Beaches & Hotels
May 16, 2024

Where to stay in Thailand?

To help you decide where to stay in Thailand, use this country-wide hotel guide to every major destination in Thailand.

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The best places to stay in Thailand

For each location in Thailand you'll find a 'best' (four- to five-star resort), a boutique and a budget hotel option, plus a Thai-style hotel or bungalow. Every one of the hotels to follow has exceptionally high reviews and lots to love. Whether you're spoiling yourself rotten with a once-in-a-lifetime splurge, or just want clean sheets and no frills – be sure to try Thailand's fantastic boutique offerings for at least one night of your trip. Enjoy!

Where to stay in Bangkok?

Chakrabongse Villas
Chakrabongse Villas

Bangkok recommendations

Reader favourite: The Sukhothai Bangkok

Best of the best in Bangkok: Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, Mandarin Oriental Bangkok and The Peninsula Bangkok

Boutique in Bangkok: Baannai The Reminiscence and Old Capital Bike Inn

Thai-style in Bangkok: Chakrabongse Villas

Mid-range in Bangkok: ASAI Bangkok Chinatown

Budget in Bangkok: The Yard Bangkok Hostel and Hostel Urby

Bangkok hotel costs (avg/night)

  • 3-star: US$48
  • 4-star: US$89
  • 5-star: US$206

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)

Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Closest hotel: Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Capsule hotel: Avagard Capsule Hotel

Nap rooms: Boxtel @ Suvarnabhumi Airport

Getting to downtown/city centre Bangkok

From Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)

While it's easy to hop on the Airport Rail Link to downtown (it runs from 6 am to midnight), if you have a lot of luggage or prefer to have somewhere waiting for you in arrivals, you can pre-book private van transfer for approximately US$30. Depending on traffic and your destination, it will be a forty-minute drive to Bangkok city centre – give or take. Licensed taxis are of course also available with clear signage in the arrivals hall.

From Bangkok Don Mueang Airport (DMK)

Don Mueang, as the older airport, is located closer to downtown and can take as little as twenty-five minutes in good traffic. As at BKK, you can pre-book your airport transfer in a van (up to 9 passengers), SUV or sedan for approximately US$30. Taxis are also available but the queues can be long at peak periods.

Where to stay in Phuket


Phuket recommendations

Reader favourite: SALA Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort

Best of the best in Phuket: The Slate and Keemala

Boutique in Phuket: Sawasdee Village

Adults-only in Phuket: The Shore At Katathani

Mid-range in Phuket: OZO Phuket

Budget in Phuket: Atom Phuket Hotel

Phuket hotel costs (avg/night)

Depending on the beach or area in Phuket province:

  • 3-star: US$38 to $122
  • 4-star: US$56 to $278
  • 5-star: US$125 to $732

Getting from Bangkok to Phuket

Unless you're keeping your travel budget under Martial Law, I recommend flying to Phuket rather than taking the bus – and keeping for yourself the 22 hours you'll save in return travel time. Budget air carriers typically charge US$45-55 (one way), whereas express bus fares cost about US$20. An entire day of your vacation to save US$25? Don't do it!

By plane

Flights depart nearly nonstop from both Bangkok airports and take just one hour. As with Koh Samui, budget carriers depart from Don Mueang and the nicer options (like Bangkok Airways) fly from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. While 'steal-deals' can be as low as US$19, fares are typically in the US$45-55 range from Don Mueang and $85-$125 from BKK.

By bus

A 12-hour express bus. Quick cultural tip: never sit next to a monk, especially if you're a woman.

Where to stay in Koh Samui

SALA Samui Choengmon Beach Resort
SALA Samui Choengmon Beach Resort

Time for my specialty subject! No surprise, I have far more to offer you on Koh Samui than a quick list of hotel recommendations (although it’s there, below, if you’re in a hurry). To truly get stuck in, start with where to stay on Koh Samui. Then, get a drink, a snack, and curl up with The Koh Samui Guide.

