I am planning a trip (my first) to Thailand in early-2007 and am keen to stay at Khao Lak, primarily because I hear Phuket and Samui have already become over-developed tourist-traps. This place is touted to be 'the last unspoilt part of Thailand" and thats exactly what my partner and I need. Morover, a trip to the Similan islands and a cruise around Phang-Nga bay are definitely on our agenda.
How long does it take to get to the S. islands? Can one do this in a day-trip? We are not avidly into snorkelling etc and would rather not spend nights on a boat!
The hotels we have short-listed are Le Meridien and the Similana (recent reviews here about the Sarojin confirmed my suspicions that it is overpriced and pretentious) and of the two, I am fascinated by the latter. Le Meridien seems to be a typical 5-star resort from a big hotel-chain....with typical 5-star prices, especially for the food! Been there done that, ad nauseum. The Similana, on the other hand, seems to offer a truly different experience, particularly in one of their Beachfront Tree-houses. However, it being a small local boutique hotel, we are concerned about levels of efficiency, cleanliness and professionalism, which the larger outfits (sometimes!) tend to get right. But I know my doubts could be prejudicial....so are there any comments?
Another concern was the presence of rocks all over the beach near the Similana, as seen in the hotel's website pictures. While the beach near Le Meridien is said to be perfect. Again, any frank comments/advice would be most appreciated....
And thanks for reading!