Travelling the few miles from our last location was more problematic than we expected. We knew Yab Yum was located on Ashvem beach and my wife, having seen it in passing (albeit it from the beach three years ago), was confident she knew where it was. Our taxi driver certainly wasn’t confident (it seems quite normal in India for the cab drivers to have no knowledge of the area!), and after a few miles of searching, and scratching of heads, we call upon the help of some local insight for directions.
No wonder we can’t find it. We are directed down a narrow road with no signpost to indicate Yab Yum’s existence, which is a little disconcerting.
I needn’t have worried. As the taxi pulls up to the gates and two porters take our luggage, we are greeted with the wonderful sight of yummy Yab Yum.
Picture the houses of the “Shire” in the Lord of the Rings films, a lush jungle and access to a soft sandy beach, then mix in an enchanted forest, and you have Yab Yum. Giant white light balls float above, and you half-expect an elf or gnome to jump out of the foliage and hoodwink you!
We follow our porters to reception, a little shala tucked away down a side path, where we are offered a choice of welcome drinks. We gratefully choose one, and I gulp down my fresh watermelon juice eager to quench my thirst in the heat and humidity.
The reception lady shows us personally to our “hut” whilst the porters bring our cases (carried aloft, as I’m guessing they don’t pull too well through sand! Amazingly, they make light work of my wife’s packing!). The dome, or “coconut”, as Anne likes to call it, is a treat. Fully thatched with shuttered windows, these individual huts have their own dedicated outdoor area, with table, chairs and a comfy hammock. It doesn’t take long for that to be put to use!
Enter the magical forest of Yab Yum to sleep in a giant coconut surrounded by palm trees and swaying hammocks
On our door is an extensive breakfast menu, from which you select indicating your preferred time slot. Pop this on your door and the idea is that breakfast will magically appear.
Once through the double wooden doors, you are greeted by the sight of a colourful sitting area with bright cushions and beyond, the domed centre where your king size four poster bed takes centre floor. Netting surrounds the bed, to keep out the critters at night, and a giant fan whirrs above. Yab Yum operates a sustainability policy which means no air-conditioning, but don’t worry, the fan and sea breeze keep the rooms relatively cool.
To the rear is the bathroom, with a modern toilet, sink and rain-shower. You can adopt an al fresco approach to hygiene if you throw open the shutters by the shower, but you may give the neighbours an eyeful if you do.
An Amphibian Visitor
A word of caution, which is mentioned in the room information; you may come across the occasional roaming frog in the bathroom. These are perfectly harmless and quite cute, but I forgot to mention this fact to my wife, and am alerted to my negligence by a loud scream signifying we have a visitor. One has decided to set up residence on the inside pan of our toilet which she doesn’t seem to appreciate not wishing to share the loo!
There are a variety of domes as well as a yoga studio, bar and restaurant, chill-out area and direct access to the beach. Whichever dome you’re in, you won’t have far to walk before you are on luscious Ashvem beach, but bring your flip-flops. As tempting as it may be to ditch the shoes, the sand is red-hot so you may have to make a quick dash to Yab Yum’s sun beds if you wish to go all Robinson Crusoe.
Children Roam Free
Yab Yum has a discrete gated entrance roadside and a palm gateway to the beach, otherwise forestation and giant wooden walls protect the property, making it feel a very safe oasis. Testament to this is the number of families staying here, and children roam freely around the grounds with their parents safe in the knowledge that their children cannot escape. Then again, who would want to?
Security cameras are dotted around for added piece of mind, although my wife did think these were music speakers for a party!
Walking around Yab Yum is enchanting, with sandy walkways, foliage and flowers and sun streaming through the palm trees. The gentle sound of the crashing sea always is a winner for me too.
Come night-time, the white balls light up (plus the occasional green one too) and bowls of burning essence are placed around to deter any nasty mosquitoes. There’s a lovely smokey scented aroma in the air which I find very soothing and calming.
We decide to not venture out and head to the Yab Yum restaurant (apparently it’s open 24 hours). The menu has a great selection, but is a tad more expensive than you would pay on the beach.
Yummy Yab Yum Dining
After ordering our drinks and food, we sit listening to the ocean, and this is where yummy Yab Yum slightly lets us down. I order drinks and after an eternity, only my wife’s arrives. I order another thinking it may just have been a breakdown in communication.
Food takes around 40 mins to come and this time just mine arrives, with assurance that my wife’s will be along soon. By the time hers finally turns up, I’ve finished so not great but I have to say, the chicken tikka kebab was delicious.
A Frogless Night
After checking for frogs, we retire for the night and a peaceful night’s sleep which is a rarity in India!
We spend the following morning chilling in the garden as we await our breakfast, but the magic has well and truly deserted us and nothing turns up. We ask a passing waiter who looks confused, goes off to check and returns saying we haven’t ordered! He asks whether we filled in a card, I confirm I have and placed it back on the door as requested.
He checks the door to discover that some wally has neglected to remove the filled in card before putting a new blank one on top! He scuttles off and breakfast arrives around 40 mins later.
It is worth waiting for as you can see but somewhat frustrating nevertheless.
Hopefully, our service issue is just a one-off because I would highly recommend Yab Yum. It is a highly relaxed, unique, well positioned and gorgeous place to stay, whether for one night or a longer experience.
The normal cost for a hut like ours in October is around £40 per night. Not backpacker budget but great value for a unique experience.
Maybe you have stayed at Yab Yum. If so, what was your experience? Do let us know below.
We stayed courtesy of Yab Yum, but all views are our own and unedited. We provided feedback on the issues we experienced, and I’m confident a thorough investigation took place, based on the explanation we received. This gives me confidence that Yab Yum do take service seriously.