Koh Samui recommendations

Reader favourite: SALA Samui Choengmon Beach Resort

Best of the best in Koh Samui: Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui

Boutique in Koh Samui: Sea Dance Resort

Thai-style in Koh Samui: Bo Phut Resort and Spa

Mid-range in Koh Samui: Smile House

Budget in Koh Samui: Samui Honey Cottages

Koh Samui hotel costs (avg/night)

Depending on the beach, Koh Samui’s average hotel costs are as follows:

  • 3-star: US$39 to $74
  • 4-star: US$59 to $198
  • 5-star: US$106 to $959

You’ll likely find more budget options and lower rates in Lamai and quieter beaches out west. Bophut tends to be more expensive, as it has a majority of boutique and high-end hotels (and it’s really nice).

Getting from Bangkok to Koh Samui

I’ve written the book on Koh Samui and it has entire chapters on your transport options (planes, ferries, cars, airport transfers, scooters – the works). If you’ve got questions – it has your answers. In brief, you’ve got two options to get from Bangkok to Koh Samui.

By plane

Direct flight: It's a quick 1-hour direct flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) direct to Koh Samui Airport on Bangkok Airways. Personally, I don't consider the hassle of the ferry option worth the savings – easily recouped with a good hotel. Airfare varies depending on (A) how far in advance you book and (B) how much Bangkok Airways feels they’d like your money on any given day. Huge variation, from perhaps US$75 to $260+ one way.

Flight plus ferry

The budget option including ferry takes 4.5 to 6.5 hours depending on the ferry connection time. Flights from Bangkok's secondary airport, Don Mueang, go to Surat Thani Airport (and others) on the mainland with a bus plus ferry connection taking you to Koh Samui.

By bus plus ferry

Roughly 14 hours 30 minutes, with one-way fares for approximately US$35-45.

Where to stay in Koh Phangan

Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort and Spa
Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort and Spa

Koh Phangan recommendations

Reader favourite: Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort and Spa

Best of the best in Koh Phangan: Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan

Boutique in Koh Phangan: Buri Rasa Koh Phangan

Adults-only in Koh Phangan: Explorar Koh Phangan

Mid-range in Koh Phangan: Cookies Salad Resort

Budget in Koh Phangan: Thai Terrace Bungalow and Alcove Bungalow

Koh Phangan hotel costs (avg/night)

  • 3-star: US$48
  • 4-star: US$75
  • 5-star: US$188

Getting from Bangkok to Koh Phangan

Your quickest option is to first fly to Koh Samui Airport, and then take a 30-minute ferry to Koh Phangan. The cheaper option is a 7-hour journey with flights to Surat Thani Airport, then ferry to Koh Phangan. If you’d like to take the scenic route, a bus plus ferry journey will take approximately 13 to 18 hours (for roughly US$25).

Where to stay in Koh Tao

Jamahkiri Resort & Spa
Jamahkiri Resort & Spa

Koh Tao recommendations

Reader favourite: Jamahkiri Resort & Spa

Best of the best in Koh Tao: The Place Luxury Boutique Villas

Boutique in Koh Tao: Beach Club by Haadtien

Pool villas in Koh Tao: Pahili Pool Villas

Mid-range in Koh Tao: Koh Tao Relax Freedom Beach Resort

Budget in Koh Tao: Tree House Bungalows Koh Tao

Koh Tao hotel costs (avg/night)

  • 3-star: US$16-66
  • 4-star: US$32-154
  • 5-star: US$187

Getting from Bangkok to Koh Tao

A bus and ferry combo will take just under 9 hours or as long as 16 hours, with fares from about US$27. To fly the cheap way, take a 1-hour flight on a budget carrier to the little-known Chumphon Airport on the mainland, then a 6+ hour ferry crossing to Koh Tao. If you're prone to seasickness, you might prefer the shorter ferry crossing from Koh Samui or Surat Thani. Another option: Use any means to get yourself to Koh Samui first, and then take a 2-hour ferry from Koh Samui for about US$15.

