My friend and I spent a week in Ko Chang, Thailand. We casually rode around the island our scooter, often the best way to explore islands. We rode to the south of the island and soon after we passed Bang Bao area and about 10 minutes pass the Hippy Hut, we arrived at a chill, hippy-like area with two small restaurants and a sign inviting people for a weekly jam session every Friday, which I was keen to do.
We were originally going to rent a tent for four days at 100 baht each per night (about $3.25 US). But just 30 meters past the tent area, we checked out a unique-looking driftwood house that was next to a small bar where weekly jam sessions happened that was organized by the owner Cheap. Anyone could join and play drums and other instruments that were around.
This part of the house costs 150 baht a night shared between my friend and I. For 75 baht each (just under $2), we had more space compared to the tent, a mosquito net, a roof over our head, all you can play instruments around us and be close to a wonderful owner. This has by far been the best value for accommodation the past year.
He didn’t have money to buy land so he built his house and bungalows all by himself, including the electricity and water pumps. He learned how to do everything on his own.
His place could even pick up Wi-Fi from the restaurant nearby. I was laughing because I met someone on a jungle trekking tour who paid 2000 baht a night and didn’t even have Wi-Fi that worked.
One night when we came back from the day, my friend and I were planning on eating somewhere in town for dinner. But when we got back to the house, Cheap invited everyone around for a BBQ. I wasn’t sure if we would have to pay but it was wonderful food and a chance to cook with him.
We helped him make pad thai and he was grilling fish, meat, mango salad and it was all delicious. He invited everyone who was passing by his area to join us for the meal. He was very welcoming. In he end, he didn’t charge anyone for the feast of food.
By contrast, I found many of the foreign people who were staying at his place quiet and exclusive. People weren’t so friendly or just kept to themselves, which is the opposite of most of the local people I spend time with in Asia.
We sadly left his wonderful house and left to catch our ferry. The only difference between this place and a more pricey resort is that a resort has nicer walls and more unfriendly people. Other than that, the beautiful views, food quality and Wi-Fi access are the same.
On our last night, I wanted to take time to jam with Cheap. I felt bad for not spending more time with him during the days we were there. He looked sad that we were leaving and when we were talking about the people who come, he said, “But they all leave.” I hope to see him again one day and stay longer for another jam session with our dear friend.