Well, if you are a very young backpacker and on a budget, this could be allright. But I am a middleaged flashpacker type, so I was completely turned off about this place. I flushed the toilet and it almost fell apart. Cold water only. No mosquito net. Bugs abound. It had the personality of a prison cell. Having said all this, it was only 500 baht. So, as I said, for the young backpacker it might be fine. But for me, I like, at the very least, a toilet which is solid:)
Poseidon is located in Tanote bay, they have a few rooms with fan (no A/C) located meters from the beach. The word resort not fully fitting - more like a guesthouse.
Good restuarant and especially 2nd floor chill-out zone
There are top places to stay at Mae Haad indeed. Sensi Paradise Beach Resort at the southern part of the beach. Friendly staff. Resturant not that great, but a short walk along the beach to the village and you will have several options. Have to mention Cafe del sol. Great pizza and also very tasty thai food.
Bring your Mac/PC as there is wifi available.
Outstanding pools is a major plus. Bungalows in tradional thai style.
If you opt to stay in the quieter Mae Haad rather than head along the coast to the party town of Sairee, you could do worse than this place if you are on a budget. To be honest, there are no top end places in Mae Haad, they are all further along the coast. As you can see from the photo, the rooms are basic but spotlessly clean as is the ensuite bathroom which has hot water.
Like most guesthouses here, there is an attached restaurant downstairs which is good, and the staff who run both are friendly and helpful although English is at something of a premium. There is not much more I can say about the place but I was perfectly happy there the few nights I spent before moving to Sairee.
As I have said elsewhere in tips I do not like to give a really negative report on a place but I really cannot find anything good to say about the Sunsetburi Hotel. For reasons I won't bore you with, I arrived in Sairee quite late in the evening and this was the only place I could find to check in. Having roused the "security guard" from his bed behind the desk, I paid a whopping 1200 baht ( a large amount by local standards where rooms are available for literally a quarter of that. I think I can best sum up my feelings by reproducing a section from my blog, "For a whopping 1200 Baht it was extremely basic. The furniture looked like 1970's Ikea that somebody had taken to with a hatchet, the bedlinen was threadbare and I found two large dead cockroaches in the toilet. I suspect they had committed suicide having to live here (see photo of suicidal cockroaches!). The minibar fridge boasted a long list of inflated price drinks and contained well, precisely nothing."
At this so called quality establishment they did not even provide toilet paper. The slumbering man allegedly in charge of the security of my belongings did not stir when I left my key, and it had not moved when I returned some time later. He obviously had not awoken in the interim. I think I am right in saying it is the first time in some years of VT tipping that I have ever given the lowest rating, and in the case of this hotel, were there a lower one I would use it.
Do yourself a favour and stay well clear of this pit.
This place is uniquely bad, probably the owrst place I have stayed in on all my travels to Thailand.
This is an excellent place in the budget range that I happened upon after an unfortunate night spent in the vastly overpriced Sunsetburi Hotel nearby (see seperate tip). It is fairly standard bungalow accomodation, spotlessly clean with cold water only. I chose a fan room as I prefer it to AC and paid 400 baht a night, which is about standard for this type of place. It is well away from the main party area of Sairee so you are more likely to get an uninterrupted nights sleep. A great plus is the lady who runs the place and lives there. She is fron the Isaan region of Northeast Thailand and would do abolutely anything to help you.
In this price range, definitely recommended.
The friendliness of the staff deserves mention.
As part of my deal with the associated Siam Dive School I received four nights free accomodation here, although the bungalow I had goes for 400 baht a night (I stayed an extra couple of days). It is certainly basic with no hot water in a fan room but I prefer a fan to AC anyway, and it was perfectly adequate for my needs. In December, a cold shower was just what was needed most times and I rarely used the fan anyway. As is usual in Thailand, the place was spotless if a little threadbare.
One word of warning though. The palce is extremely central for all the nighlife, so if you are a light sleeper try to get a bungalow near the rear of the complex. I had one near the front and was serenaded to sleep every night by Johnny Cash at high volume from the nearby Office Bar. If this sounds a little bizarre, read my seperate tip on the bar for a full explanation.
The great plus in this place is the staff. As I have said in other tips, from cheap digs like this to expensive hotels, if you do not have the staff, you have nothing, and the people here are friendly to a fault in that typically Thai way. Always smiling, nothing is too much trouble for them.
As Koh Tao becomes more and more discovered, there are swanky beach resorts springing up but if you are looking for cheap and cheerful in a very central location, it is OK, although I would say the nearby SBC (see seperate tip) is a better bet for the same money.
The Freedom Beach Resort on Koh Tao is the best beach resort I have been to in Thailand. Two Beaches, mid class priced bungalows with or without AC. Not expensive but spacious, clean with a stunning sea view. Very friendly staff, with a European management. Good kitchen, with a restaurant on the water. Spend little money for a perfect holiday. I will go there again.
Beach Beach Beach.
Privat Privat Privat.
Best ever beach, quiet nice small beach, with excellent snorkeling just in front of your bungalow.
