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Thailand Hotels - Get the Most for Your Money

Hotel on Mekong River in Naknon Phanom

Hotel prices and resort costs are a significant part of most travel budgets.

Staying at cheaper hotels will stretch your dollars and euros, but getting better prices at good hotels is the best of both worlds. The tips below may help you enjoy a cheaper holiday or allow you to stay in Thailand longer.

Hotel Location

A real estate buzz-word that often applies to hotels and resorts. Yes, that hotel on Patong Beach in Phuket is going to cost more than a similar hotel in Pattani. Actually, quite a lot more ... probably 5 times as much.

Ask yourself, "Do I really want to stay in ___________?" But what about Krabi? How about Khanom or Thepa in Nakorn Si Thammarat? Great beaches, good food, quiet.

Some examples would be: swapping that Bt 5,000 room in Phuket for a 4 star hotel overlooking the Mekong River in Nakorn Phanom at Bt 850. But if the beach is important, how about an excellently equipped health spa resort on a white sand beach in Nakorn Si Thammarat at Bt 1,000. Do you really want the night life of Phuket?

Selecting your destination for what it offers rather than following the crowds can save a significant amount of money.

Published Hotel Rates and Getting Discounts

Rack rate is a hotel term that represents the price for rooms that is published in directories, guides and their brochure. Discounts up to 50% off the rack rate, or published rate, are sometimes achievable.

Timing
For most popular areas of Thailand, seasonal rates vary significantly. Off season hotel room rates can be 75% lower than high season prices. Traveling off season can allow you to save money or stay in significantly better hotels and resorts.

Sorry, I've decided on Phuket and have to go in the high season.

Cyber Shopping
Surprisingly, internet hotel booking sites can get you some of the best rates around. Stop by your favorite search engine and search "Thailand hotels". The results can be bewildering. Just search and compare. Read the fine print and read USENET. Watch for recommendations on which hotel booking sites are reliable and which should be avoided.

Travel Agents
Thailand has lots of travel agents and their signs are normally in English. Most will be happy to accept a small fee and book a room for you, especially if you know which hotel. That may well save you 20-40%.

Walk In
Avoid walking in without a booking like you would avoid the plague. Stop off in a cyber café and book a room. Even if it is only an hour in advance. The saving will usually be 20-40%.

But if walking in is you only option, ask for a discount. Ask for a student discount, business discount or senior discount. Simply smiling politely asking quietly works in a surprising number of cases.

Business Discounts
Hotels will often offer a business discount. A business card with a recognizable name helps. Any business associated with the travel industry will normally be offered a significant discount.

Suites are probably the last rooms a hotel will book. Sometimes a hotel in Thailand which still has rooms available will discount suites even more than standard rooms. Though more expensive than a standard room, a suite can be a nice treat from time to time.

Checking Hotel Rooms

Inspecting Hotels First, don't be shy about asking to see the rooms. If management refuses, they may be lazy of are attempting to hide something until they have your commitment.

Thais are generally fastidious and the hotel room should be clean. Does it smell clean? Look for cockroaches. Some people don't like jing-jokes, the little lizards often seen on walls and ceilings. I like them. They eat mosquitoes and make pleasant chirping sounds.

Having a cup of coffee, soft drink or a meal in a hostelry's dining room will give you an insight into the service you can expect during your stay. Doing so before you check may save an unpleasant experience.

Make sure everything works. TV, air con and hot water. If you take a fan room, check for bug screens or you may be swatting and scratching all night.

If the hotel has a club or disco, try to get your room as far away as possible. Listening to the throb of the bass until 3:00 AM can get tedious.

Evaluate your decision after the first night. Things will usually get worse rather than better. Don't be shy about looking around for a better deal.