Not only is it necessary to keep some bugs away, it also helps keep you cool. I found the onshore breeze to be cool at night on Koh Mak and one night I actually considered turning the fan off, but then I remembered that some bugs might work up the nerve to find the secret passage under my mesh dome, so I kept it on and pulled my towel-like blanket tight around me.

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There is a sink. It’s behind the door. And there’s a mirror too!

 

toilet

It’s basic. You get a bucket to fill with water and a smaller bucket to scoop the water out to flush it all down. I found the best trick was to not dump the bucket in all at once, but to try and create a steady stream of water to wash waste down. If there was a typically larger load to discharge one could just tip the big holding bucket steadily into the toilet until things disappeared.

 

 

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Keep all your important toiletries close.

water and brushing teeth

Don’t touch the water with your mouth. In Bangkok and bigger islands it’s safe-ish but not on small islands unless you absolutely know what’s going down with the water treatment. Keep a bottle by the sink so you remind yourself that you need to use clean water to brush your teeth. That being said. Use soap a lot too.

 

 

sand and the bum gun

You’re on a beach, so sand is gonna get everywhere. Sometimes the bum gun has better pressure, you can use that to clean the sand off the floor of your bathroom. Also, there’s something kind of sensible about cleaning yourself with water first before using TP.

My very basic, no frills bungalow.

A very basic, no frills bungalow.

sweep regularly

Keep shoes outside, wipe off the bed a lot and keep a towel or something near by to brush sand off your feet. The sand will fall between the floor boards, but you may as well get used to sleeping on a sandy bed.

 

 

 

Someone about to get lunch. And then he will poop at will.

Someone about to get lunch. And then he will poop at will.

gecko droppings

Ah these critters. There I was lying on my bed and plop – right on my forehead. And it stunk. If I had put my mosquito net up I probably wouldn’t have had yet another creature poop on me in Thailand. They’re unavoidable and harmless. They make some interesting noises at times, and when they scurry across your roof you’d think it was a raccoon, but they’re more scared of you than you are of them.

 

 

It's called the rainy season.

It’s called the rainy season.

rain

My roof was a thatched roof, for the most part. I’m not sure what the Thai equivalent is called. But it leaked a bit. What could I do? Complain? It was torrential rain. So I grabbed my little water bucket for the toilet and put it below the leak over my bed and moved over slightly while I watched a movie on my computer. Meh.

 

 

That’s my advice. Please tell me if you think I left anything out. Be prepared for jealous resort goers who see your hut on the beach and wonder why they’re staying in their over-priced AC room close to the road. Smile. You’re in paradise.

Let em walk by and stare.

Let em walk by and stare.

2 Responses to tips for staying in a hut

  1. Lol, the pooping gecko bandits. Did the geckos look something like this? Why I ask is we had two of these that roamed free around the chameleon room to eat the runaway crickets and they made some rather interesting noises during the night and were quite the little creepers. I’m sure they probably walked across my face while I was sleeping at some point or another but what I don’t know won’t hurt me 😉

    Carrie DeMichele November 1, 2014 at 3:50 pm Reply
  2. They don’t have spots. Most are a pale yellowy green and the heads are more narrow. Also I’ve never seen one that big. But I’m sure they get that big in the jungle.

    Nearly Intrepid November 1, 2014 at 3:55 pm Reply

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