Hello fellow travellers,
We are going to Thailand for one month and then to India for another 2 months.
We are looking for low budget accommodation 13 nights in december-january. As we understand crowds can be high so we are already making preparations. We were looking Ko Tao but we understand that it is the wet season there.
So now we are not sure which way to go maybe Koh Chang? Somewhere in Krabi province as it is less wet there in december Koh Lanta, does this have clear water? We do not necessarilly need to stay on one of the islands.
We have 3 simple "wishes"
1. A nice white sandy beach and clear water. (snorkling)
2. laid back, backpackers style, nightlife with some bars & restaurants.
3. hut or fan bungalow.
Advice on a region or accommodation would be highly appreciated...
#1 elmo77 has been a member since 15/7/2012. Posts: 3
Lanta has nice beaches but limited snorkelling so would need to do a tour. Same with Chang. Both larger style islands which can be explored on bike. Water quality is fine on both islands but no real reefs for fish hence the need to do a tour.
Phi Phi has off the beach snorkelling as does Ngai/Hai but both islands can be pricey. PP has some basic cheaper options though. Muk is another option.
#2 longbeach has been a member since 28/3/2012. Posts: 307
Nice white sandy beaches which have nightlife and bungalows naturally tend to be at their busy peak during December. Phi Phi is mega-busy then, but yep it has some of the best sand and clear water (shared with scores of bodies and at a price). Lanta is less intense tourist-wise, but the sand is more "sand-coloured" and the water is not as clear. As above advises, you can do daytrips to good snorkeling sites from both of these islands. Ko Lipe is probably the current wunder-kid becoming very popular in recent years and again has some of the whitest sand and some decent off-beach snorkeling on either side of Pattaya beach, but it's also mega-busy in December.
A bit of compromising may be required to get the balance you're looking for. Lanta is one of them (stay farther down the island for quieter scene), also some of the smaller B-list islands like Ko Phayam and little Ko Chang near Ranong, or Ko Jum next to Ko Lanta, Ko Ngai, Ko Muk and Ko Kradan south of Lanta, or Ko Yao Yai/Noi east of Phuket. Ko Samet also has some nice sugary sand and clear water but no coral hence not much snorkeling fun, and it gets loads of tourists from Bangkok weekenders so try mid-week.
Pick up a copy of Lonely Planet's Islands and Beaches guidebook to read-up on these destinations. Also browse the Travelfish section on southern islands for info on accommodation, etc.
Samet does have off the beach snorkelling. It's not in the league of Phi Phi though. How much is low budget btw? For some that might be 300 baht for others 1000 baht. Hard to recommend without a more specific guide.
#4 longbeach has been a member since 28/3/2012. Posts: 307
Check travelfish reviews and Google for Relax Resort on the less visited laid back east coast of Phi Phi. None of the party animals make it to the lovely little beach at Relax Bay (Had Pak Nam). Snorkelling on the fringing reef right off the beach there. No other resorts (it's flashpacker standard).
Thank you everyone for your replies.
Will check out the websites.
Also my low budget is anything inbetween 800-1700 bath per night.
Is this realistic or not?
Also I was thinking staying at the mainland of Krabi for the holidays.
Then heading to the islands after New Years, so after tenth of January.
#7 elmo77 has been a member since 15/7/2012. Posts: 3
If 800 to 1700 is for bungalow alone that will do it.
If it is for everything once on the ground you may have to be a bit more picky re accommodation - the Andaman has got expensive lately.
My past few trips have averaged around 1500 on everything - I travel alone, stay budget, move on often, drink a fair bit but don't party. That is a high season figure but not peak-peak like yours.
Staying at Krabi is a good idea. It normally is very busy that time of year so you won't be able to find anything cheap walk in at Railay. But Ton Sai, Ao Nang and Krabi town itself will have less expensive accommodation (might still require a bit of a search) - high on the right hand side track at Ton Sai (start on the main loop track from the middle of the beach) tends to have some very inexpensive bungalows for the Andaman.
The islands are normally still crowded thru January into February, but less so than over Xmas/New Year.
I usually pay 1000-1700 baht for good rooms in 3.5-4 star resorts but that's low season prices. Prices jump up high season by 40-100%. But you should be able to find some decent guesthouses and 3 star resorts within your budget. This website will have backpacker and flashpacker recommendations. Also look at B&Bs on Trip Advisor which are called guesthouses in Thailand.
#9 longbeach has been a member since 28/3/2012. Posts: 307
Thank you very much for your replies.
We will fly out to Phuket and arrive on the 6th of January 2013.
We are heading for Koh Phayam (Hornbill Hut) and chilling there before starting our trip.
Now we are in doubt to visit Ao Nang OR going to Khao Lak for a few days. As we have never visited Thailand before any tips, hints, suggestions are very much appreciated.
#10 elmo77 has been a member since 15/7/2012. Posts: 3