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Reviewed July 7, 2012

The backpackers hostel is very basic and if you're literally looking to stay for one night minimum then it would be okay. We booked our stay in advance and I wish we hadn't. The beds have ripped sheets on them and you aren't given a blanket to sleep with, you have to hire it which is not specified beforehand. There are no reading lights beside the beds so when someone comes in drunk late at night they turn on the lights and you wake up. The fan is incredibly loud and way too cold for the room, especially when you don't have a blanket. The decor of the rooms and overall place is basic and is clearly not being updated well enough. I walked into the bathroom this morning (which are mixed and have no changing rooms) to find a cockroach crawling up the wall. The toilets stink and one of them has two pipes above it which drip other peoples excrement onto you as you sit on the toilet. The overall cleanliness is minimal and the toilets and shower area is disgusting. We watched the cleaners barely sweep up in our dorm and only swept under one bed. The hostel requires you to take your shoes off before you enter which is unhygienic. The lockers in the dorms aren't big enough for backpacks to fit through, they're the size of school lockers and don't fit much in apart from valuables. There are lots of hidden payments such as the use of a towel, you have to pay per day to use it, not just for your entire stay which would be more suitable. There is free WIFI but no computers to use this facility, if you're a backpacker it's highly unlikely you'll be carrying around a laptop so we've had to use internet cafes instead which is a nuisance when we know we can use free internet. The hostel requires a deposit of 1000 baht for the dorm keys which is absolutely ridiculous, we have stayed in a hostel in Bangkok which was much better facilitated and only required 200 baht for the room keys. There is no common room area situated within the hostel, you have to walk down the road which means it's difficult for people to interact because you don't really know who's staying at the hostel or just eating at the restaurant/bar. The food is good at the bar and the staff are friendly but the overall atmosphere is unpleasant and we're leaving a night early because we don't want to stay here any longer. I'm very very disappointed and will be interested to see what the owner has to say.

Date of stay: July 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Talisa_Adcock
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Management response:Responded July 8, 2012

Thanks for your review, I think you are incorrect when you say that the sheets on the beds are ripped as we would have noticed that when they are washed, I think it is a couple of the mattress protectors that have a few tears in them when go underneath the fitted bed sheets that you would have been given when you checked in.

We don't give everyone a blanket as standard so as to keep the cost of the accommodation down and so only the people who turn up the AC to the maximum setting and then feel cold tend to rent blankets and so they get to pay the laundry cost of them. The same goes with towels as some people do actually bring their own towels with them on holiday and so we don't feel that we should charge more so that everyone can have a towel and blanket as some of the hostels here on the island do. We feel it's much a much fairer system to let people decide if they want to rent towels and blankets. The cost is mainly to cover the laundry costs of these as people can change them as often as they like, many people rent towels to take down to the beach and so change them every time they come back to the hostel. We do have to regularly replace the blankets and towels as well as unfortunately some people to steal them.

We don't have reading lights in the room and to be honest when most people are staying here on Koh Tao they don't tend to stay in during the evenings that much as there is a very lively nightlife despite the island being know for scuba diving.

The AC does have a remote control in the room so if the room temperature is too cold then the temperature can be adjusted, generally we notice that most people turn the AC down to the very lowest temperature possible which after a few hours of sleeping does get very cold, we recommend a temperature of around 23 degrees C as a comfortable sleeping temperature.

The decor in the hostel is basic and we have recently repainted the toilet and shower areas, the rooms were last painted in November last year. We don't try to be a 5 star resort or anything like that we are simply providing an alternative affordable option to people who don't want to spend a large part of their daily budget on their accommodation with a few extra benefits of AC in the rooms, hot water showers and the use of the swimming pool and bar restaurant at Davy Jones Locker Diving of which I am the manager of. These facilities that we have access to for the hostel customers for free are only 10-15m from the hostel entrance and also help to ensure that when people do wish to go to sleep in the hostel they aren't being kept awake by music or TV's blasting out all night.

Sorry I do have to apologise for the presence of cockroaches in Thailand, I think you may see a few more during your visit.

The two pipes you mention dripping excrement on you alas aren't anything so interesting, they are outlet the pipes from the AC units in dorms 3 & 4 and when the AC is cranked up condensation forms on the pipes and drips down. The reason for this is the difference in the temperature from the inside of the pipe which is extremely cold and the outside of the pipe which here in Thailand is usually above 30 degrees C, so when you combine that with a humidity level of 70% plus it's hardly surprising to get condensation forming, that's basic physics not excrement.

The lockers in the rooms are not really designed for people to store their backpacks in, most people have locks on their bags when traveling and so the main idea of putting lockers in the rooms was so that people could store their valuables in them, things like cameras, passports, laptops & ipads etc. It is actually surprising how many people do travel with a laptop, ipad or smart phone these days which we do notice when the internet connections to the wifi get maxed out out as there are only 32 connections available to guests this does suggest that there are a few people traveling around with multiple wifi enabled devices.

When the cleaners come into the hostel they shower and toilet areas are cleaned of four separate occasions each day, we do realise that some people simply ignore the quite reasonable request that you remove your shoes before entering the hostel, there are two reasons for this. The first is of course that it is considered very rude to wear shoes into someone's home or business (obviously in places like Bangkok exceptions are made due to large volume of international tourists etc). The second reason, which I actually think is more important here on a island where there is a lot of sand around is to try and cut down on the amount of sand that people bring into the hostel, as the result of this sand being brought into the hostel is that people then complain about it. (we don't bring sand into the hostel only the customers do, we spend most of our time removing it). When the cleaners go into the dormitories between 1 & 2 pm each afternoon (we don't go in earlier as often people are sleeping and so we try not to disturb them) they are then faced with often a difficult task of trying to work out what is rubbish and what is just customers belongings spread out over the floor and so for this reason they are instructed to empty bins, remove empty bottles and food packaging and sweep up the sand, if they aren't sure if something is rubbish or someone's belongings it's better if they leave it and then the customer can put it in the bin if they wish for it to be thrown away, this way it's simple and ensures people's mementos for their trip aren't accidentally tossed away.

