Ko Libong is a fairly large island a few km off the Trang coast in South West Thailand. It is mostly forest, but has a few small Muslim fishing towns around the coast. It has a relaxed vibe and a few low to mid end falang resorts on the West coast. The island is known for having a population of Dugongs (sea cows), which you can take a boat trip to try and spot.
(all images on this site are clickable for bigger versions)
These are some notes I wrote for the venerable Tezza, giving updates to his earlier article about Libong on his excellent blog Tezzas Beaches and Islands. You should probably read that one as well to get the full picture
The most notable change on Ko Libong in 2011 is the arrival of a new budget resort, Libong Sunset Resort, just North of the long-established (and over priced) Ko Libong Nature Resort.
Libong Sunset Resort has two rows of squeezy bamboos with shared bathroom asking for 350B (Feb 2011). There are about 10 in total. The front row ones are about 20 metres from the beach. They are the length of a mattress and the width of a double mattress plus a door. Squeezy indeed. They have little bamboo verandas built-in. There are super-clean toilets (western style) and showers are in the main restaurant block, 20-120 metres away, depending which hut you are in.
Libong Sunset Resort also has also a couple of nice wooden houses on stilts (asking 1000B) and a couple of concrete houses (1200B) at the far end. These have bathrooms inside and aircon. Apparently these were here in previous years but being used for private long-term lets.
The food is really good and is a maybe a smidgen cheaper then all the other resorts (a low-end single plate dish is 50B). Big Changs are a Libong-standard 70B.
Win Yoo, the manager, is very helpful and friendly young urban Thai guy who speaks perfect English. He likes to suntan on his inflatable li-lo; wander round in sarongs and play ‘chill-out’ music on the stereo in the restaurant. In fact, there’s a bit of a laid-back Goa-ish vibe about the place when the music is on, but he’ll turn it off if you are looking like it’s not your thing.
Like everywhere, they can organise sight-seeing trips and boats to the other islands.
As a certified cheapskate, it was a close-call between here and the back row A-frame cheapies at Libong beach resort. If you value a sea-view and don’t mind a walk to the toilet, then this one could just win it. In any case, be sure to have a bite to eat at the restaurant.
Libong Nature Resort
I have to concur with most other posters here. Just too expensive. As people have mentioned, if the duty manager is not around there is no English whasoever spoken here. And 200B for the first hour, 100B for each subsequent hour to rent a pedal-cycle or kayak? Purrlease. Motorcycles are 300B a day elsewhere on Libong.
Libong Beach Resort
Spurred on by Tezza’s reports, the A-frame cheapies at the back were my target. There seems to be a range of prices for these. Some folks were paying 400 or 500B for the more northern ones. Those ones have louvre glass windows, western style toilets (and aircon units on the outside, but I don’t think they were working). The couple of A-frames at the southern end are cheaper and have solid wooden window shutters and squat toilets. I got one of these for 300B (Feb 2011) without even trying. They weren’t budging on that price, tho’. Tezza’s already written these up, so I won’t duplicate that. One thing worth noting is that the little lizards like to chew on the bamboo interior wall covering, which is pretty noisy in the night. I caught one cheeky blighter right there on the bedside table in the middle of the night stealing the little bar of soap. It was easy enough to patch the hole in the wall he had made, which put a stop to that.
These get my thumbs up for best budget resort-sleeps in Libong. The indoor bathroom and spacious rooms bring these out ahead of Libong Sunset Resort.
Other notables at the Libong Beach Resort is that the restaurant still serves great food. Oneplate dishes are 60B-80B depending what meat you choose (the seafood is excellent) and main dishes start at 120B plus 20B for rice. Big Changs are a Libong-standard 70B. There is now a little internet hut attached to the restaurant (100B for an hour ?) , so you don’t need to walk down to Dugong to use theirs. There are plenty of hammocks, swings, chairs, sunbeds etc on the edge of the beach on which you can sit and catch some rays or watch the sun go down over the sea. This (mostly) can’t be said for any other resorts on the West Coast and are very handy for us back-row types.
Motorbike rental is 300B a day.
Boat day-trips are a shade more expensive than at other resorts.
The fancy AC front rows were typically going for 800B in Late Feb 2011, though some people were getting them for a steal at 600B
La Dugong Resort
You walk through Libong Beach Resort to get to La Dugong, but, IMO, you should just stop at LBR. La Dugong is kindof a poor cousin to LBR. It’s a nice-enough place, just not quite as good as LBR. Some people who stayed at Le Dugong said that the service was a bit half-hearted.
The food at Le Dugong was a little more expensive than LBR and they also came last in the big Chang test at 100B each.
For those wanting cheap rooms, there are still the two 400B-ers with bathroom outside, but these are easily beaten by the LBR back row A-frames with bathrooms or the Libong Sunset Resorts bamboos if you want a sea-view. La Dugong also rents-out tents at 200B.
Boat prices posted in La Dugong restaurant (which are pretty representative of boat prices everywhere on Libong):
Hat Yao 800B
Around Libong 1500
Dugong spotting trip 800
Lau Liang 1500
Ta Kaeng 1700
Lau Liang & Ta Kaeng 2500
Kradan-Muk Cave 2200
Also posted up in the restaurant were rental prices for :
Tents – 200B
Motorbike – all day 400B / half day (upto 5 hrs) 200B
Canoe – all day 300B / half day 200B
From the main beach on the West coast, you can rock-hop and swim around the headland to the North and explore about 5km of completely deserted beaches. There is a road set back about 200 m from the beach which you will occasionally have to revert to when you get to an insurmountable rocky headland. There’s a great view of the Trang coast from the North East corner.
There is also a nice, naturalistic track down to the Southwest corner of the island (it starts from the beach, just South of the Libong Nature Resort) and calls in on some small rubber-farming communities and some tiny isolated bays. There are lots of monitor lizards and monkeys around if you go looking for them. Some folk at our resort caught some squid by line-fishing off a rental-kayak
There’s cheap eats for around the 30B mark in the village between two sets of resorts.
I always like to figure out what all those temping lumps on the horizon are. Geek that I am, I took a compass and a map and came up with this. I’m sure that I could easily see Tarutao.
Click the image to see the bigger version. Then Click on that to see it at full size
On a clear day, I could see Adang and Rawi. According to a local dive master that pointy one at 161º is Tabaay (ทะบาย) , not sure about the flatty at 185º. Any takers?
Written May 2011. Last updated October 2011