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“Popular for being cheap but”

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Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel
Ranked #108 of 140 Specialty Lodging in Koh Tao
Prague, Czech Republic
Level 6 Contributor
108 reviews
82 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“Popular for being cheap but”
Reviewed February 9, 2013

When I called the hostel to stay 2 nights, the Thai girl receptionist said they had a bed for me. When I arrived, she said I might have to go the next day since it was full. The next day, I had to go and just complained to her that she should've told the situation on the phone since I had to take a taxi and now had to look for another place for just 1 night. No one wants to move around after settling in. She said she loved her job and she was perfect for it or something and said "Oh my budda!!!" I guest she is not a budhist. Christians don't say something like that. Anyway, her English was good but not good manner overall. The hostel is basic with about 3 shower rooms and 2 toilets. They charge 30 baht for blanket since the aircon gets cold at night. Thanks to her, I found a private room with a fan for 250 baht in Saire Beach. Therefore, I was wrong that the hostel was the cheapest.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank backpackmania
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phil D, Owner at Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, October 15, 2013
Yes I've never heard anyone ever say OMG either, but my question to you is that when you called up did you say that you wanted to stay for 2 nights, or did you simply ask if we had any beds free for tonight? We tend not to keep beds for people who call up as they do have a habit of not actually turning up and so the best way to book in is through the hostel website or hostelworld as then it is locked in for you. We do rent out blankets for 30 baht for just 1-2 nights as they quite heavy and so this will just about cover their laundry cost. The AC can get quite cold in the rooms, but that really does depend on what temperature it is that you set them to as the remotes are in the rooms.... We don't claim to be the cheapest accommodation on the island as there are still a few of the very cheap fan bungalows on the island I'm told, but I really couldn't tell you where they are anymore. However for the real penny pinchers you can still stay at the temple for just 100 baht a night!!
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English first
Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 15, 2013

basic accommodation but good for value, bar and grill opposite that attracts a decent crowd, and also 30 seconds from the beach its self. everything you could need is near by. just have to say i was disappointed by the shower but its hardly something to ruin my stay on a great island. Thanks!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
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Thank maxwolves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 24, 2012 via mobile

I stayed here for 2 nights while diving. It's the worst hostel I've ever been to! And as I'm a backpacker I don't expect too much! It's very dirty, I arrived and there was rubbish left by the last guest around my bed. The toilets are disgusting, toilet paper all over the floor and wet, and you're not allowed to wear shoes inside! They don't even provide you a banked/sheet for the night you have to rent it for a price which is definitely more than just what it would cost to wash them, especially you pay by day. And then it is expensive! You pay for a bed in a six bed dorm, for a little bit more you get a cottage somewhere else, and as soon as you two people It's even cheaper to get your own room/cottage. Don't stay here!

  • Stayed November 2012
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Helpful?
3 Thank lauraaa93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PhilKohTao, Owner at Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, November 26, 2012
Hi Laura,

yes you stayed here for two nights whilst diving so as I understand it your stay was actually free as it was included in your course price, so really not all that expensive. If you would have been paying for the stay then it would have been 250 baht at the moment for the low season price, or 200 baht a night on any days that you were taking fun dives, scuba reviews or DSD dives with Davy Jones Locker (this applies all year round even during the high season).
You checked in during the morning before the cleaners go into the rooms each day (our cleaners only go into the rooms between 1 & 2pm each day so as not to disturb those who have been out partying the night before).
Unfortunately yes some people are messy in the toilets being unable to put toilet paper into the waste bins provided and unable to direct a bum gun into the actual toilet which it sounds like resulted in tissue paper being put onto the floor and then getting wet from people unable to direct a water spray toward their bum instead of the floor, hence causing a wet floor. This must have happened between one of the four times a day that the toilet and shower areas are cleaned, my guess would be late/middle of the night.
We don't force anyone to rent a towel or blanket, these are optional extras that you can choose to rent if you wish, as we know that some people do already have these with them, so instead of just adding 50 baht or more onto the nightly rate as the other hostels on the island do we simply give people the option. (The laundry cost here on the island is between 40-50 baht per kilo so for those people changing towels every day when they go to the beach the rental cost isn't expensive at all and is only there to cover the laundry costs). You may have noticed that the towel cost is a daily rate, however there are different rates for blanket rental depending on the length that you rent them. Also you have to understand that not all customers we get are honest and so theft of towels and blankets also has to be accounted for.

