Koh Tao

The best recreational island Thailand has to offer

Top Things to do in Koh Tao

Koh Tao may sound like a Thai cuisine delicacy, but it is far from that despite what it sounds like. Koh Tao, roughly translated to Turtle Island, is a little island that is a part of Chumphon Archipelago located at the western shore of Thailand with approximately 1,382 population.

The island is very prosperous through its natural bounties and despite its limited population economically as well. This is because the island is heavily centred around tourism, offering numerous recreational spots and activities (scuba diving being the most popular water activity there) at inexpensive pricing.

This stunning island is a home to breathtaking views, adventurous experiences and food that makes you go. So if you are planning a trip anytime soon to Thailand, do add Koh Tao to your list because if you don’t, you will be missing out on the best, fun-filled, cost-effective vacation.

And don’t worry, we got you covered! This article is a complete guide to Koh Tao, what to expect, what to do, how to reach, essentially everything you need to know about the Island from A-Z for the best holiday getaway.


Koh Tao Thailand


Top Things to do at Koh Tao

Before we unveil our top picks, let us prepare you, you might want to extend your trip to Koh Tao because of the wide range of fun activities and experiences they have to offer.

And hey, if you think the list is short, that’s because we don’t want to overwhelm you, but if you like to know more about it, we guess you have to go and experience it on your own. So without taking more of your time, here are the top things to do at Koh Tao.


Scuba diving is one of the most popular activities at Koh Tao and is a common reason why people love to visit the island. The water is clear, and there are incredible creatures underwater to explore.

Hence the island has a massive scuba diving community that helps the visitors to have the best underwater experience. There are also around 100 diving schools there that are not only cheap but really good; for an in-depth scuba diving experience, enrolling in any one of them is a wise decision, you will not only get a full-fledge course at a great price point but an Open Water Diver Certification.


Scuba diving at Koh Tao



And if Scuba diving may intimidate you for any reason or you are afraid of water, don’t worry, Koh Tao has got you covered! You can always try Snorkelling; it may not be as interactive and breathtaking as Scuba diving but will surely give you a glimpse of the incredible life underwater.

Personally speaking, it’s a great alternative to scuba diving; bringing you close to the marine life without going too deep in the water is an experience worth trying.

Snorkelling Trips in themselves are great entertaining activity as the boat in which you ride to reach the destination for snorkelling gives you a different view of the Koh Tao island and the guide giving you all sorts of information about the island making you cherish the place more.

And the best thing about this particular water activity is that you can always rent the snorkelling gear and cater to the activity on your own for privacy and independence. And the great thing about the water and marine life in Koh Tao island is gentle, and the snorkelling gear and boat are easily accessible at an affordable price point.

Some of the incredible sea life creatures that can easily be seen during snorkelling, especially near the shores, are turtles, tiger fishes, black tip sharks, parrot fishes and more.


Snorkelling at Koh Tao



One of the interesting activities in Thailand, with numerous small islands clustered together, beach hopping is not only fun but easy to do, exploring each Island and getting mind blown by their wonders.

Similarly, Koh tao has beach hopping options to which is really incredible, to say the least; you will not only come across the popular island near Koh Tao but hidden gems too. Whether you are a beach person or not, this activity will unquestionably change your mind.

So here are some of the best beaches to explore in Koh Tao;

- Sairee Beach

This beach is by far the popular one on our list; it is a very beautiful and easily accessible island in Koh Tao. There a various things to do at the beach, from having a chilling sunbathing or reading session to having incredible food at restaurants, shopping at various shops, kiosks or getting A1 massages. There are numerous water activities that can be availed too, such as Scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking, SUP boards, swimming and much more. The vibe of this beach is peaceful and shill, and the view is incredible, especially the sunset.

- Tanote Bay

One of the beaches on the east coast of Koh Tao offers a great snorkelling experience and has a picture-perfect look. This is by far the most favourite each for people who like less crowded places. The beach offers many water activities and incredible dining experiences like no other. Going to this beach is just a small drive away or a boat rides away.


Tanote Bay


- Freedom Beach

This is a private beach in Koh Tao which is very green, small and quiet, the perfect backdrop for meditation, beach bum, read a book and just relax out in the open. The water here is clear as crystal, making t great for swimming and snorkelling. Buddha Point is easily accessible for here too, and just like this one, it has numerous breathtaking view points and offers great hiking opportunities too. The entrance fee is around 100 THB per person.

- Mango Bay

Despite what the name suggests, mango bay is not popular for mangoes, but it is popular for its water activities such as snorkelling, lush green forests and great food. This is also a private beach, and the entrance fee is around 100 THB per person too.

- Sai Nuan Beach

A laid back cute little beach, if we say so ourselves. Located at a walking distance from Mae Haad pier, Sai Nuan Beach is a hidden gem of Koh Tao with little crowd and great activities to try. It is definitely a perfect spot for popping the big question!


Sai Nuan Beach


- Sai Daeng

One of the quietest beaches in Koh Tao, which is beautiful and is intriguing in its own unique way. With few resorts that offer great recreational care and activities, incredible meal and a beach that is sandy and warm, you can never go wrong with coming to this beach.

Snorkelling is one of the popular activities here, and you can easily spot titles, black tip sharks and coral reefs. Kayaking is also a great water activity to try here, and you can easily kayak your way to the Shark Island situation right in front of the bay. And the best part, this beach has no entrance fee, despite having all the feel luxury of a private beach.

