Tag: prices

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.

Taxi Prices for Mae Haad

It is slightly pointless giving a list of taxi prices for Mae Haad since it will be out of date in 2 or 3 months’ time. It is hard to tell whether this is really to do with rising gas prices or the fact that the prices are fixed for taxis in Koh Phangan, and once a price rise is agreed all the drivers fall in line. Competition has not produced better value for the consumer as regards taxis in Koh Phangan.

The typical taxi in Koh Phangan is actually more like a pick-up truck than a taxi. They are also called Songthaew which means ‘2 rows’. The description is apt as the seating is composed of two benches in the back that seat about 8 people. The luggage is tied to the roof or put in the middle. Most of the taxis have a cover but some are still open top. If you are pregnant or elderly you can ask to go in the front with the driver. Otherwise forget it as the passenger seat is for the driver’s mate.

You can try to negotiate prices for a shared taxi. I have seen plenty of young backpackers insist they want a group discount. These attempts at haggling invariably fall on deaf ears. The drivers will say ‘no’ and ‘up to you’ and drive off.

The only time when you can negotiate a discount is when you want to take an empty taxi, or to put it another way, a private taxi. The drivers will start high and given enough pressure will lower their prices.

The standard price to get a taxi from Mae Haad down to Thongsala is 200 Thai Baht per person. As I said before this is not open to discussion.

The longest journey from Mae Haad is to Thong Nai Pan on the east coast. There is no road running along the north of the island to this beach, so the drivers have to go south to Thongsala, east to Ban Tai and then north up to Thong Nai Pan. It takes at least 40 minutes.

The price for a private taxi from Mae Haad to Thong Nai Pan is 1,200 Thai Baht. However, I have heard of people managing to get the price down to 700 Thai Baht. A lot will depend on how much the driver is making on the initial leg of the journey from Mae Haad to Thongsala. If it is a full taxi they might give you a cheap deal as they will have a good chance of picking up other customers on the way. It is worth mentioning that a ‘private taxi’ means the driver cannot pick up other people up. That way, when he invariably does you are in a strong position to ask for the driver to discount or refuse the fares.

Taxi drivers in Koh Phangan are better than in Koh Samui. That is the best that can be said for them. They are, however, light years behind Bangkok taxis that use their meters. Best not to let taxi drivers make you irritated as it puts you in a bad mood before you have arrived at your paradise destination.