Yes we do take a key deposit of either 1,000 baht or a passport which is returned when you return the key. The reason we have a 1,000 baht key deposit is that we really don't want you to lose the keys, the higher key deposit does seem to work well and so it does cut down on the amount of key, keyring and lock replacements we have to carry out, which is obviously not as convenient for us as somewhere in Bangkok as we order locks and key rings from the mainland.

I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the food in the restaurant and hope you used your discount for staying at the hostel when ordering by showing your room key. As well as the dive school bar & restaurant there are also tables and chairs opposite the hostel entrance for people to use to socialise, but when in the bar and restaurant you shouldn't feel unable to speak to people who aren't staying at the hostel, you can strike up a conversation with anyone don't worry the divers in the bar won't bite :)

I see that this is actually your first review of anywhere and hope that I have addressed all of your queries and that you won't be as disappointed with the rest of your trip, if you do inquire about upgrades they are always available in Thailand whatever your budget.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2012

At just over £5 per night this is very cheap and centrally located. It's basic but serves a purpose.

Date of stay: June 2012
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Thank Stuman1
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed June 17, 2012

I stayed here for 3 nights in June 2012. I stayed in an 8 bed dorm and although the room was a bit small for 8 people its fine for people on the backpacker trail. The location is excellent but the wifi is useless, but I think the wifi is not great on the island anyway. The shower facilities are not great as 2 out of the 3 showers were broken when I was staying here but I guess this is just a minor detail. The only problem I had with this hostel was the man at the reception desk. I had been traveling around Asia for 2 and a half months and i have never come across a ruder person in my whole time travelling around Asia
I returned to the room during the day and the electricity went off. I went out to the reception and the guy at reception just said it would be back in a minute. That was fine, I went back to the room and the electricity came back but the air con would not turn on. I went back out to the reception and before I had even gotten the chance the guy at the desk just said just use the fan. I just asked him when will the air con be comming back on and he launched into a big rant saying that "you people cannot expect things to be the same as the are at home, how we dont care about the environment we dont care about anything, that this was just a tiny island" he went on and on and I tried to just explain to him that i was only asking when the air con was comming back that i wasnt complaining but he just wouldnt listen. I then walked away and said this is crazy and he then told me to f***k off twice!!!! Another guest walked down the corridor at this time and was also as shocked as I was. He was at this point irate and the whole situation was just ridiculous because there was no need for it.
I complained to to lady receptionist the next morning and she was very nice and apologized but if I had not of been leaving the next day anyway I would have checked out early.
overall this hostel is fine if your looking for a basic dorm room in a hostel but the guy on reception is just the rudest man I have ever met.

Date of stay: June 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
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1  Thank baphoucy
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
PhilKohTao, Owner at Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel, responded to this reviewResponded June 19, 2012

Nayzar the reception staff who was working at the time of this incident had actually told me on the day some of what was going on at the time.

The main government power had gone off as it sometimes does here on the island and so he had gone around to all of the dorm rooms and let the guests know that the AC would be off whilst the government power was off. (there is private electricity which we had turned on to continue to power the lights and fans etc. however as that is prone to have power spikes and can break the AC units during the day time we turn the AC units off when on the private electricity, so that we can ensure that there isn't a problem at night when people want to sleep in the AC).

He had told me that there had been one customer who didn't seem to want to accept this and had been out to the reception repeatedly asking when the main power would be back on so the AC could be on, (unfortunately we don't really know how long the repairs or whatever work the government power people are doing will actually take so it's not really possible to give an exact answer to that question). The girl who had been out had also been complaining to him that the hostel should not advertise that we have AC in the rooms unless we could guarantee that it would be on 24hrs a day even if there were power cuts. Apparently this girl had started to grate on Nayzar and he was getting a little bit annoyed with this individual. I think this must have been when you had come out to the reception to ask him about when the AC was going to be coming back on, I think that perhaps maybe what may have happened was a case of mistaken identity and he thought that you were the same girl coming out again to complain and ask the same question which he couldn't actually know the exact answer to, at which point you received the response from him that you did, which obviously even for the girl who had annoyed him wouldn't be proper response, but this perhaps explains the situation a little.

To be honest Nayzar doesn't usually lose his temper with anyone and has pretty laid back personality, so it was out of character for him to get annoyed over something like this, most nights he sits out the front of the hostel playing guitar and chilling out with the guests.

With the Free WiFi unfortunately when the government power goes off then so does the WiFi, so that would explain why the WiFi had problems whilst you were here, although as you say WiFi on the island isn't the best in the world, it's not as good even as the WiFi on the mainland.

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Reviewed May 30, 2012

I stayed here for 11 days in April 2012 The hostel is in a very central location, close to Sairee beach. The staff are extremely helpful and friendly. The dorms are mixed and the bathrooms are shared but kept pretty clean. The a/c in the dorms is very cold and it costs to hire a blanket so wrap up in your own clothes.
The dorms and bathrooms are cleaned everyday. Great value for money and so many friendly people to meet, plus discounts on dives at DJL though it's not the best dive school on the island

Date of stay: April 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
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Thank BelfastVic
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed April 26, 2012 via mobile

overall a good place to stay, would go back. cheap and had a/c! free wifi was on and off, lockers in rooms, clean enough. good for the price

Date of stay: April 2012
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Thank alexblack1
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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