Koh Tao has been one of our favourite islands we’ve ever visited. We had heard amazing things, and this little island exceeded all of our expectations! The landscape looks like something out of a movie, with huge boulders and palm trees everywhere, the beaches are beautiful, and the water is some of the clearest we have swam in. This alone would make the island a paradise, but there is so much more to Koh Tao…
Things To Do
John Suwan Viewpoint/Freedom Beach
This was one of our favourite things to do in Koh Tao, we actually went back a second time to see it again and get more photos! The walk up is quite tricky as it’s up huge boulders (although there are ropes to help you up), however the view from the top couldn’t be more worth it! We’d recommend going either in the morning, or just before sunset because of the heat.
Just before the walk up to John Suwan is Freedom beach, we loved this little beach in Koh Tao – the water is so beautiful! It costs 50 baht to enter the Freedom beach and John Suwan area, and then another 50 baht to go to the viewpoint, so it makes sense to do them at the same time. The sea at Freedom beach is the perfect place to cool off after the trek to and from the viewpoint.
Snorkelling Tour/Nang Yuan Island
The snorkelling trip was one of our favourite days in Koh Tao. We did a full day tour with Oxygen, which cost us 600 baht each and included lunch and refreshments throughout the day. We were taken by boat to multiple snorkel spots such as Shark bay and Hin Wong bay and saw some of the most incredible sea life! We got really lucky and saw a reef shark at Shark bay, and we also saw lots of cool fish at all of the other stops.
Part of the snorkelling trip is a few hours on Nang Yuan island, which is perfect because it’s definitely something you should do while on Koh Tao anyway, so having it bundled in with the trip makes it even better value for money (it does cost an additional 100 baht to get on Nang Yuan). While we were there we chilled on the beautiful beach, swam in the amazingly clear water and also went to the viewpoint, which is really beautiful, and makes for great photos.
Sai Nuan/Jansom Bay – We headed to Sai Nuan beach, which is reachable by Jansom Bay – we weren’t intending to stop at Jansom Bay as you’re meant to pay.. but we stopped to take a peek as we were passing and the person working there let us in for free (as it was near the end of the day, we think). We’d really recommend this beach, even if you have to pay! Again, the water was so unbelievably clear, and the fish in the shallows are the most friendly/curious we’ve ever seen – they literally flock around you the moment you step in.
Sai Nuan is really lovely too! We didn’t find the water quite as clear, but it’s so peaceful and was so beautiful, and even had some super cool beach swings.
Sairee Beach – This is the busiest and most developed beach in Koh Tao, and because of this we didn’t really like it as much during the day. It wasn’t the crowds that put us off, but more because compared to the rest of Koh Tao the water wasn’t clear for swimming. That said it is a really great sunset spot and there are also a lot of beach front restaurants there in the evening.
There are lots of other beaches to visit, but bear in mind that they almost all charge 100 Baht per person for entry (about £2.20). This was a bit of a nuisance as we had planned to visit a bunch in one day, but as we had already stopped at most bays on the snorkelling trip we weren’t too fussed.
One that we can definitely say is worth the 100 Baht is Shark Bay:
Where to Stay
While we were in Koh Tao we were lucky enough to stay in one of The Place’s boutique villas in the hills of Koh Tao. If you’re looking for a luxury stay then we really can’t recommend this place enough. The whole villa was so beautiful – we especially loved the beautiful bathroom, quiet location and our private pool with a hilltop view over Koh Tao. This was also the perfect sunset spot, as it was facing out over Sairee beach, which meant we got to see the most incredible pink skies!
Although we didn’t leave the villa all the much, it’s in a perfect location if you do want to! You’re only about 10 minutes walk from the Sairee beach area, and there are free bicycles to use, or you can rent motorbikes. The Place also offers free snorkels.. which we meant to take them up on… but struggled to leave our private pool!
You can see more photos, and read more about our time at The Place here.
There are lots of budget friendly places on Koh Tao. While we explored the island after our stay at The Place, we stayed at Chaantalay – we found that this was great value for money, probably because it’s a little further out, which worked perfectly because we were driving around on a scooter anyway (and the snorkelling trips pick you up from your hotel).
Where to Eat
While we were in Koh Tao we ate a lot of local street food, and all of it was amazing! There are lots of street food stalls on the street parallel to Sairee beach, and they also do good smoothies etc. Some other restaurants we liked were La Pizzeria (we actually got this delivered to our villa at The Place), and Coconut Monkey.
We hope you love Koh Tao as much as we did! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to send them our way.
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