Tag: Mae haad

Accommodation Update for Mae Haad for 2017

Mae Haad Cove Bungalows

The year 2016 was good for Mae Haad accommodation. Two resorts managed to get Agoda scores for the first time. Another first is Mae Haad Cove: they finally caved in and partnered up with booking.com to provide online booking. The other major development is that Wang Sai Resort is looking to expand by splitting into two businesses.

In terms of room prices, there has been little movement. This means with the small drop in the value of the Thai Baht, Mae Haad provides good value for money. The one exception is Island View Cabana that has doubled the price of its cheapest bungalow offering.

The Movers

Mae Haad Cove is perhaps the standout resort in Mae Haad in terms of improvement. It has gone from 94 in the specialist lodging category to 66. Moreover, Mae Haad Cove can now be booked online using booking.com.

While Mae Haad View Resort fell in the B&Bs category from 62 to 70, it registered its first Agoda rating (5.9 out of 10). This is not high but it shows they are taking online booking seriously. And even better, prices fell slightly for beachfront bungalows.

According to Trip Advisor Mae Haad Guest House dropped slightly in excellence – going from 155th to 164th in the lodging category. The good news is that the guest house broke into the Agoda rankings and scores a very respectable 7.3. Room prices remain the same at Mae Haad Guest House.

Wang Sai Resort is a mover for the reason that they seem now to have two listings with Agoda. One is Wang Sai Resort, the other is Wang Sai Garden Resort. It looks like they are starting to use land set well back from the beach. Travellers booking online should be clear about which Wang Sai they are booking.

In terms of ratings, Wang Sai Resort got its first Agoda score – 7.3. However, it fell in Trip Advisor – moving from 140 to 189 in the speciality lodging section. The prices for accommodation also went up.

The Non Mover

Why Not Bungalows continues for 2017 to fly under the internet radar. Agoda and Trip Advisor continue to ignore the backpacker resort primarily because it eschews online booking. You still have to rock up and see if they have a free bungalow.

The good news is that prices remain the same for the bungalows at Why Not and, as before, those prepared to stay for a few days can negotiate a discount.

The Losers

Royal Orchid Resort has seen a slight drop in rankings. Agoda continues to ignore the place while the Trip Advisor ranking fell one place from 83rd to 84th in the hotels category. This category only lists 89 hotels. So Royal Orchid is literally one of the worst hotels in Koh Phangan. The price for a sea view fan bungalow stays at 400 Thai Baht a night.

Although Island View Cabana slightly improved its Agoda rating (going from 6.5 to 6.6) the popular resort fell from 64th to 98th in the B&Bs category. This doesn’t tally well with a jump in price from 400 to 800 Thai Baht for a fan bungalow.

Mae Haad Garden Inn rose from 8.6 to 8.7 in Agoda but dropped considerably in the Trip Advisor listing – going from 126th to 193rd in the lodging category. The one positive is that the pricing structure for accommodation stays about the same.

Mae Haad Bay Resort is the best example of a hotel in Mae Haad. It has had an average to poor year. It’s Agoda score dropped from 8.3 to 8.2 and it went from 22nd best hotel to 31st best hotel. Perhaps connected, is that the fact that room prices went up except for the most basic rooms which fell in price.

Conclusion

Mae Haad continues very much the same as usual. Prices haven’t changed dramatically and the resorts have not attempted to upgrade significantly and convert the land by the beach into a building site.

The fact that some Mae Haad accommodation has got an Agoda score for the first time indicates that Mae Haad is not quite as obscure and underground as it once was. Still it remains a fabulous beach and the best place to go snorkelling in Koh Phangan.

Best Sport for Monsoon Months

The monsoon is not just one big storm that engulfs November in rain. Rather it is a season of higher than average rainfall and stronger winds. The monsoon builds as it were. You start to notice the higher tides from April on. As summer turns to autumn the leaves don’t change colour but the sea goes from calm to more choppy conditions.

By October the winds and the heavy rain showers are apparent. By the middle of November it is starting to lash it down with rain. In a bad monsoon villages along the coast get flooded. Suddenly the bungalows on stilts make more sense as they keep your bed far from the sodden ground. The rains start to ease up by mid-December. By Christmas the weather is great again but the sea sometimes has a few waves.

During this time there are moments when the conditions are perfect to kiteboard close to Mae Haad at the famous sand spit off the coast of Chaloklum called Malibu beach. Other than during the storm season the sea at Chaloklum is calm with little wind, but when the winds start up adrenalin junkies from all over the island appear at Malibu beach to zip up and down the coastal waters propelled by air-filled kites. For those good at the sport, there is the chance of lots of air time.

The waters off Malibu beach offer a shallow reef and a sandy bed. The bay catches the best wind. These two factors make this the best kiteboard surfing spot in Koh Phangan for a brief time.

Kiteboarding is a great sport. It is quicker than surfing and quicker to learn. Once you have mastered the basics it is very addictive. You can get up and being pulled by the wind in about 3 days tuition.

There are 3 kiteboard schools in Koh Phangan – Kiteboarding Asia in Ban Tai, One2Kite at Phangan Beach Resort (Bantai) and Cuttlebone Kiteboarding Centre in Thongsala. You can easily find their websites and Facebook pages (if they aren’t ‘down’). Another good place to look is on Wind Guru. It is the best site for following weather conditions.

To get from Mae Haad to Chaloklum takes about 10 minutes in a car or on a motorbike. Just take the road that heads east. It is a main road and impossible to miss.

A word of caution – cheaper travel insurance policies won’t cover sports like kiteboarding; although, the chances of getting injured are minimal.

Finally, the video above is interesting as it is filmed at Malibu beach, Ban Tai and Mae Haad. Near the beginning of the Youtube clip you see him fly over the sandbar that connected Koh Ma to the mainland.