I stayed at Sairee Cottage with my girlfriend in March 09 in order for her to get her Open Water diving certification (the hotel told us they would give us 500 Baht off each night's price if we did a Scuba Diving course there). We travel all over Thailand, and the service here is the worst. We booked for 5 nights, and the hotel reception refused to give us any soap or toilet paper after the first day (they told us that they will "sell" it to us for ridiculous prices). There were rats running around the cottages every night. The dive instructor that Sairee Cottage provided to my girlfriend was extremely rude, impatient, mean, and downright disencouraging to any beginner open water diver (not to mention he is an old, skinny, tattooed Italian guy with black, rotting teeth). The hotel's Scuba diving instructor refused to give my girlfriend her final test for her Open Water certificate (he says that "he didn't want to waste the other student's time by teaching her anymore". My girlfriend completed her Open Water certificate one week later in the Philippines without complaint). To top it off, Sairee Cottage then charged us an additional 2,500 Baht for our hotel bungalow because they refused to allow my girlfriend to complete her Scuba certification (they hotel said afterward that the 500 Baht/night room discount is only for people who "pass" their scuba course). Ko Tao is beautiful, but staying or diving with Sairee Cottage will be a disappointment to your visit to the island. I would stay around Shark Bay instead.
Our room at this resort was large and very comfortable. The views from both balconies were fantastic. Even the bathroom is worth mentioning. The shower having ample room for 2 adults to use at the same time helped to conserve water. The bathroom sink is long and deep enough to hold a lot of dive gear for washing after a days usage.
Room service great, almost like being on a second honeymoon.
Great pool with a swim up bar. Would say there are more resort guests than poolside chairs. Nice to go for a fresh water swim after a days diving in saltwater.
Resort provides free transfer from pier to resort. Had to wait while room was being made up but that was NO inconvenience, gave us time to explore the resort lobby area and chat with very friendly staff who helped us sign up for a snorkel trip. Yes i would recommend this resort to all travelers.
At the far north end of Sairee beach, the next resort to the north considers their beach "private". The location is fantastic. A 5 minute walk to Sairee village by road, or a nice stroll down the beach to King Rama V Rock. But it is also very quiet at night. The staff is very friendly and the scuba center, individually run, has one of the best reputations on the island.
Their secret is the Treasure Rooms. They are run by the dive shop, so they are not on the website. They are basic hotel rooms, 800 BHT for fan, 1200 for air-con. The air-con rooms have better amenities. They do not have hot water. But even though I was in the cheap room the staff treated me like anyone else. And you get a third off your room rate for every day you dive.
I planned on staying 7 days there, but after I sprained my ankle, I extended my stay to 12 days, because they were so accomadating and I loved the Island too much.
And, by the way, the Islanders will waive the no shoe rule if they see that you are injured. Not only at Coral Grand, but all of the shops that I went to with a bandaged ankle. The proprieters would come out to the sidewalk and tell me that it was OK for me to come in wearing my shoes. I never had to ask.
Foot cleaning and shower station by the pool.
On the beach.
23 1/2 hour electricity. They service the generators between 5:30 and 6:00.
Safety deposit boxes.
I stayed at ban's & did a divemaster course for 2 months & I have to say it was one of the worst experiences of my life.
I spent 2 months being verbally abused by the pack of dogs that they call instructors who jealously guard their patch by deliberately putting off up & coming instructors who they feel may be a threat to them. It started with physical threats & continued with constant verbal abuse for the entire 2 months.
On top of this... none of the instructors have legitamate work visas & are all working in Thailand illegally (question their insurance status), they manage to get away with it because the school is owned by the island's local "mafia" (I was regailed with stories of the school's main Thai instructor bringing his gun out at New Year parties & letting off shots)
Ban's Diving school uses Divemaster Trainees as free labour & encourage/force the "divemasters" to tell customers that they are fully fledged PADI professional divemasters while they're being forced to lead the customers around the local dive sites whilst charging the customers for "professional dive leaders"
This is a diving factory where money comes first. Classes are as close to the PADI maximum as they can manage & divemaster trainees are used here illegally too as "professionals" in order to increase the maximum number of students per class. The certify more students than any other school in South East Asia but the level of teaching is extremely poor. I personally witnessed one instructor shouting "You must be bloody thick mate!" at one student who didn't grasp a skill at the first attempt. I listened to other instructors saying "Those 2 ***es are too fat to be diving anyway, no wonder they're complaining"
If you're considering taking a course at Ban's, do yourself a favour & take a strolll down the beach, there are some very good schools on Koh Tau, just stay away from this one.
The Seashell is an excellent place to dive and a fair place to spend the night. The fan-bungalows are small, have no warm water, no air-co, look cute and are pretty cheap(550 Baht in July 2008 while you get a 50Baht discount for every fundive you make). The concrete bungalows are a lot more expensive (I thought like 2400Baht including airco and TV).
The downside is the problem with bills: the check for the breakfast each morning or the final check for the stay, it's always a problem. I'm still not sure whether it is a problem of calculus or personal integrity. However, while the problem was big in 2007 (none of the bills was correct), most of the bills in 2008 were correct. However, this should not stop you from staying here. This problem has nothing to do with the dive school where I've had no problems at all.
Great view, nice location at the beach (see picture), excellent dive school, close to town.
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