We’re never normally ones for blowing the budget. In fact, we usually keep a strict record of everything we spend and document it on the blog for you! But the moral of today’s post? Sometimes it’s totally okay to blow the budget!
Turning Up Unprepared
We’d never arrived at a destination without having already booked accommodation before Koh Chang. However, we were excited at the prospect of island hopping and didn’t want to commit ourselves to one place. Encouraged by WikiTravel, who told us that even in peak season it was easy to find somewhere to stay, we stepped off the ferry full of optimism.
We decided to take a songthaew to White Sand Beach, as we’d heard it was the quieter cousin of Lonely Beach, the backpacker hotspot on the island. Never really ones for clubbing, we thought it was our best bet for a few days of beach time.
Things were going really well: the songthaews were waiting, the sun was shining and we were pumped, but things quickly went a bit downhill. Honestly, we were immediately disappointed with what we saw at White Sand Beach . We were expecting things to be pretty sparse and calm due to the reputation Koh Chang has, but in reality it was very built up and busy.
We wandered for a good hour back and forth along the road, trying to find somewhere to lay our heads for the night, but everything was fully booked. We were confused: where was the Koh Chang we’d heard about? Sitting down over some noodles, we looked online and were shocked to see that the cheapest room available was at a dodgy looking hotel at Lonely Beach, for the princely sum of 1200 baht (£27.39). For two people trying to have a holiday on a budget, it wasn’t what we wanted to see!
We made the executive decision just to book it and come up with a new plan in the morning.
Discovering Lonely Beach
We took another songthaew to Lonely Beach, expecting it to be loud and intense. However, on arrival we were really surprised: the small strip of bars, restaurants and shops were all created inside little huts and shacks. We liked the area immediately.
Suspicions about our accommodation were confirmed on arrival, as we witnessed a small child taking a bath in the pool at the same time as her mum did the laundry in it, so we decided to steer clear of that particular body of water.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed, we decided to forget about our worries and go out and have a lovely evening. We enjoyed some great food, had a laugh and a wander, and found ourselves down at the sea front admiring the coolest hotel we may have ever seen. There were fairy lights everywhere, quirky music playing and a beautiful veranda with squishy cushions on the floor where people were lying down, leisurely sipping their drinks.
In a moment of madness I decided to go in and ask about prices. They did, in fact, have one very special room available, but we’d need to pay the grand price of 2700 baht (£61.63) per night. That would be a no then.
What Should We Do Next?
That night, we went online again and found a room for the following evening for 600 baht (£13.70), which was much more in our price range. By that point though, we’d convinced ourselves that our time on the Thai islands would be short lived, as we just couldn’t get past the prices.
The problem was, we’d fallen in love with Lonely Beach. The following day, we sat working in a café and talked about how much we liked it here, and about how we both felt that we deserved a bit of a break and relaxation after a tough few months of teaching in China.
I’m not sure what made me do it, but I marched back to the stunning resort we’d been to the night before and paid for 7 nights in a private villa on the spot. Whoops! Not the best move for two budget backpackers, but I didn’t regret the decision for a second.
I’m writing this on our final full day in Koh Chang. Our villa windows are wide open and the sea is only steps away from us. Everything is vibrant blue and deep green and I don’t want to leave this paradise we’ve found. Although we won’t be able to afford this the majority of the time when we’re travelling as digital nomads, blowing the budget in Koh Chang has turned out to be exactly what we needed.
Blowing the Budget: the Info
You can find our paradise at Warapura Resort, at Lonely Beach on Koh Chang, Thailand. It’s located slightly out of the way, but still within a 2 minute walk of plenty of bars, restaurants and shops. There’s a gorgeous infinity pool, a big movie collection to watch in your room and only a few villas to share it with. Our favourite part is the veranda, which is the perfect place to watch the sun go down over the sea with a drink in hand.
Rooms start at 1700 baht (£38.80) per night for a Cosy Cottage, and rise to the 2700 baht (£61.63) Triple Cosy Room and Private Villa that we’ve been staying in. A varied breakfast is included, and you can organise tours and rent motorbikes at reception too.
If you’re going to blow the budget anywhere, we’d say Warapura Resort is the perfect place to do it. Have you ever blown your trip budget before? Did you regret it or were you pleased with your decision? Let us know in the comments section down below, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
Note: if you’re visiting Koh Chang during peak season then we strongly advise not to turn up without having already booked accommodation. As well as our own struggles, we’ve seen many backpackers arriving night after night, with nowhere to stay.
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