When I first moved to Koh Phangan, I spent my first two months living in a hotel. That’s not a big deal here, since hotel rooms can be rented very cheaply on a monthly rate. The only problem is that I never thought to negotiate a monthly rate, and instead paid the full price for the hotel room every night I was there.
All in all, it cost me over £2,500 for two months, which is more than I now spend on rent for six months in my much larger house. If you’re visiting Koh Phangan for a long period (at least a month or two) and don’t want to get ripped off as I was, I suggest negotiating a long-term rate for accommodation in a hotel or guesthouse while you’re here.
Most guesthouses (for those outside Thailand, these are basically small hotels, like an inn, that offer cheap and basic accommodation) will knock about 50% off their nightly rate if you agree to stay for a month. Some of the cheaper guesthouses on the southern coast of the island rent out monthly for 20% (averaged per night) of their usual one-night cost. On the quieter beaches, the discounts aren’t quite as large, but they’re still significant enough to ask for.
Another option is to move into a long term rental. This is what I eventually did, and it’s cut my costs even further, all while giving me a lot more space. The downside of this is that you’ll need to pay for your own electricity usage and water, both of which are often inflated in price by the property owner. Before you move in anywhere, check that you won’t get a silly rate for electricity, which is a very common scam.
PhanganIsland.com has a good list of long term rentals on most of the island’s major beaches. If you want to be close to everything, I suggest renting in Thongsala. If you prefer to be right by the water, you’ll find the best properties by negotiating with hotels like I suggested above. Just be sure you don’t waste your money like I did by paying a nightly rate when you’re entitled to a significantly lower one as a long stay guest.