Surrounded by relatively clean waters and festooned with bright tropical flowers, countless butterflies, and charming locals who retain the old island ways, Ko Bulon Lae is something special. It might not be for everyone — none of the resorts have air-con or TV, and electricity only runs from 17:00 to 23:00 each evening — but for those who seek peace and quiet, or just a peak into one of Thailand’s most unique islands, Ko Bulon Lae is well worth a visit. Many come back again and again to enjoy the particular tranquility they’ve only found here,so don’t be surprised if Bulon casts its spell on you.
For travellers with some time on their hands, Bulon Lae is a great place for alonger stay. There are several welcoming and reasonably comfortable accommodation options, with some quality bungalows available for dirt cheap prices. It’s a short ride (about an hour) from Pakbara pier, as long as waters are calm. Passengers are typically dropped off on the beach near Bulone Resort, which is situated around the best white sands on the island. Longtail boats meet the ferry and charge 50B per person. This is a rare and important income for Chao Lay drivers, and must be paid.
A handful of laidback resorts are found scattered along the eastern side of the island. All that lies to the west is a tiny fishing village and untouched jungle. The more expensive resorts are based around the best beach to the south while the village and a handful of cheap resorts are found to the north, near quiet Panka Yai Bay.
A sporadically paved path connects points on the island, and the smell of palm oil grows stronger as one heads towards the east. Both coconut oil and rubber continue to be important industries here, and it’s a pleasant walk through the rubber trees running up the island’s southern end.
Every night generators switch on around 18:00 and Bulon lights up for another relaxed evening. Be warned that the paths are not lit at night, and Bulon has an especially great population of often large monitor lizards, so be sure to bring a torch.
There have also been several reports of shoes — even those in shabby shape — being stolen from the porches of bungalows around the island, so it’s a good idea to bring shoes and clothing indoors at night time.
Moreso than other islands in the area, Ko Bulon Lae is highly seasonal. It’s best to come between late November and mid-April. Even if you show up in mid-October when most area islands are starting to get rolling, expect only one resort to be open with a skeleton staff and very limited eating options.
There are NO banks on Ko Bulon Lae, so be sure to bring enough cash with you.