Why is it you always vividly remember the stuff that goes horribly wrong?
In my two months in South East Asia I stayed in dozens of places but there’s only one I’m compelled to write about: Tohko Beach Resort on Koh Phi Phi.
You see we were after something a little bit fancy for our last three nights in Thailand, so a beachfront bungalow on a private beach, on the five-star resort side of the island (without the five-star price tag) sounded perfect.
As we longboat towards it I excitedly exclaim: “I think this will be the flashiest place we’ve stayed in.”
We pull in and a friendly cross-eyed resort worker with straggly rasta hair comes to meet us. The first thing that comes out of his mouth is: “power 6pm to 6am.”
Ok, didn’t see that in the hotel description.
We’re led to our bungalow.
There’s a large concrete pit outside that once might have been a jacuzzi.
The bathroom is like stepping into a musty damp dungeon with the lack of electricity during the day.
The air-conditioning in the room is nothing more than three rusty fans.
It’s more shanty than bungalow.
In fairness this place might have once been nice. Once being pre-2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. It feels like rather than cut their losses the owners just adopted a business as usual approach. Tsunami what tsunami?
We’re devastated as we’ve pre-paid for three nights here. We drown our sorrows with Chang and eat in their restaurant (there’s nowhere else to go) which also doubles as a hair salon.
The whole situation’s got me in a feral mood so I decide to hit the owner up about the false advertising. He seems surprised and shows me their website with photos airbrushed more than a model and asks “what’s not the same?” I feel like saying, “Um, it’s a shit hole.”
I bite my tongue and diplomatically argue that their written advertisement does not accurately reflect the situation we find ourselves in.
We book the first longboat out of here for the next morning and tell ourselves it’s just one night, how bad can it be?
It’s the longest night of my life. I don’t sleep. The wind from the creaking fan doesn’t reach my side of the bed. It’s filthy hot, especially after 6am when the electricity shuts down for the day. And worst of all this bed hides a nasty little secret.
Bed bugs, which spend the night munching on my face and body.
I have never been so happy to leave a place in all my life and it seems I’m not the only one.
Although if you scroll down there are some raving reviews, I think the people must have been on mushy shakes when they wrote them.