A Complete Travel Guide to Koh Tao, Thailand
Thailand is renowned for its many gorgeous islands. One such island is Koh Tao; Koh Tao is probably one of the best islands you will ever visit in Thailand. The landscapes of the island are magnificent with scenic beaches and verdant greenery. The atmosphere of the island is peaceful, and the time seems to pass slowly. It is an excellent option for those wanting to escape from the noise of cities. So, for you to be able to enjoy your trip to this beautiful island to the fullest, we have made a complete travel guide.
How to Get to Koh Tao
Bangkok- Koh Tao Island
You have three options to reach Koh Tao from Bangkok. You can either fly, take the train or take a bus. If you are short on time, obviously your best option would be to take a plane; however, it will be costly compared to other options.
Taking the Bus / Ferry to Koh Tao
If you are planning to take a bus, you can purchase tickets (to Chumphon) from the Southern Bus Terminal. Most of the time, companies will offer both bus and boat tickets; these are very convenient, so if you get the combo, take it.
Flying to Koh Tao
If you are planning to fly, you can book a flight from either Suvarnabhumi Airport, which runs five times a week, or from Don Mueang International Airport, which runs daily.
Riding the Train/Bus/Ferry to Koh Tao
There is also an option to take a train. The train you will be taking is a sleeper train, which is quite affordable, and also saves you the price for a night’s accommodation. From the train station, you can book a bus and ferry, if possible, take the combo one.
Suratthani to Koh Tao
You can also go to Koh Tao from Suratthani, which receives direct flights from other Thai cities and KL. From here, purchase a bus and ferry ticket and head towards Don Sak Pier.
Other Islands to Koh Tao
Koh Samui to Koh Tao
From Koh Samui, a couple of most popular boats are Lomprayah Catamaran and Seatran Discovery that takes about two and a half hours to reach Koh Tao. You have to book at least one day in advance of Seatran and two days in advance for Lomprayah.
Koh Phangan to Koh Tao
From Koh Phangan, both Seatran Discovery and Lomprayah leave for Koh Tao and takes around an hour and a half.
Where to Stay
Regarding accommodation, it would be better to book a hotel north of the port of Koh Tao. One of the best hotels in Koh Tao Regal Resort that is only a few minutes’ walk from the port and features superb rooms and a beautiful swimming pool with access to the beach.
If you can afford better accommodation, you can opt to rent a villa at Koh Tao Heights Pool Villas that offer breathtaking views of the sea. From here, you won’t have access to the beach, but it is perfect for having an isolated, peaceful time. However, within a short distance lies a beach named Sairee, which is the liveliest in Koh Tao as far as nightlife goes.
There are also many hostels available in Sairee Beach if you want a cheaper form of accommodation.
The Best Restaurants in Koh Tao
If you are wondering about the best place to eat in Koh Tao, here is two excellent restaurants. For an excellent breakfast, the Breeze is the one for having a great breakfast by the sea; the restaurant also serves a delicious shakshouka. If you like to eat duck, go to 995 Roasted Duck Koh Tao, one of the most popular restaurants on the island.
Best Things to Do in Koh Tao
Here are the top things you can do on your trip to this gorgeous island.
Boat Trip Around the Island
Source: Ibiza Spotlight
One of the main reasons you should visit Koh Tao is to witness its amazing seabed. For this activity, you can take a tour that will take you to various snorkeling spots around the island. The tour staff will pick you up from your hotel at around 9 am, and you will begin your boat tour from the Mae Haad port at approximately 10 am. Your first stop would be the gorgeous Nang Yuan Marine Park, made up of two islands; Koh nang Yuan and Koh Hang Tao.
Then, you will climb up Koh Nang Yuan to enjoy the mindblowing view of the island’s beach and Koh Hang Tao. After that, you can relax and swim on the beach and also go snorkeling.
Then, you will get back to the boat for lunch and tour the islands of Koh Tao. You will be stopping at Mango Bay, Hin Wong Bay, Ao Leuk Sandy Bay, Shark Bay for snorkeling.
Note: The program may change slightly depending on weather conditions. Also, don’t forget to keep your eyes out for coral and avoid kicking the coral with your feet while swimming or snorkeling around.
In the end, you can enjoy a mesmerizing sunset from the boat and will reach the port at around 6:30 pm. You can either book this tour in advance, or make a reservation at a travel agency in Koh Tao.
Swim in Freedom Beach
Koh Tao has many beautiful beaches, but the most beautiful one is probably the Freedom Beach (not the Freedom Beach of Phuket). The beach is peaceful and doesn’t see lots of crowds and the beach itself is gorgeous. To enter the beach, you will have to pay 100bahts, and they will give you two water bottles in exchange.
Admire the view at the John Suwan Viewpoint
Source: Lolapan Travels
John Suwan Viewpoint, one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Koh Tao lies right next to the Freedom Beach. It might be tough to climb the uphill trail, but the view you get from here is totally worth the climb. You will have to rise for about half an hour, but the view is breathtaking.
Sunset at High Bar
The best place to see the sunset except on the boat is probably from the High Bar. The climb is pretty challenging, so if you don’t feel like taking a scooter, park it downhill and climb the route on foot.
Party in Sairee’s Beach Bars
Source: Diving Koh Tao in Thailand
Sairee Beach is the liveliest one in Koh Tao regarding nightlife. Most of the trendy beach bars of Koh Tao is here.
The Experience Festival
Source: Mushroom Magazine
If you are visiting Koh Tao at the end of December or early January, you might make in time for the Experience Festival. It is a 4day festival of psychedelic trance music.