They weren't kidding when they named this place Over Bay Resort and with bungalows ideally placed for marathon trainers you'll feel like you've walked all over the bay after a few runs up and down.
"Good things come to those who climb ridiculous hills" isn't all that common a saying, but here deliverance comes in the form of spectacular views right, well, over the bay. Views are better the higher you go, but don't underestimate the climb – we're not the fittest guy on the block, but having the staffer repeatedly ask us if we were ok on the way up was a bit humiliating!
The resort's restaurant and reception is down by the road, then you climb up first to the swimming pool (which itself has good views, though lack of shade (or umbrellas) makes it real anvil under the sun material in the midday heat, then you continue up to the rooms.
They're typical flashpacker fare for Ko Pha Ngan – good sized, white sheeted beds on wooden frames (no mosquito nets, probably because it is too tiring to fly this high), old TVs, free WiFi throughout, with hot water bathrooms and air-con. All up they are reasonably priced and you'd pay more for similar lodgings on the beach (but, you'd actually be on the beach!).
The restaurant makes some heady claims about the quality of their Thai food, which made the limited Thai offerings they had a bit surprising, but the food was good. There is also a solid selection of western options for those who need the carbs for the expedition back to the room. Staff are friendly and quite chatty.
Haad Yao Over Bay Resort isn't the only of Haad Yao's hillside options and if you want something a little less spendy, a little to the north of here (along the same road) is Easy Life and JB Huts – both of which have budget fan-cooled huts from 400 baht – JB even has a pool with terrific views. Personally we'd prefer to be on the sand, but if you value a view over sand between the toes, any of these three should be good.
Type of room, low and high season prices
Room: Standard double room, low season: 650 baht, high season 650 baht. Notes: Fan-cooled
Room: Superior double room, low season: 1,590 baht, high season 1,590 baht. Notes: Garden view
Room: Deluxe double room, low season: 1,800 baht, high season 1,800 baht. Notes: Sea view
51/1 Moo 8, Haad Yao, Ko Pha Ngan
T: (077) 349 163
(084) 879 0377
Room rates: 600B to 1,500B