Accommodation in the South of Thailand
There is some excellent diving in the south of Thailand, particularly Hin Daeng and Hin Mouang (Red Rock and Purple Rock) which you really shouldn't miss. You can do these dives with dive operators in Phuket, Koh Lanta or elsewhere - but only on liveaboards as the journey is so long. For a day trip or two, and just a three hour journey, stay in Koh Ngai (pronounced, and often spelt, Koh Hai).
Koh Ngai is a small island, orginally home to just 10 Thai families. Most of these have sold their land to the tourist operators, but Koh Hai Villa is still owned by the original family. Ko Ngai has few facilities and no currency exchange, although you can get money out on your credit card if you're willing to pay an exorbitant commission rate. It has three "resorts" (groups of bungalows with restaurant and beach front). A place to dive and relax, not for those wanting bars and nightlife.
From Bangkok fly to Trang. A minibus at Trang airport will take you to whichever hotel in Trang you choose (Ko Teng Hotel is clean and cheap) - or to the bus station if you prefer. Buy a ticket inside the airport.
From Trang you can either use a travel agency and take tourist buses and boats - or use the local buses, ferries and longtail boats. We recommend the latter - cheaper and generally better quality transport. Take a bus to Pak Meng. From there take a ferry or longtail to Koh Ngai.
You can also reach Koh Ngai from other islands. The Koh Lanta ferry calls in at the Koh Hai Resort. From Koh Muk it's easy to get someone to take you by Longtail to whichever resort you choose.
Koh Ngai Accommodation
The diving centre is attached to the Koh Hai Resort. This "resort" offers three sorts of accommodation: wooden huts, on-suite bungalows with fan and on-suite bungalows with air conditioning.See more details or book a room... E-mail: email@example.com.
A rather difficult, rocky, walk away from Koh Hai Resort: look for the restaurant shaped like a battleship. (You can also take a free boat ride inbetween the two resorts.) The most expensive accommodation option. Owned by the same people as run the Koh Hai Resort. See more details or book a room...
Koh Hai Villa
Friendly staff and the cheapest option. A very short walk from Fantasea Resort, and they also provide free boat rides to Koh Hai Resort. Offer speed boat pickup to and from Pak Meng (200 Baht). Ignore the comments about the food in the Lonely Planet guide; the squid, for example, was exquisite. Go for the Thai dishes. Address: 112 Rama 6 Rd, Trang, Thailand 92000 Tel: (01) 677-0319, Fax: (66) 075 225837, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Koh Muk has two areas in which to stay - Koh Muk resort and Hat Farang on the opposite side of the island. Hat Farang is by far the better beach, and boasts a choice of three sets of bungalows: Farang's Beach up the hill, Sawatdii and Charlie Beach Resort. Charlie Beach Resort has a diving centre. You can change money at Charlie Beach Resort.
Charlie Beach Resort
164 Moo 2
See more details or book a room...
"We stayed at Charlie Resort on Ko Muk for one night, then moved next door to the very low key Sawadee. Charlie's was overpriced and you had to carefully check every bill."
Marc Sullivan, 2007
Libong Beach Resort is a small resort on the largest island in Trang. Contact email@example.com. (There is one diving operator on the island: Jolly Roger Dive and Tours Co. Ltd.)
Koh Lanta is a large island with loads of places to stay. It has red roads, long beaches and thick forests. The capital, Saladan, is home to several dive operators. We stayed in Lanta Garden Home and thoroughly recommend it. Friendly atmosphere and good cooking. To see accommodation options visit the Agoda site.
Few shops but some fantastic batiques for sale, painted in front of you.
If you're looking for nightlife and activities, Krabi, and it's nearby beaches and islands, are for you. Lots of guesthouses and cheap hotels, loads of bars, part of the backpackers route. Tons of things to do, like sea kayacking in mangrove swamps and caves, or climbing. For climbing take a boat to Railey or Phra Nang (you can walk between these two beaches and stay in bungalows here). There are two climbing outfits on the peninsula, where you can hire kit, guides or take lessons. There are many diving operators in Ao Nang (a bus ride from Krabi) and a couple on the Railey peninsula. Most also have booking offices in Krabi itself. To see hotel prices in Krabi visit the Agoda site
Lots of shops in Krabi, but generally the same things are cheaper in Bangkok. For clothes try the market; cheap but fairly well made.
From Bangkok you can fly to Krabi. From Koh Ngai or Koh Muk take a boat to Pak Meng, from there catch a bus to Trang and from Trang bus station catch a bus to Krabi.
It's best to book in advance in high season as the bungalows here get booked up by tour operators.
"We went island hopping, eating, shopping and just had so much fun at one of the hotels in Khao Lak that was really good."
Conrad Lopez, 2011
Fourteen small cabins situated along the rocky shores. Poseidon runs the only livaboard dedicated to snorkellers. A 3-day snorkelling trip to the Similan Islands cost approximately $150 US.
1/6 Lam Kaen Thai Muang
Telephone and Fax: +66 (0)76 443258
From Phuket take a bus to Kaoh Lak. The normal service bus is very good - better and cheaper than most of the tourist buses.
Golden Buddha Beach Resort
An all-villa eco resort. In partnership with Ecocean, they are launching a Whale Shark Exploration Programme this 02 March. Divers participating in the programme will have the unique opportunity to "photo-tag" whale sharks to contribute to the conservation and research effort. All guests stay in private individually designed beach houses. The resort is the only one on the island and guests have access to over 10 kilometers of pristine, undeveloped beach front.
You can fly into to Phuket.
The GuidetoThailand.com website has more information on Thailand, as do these guidebooks.
- The Rough Guide to Thailand's Beaches & Islands
- Paperback, 464 pages (November 2012)
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