Where to stay in Krabi

Dusit Thani Krabi Beach Resort
Dusit Thani Krabi Beach Resort

Krabi recommendations

Reader favourite: Dusit Thani Krabi Beach Resort

Best of the best in Krabi: Banyan Tree Krabi

Boutique in Krabi: The Tubkaak Krabi Boutique Resort

Thai-style in Krabi: Ban Sainai Resort

Budget in Krabi: Bananas Resort & Restaurant



Krabi recommendations

Reader favourite: Bhu Nga Thani Resort Railay

Best of the best in Railay: Rayavadee

Mid-range in Railay: Railay Phutawan Resort

Krabi hotel costs (avg/night)

  • 3-star: US$57 to $65
  • 4-star: US$106 to $158
  • 5-star: US$149 to $376

Getting from Bangkok to Krabi, Ao Nang and Railay

As with flights from Bangkok to Koh Samui, you'll find cheaper fares on budget carriers departing from Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport direct to Krabi Airport for US$23+. Flights on Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to Krabi are typically US$45 (and rising – if you see a $45 fare, grab it). Flights from both DMK and BKK to Krabi are approximately 1h15m and 1h30m with Bangkok Airways as they take the time to feed you.

The quickest bus option, an express bus from Bangkok, takes about 12 hours, with fares from approximately US$19.To get to Railay, you'll need to add a short ferry ride to your journey – bringing the total bus travel time from Bangkok to approximately 15.5 hours. High end hotels, such as Rayavadee, offer private boat transfer.

Where to stay in Koh Phi Phi

Phi Phi Phu Chalet Resort
Phi Phi Phu Chalet Resort

Koh Phi Phi recommendations

Reader favourite: Viking Nature Resort

Best of the best in Koh Phi Phi: Zeavola Resort

Thai-style in Koh Phi Phi: Phi Phi Phu Chalet Resort

Mid-range in Koh Phi Phi: Mama Beach Residence

Budget in Koh Phi Phi: Voyagers Hostel

Koh Phi Phi hotel costs (avg/night)

  • 3-star: US$89
  • 4-star: US$175
  • 5-star: US$350

Getting from Bangkok to Koh Phi Phi

Your best (quickest) option is to first fly to either Phuket or Krabi, then take a short ferry journey: 2 hours from Phuket (US$13+) or 1h45 minutes from Krabi (US$13+).  By bus and ferry, you’re looking at a journey of 15 to 19 hours (from US$30+).

Where to stay in Khao Lak

The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani
The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani

Khao Lak recommendations

Reader favourite: The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani

Best of the best in Khao Lak: The Sarojin

Adults Only in Khao Lak: Bangsak Village

Thai-style in Khao Lak: Khaolak Paradise Resort

Mid-range in Khao Lak: Khaolak Blue Lagoon Resort

Budget in Khao Lak: Hongte Khaolak Resort

Khao Lak hotel costs (avg/night)

  • 3-star: US$25 to $54
  • 4-star: US$112 to $185
  • 5-star: US$173 to $282

Getting from Bangkok to Khao Lak

By plane: get yourself to Phuket first (see above), and then it's a quick taxi transfer from Phuket Airport to Khao Lak – about two hours. By bus, anticipate a 13-hour journey for approximately US$27.

