Cheap Hotel Accommodations in Ranong
There's heaps of information out there for savvy backpackers looking to jump across the river from Ranong, Thailand, to Kawthoung, Myanmar, but hardly any mention of where to sleep on the Thai-side of the frontier.
This is a reference for shoestring travelers seeking solid information on housing options. Although it's by no means a comprehensive listing for the entire town of Ranong, it does describe most every viable hotel/guesthouse option I came across.
Sleep on the Cheap
The town of Ranong is sort of looks like a circular spider web. Most every housing option is in the center, on Ruangrad Road, and reachable within no more than 15 minutes worth of walking from the bus station.
I've highlighted the path you need to take on this simple city map. Your last turn will be onto Ruangrad—just look for the sign pointing to the town's main (food) market. This is another city map of Ranong, posted inside of a hotel.
The list below is ordered in proximity to the bus station, with the closest listed first. Unless otherwise indicated, the hotel is north of the food market—just keep walking on Ruangrad Road.
Arriving after midnight is not suggested, as hotels in the area don't staff in the early hours, locking their guests in until morning. Don't expect hot water, as you will get none. None of hotels were setup to lock the room with your own padlock.
- Kiwi Orchid Guesthouse: It's so close you can hit the building with a tossed stone from the bus station (look NE, near the cluster of small shops). Lonely Planet's #1 pick, and at B$250/night for a double, outrageously expensive for what you get. The no-frills room I was shown above their restaurant was hot, uninviting, and windowless (as I don't count the glass looking into the door of the room across the hall as a window). Bathrooms are shared. If you're looking for information on transit to Myanmar, look elsewhere, as the staff spoke little English. The location is an option if you need some quick (overpriced) Internet access between buses. [photo of their business card]
- Asia Hotel: A massive structure located just before the food market (although it doesn't look it from the outside). A double bed, large (screened) windows, and en suite bathroom make this a good option for B$160/night (B$50 for an additional person). Towel and soap provided. Upgrades include rooms with a television, extra bed, and A/C. The fan in room 102 sounds like the prop on a small aircraft. My problem with their basic room setup: No power outlets or light bulb sockets to tap into for my rechargeable electronics. [photo of room 102] [photo of their business card]
- Sintavee Hotel: A well maintained hotel with large hallways and equally spacious rooms. Towel, soap, and a bottle of water is provided in each room. A basic double bed with en suite bathroom and (screened) windows runs an acceptable B$160/night. Upgrades include rooms with a television (B$200/night), extra bed (B$240/night), and A/C (B$280/night). Balcony rooms overlooking Ruangrad Road might be interesting, but probably too noisy in the early morning. No power outlets in the cheap rooms, but there's a light bulb socket that can be tapped into in room 305. The reception wants to retain the room key whenever you leave, but can tell you where to catch bus #3 to the Thai immigration office. [photo of room 305] [photo of their business card]
- Bangsan (TV Bar): The suffocatingly hot, windowless rooms above the downstairs bar have nothing in them but a pair of stacked mattresses, laying on the laminate floor. The thin walls creating the row of rooms are made of some type of thatched weave—possibly instilling a bungalow effect (after at least 10 cocktails downstairs). Bathrooms are shared. For B$100/night, you're basically looking at a sweaty shag-pad above a bar. [photo of their business card]
- Rattanasin Hotel: With the poor lighting and dark, dirty spider webs hanging from the concrete ceiling in every room and hallway, the place has got to be a shoe-in for a creepiest hotel during the daylight award. I was shown the spacious room #5, which had big, bight windows, a double bed, and bathroom en suite (except it had a squat-toilet instead of the western variety). The old man working the reception could absolutely care less. I would question the safety of my gear here (more than other places), but for B$100/night, it's a solid option for tight budgets. They have no business cards, but the address is #226 Ruangrad Road. [photo of the sign out front]
Cheap Internet Access
Keep walking up (north) on Ruangrad Road and you'll find the cheapest Internet access I've seen in Thailand—B$15/hour. The speed is good, but their connection is consistently questionable. The address is #293, next to the aging movie cinema.
Ranong Bus Departure Times / Prices
A good source of information (in English) can be found at Pon's Place Travel Agency, located in between the 7-11 and Sintavee Hotel.
Some hotels are offering to take your passport across the river for you, typically for a B$400 fee (excluding the Myanmar immigration fee). You can do this on your own for less than B$100.
It should be noted that Myanmar has gotten smart to the growing number of travelers using this checkpoint to receive a fresh Thai entry stamp in their passports. They've recently bumped their immigration fee up to US$10 (payable with a crisp U.S. notes only) as a response to the demand.
Thoughts, or alternate housing suggestions? Feel free to note them in the comments section (below).