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.