Friendly and peaceful
Ao Hin Wong, Ko Tao T: (077) 456 006
The original place to stay on Hin Wong Bay, Hin Wong Bungalows offers affordable bungalow accommodation perched on the hillside and friendly service in a rustic location.
We've stayed here many times over the years and while, as with Ko Tao as a whole, the bay has changed, this is still a worthwhile spot for those seeking a sleepy getaway from the more hectic side of the island. Best in June through to August when the winds blow from the west leaving the waters here idyllic and calm, you can wade in from the small beach they've added or jump in from the pier.
Bungalows are simple, fan-cooled affairs but are well appointed, with hammocks and a great view. The restaurant has been moved down to just above the water and it lacks the charm of the original (which is now the home of the owner, Sahaat – his son Tep and daughter Mol now run the guesthouse and beach bar respectively). Charmlessness withstanding, the food is decent (if slow) and it is a shame they haven't made a bit more effort tidying it all up.
A small beach has been "constructed" just to the north of the restaurant, where Mol runs a cute little beach bar – non guests are required to buy a drink to use the beach – an unfortunately widespread practise on Ko Tao. The bay is popular with around the island boat trips and divers, but tens to attract far smaller crowds than Ao Leuk further to the south. Kayaks and snorkelling gear can be hired.
While we remain fans of the original Hin Wong Bungalows, if it isn't what you're after (or they're full), View Rock up on the northern rise has budget huts, while hidden away over the first rise to the south is Hin Wong Apartments – an English/Thai run place which has a swimming pool and a bunch of rooms – we were unable to see rooms at either. Their pool looked good from the restaurant, but we weren't allowed to take a closer look because of the "security ramifications".
One note on the road to Hin Wong, there is a parking area about a third of the way down to the bay and if you are not a very experienced motorcyclist, we would suggest leaving your bike here and walking the last bit – accidents (both going up and down) are very common.
By Stuart McDonald
Last updated on 1st November, 2016.
The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.