I hate to bring this up again, but I'm still trying to figure out which island to go to...
I'm heading to Koh Wai next, then my plan was Koh Maak... more affordable, but not as nice beaches so I'm told. Koh Kut - beautiful beaches, but very expensive to stay & that includes transport... (speed boats only)
Sorry Tezza, I forgot all about your post:
"Alt - google Coco Cape Resort on Ko Mak. This joint is actually quite a midrange resort but it does have some cheap overwater-on-stilts backpacker bungalows. And a lovely pool where the water wasn't all that warm three weeks ago.
one thing I noticed - when you pushed south of Chang the water was so much clearer - that crystal clear stuff on Wai and Kut that people rave abt when talking tropical islands and not too bad on Mak. BTW Ko Wai Resort still has some 250baht bungalows. Lovely place, particularly the 3rd beach (most western) which none of the daytrippers know about. You can get a 300baht bungalow just behind this beach but it's a good 250m to the restaurant."
I guess Koh Mak then
Um, well I reckon Ko Mak is sweet, but Kood is better. And there is budget accommodation - those places up the klong in Baan Chao (Jao) that travelfish and others mention are cool, with over-water restaurants and a nice kayak paddle down to one of the better beaches on the island. Plus a prety cool waterfall maybe 30 minutes walk up river.
But yeah, you have to factor cost of getting there from Wai. However there is a good 350 baht express boat (free shuttle to the pier) back to the mainland at Laem Sok which includes free transport the 30km or so into Trat - that's way cheaper and faster than going back via Chang etc.