How to Survive 3 Months in a Bamboo Shack

12 Feb 2021

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Trying to save a few bob and baht in Phangan, huh? You’re not the only one, obviously. Been there myself, lived to tell the tale, thank Buddha.

Yep, you can get a bungalow for 200 baht a night or stump up 4,500 baht for a whole month. And sure, it feels like sleeping out under the stars.
If you still want to be over the moon after a couple of weeks though, it pays to be prepared. Let me explain…

The roof – and how to fix it
Trust me! Bamboo shacks leak quickly, even if they’re just one year old. If you don’t want unwelcome showers to wake you up again when it’s pouring cats, dogs, rats and whatnot, you’d better get some silicone from Home Mart and fix that damn hole yourself.

The bungalow owner will be more than happy to provide you with a ladder when he’s faced with the potential cost of a carpenter. Alas, he wouldn’t pay one anyway.

The animals – and how to keep them at Haad Rin bay
Ever wondered where those squeaking sounds you hear at night are coming from? Nope! There’s no bird’s nest in your bungalow. These are rats.

Rat glue and rat baits come in handy. You can get them at Tesco, and even at 7eleven.

Don’t put the baits outside your bungalow, though. You don’t want to kill any dogs.
Since we’re talking about baits, there’s no harm in buying cockroach baits and ant traps as well. When you hear rats, the roaches can’t be very far. And ants will conquer your cabin sooner than you think. Eat inside once and there they are.

Let’s not forget the mozzies. Tesco sells Ars Mat 12  – a real party pooper to those pesky creatures. Unlike mosquito nets, the arse mat will have the extra benefit of not providing any food for geckos. I didn’t find garlic, eggshells or mothballs to be effective in terms of telling them to respect my night’s sleep.

The mess – and how to prevent your stuff from going astray
I know arranging your stuff neatly sucks, but you don’t want to find yourself not finding anything but bugs.

The loo – and how to avoid getting sick
If you’re going for the plainest or crudest kind, don’t expect to have a bathroom in your hut.
The bum gun aside – sooner or later you’ll love it anyway – you absolutely don’t need to worry about feeling queasy. I guarantee you won’t be looking down the toilet, talking frantically on that poor, big white telephone that can only listen and absorb but not respond. Come to think of it, oh yes it can, actually.

Be that as it may, don’t fret! You don’t need a person at the other end of the line to know what to do. You’ll learn how to squat like a skier in no time, let your bowels loose, and get out there before you have a chance to scream or catch some bug.

Need a taster? Have a look at this nice bowl:

The shower – and how to keep away from it
No, no, hear me out! You got the wrong end of the stick. I didn’t say you should become a scruffy begpacker.
But if the green mould on the damp wall is too much for you, why not have a shower in the restaurants’ toilets?

Speaking of mould, should you accept to be saddled with this crappy job, vinegar is supposed to help remove it.

And when you’ve absolutely had your fill of large brown insects and rodents with long tails, go out and have a whale of a time. All the animals on your mind will suddenly be amusing.

Written by and Photo Cr - Philipp Meier - Freelance Health and Travel Writer
I'm Philipp Meier, Freelance Health and Travel Writer / Translator. Formerly an accountant and English teacher, I now enjoy a quieter life as an expat in Thailand, writing travel-, alternative and mental health-related articles. I'm particularly passionate about Thai culture and travelling off the beaten track in the Land of Smiles. Find me on


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