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Accommodation in Thailand

From thatch hats to private pool villas

For decades, Thailand has been a budget traveller's paradise, and over the last few years, there's been an increasing surge in luxurious options throughout the country. So be you a budget traveller looking for the cheapest room in town or a flashpacker gliding in for a touch of pampering, there's bound to be something to satisfy your needs. While the majority of the luxury spots are found in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the Thai islands, budget guesthouses and cheap hotels can be found throughout the country from just about every mid-sized Thai town to in the middle of nowhere hidden away spots.

Do I need to make a reservation in advance?

It depends on when and where you are going. Destinations like Ko Phi Phi are packed to the rafters in high season and if you arrive without a reservation, you could well end up in a tent. Other peak periods when reservations are a very good idea (though not essential -- you'll always find a room somewhere...eventually) include:

Chiang Mai during the Songkran festival (Thai new year) and Loi Krathong
Yasothon during the Rocket Festival
Sukhothai during Loi Krathong
Ko Phi Phi in peak season
Railay Beach in peak season
Ko Pha ngan during the Full moon parties

Outside of the above, for budget guesthouses, unless you have your heart set on a specific guesthouse, you don't really need to make reservations in advance -- especially if you don't mind spending a bit of time looking around for a room. In the mid to upper range of resorts and hotels however, a reservation remains a good idea.

Travelfish reviews

Guesthouse and hotel reviews on Travelfish are independent and are written by our researchers who have visited, in person, every property we list. Unlike many travel websites, we do not allow the hotel or guesthouse to write the review and unlike some travel guide publishers, we do not accept any kind of discount, payment or other freebie in return for coverage -- positive or negative. The links below lead directly to the accommodation section for some of the more popular destinations in Thailand.

Should I make reservations online?

A comprehensive range of accommodation in most major destinations in Thailand can be booked online. While it's true that getting a room in peak season can be more difficult than in the past, with one or two exceptions (notably Ko Phi Phi, where peak season reservations are close to essential, and Ko Pha Ngan over the Full Moon party's and New Year's when accommodation on some parts of the island is near impossible to get), you will always be able to find a bed somewhere, even in the peakest of peak season. Admittedly the bed may be in the twentieth guesthouse you've tried, housed in a fibro shack between the water treatment plant and a garbage tip and managed by a hardened misanthrope, but hey it's only a 45 minute shadeless walk to the beach, so it's not all bad. There's a few pros and cons of reserving in advance and here's some pointers worth considering.

What should you expect for your money in Thailand?

If you're on a tight budget and are willing to forego some creature comforts there are some very cheap guesthouses in Thailand. The larger centres, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket are all a bit pricier then elsewhere as are some of the heavily touristed spots like Ko Phi Phi, while some of the cheapest fare can be found on the islands.

As a general rule, using Bangkok as an example, this is what budget travellers should expect for their money:

Under 100B: Gets you a dorm room with a fan or a very grotty single room with a smelly mattress, noisy fan and share bathroom. The sheets, if there are any, will only be changed when you leave. Expect thin walls and dreary drapes and plan on spending as much time as possible outside.

100B-450B: Gets you a typical budget room. The higher end of this range should get you a room including your own bathroom that will be moderately clean. The room will be big enough for a clean bed with sheets, and a couple of bags, plus maybe a chair or two. It may have either a large ceiling fan or a small desktop one.

450B-800B: Gets you a decent fan or basic air-con room, which should be clean and well kept and include a good bathroom. Your bed will have a clean mattress and sheets. Generally larger than the lower price range, these rooms often have a desk and chair. You might even get something tasteful.

800B-1,500B: Gets you a spotless room with reliable air-con, a comfortable bed and a clean, well-equipped bathroom. The room will be spacious and may have a few extras such as a bar fridge and TV with limited cable.

1,500B+: As the price rises from here, expect more extras, such as TV with full cable, DVD player, a mini-bar, balcony, breakfast and so on.



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