The Beaches

Remembering the Treehouse on Lonely Beach

All good things must come to an end and I just realised that I hadn’t mentioned that the establishment that was solely responsible for putting Koh Chang on the backpacker’s map had closed for good.

When I first came to Thailand I stayed in a 50 baht/night dorm room off Khao San Road and met a guy who told me stories of a beautiful beach on Koh Chang, totally undeveloped apart from one place to stay at it’s southern end. To get to the beach you had to walk over a hill and then gingerly down a steep slope, with the help of ropes as there was no road. Neither was there any electricity. He’d buy gunpowder in Bangkok take it down there and spend the evenings getting stoned and making rockets to fire across the bay. That was the night’s entertainment. No music, no parties, no movies, no live football.

This was over 15 years ago and the huts were the Treehouse on Lonely Beach. The original huts went under the bulldozer about 3 years ago but the bar and restaurant over the sea survived until a couple of months ago. The building is still there but now deserted. Nearby the landlord is building new, sterile concrete bungalows on the site of the original 100 baht a night bamboo huts on Lonely Beach.

No doubt there are a few thirty somethings with fond memories of the Treehouse in its prime. Time to light up a herbal cigarette and down a bucket of Mekhong whisky & Redbull in memory.

Some photos I’ve ripped off from Flickr and elsewhere of The Treehouse in its former glory plus some taken in late Oct 2010.


  • Ah, loved reading through these comments to evoke some memories. I was delighted to see two of my photos in your gallery Ian. Sad to hear it’s all a memory now. It was a special place!

  • We heard about the Treehouse from another backpacker (thank you Andrew from the UK) while traveling in the Philippines in 2000, so we put it in our list when we arrived in Thai. A planned 3 day stay turned into 3 weeks and we never wanted to leave. The German lady owner was so nice and put us up in a great bamboo hut with a small deck with ocean water flowing underneath. We could hear the gentle sound of water lapping onto the rocks as we slept. The restaurant was epic- a scene from a movie. A walk-up bbq buffet where you pick the fish you want them to cook for you, and find a nice table with an ocean view under the big open air deck. Evenings after dinner it was whisky & Red Bull, sneak up the steep rickety spiral stairs to the smoking loft above the restaurant. All the while, the club chill music pumping soothingly throughout the public area amongst the conversations, games and laughter under the moonlight. What a great place. And a quick walk to the beautiful beach was the daily routine. It was like going to a place that far exceeded your dreams of how cool a place could be, a total escape from reality.

  • I went to Koh Chang in 1992. I was backpacking around south east Asia by myself for the year and ended up taking a boat from Trat – I believe the boat went only every few days. I remember jumping off the boat into the water with my backpack on and my clothes were wet for days. I only remember the one hostel on the beach and it was filled with a few backpackers and a few Thai military types. It was a quiet, beautiful island.

  • Oh man I was just remembering my time there and looking through old photos. It was 2007. Not perhaps the glory days but still a fairly untouched paradise! I googled it and found your article and 5 of the photos you use are mine! What a small world!! I had a ball there. Sad to know it’s only a memory now.

  • I spent about a month there in 1991, Not sure if it was the same owner or same place she was once married to a German who she divorced. The boat only came in every 2 weeks and the restaurant was protected by a Monkey tied up to a tree. Met my first pirates there and had many many great times memories. I actually was pick pocketed before i got on the boat there so had to wait and go back to trat with the owner to give pay her for my time there. I was 21 at the time. Next time i go back to Ireland I will look to see if i can dig up some old pictures and post them on her.

  • I stayed there in 1999, and I am quite sure that it was the only place to stay, ie there was nothing else at lonely beach at all. I remember the road finishing and trekking up & down for a while until hitting the northern end of lonely beach and walking through the pristine sand with backpack until arriving at the Treehouse. From my memory most of the rooms were different shapes and sizes, some had x2 floors, some bamboo and square, and mine was circular brickwork with a thatched type roof!! [I think!!] It was a wonderful place in the days when backpacking was backpacking. Reading, lying in a hammock, telling travel stories and spirituality was the norm which is much better than getting drunk on buckets every night!! Anyway I went back there 3 years ago [2016] and just recently Feb 2019, this time with children and in my 40’s!!!…and it’s still a nice place but not so lonely anymore!! From my memory the Treehouse was where Siam Hut is now, although after looking at those pictures I don’t think that it is, I think it may have been a few hundred meters further north!……Shortly after visiting lonely beach in 1999 I ended up living in the south of Thailand for 11 years and I remember Ko Lanta had a place called the Treehouse in about 2002, so maybe that was where the German lady went!!!

  • Originally they did. The owners of the Treehouse on Lonely beach moved to Long beach and set up there. However that was later taken over by their landlord, the original owners left to go to the south of Thailand. The Treehouse that’s there now only has the same name. No connection at all to the original owners or place on Lonely beach.