We don't have any 6 bed dorms, your observation or numeracy skills are it seems not the best as each of the dormitories have 8 beds in them. Yes for additional money it is possible to get a bungalow/room with cold water shower, a fan and free mosquitoes.
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Travelers are raving about these Koh Tao hotels

Manchester, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed November 7, 2012

The floor was covered in dust and dirt, making me want to keep my shoes on not take them off at the door! I was scared of the diseases i might catch so i only stayed one night. My 8 bed dorm room smelled awful, a mix of sweat and damp. The ladder to my top bunk was literally hanging off the bed. Its dark grey walls and smelly toilets make it feel like a prison. Its funny because there are signs all over the hostel asking people not to give bad reviews online but at this hostel there was no significant problem to complain to management about, the whole hostel was one of the worst of my east coast trip and it was the reason i didnt go diving with DJL, i wasnt going to stay there for 4 days even if it was free with the diving. Save yourself time and money and go straight to big blue diving resort.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
4 Thank s_pops89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PhilKohTao, Owner at Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, November 26, 2012
Signs all over the hostel asking people not to give bad reviews? They actually point out some of the incorrect things that people have written in the past such as the common "there is no hot water showers" just because people didn't know about the ELB safety feature that the showers have here in Thailand to prevent you getting an electric shock whilst in the shower.

We do ask people to actually try and stick to the truth instead of making up complaints about things that if they bothered to ask a question at reception could be explained to them very quickly. We do have many signs up in the hostel to point things out to the guests, however some don't bother to read them either and then decide to write a complaint about something which was explained by a sign they didn't read. Which as can imagine is pretty frustrating when it's the same things over and over again which have already been addressed, replied to, signs posted etc etc. I just makes you question the intelligence of some people.

I was amused by the dark grey walls comment that made it feel like a prison, odd really as there haven't been any grey walls in the hostel at all since it was first painted (prior to us opening) when we built it . So yet again a quite random complaint without any basis of truth.

Unless perhaps she went colour blind due to the trauma of her almost drowning taking the Open Water course with a dive school who managed to take her beyond her limits which according to her review of the place (which you can easily find on TripAdvisor by clicking on her name and then reviews) resulted in her almost drowning and having to be rescued by her dive instructor, if that isn't a glowing endorsement then I don't know what is, oh no wait a minute....

I can fully recommend Davy Jones Locker Diving, which perhaps you would have had an even better non near drowning incident free Open Water course with which has an excellent safety record and also can boast having the Emergency Evacuation Response contact person for the island working in their dive shop on the reception and teaching Emergency First Responder courses.
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Brighton, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2012

I have been to Koh Tao several times and always stay here. The dorms are basic but clean, the same goes for the showers and toilets. All the reception staff are lovely and always helpful. It's a great location, close to the beach and all the shops, and you also have the pool and bar opposite. It's also a really good place to meet people, in the dorm or in the bar. I would definitely recommend staying here if your looking for the backpacking experience!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank gillianmccormick85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2012

the dorms are very basic so i guess you get what you pay for. the receptionists are rather helpful and speak really good English. the only thing i wish they could include was blankets because it was extra charges to rent one.

Located next to Davy Jones Locker (dive centre), i felt it was a good location. They have a swimming pool and pool bar which is nice. People who work at Davy Jones are very friendly and it's a great way to meet people. In fact, Davy Jones dive centre owns this hostel so if you dive with them, you get discounted rates.

Room Tip: email in advance as they are always full.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank rainbowbiscuits
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston upon Thames, England, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed July 6, 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.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Talisa_Adcock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Owner at Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel, responded to this review, 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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Additional Information about Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel

Property: Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel
Address: Moo 2 | Sairee Beach, Koh Tao 84360, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Koh Tao
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #108 of 140 Specialty Lodging in Koh Tao
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Koh Tao Backpackers is in central Sairee, Koh Tao. Koh Tao Backpackers offers cheap hostel style accommodation for both divers and non divers. Located in Sairee at the Silver Sands Resort, behind Davy Jones Locker Diving who's restaurant/bar and swimming pool we use as our common areas, Koh Tao Backpackers is close to everything you'll need whilst here on Koh Tao. We also have full access to the Dive resort's swimming pool and bar restaurant. We have AC in all the dormitories, hot water showers, lockers in the dormitories and 24 hour reception with CCTV cameras. ... more   less 
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