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Koh Tao along with Koh Nang Yuan make up the Chumphon Archipelago on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand with an area of about 21 square km. Most of the Koh Tao coastline features steep, rocky shorelines and there are 11 bays and 10 capes throughout. Koh Tao is famous for its soft and hard coral reefs, rich marine life, clear warm waters, and an overall relaxed atmosphere and lifestyle, making it a must-go destination for thousands of visitors a year. Koh Tao is one of the best islands in Thailand for scuba diving with many sites around the island and other areas beyond that can be reached through a day trip. Not to mention the selection of beaches and bays with shallow coral reefs that are perfect for snorkelling. There are also sightings all-year-round, of whale sharks. You could be among the lucky ones to be diving among these unique marine beings. There is so much to do and see, and outdoor enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice when it comes to the range of adventures they can pursue by land or by sea.
We at THG can prepare Koh Tao holiday packages customized according to your budget and preferred activities, including travel requirements like a Thailand visa to grant you the experience of your dream holiday in Thailand. You can start planning your trip with our experienced travel specialists.
Discover more attractions in Koh Tao
Sairee Beach is the longest beach on Koh Tao extending almost 2 kilometres along the west coast. It’s the busiest and most developed beach on the island offering all types of accommodation, dive centres, restaurants, entertainment and nightlife. This is also a starting point to go explore the waters of Shark Bay.
From Sairee town you can walk through the jungle to the west coast viewpoint of Tanote Bay, a great site for guests to view the sunrise.
Mango Bay is a popular destination for day-trippers from other areas of Koh Tao and the nearby islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan who arrive by boat. It’s a large bay with calm waters and a small beach which is often used for beginner level scuba diver training.
At certain times of the year, there are sightings of bull sharks when they go to mate near Mango Bay, at Chumphon Pinnacle.
Mae Haad Bay
Mae Haad Bay is the port town where the piers are located and boats dock. It’s the local commercial district of the island. One of its main attractions for snorkellers is a shipwreck situated towards the south of the bay.
Laem Thian is a quiet cape located on the east coast of Koh Tao. With ideal features for rock climbing, it attracts rock jumpers offering three different heights up to 12 metres high. The underwater rock formations create excellent swim tunnels for scuba diving, making it a great place destination among divers on their holidays.
Lang Khai Bay
Lang Khai Bay is a small beach lined by large hills. When snorkelling you will see lots of soft and hard corals, and a steep seafloor. It makes for a perfect haven, just a couple of resorts for those wanting the confidence of secluded relaxation.
Jansom Bay is a private beach only accessible through a villa resort and you must book your date in the area by paying an entry fee. Its sandy seafloor makes it an excellent snorkelling spot filled with all sorts of fish. A large bay with calm waters and a small beach.
Discover more thing to do in Koh Tao
Located near the Gulf of Thailand, the Cape Shark Pool Villas offer guests a chance to experience luxury holidays at a decent price. The resort features comfortable villas with free wifi in public areas. Some units also come with a private pool.
The property is equipped with a tour desk and a sun terrace, as well as a spa where guests can relax and enjoy massage therapy. Some activities that the hotel offers include swimming, snorkelling, and diving.
Situated just 15 minutes away from the Mae Haad Pier, the Monkey Flower Villas are famous among travellers looking to fly during the holidays to Koh Tao as a hotel with the lowest nightly price available.
The Monkey Flower Villas has many special features, beginning free valet parking, free wifi, two dining options, and a 24-hour shuttle service. Each room on-site also features a private balcony with sea views, air-conditioned rooms, TV, fan, and fridge.
Looking to spend Koh Tao holidays in “zen mode?” Guests of the hotel can enjoy a soothing massage and a leisurely stroll in the hotel garden.
The Haadtien Beach Resort is one of the island’s many boutique hotels. However, this property offers guests a stunning backdrop of the beachfront as well as access to its own secluded beach area stretching approximately 380 metres.
