Beach + Island

Budget Beaches

by Sarah Tuff

Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

True, Southwest doesn't fly to Thailand—yet. But if you find a reasonable fare across the Pacific to Thailand, head to the Phi Phi islands: It's kind of like shopping at a dollar store and finding it stocked with Gucci. Clear green seas lap against golden shores where a massage, a cocktail, a plate of spicy noodles, and just about everything else seems to only cost a few bucks. The hotels and restaurants are on Phi Phi Don island, whose two mountains are connected by a curving, palm-studded strip of sand. A sleek beachfront room at the island's Paradise Resort starts at $75 (!); you'll look out over Phi Phi Leh, site of The Beach and still uninhabited and unspoiled. A wooden long-tail boat will ferry you across for a few dollars; a good tip will probably even lead you to your own secret beach, but you'll have to bring your own Leo or Virginie Ledoyen.

Fly Buy: Through Thai Air's Discover Thailand fare, you can fly to three different cities for just $199 above the international fare—including Krabi or Phuket, gateways to the Phi Phi islands (800-426-5204; www.thaiairways.com).

Paradise Resort
Tel: 66 1968 3989
Double rooms from $75

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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