Thailand is known as a perfect destination for beach lovers. You will find dozens of islands where you can easily enjoy yourself for a few days. In the Southern Gulf of Thailand you will find one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand, Koh Tao. Koh Tao is known as the underwater paradise of Thailand, but even without going snorkeling or diving Koh Tao is a magical island with the perfect island atmosphere. These are the best things to do on the island and the most amazing Koh Tao sights.
Koh Tao is certainly not the island you should go to to get a taste of Thai culture. Although the island is beautiful, there are few special sights that will keep you busy for days. On the other hand, the island is the ideal destination for a wonderful beach holiday and snorkeling and diving enthusiasts can also indulge themselves. After all, the island is known for its spectacular underwater world.
#1. Visit the most amazing beaches on Koh Tao
Koh Tao has dozens of beautiful beaches and cozy bays that are a blast for every beach lover. The best way to explore the island is by motorbike which you can rent anywhere from 150 baht per day and drive yourself to the beach of your choice. Another option to discover secluded beaches is by taxi boat. A one-way trip from Sairee Beach starts at 300 baht per person.
The best known and best beach to stay is Sairee Beach. Located on the west coast just north of the Mae Haad pier where you arrive by boat. Sairee Beach is most famous because of the stunning haning palm tree. One of the most popular Koh Tao attractions. In addition, you can enjoy a pleasant visit to one of the many pubs in the evenings.
Other beautiful beaches on Koh Tao are Mango Bay (one of the most beautiful snorkeling spots), Tanote Bay, Aow Leuk Bay, Shark Bay (the place where you can spot blacktip sharks if you are lucky), Freedom Beach (in high season you pay 50 baht entrance ), and Sai Nuan Beach.
#2. Enjoy a stunning view from Mango Bay Viewpoint
Koh Tao is a hilly island and has only a few roads that can be reached by motorbike or by car. Because the island is so mountainous, you will find magical viewpoints at various places on the island from where you can admire the island and the surrounding bays. These viewpoints are among the most beautiful Koh Tao sights.
Mango Bay Viewpoint viewpoint located in the north of the island where you need nerves of steel to get there. A large part of the roads consists only of sand. For the last bit, from Jim Bar (see photo above) I recommend that you walk as the road gets even worse from here.
Entrance fee during high season: 100 baht per person
#3. Sky View
Close to Mango Bay viewpoint you will find Sky View. When you arrive at the intersection at Jim Bar (see photo above) do not turn left, but go straight ahead and then right. When we were there there was still plenty of construction going on, but you could already chill in a hammock and drink a fresh coconut while enjoying the breathtaking views.
No entrance fee here, but you do need to order a drink. Prices for this start at 50 baht per drink.
#4. John Suwan viewpoint
In the south of the island, near Freedom Beach, you will find an amazing viewpoint from where you have a view of Shark Bay and Baan Chalok Bay: The John Suwan viewpoint. John Suwan viewpoint is one of the most beautiful Koh Tao sights. Downstairs we were told the climb would take about five minutes, but it took us fifteen to twenty minutes. It took a while and it gave me quite a bit of muscle pain the next day, but it is well worth the climb!
Entrance fee: When you drive to John Suwan you will first have to pay 50 baht per person. However, this entrance is for the beach (Freedom Beach) and not for the viewpoint. You do not have to pay the first 50 baht. When you park your motorbike and turn left, where the hike to the viewpoint begins, you do have to pay 50 baht per person.
#5. Must do on Koh Tao: Go snorkeling
Koh Tao is known as the underwater world of Thailand. Snorkeling is a must do on Koh Tao. Of course you can borrow a snorkel and mask yourself at various places on the island (for about 50 baht per day) to explore the different bays around the island. Another option is to book a snorkeling trip at one of the many offices on the island. Prices vary wildly so it’s wise to shop around a bit.
We booked a tour for 400 baht per person that started at 11:30 am and dropped us off at our guesthouse around 5:30 pm. Lunch is often not included. If you still want to have lunch on the boat, choose a more expensive tour from 500 baht per person.
All tours stop at various spots for snorkeling and end the day on Koh Nang Yuang. The stop on Koh Nang Yuang costs an additional 100 baht per person.
#6. Enjoy the most stunning sunsets ever seen
From the most famous beach on Koh Tao, Sairee Beach, you can enjoy the most magical sunsets every evening. Please make sure not to miss out on this.
#7. Day trip to Koh Nuang Yuang
I already mentioned Koh Nuang Yuang at number five of this list, but definitely worth a closer look. Koh Nang Yuang is an island located off the coast of Koh Tao. To enter the island you have to pay 100 baht per person. Bringing plastic to the island is not allowed and you are not allowed to sunbathe on the beach. A lot of rules, but the viewpoint on Koh Nang Yuang is beautiful. On Koh Nang Yuang you will find the only viewpoint in the world from where you have a view of three islands that are connected by one beach.
#8. Go diving
Koh Tao is the ideal destination for anyone who wants to get his / her PADI or “just” do some crazy dives. You will find dozens of diving schools here. In addition, the island is also one of the cheapest places to get your diving certificate in the world.
#9. Rent a motorbike to explore the island
Just like other islands in Thailand, you can easily explore the most beautiful Koh Tao sights by motorbike. Taxis on the island are insanely expensive. You can rent a motorbike from 150 baht per day. This way you have complete freedom and you can discover what you want to discover. Keep in mind that the roads are not optimal and please be careful.
Koh Tao hotels: The best places to stay on the island
There are amazing accommodations for every kind of traveler on the island. You will find luxury resorts, basic bungalows, but also dormitories for the real backpackers among us. Below you will find a number of great accommodations in every price range on Koh Tao. Isn’t this what you are looking for? Click here to compare all hotels on Koh Tao.
- Koh Tao Beach Club
- Sensi Paradise Beach Resort (starts at 50 euros per night)
- Palm Leaf Resort (amazing bungalows)
- New Heaven Dive Resort (hostel for everyone who want to go diving)
- Gecko Republic Jungle Hostel
- Naroua Villas (private villa with swimming pool)
Best time to travel to Koh Tao
Although the island is easy to visit all year round, the months of April to August are the best months to plan your vacation on Koh Tao. Although these months fall in the middle of the rainy season, this does not mean that you are surprised by a huge rain shower every day. Many days it doesn’t even rain at all, although the chance is always present. The hottest months on Koh Tao are the months of March, April and May and although a good walk during these months can be a bit too much, it is good to stay on the beaches. The least favorable period for a trip to the island are the months of November to February. This is because of the heavy rain showers that fall regularly.
The best ways to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao
The fastest way to reach Koh Tao is to book a domestic flight from Bangkok (Don Muang aiport) to the coastal city of Chumphon in the south of the country. From Chumphon you can travel further by ferry. Please note that the last ferry departs at 1:00 PM. A later option is to take the night boat from Chumphon to the island. If you choose the later option, you will arrive at the beautiful island early in the morning, between five and six o’clock. The boat from Chumphon takes approximately two hours.
It is also possible to book a flight to the nearby island of Koh Samui and continue traveling by boat from here.
For the more adventurous, there is an option to travel by night train from Bangkok to Chumphon. The night train departs from Hua Lamphong train station in Bangkok at 6:30 PM and arrives in Chumphon by 5:00 in the morning. From here you will be transferred to the pier for the boat to Koh Tao which leaves every morning at 7:30 AM.
Do you have any other tips for a holiday on Koh Tao?