Koh Tao- Hin Wong Bay?!

So when booking my trip to Koh Tao, I made a rookie mistake in terms of travel and did not really research where the best area to stay was. I was browsing all the typical online travel agents and then came across Hin Wong Apartments Dive & Snorkel Resort and thought, “well that looks beautiful”. It was beautiful, but where there’re pros there’re cons. 

We loaded our luggage up and then clambered onto a truck which would be our taxi ride from the ferry jetty to the resort. The journey to Hin Wong Bay was like no experience before. It was basically a dirt track road up and down the steepest hills you’ve ever seen in your life, I thought I was about to tumble off the back of the truck with my backpack not far behind, and my life as I knew it would be over. Alas, I survived and it wasn’t that bad but at the time I was holding on for dear life.  

After about 10 minutes of gripping onto the edge of the truck and wondering if the vehicle would make it up the hill, the driver stopped and told us we were there. We were in the middle of a forest. At first I was shocked to be in the middle of nowhere, and still mildly traumatised from the journey, but then I just thought, “this will be nice and peaceful, and something out of the ordinary”. 

The driver then said, “it’s up there”, and pointed to stairs that looked like they went all the way to heaven. All of our mouths dropped, and I’m pretty sure I can say this for all of us, we were just thinking “fuck”. If you’ve been a girl backpacking, chances are even when you try to pack light you just can’t and your backpack weighs a ton; this was the case for us. 

We eventually managed to lug our bags up the stairs to reception, and it was from there we could really admire the view. The view from Hin Wong is beautiful as it’s just a clear view of the surrounding ocean, and there are hardly any tourists about. We went down to the sea water pool as our room was not yet ready, and this is a picture I took of my friends admiring the ocean view. 

 Our apartment at Hin Wong was great with two bedrooms, a nice, spacious clean bathroom with good (but cold) shower, and a good open plan kitchenette area. Below is a picture of the pool and view from our apartment. 

 
  
Hin Wong also offers dorm style rooms for backpackers as well, and whilst there are no shops or any other amenities nearby, they do have a small menu which serves nice and tasty food by reception. It’s almost like the reception area is the living room in their own home, and the kitchen their family kitchen as well. The resort is run by an older English man, and his Thai wife and family. The owner was telling us one day how he owns many different resorts worldwide, and has many different wives and children to go with them! Crazy. 

Although Hin Wong is in the middle of nowhere, the owners do offer taxi runs into Sairee Beach for a cheaper cost than a taxi. Don’t be fooled however into thinking this would be a pleasant ride, the vehicle has no seats in the back and they often squeeze as many people in there as possible (I think up to eleven?!) sitting on the floor and struggling to find something to hold on to. Only in Asia! This combined with the steep hills just makes it a nightmare journey, so if you are going to stay at Hin Wong be prepared for that. Furthermore, even if they are busy or the car is full, the owners are very reluctant to order you a normal taxi, as I guess it loses them money. This can be very annoying as we found out one day when we had to get to a scuba diving school, and they did not call us a taxi like we asked, and we ended up being late. 

Overall, if you’re a backpacker looking to stay in the heart of the action and meet loads of new people, do not stay at Hin Wong. Additionally, do not stay there if you hate stairs! If you’re looking for a more relaxed trip, maybe you want some time sitting in your apartment and taking in the serenity of the ocean views, then Hin Wong is a nice place to stay. 

Gemma 

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Koh Tao- The Diving Island

Koh Tao is beautiful. It is one of my favourite places I visited not only in Thailand, but on my whole South East Asia Trip. Koh Tao is located north of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, and is the smallest of the islands. It is the main spot in Thailand for snorkelling and scuba diving, and has therefore earned its nickname “The Diving Island”. 

Sairee Beach is the main area for backpackers in Koh Tao, and whilst it’s small there’s still plenty to do. Koh Tao is great for nightlife and the Koh Tao Bar Crawl is quite famous amongst backpackers and tourists, I saw many people walking around in their bar crawl tops in various places in Asia. You’re pretty much guaranteed a fun night out as loads of people get together and visit the best bars, a pool party, and even a Ladyboy cabaret show. 

 
During the day, Sairee Beach is a great place to hang out as the ocean is warm, clear and beautiful, there is a relaxed vibe, and it’s the perfect beach environment. 

   

  
 
Not only is Sairee Beach beautiful, but a short taxi boat ride away is the breathtaking island of Nang Yuan. Nang Yuan is where everyone takes these amazing pictures from the viewpoint, and the view is the epitome of Thailand’s natural beauty. Be warned though, in order to get these pictures you have to climb a lot of very steep stairs, and then once you get to the top and you think it’s over, it’s not. There are massive boulders and you have to do a fair bit of rock climbing and holding on for dear life to get into the perfect position for this photo. Not for the feint hearted but well worth it! 

  
 
Nang Yuang is one of the hotspots for snorkelling and scuba diving as it’s home to some amazing fish and sea creatures. I went snorkelling a few times in Thailand and Nang Yuan was definitely the best. Unfortunately, I didn’t get many decent pictures of the fish, but here’s me and a friend posing for the camera whilst underwater. ๐Ÿ ๐ŸŸ

 

 I did also try scuba diving but I have to say it wasn’t for me. I’ve never had any problems with water or claustrophobia or anything like that, but for some reason as I went below the surface my breaths were getting faster and faster until I made myself panic and wanted to come back to the top. It was an experience and I’m glad I tried it, but I won’t be doing it again! 

  

To summerise, Koh Tao is one of the best places I’ve been and if you get the chance you should definitely spend some time there. 

Gemma

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