I tried searching the forum for this question but haven't been able to find an answer that applies to us and would appreciate some help! We are heading to Koh Tao on Jan 25th, and have the first four nights booked. We had planned on winging it from there... finding new accomm on the island if we like it, or moving across to Koh Phang Nan if we feel like a change of scenery. We need to be back on Koh Samui on Feb 5th for a mid-morning flight to Phuket (and then home), but other than that we have no plans. We don't plan on staying at Samui, just using it as a transit point.
My question is... will finding available accommodation be an issue? Our requirements are a bungalow (not a hotel), western toilet, air con (though this is more flexible) and we'd prefer to be on the beach, or with a view of the beach. We're open to paying up to and possibly a bit more than 1500 baht.
We had thought this wouldn't be an issue as we did it on Koh Mak and in Bangkok in '09, but I just read that accommodation books out months ahead... not sure if that's just scare-mongering (it was an accomm-booking website!). I know it's high season, but I understand that the Full Moon Party is on the 19th Jan and 19th Feb, so we will miss both dates and their associated bungalow shortage.
If anyone has experience with finding 'walk in' accommodation on Koh Tao / Koh Phang Nan in high season it would be much appreciated! We really would prefer the freedom of figuring it out as we go but don't want to leave ourselves short.
#1 JessandScott has been a member since 7/12/2008. Posts: 34
Even when thee full moon is you can get walk in accommodation in Phangnan (though not in Hadrin). We went to Koh Tao straight after the full moon and had booked everything with a dive company which was lucky as there was no accommodation left at this time (people were sleeping in restaurants, massage parlours, on the beach, etc). This was due to the fact that there was a surge in people leaving Phagnan for Koh Tao and also as there was a Swedish music festival going on on Koh Tao. If you're missing the full moons I can't imagine it would be a problem but just make sure there aren't any other big events on either. Hope this helps, Clare.
#2 claramon has been a member since 12/12/2005. Posts: 2
I was in Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan late Jan/early Feb last year. I left Koh Phangan the day before the FMP and headed to Koh Tao on 1 Feb I think. I wanted to avoid the FMP, and I thought my moving on to Koh Tao I may have been 1-2 days ahead of the rest of the pack. I was wrong!
I found accom very difficult to sort out on Koh Tao. I ended up staying in an area that I didn't particularly want to go to, and paying a higher rate than I wanted. I was able to move into a cheaper bungalow the next day at the same place, but I wasn't particularly happy with the area generally. I spent a fair bit of time on the phone each morning trying to find a vacant room in a more central area. After 4 days of this, I gave up and left the island. Basically no one could tell me if they had any vacancies coming up because they never knew when a room was vacant until someone decided to just check out. No one would take a booking.
And I didn't feel like traipsing around the island looking for accom. In hindsght, I might have had better luck doing this, but I just wasn't up for it.
You might find it a bit easier as you are missing the FMP's.
Probably not what you wanted to hear!
I think Koh Tao is generally difficult if you're not diving as most of the accommodation is associated with dive operators who prefer dive customers for obvious reasons. I got my accommodation free, included with a dive package (booked and paid for 2 days in advance), this was Feb 2009 so it may have got even busier since.
If you're willing to pay 1500B you should easily be able to book places in advance... even calling by skype the day before works well if you dont want everything set in stone. Then you don't have to traipse around with your backpack in the heat. Clare
#4 claramon has been a member since 12/12/2005. Posts: 2
Thank you everyone for your replies... We have since decided to spend all our time on Koh Tao, so are going to go ahead and book somewhere to stay in the next few days... I figure I can handle less flexibility if the payoff is not having to endlessly traipse around or put up with really problematic accommodation.
Thanks again for your help! One final question.. Can anyone personally recommend a place? We have been reading reviews on this and other sites but it's always good to get a recommendation!
Ps busy lizzy I really hope we avoid your situation, that sounds awful!
#5 JessandScott has been a member since 7/12/2008. Posts: 34
I was planning a trip to ko Tao but after reading so many people bagging resorts there decided against it. Could only find one place for a good price that had all good reviews and it was a bit isolated.
Seems prices there are hefty for what you get.
#6 Krabiman has been a member since 2/1/2011. Posts: 223
I'm thinking having the first 4 nights booked that time of year is a real wise move. I'm also thinking this gives you time to adjust yer bearings and book somewhere else.
My own experience NOV/EARLY DEC plus anecdotal evidence since suggests this year may be quieter than average.
K-man - don't write off Tao. Real good island. Sure it tends to be more expensive than a lot (blame those BIG SPENDING divers) but a real good destination.
I am going to that part of Thailand next week (Samui/Tao/Phangan) but is it true that Ko Tao is that expensive?
I am after a CHEAP beach hut (300B), I don't care about nice shower or AC (though a fan would be nice). I am by myself and think I'm too scared to rent a moped, I did on Samui a few years back and it was fine but I have heard too many bad stories about Tao. SO my question is... Where are the cheap beach huts on Tao? I don't mind if its a quiet part of the island....
Also my second question is which part of the island is the best for swimming (e.g not all shallow)?
Thank you people. :)
#8 sassie has been a member since 20/1/2011. Posts: 3