Koh Tao fits most people’s definition of a tropical island paradise perfectly. With its beautiful beaches, crystal clear blue waters, lack of paved roads, and relaxed island vibe it’s no wonder so many end up staying longer than they planned to. Besides relaxing in a hammock by the beach all day, there’s plenty to see and do in Koh Tao but here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Go Diving
Throughout the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Tao is definitely the place to be when it comes to diving. With its warm, calm crystal clear waters teeming with an abundance of tropical marine life; Koh Tao has quickly become one of the world’s top diving destinations, and is ranked #2 in the world for getting your diving certification. Find shops in Koh Tao here, just search “Koh Tao.”
The numerous shallow warm water sites make Koh Tao the perfect destination for those looking to take the plunge and experience their first underwater breaths, or go for the full PADI certification course. Those of you already certified don’t need to feel left out though, there’s plenty of dive sites all around the island with depths ranging from 6 to 30+ metres (Chumphon Pinnacle being one of the best sites in the area!)
2. Get a View from the Top
Koh Tao’s got some great viewpoints and lookouts…if you can find them! If you’re up for a hike, the more popular (and easier to find) ones like Fraggle Rock and Mango Bay viewpoint are easy enough to find from the popular town of Sairee. Their popularity means the path is well trodden and easy enough to navigate, unlike the infamous Two Views. The walk to Two Views can be a bit lengthy and confusing, but its well known amongst the locals and expats, all the better reason to find yourself a hiking buddy!
If you’re looking to relax and enjoy a cool beverage or snack with your view, there are a couple bars and restaurants perched up in the hills. Check out Serenity Koh Tao, a laid-back lounge that offers incredible sunset views and a chill vibe, or Blue Heaven for some delicious Thai food in an intimate al fresco atmosphere and wide-spanning views.
3. Make Friends on a Pub Crawl
The Koh Tao pub crawl has become a popular activity, since Koh Tao is so small and most of the nightlife tends to focus around Sairee beach. It’s a great way to meet new people and fairly inexpensive too. Included in the price is a bucket and an “official” Koh Tao Pub Crawl t-shirt. Some of the highlights of the night include a stop at the local cabaret show, and ending the night on one of Koh Tao’s best beachside clubs entertained by live music and the ever-popular fire shows.
4. Take a Day Trip to Koh Nang Yuan
No visit to Koh Tao would be complete without a trip to the world famous Koh Nang Yuan. Koh Nang Yuan is a place of natural beauty, the only place in the world where 3 islands are connected by one strip of beach, and a popular tourist attraction in the area. Relax on the beautiful beaches or snorkel amongst whirling schools of tropical fish and a range of hard and soft tropical corals. Speedboats from Koh Samui and Koh Phangan visit the island daily and it can get quite busy, so the best times to visit would be early morning (before 10am) or afternoon (after 2pm).
5. Explore the Beaches
Koh Tao’s definitely got that laid back, tropical island life feel to it so what tropical island would be complete without some amazing beaches? Apart from the main beaches, which tend to get crowded during the peak seasons, Koh Tao features plenty of other quieter, lesser known beaches where you can snorkel in the crystal clear waters or just chill out and take in the fresh sea breeze. The best way to discover Koh Tao’s best beaches is by renting a motorbike (or better a quad bike) and set off! You’ll find plenty of homemade signs directing you to these “secret” beaches along the way and most locals are friendly enough and excited to share their knowledge of these hidden gems with you.
Click here to learn more about Koh Tao including how to get there, where to stay, food & drink, plus more info on diving and island activities.