I am thinking of visiting Phi Phi, Ko Jum and Railay around christmas time and spending a couple of nights at each location. I dont really want to pre-book accommodation, however at the same time I dont want to end up sleeping on the beach either!! I would really like to stay in simple bungalow accommodation close to the beach, is prebooking essential at this time of year?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated
#1 annas has been a member since 25/11/2006. Posts: 3
Welcome to Travelfish!
I'm not normally one to suggest reservations, but in the case of Phi Phi and Railay you've probably already missed the boat as many of the places which take online reservations are already full (yes full!) over Xmas / New Years.
That said there are a bunch of places on Phi Phi that rely on walk-in only so they can't be booked online, but I'd suggest getting there as early as possible and be prepared for the possibility of being sorely disappointed in your search for simple bungalow accommodation close to the beach. Jokes aside you could end up on the beach -- at least the beach is nice!
Railay is a slightly better proposition as it won't be quite as heaving as Phi Phi and the mangrove side has a lot of bungalow-burbs -- Tonsai Bay may be a good bet as nowhere there takes reservations.
So pre-booking isn't essential, but without it you may be doing a lot of legwork before you find a room that is fit for human habitation.
Hope that helps!
Sounds like I better pack my sleeping bag!! Thanks so much for your advice!!
#3 annas has been a member since 25/11/2006. Posts: 3
No problem - the first time I went to Phi Phi I ended up on the beach -- or rather a restaurant floor! If the island is full -- hit up a restaurant for a table to sleep on -- sleeping on fine white sand is well over-rated -- believe me!
Do you think I will have the same sort of trouble at Ko Jum?
#5 annas has been a member since 25/11/2006. Posts: 3
I'm also going to Phi Phi over Xmas. While I don't like pre-booking so far in advance, I decided to do it.. and am glad I did. Only because I wanted to stay at a specific place. I called Ao Toh Ko and got myself 2 bungalows, arriving on Christmas Day. I was of the opinion that Ao Toh Ko would be quieter than the other parts of the island, and indeed they did have vacancies. If you like you can try calling them. I called Maprao as well and though I didn't go ahead with booking the rooms I think you might still be able to get yourself a room if you call now.
Again, like somtam2000 said, there're those walk-in types of places where you can try your luck!
There's been quite a few reports of Ao Toh Ko not honouring reservations -- they don't move people on if they decide to prolong their stay -- even if they've accepted a reservation for the hut ... they really shouldn't accept reservations at all if they is how they want to run the huts ... but hey, what do I know!
Given Ao Toh Ko's isolation this can be a problem, so I'd suggest triple conforming your reservation once in-country.
Maphrao is another excellent choice.
Do you think Phi Phi and Railey will be full from Dec 10th to 17th?
Similar to Anna I dont really want to book as I would prefer to suss out area first. Budget is 2000-4000bht
#9 wayward has been a member since 17/11/2006. Posts: 1
Welcome to Travelfish!
Full no. Very very busy yes.
Both Phi Phi and Railay have stacks of places to stay -- some are great and others are absolute rubbish. Not surprisingly the good stuff fills up first and we're seeing most of the good stuff that can be booked online as already being full across the silly season.
Be prepared to do a fair amount of walking around searching for a room, and don't be surprised if you end up in something a tad grotty for the first night or two. Of course that may not happen, you may well walk off the boat and straight into a great reasonably priced beachfront room -- that's the upside of not booking ahead.
Would I book ahead? I'm not one to book much of anything (other than a plane ticket ;-) -- I prefer to just show up and wing it. Though to be honest if somewhere was so crowded I had to book it to get a bed I'd probably skip the whole place as I prefer a sleepy beach holiday without the crowds.
You can always send out some reservation requests for the places that can be booked online -- there's no commitment involved and it will give you an idea of how full the place really will be then.
Hope that helps!
If you're really concerned, go to Koh Jum first when the holiday is at its peak. As already mentioned, not too many people go there and quite a few places have opened up there in the last few years. And, even if you can't find a place that you want, you might be able to stay in the village. You won't be forced to sleep on the beach, that's for sure. Even if you had to, it's a very nice beach.