An other good network is www.hostelworld.com which my Dad recommended me. I'm not a huge fan of www.tripadvisor.com concerning low budget hostels because most of the users aren't in my age group an mostly have higher expectations than backpackers with less money.
I found our hostel on Ko Lanta through www.hostelworld.com and immediately booked 4 nights after reading the ratings and after I saw the cheap price, the facilities and the pictures. I didn't have many expectations because I rarely spend time at the hostel during day time. For me they are just a place to sleep or to have a rest.
From Ko Samui to Ko Lanta it took us 14 hours, a bus, a ferry, two other buses, a pick up truck, a mini van and two ferries and 750 THB.
After that terrible trip we finally arrived at Chill Out House which really is a house to chill at. It's better than I thought and the most adventurous hostel I've been to. Arriving there late at the evening a very nice French guy called Julian introduced us to the hostel and showed us around. It's made out of two big bamboo huts on stills which were bought 1,5 years ago by the owner Marilyn who is a very kind lady from California who decided to settle on Ko Lanta after traveling through Thailand. A friend of hers who is a building engineer helped her rebuilding and connecting the huts to make them more stable. The dorms are in these huts and beneath is the bar.
I only recommend this accommodation to those who don't really need any kind of luxurious place and who prefer living in pure nature, showering with cold water (and small animals climbing up the shower hahaha) and having sand beneath the feet all the time. Living at Chill Out House makes you more chilled out than you have ever been and you learn how to manage your daily life without much materialism. There are no real beds, just a mattress on the bamboo floor, a mosquito net above it and no air con. No concrete walls, windows or warm water. This is life in nature.
The beach is just 70 m away and there's a small drug store at the next corner. So don't worry you won't starve or feel totally isolated from the rest of the world.
When ever coming to Ko Lanta you should think of staying here!
PS. There's also a tattoo and piercing studio at the hostel run by a Thai guy called "Arm" for those who are crazy and brave enough to get e special remembrance from the COH.
PPS. "Arm"'s little baby boy Jaydon also chills at the COH all day long so don't get bothered by his cute baby screaming s and crying.
- AJ -