Koh Tao is one of the favourite islands for tourists here in Thailand. The word ‘Koh’ means island and ‘Tao’ means turtle. Koh Tao is located in the South of Thailand but not as far South as Phuket and Krabi. Koh Tao is famous for its beautiful diving spots and all the beautiful beaches around the island. This island is the perfect place for that perfect tranquil holiday. Here are 7 things to do on Koh Tao island:
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7 Things to do on Koh Tao:
1. Sairee Beach
Sairee beach is the main beach on the island. There are several bars and restaurants located on this beach providing a unique experience of enjoying a meal or drinks with your feet in the sand. The water around the whole island is crystal clear and is perfect for swimming. Sairee beach is where you want to be during sunsets.
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2. Mango Bay
This beautiful bay is surrounded by big rocks all around the beautiful blue water. While we were on the island this bay could only be reached by boat but they were working on a way to get to the bay from the main part of the island. Even though this bay has a small beach it’s not the place where you would want to lay down and work on your tan. The beach sand is made up of millions of tiny sharp shells and rocks which aren’t very pleasant but when you come here you come here to snorkel. You have everything from a deep ocean view to shallow coral reefs. It’s a place where you want to spend around an hour to an hour and a half just snorkelling and admiring the sea life.
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3. Koh Nang Yuan
Koh Nang Yuan is a small island just northwest coast of Koh Tao. You can stay on the island but there’s not much to do here so most people only come here on a day trip. Getting here is easy as this island is included in many day trips from Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan. Otherwise, you can ask a local with a longtail boat on Sairee beach to take you to the island. On the island, there are beautiful beaches and Koh Nang Yuan Viewpoint. We highly recommend going to the viewpoint to see the whole island and the sandbank that has made this island famous. The climb to the viewpoint is difficult but we do recommend taking some water and some bug repellent.
Open every day from 10:00 to 17:00 and the island entrance fee is 100 Baht per person
4. Freedom Beach
Freedom beach is a beautiful isolated beach that can only be accessed by motorbike. It’s a small beach that is surrounded by rocks and mountains. It’s a beautiful beach for snorkelling and swimming in azure blue water. This quiet beach is perfect to get away from everyone and relax. Situated on the South of the island, this beach is just what you would expect from a tropical beach. The beach isn’t the best during low tide because there are rocks which make swimming difficult. However, this just means there’s more fish will be swimming around you. If you want more of a swimming beach, then we recommend Taa Toh Lagoon which is a short walk away.
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5. John- Suwan Viewpoint
This is the most beautiful Viewpoint on Koh Tao and it’s a must-visit when you are on Koh Tao. John Suwan Viewpoint is situated close to Freedom Beach, in the South of the island. The trail to get to this viewpoint start from the car park by freedom beach. The hike up to the viewpoint isn’t too long or too difficult. We did it with sandals and flip flops, but proper shoes would be recommended. Also, be careful of the rocks as they are sharp and they will cut you if you aren’t careful. When you get to the viewpoint, you will be treated to the amazing view of the island and shark bay. There are many other viewpoints on the island such as Mango Viewpoint, Love Koh Tao Viewpoint and Chalok Baan Kao Bay and many more. Most viewpoints cost a small admission fee so make sure you have some cash on you.
Opening hours are from 09:00 to 19:00 and sometimes you have to pay an Entrance Fee of 50 Baht per person
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6. Shark Bay
This hidden bay is a true gem on Koh Tao. It got its name from the blacktip reef sharks that live in the coral in the bay. These sharks won’t attack you, just give them space when you see them. If you are lucky, you will come across some turtles as well. This all makes for an amazing place to go snorkel or dive. There are two ways to get to this bay. Either by land, go through Haad Tien Beach Resort, or you can go via sea. Either on a kayak or a long tail boat. The beach has amazing dark blue water and white sand. Shark Bay is located in the south, next to Freedom beach (whoever you can’t access it from Freedom beach). It can also be seen from John Suwan Viewpoint.
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7. Go Diving
Koh Tao is known for its diving. Its widely considered that Koh Tao is the best place in the world to get your diving license. Once on the island, you will see hundreds of places that offer diving courses. Koh Tao also has some amazing diving places, you can even see whale sharks.
How to get to Koh Tao
You can get to Koh Tao from Chumphon or Surat Thani provinces by taking a ferry. Many people prefer to take the ferry from Surat Thani but we prefer to take the ferry from Chumphon. Since the island is about 4 hours from Surat Thani but only about an hour and a half from Chumphon.
Chumphon to Koh Tao Ferry
At 08:00 and 13:00 fast ferries depart from Chumphon to Koh Tao. It cost 650 baht per person for adults and 325 baht per person for children. It will take about 1/2 hours. You can buy a ticket at Thung Makham Noi Pier, Chumphon or you can buy a ticket here.
Surat Thani to Koh Tao Ferry
At 12:30 fast ferries depart from Surat Thani to Koh Tao. It cost 950 baht per person for adults and 475 baht per person for children. It will take about 4 hours. You can buy a ticket at Tapee Pier, Surat Thani or you can buy a ticket here.
Best time to go
Koh Tao has two seasons, a wet season and a dry season. The wet season is from May until October and the dry season is from November to April. However, the island is at its busiest from July to September and from December until late February.
July to September is the best time to visit for great visibility during diving and December to February is the best time to visit the island since the weather is warm and sunny.
Map of Koh Tao, Thailand.
Here is a map of the island of Koh Tao and the 7 things to do that we mentioned above.