Where to stay in Koh Yao Noi

Six Senses Yao Noi
Six Senses Yao Noi

Koh Yao Noi recommendations

Reader favourite: Paradise Koh Yao

Best of the best in Koh Yao Noi: Six Senses Yao Noi and Cape Kudu Hotel

Boutique in Koh Yao Noi: Koh Yao Seaview Bungalow

Thai-style in Koh Yao Noi: Koyao Bay Pavilions

Mid-range in Koh Yao Noi: Laguna Villas Boutique Hotel

Budget in Koh Yao Noi: Koh Yao Seaview Bungalow

Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai hotel costs (avg/night)

  • 3-star: US$42 to $58
  • 4-star: US$118 to $279
  • 5-star: US$214 to $652

Getting from Bangkok to Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai

To get to Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai from Bangkok, you'll first go to Phuket and then it's a quick journey across to either island. The ferry itself is fifteen minutes to Koh Yao Yai and twenty minutes to Koh Yao Noi from Phuket, with an optional joint ticket for a van connection from Phuket airport. It's also possible to reach the islands from Krabi but takes longer (six hours from Krabi Airport compared to one hour from Phuket Airport).

Where to stay in Chiang Mai

99 The Heritage Hotel
99 The Heritage Hotel

Chiang Mai recommendations

Reader favourite: Aksara Heritage

Best of the best in Chiang Mai: 137 Pillars House

Boutique in Chiang Mai: 99 The Heritage Hotel and Hotel Loy Chiang Mai

Thai-style in Chiang Mai: Baan Boo Loo Village

Budget in Chiang Mai: The Common Hostel

Chiang Mai hotel costs (avg/night)

  • 3-star: US$50 to $55
  • 4-star: US$81 to $98
  • 5-star: US$258 to $288

Getting from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

As ever, your quickest option is to fly. It’s a 1h15 minute flight on budget and boutique carriers from both Don Mueang (DMK) and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) Airports. Budget fares start at US$30.All aboard! Get to Chiang Mai by train on an 11-hour to 14-hour journey. Sleeper cabins are available on all trains and the 9/10 train offers a ladies-only section.

If you're a solo female traveller you'll be paired with another female in this compartment or you can book two tickets to have it to yourself. For this journey, plus onward journeys to Chiang Rai and Pai book as far in advance as possible – the first class seats go quickly. Fares from US$26.

By bus, your options are similar to the train option, with sadly less choo-choo. By bus to Chiang mai it’s a 10- to 12-hour journey from approximately US$16. Quick cultural tip: Don't put your feet up on anything, like another seat – it's considered extremely rude in Thailand.

Your questions

How much are hotels in Thailand?

While real science tends to despise averages as data for lazy people, I like them for that very reason; they're a useful starting point for us lazies. Taking current data from (plus two cups of coffee plus one very long spreadsheet), the following might be a useful reference to plan your Thailand budget.

Thailand hotel costs (avg/night)

Again, these are the haziest/laziest averages, not firm parameters. Finding a rate you like might be as sample as choosing a different beach or a different time of year.

Where to find the best-value hotels in Thailand?

I've long held the theory that the harder a destination is to reach in Thailand, the better the hotel deals you'll find. Dabbling with this data has proven this – to a point. The destination in question needs to have sufficient inventory for some competition. Thus, Koh Tao and Chiang Rai (with 195 and 204 respective hotel choices) routinely came out as offering the best value, while equally remote locations like Koh Mak and Koh Kood were amongst the priciest options (with much smaller inventory).

Why is Koh Kood so pricey?

Thirty-five pool villas at Soneva Kiri will do that to your data.

Note, as well, that Koh Samui's five-star figures were skewed by Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui – which could charge 'First-Born Child and Both Your Kidneys' kind of rates and would still be worth it.

Where to find the best rates for high-end hotels in Thailand?

Across three-, four- and five-star hotels in Thailand, Phuket and Bangkok were consistently the best-value options, while Koh Samui and Khao Lak remained at the higher end of the price scale. Again, unsurprising, as Phuket is double Koh Samui's size with far greater inventory (206% more, to be exact).

Where to stay in Thailand?

More Thailand travel-planning? Now you've chosen where to stay in Thailand, don't miss these helpful resources:

P.S. You can find every tip for Thailand packing and prep in the archive, or subscribe by email and get all the details straight to your inbox. Enjoy!