17 Dec 2007
Lay Trang Resort, Pak Meng, Thailand
A$34/£16.25 night
7°31'51.49"N 99°18'41.47"E
1 room


Pak Meng is a seaside town about 40km east of Trang. From Trang most people head for the islands, but it was coming up to Christmas and we didn't know how much accommodation there would be, and to be honest, we'd had as much island life as we wanted for the time being. We headed to Pak Meng because it seemed nobody else was, and being on the mainland we wouldn't be in such a captive market for eating options. Although it's called the Lay Trang Beach resort, it's actually at the pier - about 2km or a pleasant 30 minute well shaded walk along the beach to the village. There is beach, but the water is really shallow and no good for swimming. There was also a dubious looking small stream of water meandering down the beach into the sea - it didn't smell bad, and maybe it was just storm water, but not worth the risk. Once in the village, Pak Meng Beach, the sea was as deep as it should be, clean and clear and we'd just about dried off by the time we walked back to the resort.

Lay Trang Resort was once probably a really nice place. It's showing it's age though, and the dozen or so individual bungalows were empty apart from us and a Swedish family. The room was basic but clean (see under) and there was a disproportionately huge bathroom - no bath though which was a shame. There was a fridge, air conditioning, no fan but fly screens on all windows to catch the breeze and a TV with local channels only. There was a good sized patio with fairly comfy chairs to sit on. On our 2nd last day we were around when the cleaners were in and found that cleaning the bathroom consisted of a quick wipe with the old towels - no cleaning products involved. Yuck. Just hope they washed those towels in really, really hot water. There was a huge restaurant, and judging by the photographs it had once been very popular. The food was good, and the price was about the same as you'd pay in a local restaurant, as was the beer. The resort had an attached (overpriced) mini mart and souvenir shop. The grounds were massive, with really well established beautiful gardens - apart from the non-operating fountain, who's stagnant water added to what is a significant problem in the whole area with mozzies. We were both bitten several times each day, even with Aeroguard sprayed on and mozzie coils burning.

We asked about internet access as we arrived - the young man who checked us in (and seemed to be the only one who spoke English) told us BT40, - we asked for how long, and he told us for how long we liked. I double checked by asking if we used it for a while in the morning then a while in the afternoon it was still BT40. He said yes, but we got the distinct impression that nobody had ever arrived with a laptop and asked for internet access and he was making it up as he went along. As it turned out, we used it for maybe an hour in the mornings then 30 minutes or so in the evenings and we were only charged BT120 (A$4/£1.80) all up for the 4 days we were there, including using it on the morning we checked out so nothing to complain about there. Each time we wanted to use it, we had to lean into the office and unplug the LAN cable from the owner/managers laptop and plug in. She seemed to get a bit grumpy about this, but we ignored it - we weren't using it at times she was anywhere near it, and it's not like we weren't paying for it.

The location isn't bad. There is a tiny village of a couple of dozen houses next to the pier with no eating opportunities but a couple of very small mini marts which charge fair prices and a couple of larger ones which are charging much higher prices as they catch the tourists between getting out of their bus and getting onto their boat to the islands. In the village itself, the prices are pretty much the same as in any town in Thailand, and you could get just about anything you wanted.

Pak Meng is not a destination intended for or set up for Western tourists, but it seems to be popular with Thai people wanting a trip to the seaside. The village had lots of small canteens and food stalls, but it was quite a job finding anyone at all who spoke English so a lot of good natured sign language went on. There were a few other bungalow set ups along the main road which diveded the village from the beach - none of them actually on the sea front, or even with a view of it. We found one slightly better and slightly cheaper than where we were staying, but no internet and nowhere to sit at night, so we stayed put. Pak Meng has an awful lot of travel agents and (as expected) they charge according to whether you are a westerner or not.

On the whole, I can't see any reason for us coming back here - the couple of other large resorts were a lot further away from the village so we didn't bother checking them out as we'd need our own transport for the entire trip.