Just got back from a 10 km scooter ride with wife checking out the place. One thing that was quite clear is you can rent shack dumps for 500 bht a night to as high as 10,000k baht a night at a few quite exclusive places. We rode by all the heavy tourist areas and it was packed with backpacker type westerners and lots of chain smoking Chinese and Japanese tourists with loads of rugrats in tow. I found most beaches to be quite clean except for a few that were jammed. If you stay here its best to pay a bit more to have a resort with a private beach. I will post up some pics of where we are staying. If you land at the main pier it is a cluster fuk of tourists and most go left and those are your high tourist area places. 3 to 5km away from the pier area the places get better. Most Thai folks seem to go right at the pier and the road is short and dead ends. Almost all the resorts that direction have private quiet places to relax like I am right now sipping an iced green tea...drinks will come later..