Mango House, Koh Lanta
You’ll find Mango in the only remaining non-tourist fishing village on popular Koh Lanta. Set in a traditional wooden house on a small pier, rooms are bright with large balconies and sumptuous sea views. Beaches are on nearby islands a short boat ride away or a 15-minute bike journey. They have large villas for families or suites for couples.
• +66 86 948 6836, mangohouses.com, rooms from £40
Secret Garden, Koh Samui
This is a small, family run resort with great-value bungalows spread out in well-tended gardens beside Buddha Beach in the north of Samui. Rooms are simple and stylish with plenty of cosy hang-out areas and hammocks around the grounds. It’s clean and comfortable with friendly British owners and a nice bar and restaurant.
• +66 77 245 255, secretgarden.co.th, bungalows from £24 a night
ThaiLife Homestay, Baan Nam Khem
A short walk from a secluded stretch of unspoilt white-sand beach, south of the fishing village of Baan Nam Khem, is the ThaiLife resort. A collection of gorgeous, raised wooden villas set around a lotus-festooned pond, this friendly resort, the only one on this stretch of beach, has a supremely relaxing vibe. It’s tricky to reach so you’re likely to need your own transport or arrange for ThaiLife to collect you from Phuket airport (£36).
• +66 81 812 0388, thailifehomestay.com, basic cottages start at £16
Dolphin Bungalows, Koh Phangan
Dolphin enjoys an almost legendary status among guests who return year after year. Landscaped jungle-garden houses and wooden bungalows, all with hammocks and balconies, make up this neat resort tucked away on the southern corner of Ao Thong Nai Pan Yai beach, one of the quietest stretches on the party island of Koh Phangan.
• +66 86 770 4259, thongnaipan.info/dolphinbungalows.html, cottages from £7
Baan Talay, Chumphon
Travellers use Chumphon as a jump-off point for ferries to Koh Tao and Samui but if you do stop, you’ll find a vast, gently sloping and beguiling beach at Thung Wua Laen and a burgeoning kite-surfing community. Baan Talay, with clean, nicely decorated, beach-facing rooms, is one of the best places to stay here. This is a beautiful and restful spot but at various times of the year the beach can be plagued by sand flies.
• +66 81 476 2180, baantalay-thungwualaen.com, rooms from £16
Cape Nidhra, Hua Hin
Every room in this resort complex is a lavish, large designer suite complete with private pool. And with rooms for just over £90 a night, based on a seven-night stay, Cape Nidhra offers some of the most affordable luxury anywhere and it makes for an excellent honeymoon bargain. They even throw in a beautiful white-sand beach, huge bathtubs and a massive breakfast buffet.
• Book via Travelbag, 0871 7034240, capenidhra.com. A pay-five-get-two-nights-free offer costs £339pp, from 16 April-31 October 2014
Faasai Resort, Chantaburi
Great little resort complex set in gorgeous gardens a short walk from a little beach and about 20km from the renowned gem-dealing town of Chantaburi. Rooms are either in little bungalows or in more palatial villas. Great food, with a lot of produce from their own organic farm, it’s a peaceful spot and the nearby fishing villages are very friendly with stalls selling very cheap and tasty fresh seafood.
• +66 86 889 2595, faasai.com, rooms from £18
Papa Crab Boutique Guesthouse, Phuket
Phuket is renowned for its pricey, luxury accommodation. Papa Crab, however, breaks the mould and offers a stylish, friendly and comfy place to lay your hat at very reasonable rates. Come during the low-season (June to October) and you’ll get a real bargain. It’s not set directly on Kamala Beach but is only a 50m walk from the sea.
• +66 76 385 315, phuketpapacrab.com, doubles from £17
Thup Thong Guest House, Khao Lak
One of the few buildings to survive the 2004 tsunami that obliterated most of Khao Lak, Thup Thong is also one of the only remaining budget, family-run places on lengthy stretch of white-sand beach facing the tranquil Andaman Sea. Rooms are basic and clean but bungalows inland adjacent to the main property are the better buy. There’s also a small restaurant and bar
• +66 76 48 6722, no website, rooms from £17, bungalows from £25
Jack’s Jungle, Koh Lipe
Koh Lipe swept into SE Asian travellers’ consciousness a few years back after its perfect white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters appeared on the front cover of a best-selling travel guide. Since then it has developed into a resort island of some renown. One of the nicest spots to stay on the island is Jack’s which has 15 bungalows near a stunning beach. Each building is crafted with renewable, natural materials, has an outside bathroom and all are set amid a verdant jungle environment. Rates include a delicious breakfast.
• Open Nov 1 to May 1, jacksjungle.com, doubles from £24
• Andrew Spooner is the author of Footprint Books’ Thailand Handbook and Thailand: Dream Trip