  • Just came across this page – I spent three weeks at Siam Hut and spent every night at the treehouse in June 2005 – some of the best of my life. For me it was my memory of paradise, seeing the photos of it deserted is just devastating. Tempus Fugit. The spirit of the place and everybody there was just so special. It was the amazing green curry and treehouse buckets! So glad to hear everybody else’s memories of this little gem!

  • I had the great pleasure to stay there in November 1998 for 2 fantastic weeks, when Lonely Beach was still a lonely, lovely and natural place without a road. I found it to be the best guesthouse I came across in a 3-year trip around the world. It was Pamela, who took care of the place and its friendly vibe. She made it such an outstanding place for backpackers. Best host ever !!!
    Hoffentlich schaffe ich es in den nächsten Jahren doch nocheinmal aus dem kalten Franken in das tropische Thailand zum neuen Tree House auf Koh Samui zu reisen.

  • My son (then 10) and I had a great time there in 2000, very fond memories, hung out with Johan and Dao and played Pass the Pigs. Atit was the same age as my son Ryan, so it was nice he had someone to hang out with.

  • Stayed there in 1998 this place still remains the best place I stayed. I have fond memories. I spent a Christmas there and the place nearly burned down. But we (everyone there) saved it. What was the German Chicks name? Lovely girl…and creator of “Tree house”

  • Completely gutted! I loved this place it was totally my cuppa tea. Great memories. We stayed here then stayed at Nature resort across the beach but went to tree house every night. best bar in the world. what a shame. Thailand is losing it’s charm. xx

  • Gutted. I stayed at Maggies Place on Lonely Beach in 2004. We were only meant to be there for a couple of days and stayed a week. If I didn’t leave then I never would. Maggies was 100 baht a night for a wee bamboo hut and a concrete basin with a bucket for washing. Feel truly blessed to have been there. Wherever Maggie is I hope she is happy. Treehouse was a magical place.

  • Lonely Beach has changed quite a lot since you were last there, more bars, moving more upmarket and away from doing everything as cheaply as possible. Still worth going there but it will be a different atmosphere. If you want ‘old skool’ huts – then Tiger Hut on Klong Prao beach is a good bet – quiet, no loud parties, long beach , good restaurant.

  • Just planning a trip back to koh Chang and discovered the Treehouse is no more! What a shame. What a great place. Sitting there sipping a cold Chang as the sun went down. All the lanterns lot up. And some great parties. I can’t imagine LB is the same without it. Is it still worth going back to LB? Let me know somebody

  • Damn!!i to am truly gutted to see that the treeehouse has come to an end.I first went to koh chang 15yrs ago,when it was still wild and wooly.went in 2005 and first taste of the treehouse,what a blast!!spent a month exploring the island and took my girlfriend there 3 years ago,apart from the obvious cash in on the tourist explosion,lonely beach was still quaint,and an awesome place to stay at.was considering heading back to koh chang in a few months but am guessing i will be mostly disapointed in the excessive development tht will have occurred…..

  • I have amazing memories from that place.. I hope my second trip back after 12 years will be as memorable.

    Where to stay?

  • Beyond gutted this place has gone. It holds some of my most awesome/found/happiest/amazing memories! It felt awful seeing it slowly falling to pieces when I returned in 2010! :(

  • So sad, I went there twice in 2001 was supposed to be for a few days, turned into 2 weeks! great memories

  • Hi Dave. If you go to the site you will see it is now called ‘Seaflower’ – pretty nice pink AC bungalows for around 1000 Baht/night. Pamela opened a new Treehouse on Koh Pa Ngan – but just looked at their Facebook page and that has now closed too. See for info

  • Was just showin my kids some photos of the Treehouse and was promising to take them next year am guttered it’s gone,has Pamela got a new place?

  • Cannot believe it’s gone – i had two amazing trips to Thailand and this place was a real gem – very close to my heart and will be sadly missed:(

  • Oh dear that breaks my heart, I stayed there in 2005 and it was the amazing. I can not get my head around why the land lord forced them out. What a bummer, i feel lucky to have experienced it in its glory.

  • To bad, meny memories from treehouse. And they had a great
    restaurant to. Everything comes to an end:(

  • You will still find cheap & cheerful huts in the Lonely Beach area. Try Siam Hut if you want to be near the sand or Little Eden for a similar price but a bit more comfort and in a quieter area away from the noise.

  • that’s shattering that it is closed down, heard so many good stories about that place and was planning on going there in 2 weeks. can anyone recommend at good cheap bungalow style place that still exists on koh chang?

  • Oh damn, that place was a true gem. I just recommended it to a friend who’s visiting the island but she told me the Treehouse had closed down. Well, I hope something good rises from the ashes…

  • it never re-opened, so doesnt have a new name. It just a wooden building that is slowly falling to pieces.

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