The resort features 70 private villas scattered over 45 acres of land. Guests staying at the Haadtien Beach Resort can enjoy swimming at the beach, massage at the spa, cocktails at the onsite bar/lounge, and free wi-fi.
The Sai Daeng Resort is a private eco-boutique resort located on the southern tip of the island, near the pier going to Ko Samui. Each villa on the property is surrounded by lush vegetation that provides ample amounts of tranquillity and privacy.
The property features a restaurant onsite that offers free breakfast as well as authentic Thai dishes to its guests. Just steps from the restaurant, guests can enjoy stunning views of the ocean where they can partake in water activities. These include swimming, snorkelling, and scuba diving. Those seeking adventure can also kayak to Shark Island.
Located just 2 km from the city centre, the Jamahkiri Resort is a comfortable resort in Thian Og Bay on the south side of the island. The property offers a lush tropical garden, cooling pools, spa, a fitness room, the marina, and a private PADI diving club.
Situated on a 50-meter private beach, the Koh Tao Beach Club offers travellers cosy, air-conditioned rooms with a flat-screen cable TV and a private balcony. Each room also features an en suite bathroom complete with a shower and free toiletries
Guests of the beach club may approach staff members at the 24-hour front desk to try out the different activities offered on-site, including swimming and snorkelling. Guests are also offered special features and services, such as luggage storage and laundry service.
The resort is a 10-minute walk away from Mae Haad Clinic and the beach.
There are many fun water activities that kids will enjoy. Snorkelling is excellent throughout the whole island as the waters are generally calm and shallow with good visibility. Boat trips around the island and further to neighbouring islands is a great family activity. Older kids will be able to explore the bays on a sea kayak or by standup paddleboards.
One of the best things guests love about Koh Tao is its incredible natural beauty on land and sea. Visitors travelling from different parts of the world agree it is an exceptional island to visit. At any Koh Tao beach, cape or point, you will find ongoing water flow, calm waters and fertile coral reef just below the surface, making this island an ideal snorkelling destination for adults and children. Most people like to arrange an “around island” tour, where a boat can drop you from snorkelling spot to spot, just a few metres offshore and all throughout the island’s coastline. Many beaches are only accessible by boat so it is definitely one of the best things to do in Koh Tao.
Tens of thousands of tourists visit Koh Tao each year. Despite that, there have been some unexplained and suspicious deaths on the island since 2014 rumoured as accidents or suicides. Any destination has its risks so as long as you exercise caution and use common sense like not walking alone after dark or carrying valuables that are obvious to others; then you should be safe.
After the sun sets, Koh Tao comes alive with great food and bars, night markets, sports bars, live music, and beach fire-dancing entertainment.
The dry season from December to February is the best time to visit Koh Tao with warm sunny days. From March through until the monsoon season hits around June, the weather is super hot. The best visibility for diving is July through to September.
Sairee Beach is the busiest and most developed beach on the island offering all types of accommodation, dive centres, restaurants, entertainment and nightlife. It attracts the most visitors so it’s a good spot to stay if you want to be in the heart of everything. Chalok Bay is for those looking for utter relaxation due to its very laid-back atmosphere and minimal nightlife. But if you want to stay closer to the pier as you have an early morning boat to catch, then Mae Haad is your best bet and only a 10-minute walk down to Sairee beach. Accommodation prices in Koh Tao may be a bit higher than in neighbouring islands but still affordable and reasonable.
Koh Tao Thailand is only accessible by boat. There is no airport, bus or train service. You can reach the island from nearby Koh Samui or Koh Phangan with boats operating daily. If coming from Bangkok, an easy option is to take a flight to Koh Samui then transfer by boat from there. Alternatively, from the Thai mainland, the closest departure points are Chumphon or Surat Thani. There are two transfer options: a sleeper overnight boat or daily ferry. The journey takes approximately 6 hours from Chumphon and 9 hours from Surat Thani.
Typically, a three-star room would cost around AU$75 per night. However, some hotels may charge lower than that, depending on the features and the location.
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