This is where I spent my birthday week, it wasn’t even on my travel plans to visit this island but I’m very happy I did and my unplanned plans turned out being great 😀
Koh tao is a 21-square kilometer beautiful island located in Southern Thailand. It’s name means “turtle island” in Thai and named like that for it’s turtle-like shape.
The island is very famous for its scuba diving. With dozens of dive schools, is one of the largest and most popular dive training center in Southeast Asia but there is much more than that to the place.
Once you are in the south part of Thailand is very easy to move between islands. Either regular ferries or high speed ferries there’re a few options you can choose from when you get there (or online).
Since I was in Phi Phi island I had to go to Krabi first to get to Koh Tao. I decided to go with a high speed catamaran company called Lomprayah which I highly recommend, they were on time, very comfortable bus transportation to
the pier (which is included on the price) and good service in general. The cost is around 1000 baht ($27) from Krabi. They also have service from/to Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Surat Thani.
Even tho Sairee Beach is the most popular area in Koh Tao I really liked staying there. You have easy access to everything, a beautiful white sand beach, lots of restaurants, beach bars, dive centers, clinics, good nightlife, etc. So my recommendation would be to stay here and rent a motorbike/scooter to move around. They also have taxis everywhere at any time of the day and taxi-boats as well.
* Helpful Tip: If you are going to rent a motorbike (which would be my recommendation because is cheaper, easier and faster to move around) make sure that it’s in good condition and pay attention if it already has some scratches or something else because from what I read in some articles and heard from some people there are scams from a few places where they try to charge you more money when you return the bike, making you believe that you were the one who damaged it, so just be careful with that.
There’s a variety of accomodation no matter what your budget is, you can choose from guest houses, hostels, hotels to luxury villas. As I recommended on the Bangkok post trivago and hostelworld are very good options to find something you like according to your budget and also airbnb have great options in this area.
Where to Eat
I tried some good places and they have a lot of options for every taste but two restaurants that I really liked were:
- La Dolce Vita. An italian restaurant with homemade pasta and great pizza located in Mae Haad Pier.
- Hippo Bar & Grill. With big tasty burgers (and other good food) located in Sairee.
- I also enjoyed a really good pasta at Farango pizzeria but the service was a little slow.
And please don’t forget to try some (or a lot) of street food as well, is really good and you can get it after most of the restaurants are closed.
Things to do
Many people come to Koh Tao mainly to get a diving certification but if you don’t have that in mind here are some other things you can enjoy:
- Go to some of it’s beautiful beaches. Some of the best ones are Sairee Beach, Ao Leuk, Freedom Beach, Koh Nang Yuan (this one is a small island that I’ll tell you more about in a different post). Some of them charge a small fee.
- Go snorkeling. If you are not into scuba diving you can go snorkeling, it has really good spots all over the Island. You can rent the equipment or buy your own there.
- Don’t miss the viewpoints. There’re viewpoints in different parts of the island, I went to the John Suwan viewpoint when I was in Freedom Beach and the view point at Koh Nang Yuan, they both have amazing views so try not to miss them.
- Get an amazing thai massage right by the beach. Yes, right by the beach! In Sairee Beach you can find plenty of massage places next to the beach, for 200-300 baht (5-$8) you can get an amazing hour of Thai massage and listening to the ocean in the background. I got me one on my birthday and it was a great gift to myself 😀
- Chase as many sunsets as you can. While I was there I was lucky and got to see beautiful ones. Two of my favorite spots in Sairee Beach where I went to see the sunsets with a Chang or a cocktail were FIZZ and Lotus beach bar.
- Eat all you can. Because remember, It’s Thai food!
The nightlife in Koh Tao is really good, either you are traveling with friends or by yourself you’ll definitely have a great time. I was by my own but never alone, I met really nice people there and had a really good time. Here are some fun places you can go to:
- Lotus Beach Bar. They have a fire show almost every night, and not just any fire show you are used to see in other beaches, this one is really good and impressive at times. You can also participate at the fire limbo and at the fire rope jumping, I did the fire limbo several times and it was really fun. Be careful if you decide to go for the rope jumping, because there a lot of drunk people who think they can do it and they end up jumping with you and making you get burn.
- Fishbowl Beach Bar.
- Queen’s Cabaret. It’s a different and entertaining show with Kathoeys or ladyboys performances. They create a great ambiance for the audience and everybody seems to enjoy the show a lot. The entrance is free but you have to buy at least one drink if you go inside, the prices are a little higher than the other places but It’s still pretty cheap and you get to see the one hour show.
- Koh Tao Pub Crawl. Taking place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Is around 400 Baht ($11) and includes a few drinks and a t-shirt.
I had the best time in Koh Tao, is a beautiful island with a great vibe and great people from all over the world. Have you been there? What other recommendations do you have? Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!
Happy adventures 🙂
Photos by me