- Shark Bay

Shark bay, what an interesting name; write but don’t worry this beach is far from being dangerous, with stunning white sandy each to clear blue ocean and a stunning sight of the bay, this is one of the stunning beaches to go to.

Located in the south of the Island, driving to Shark bay is easy and being a private beach with numerous facilities and activities, the cost of entrance is 100 TBH too. From having a delicious, exquisite meal to sipping fancy cocktails, snorkelling in the blue waters and swimming with cute turtles, the experience here is refreshing, to say the least.

- Koh Nang Yuan

Koh Nang Yuan is a small island located on the northern west coast of Koh Tao that has an extremely breathtaking sight and vibe to it. From stunning warm sandy beach to perfect views, incredible hospitality, exquisite food, best night parties, literally Koh Nang Yuan has it all.

This beach is popular for its recreational relaxing services such as massages and spa treatments. For some adventure, the beach offers a wide variety of water activities such as snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking and more.

Though the entry fee to this beach costs around 200 to 300 THB but visiting to this private beach is a must, and the facilities that you will acquire here are nothing compared to the price you will pay, trust us!


Koh Nang Yuan



This is going to be the favorite activity for people who love adventure and incredible sights. Mango Viewpoint is a popular hiking spot at Koh Tao, the trek is roughly small, but the path is a quiet handful. People love to trek here, it is not only a different activity but the view from the top of the beach, and the whole island is mesmerizing. Ideally, it is advised to hike during the early morning or evening as afternoons can be a bit hot, quite humid, and the enjoyment may falter.


Whether you fall in love with the view of this spot or your companion here, this spot is popularly known to be the most romantic place in all of Koh Tao. Offering a breathtaking view of the whole island, you can organize any sort of décor, and it will instantly be elevated. Popping a big question hear or expressing your love, or telling a great news, doing all of these, or any big moment here is a great idea, to say the least.

The best time to visit this place is either sunrise or sunset, and the best thing, this private viewpoint only cost around 20 THB to enter, and the incredible restaurants there offers exquisite food that will make your palette salivate and entice the tour eye.


Koh Tao Viewpoint



So by now, you must have realized that Koh Tao is a bit too big to explore on foot, especially if you want to do everything that this Island has to offer. Thankfully, it offers scooters on rent that you can use to explore the island with ease, from island hopping to visiting temples, shops, restaurants, and so much more without relying on public transports or private cars.

But hey, if you are new at driving or learning how to drive, it wouldn't be a good idea to do so, especially because the roads here are a bit too curvy, hilly and especially sandy, which will make it a daunting challenge for new learners.


Often people associate beaches with only daytime fun, but here in Koh Tao, the nightlife is one of its glory. If you think that the daytime is mind blowing, wait till the sunsets, that's when the true greatness of this island unveils itself.

There are endless activities and experiences to witness at night at Koh Toh or any nearby beach like Sairee Beach or Shark Bay. From Fire shows to rave parties, bonfires, night markets, or just chilling in a hammock on the beach, everything is incredible hear especially with the cool breeze and starry sky that elevates the whole ambience exponentially.

Walking all over the shore is another great thing about the nightlife at Koh Tao, just walking there will set you free from all the worry in the world.


Beach Lounge on Koh Tao


Other than that, you may come across some pub crawls and joining them is a great experience in itself; you get to meet new people, have new adventures, fun and just lost in this fairytale that brings a thousand-watt smile and so much fun.

Nightlife at Koh Tao wouldn't be complete without the bar scene, and fortunately enough, there are numerous bars to check out. Hence making it easy for everyone to find their perfect bar match.

However, if we recommend, there are few popular ones that we believe everyone should check out, such as; 'Fish Bowl', a quite famous bar in Koh Tao island that is filled with local and foreign visitors all the time. The vibe of this bar is super chill; you get incredible cocktails here and pair it with the beautiful sunset; the experience is breathtaking. As the darkness fills the sky, the real party begins, with great games such as beer ping to listening to live music, dancing or just waiting for the fire show; you can never go wrong with choosing 'Fish Bowl'.

'Lotus Bar' is another popular spot at Koh Tao; people love to dance at this bar all night and indulge themselves in the heavenly cocktails and treats the bar offers.

And if you are one of those who like a low key bar experience, we heavily suggest taking a walk in the Koh Tao streets to find great bars that fit your liking. And trust us, you will definitely find one!


And if Bars are not your scene, don't worry, Koh Tao is again at your rescue; instead of heading to a bar at night, head to Night markets at Koh Tao island at Sairee Beach. Thailand in itself is known to be a heaven for walking night market but pair it with a beach vibe; it can't get any better.

Koh Tao has incredible stalls at its night markets, from stalls of food to souvenirs, clothes, electronics, massage, literally anything you want, they have it. But the food is the highlight of the night markets and the live music that accompanies it; the experience altogether is something to experience and cherish forever. 

Koh Tao's night market may be small as compared to other night markets in Thailand, but they are great, to say the least; after the sunsets having just a stroll in these markets will uplift the mood instantly even if you don't buy anything. A must include recreational night activities to do at Koh Tao.


Night Market of Koh Tao


Key pointers for Koh Tao


There is no such precise time to visit Koh Tao island since the island is located at the southwest coast of Thailand, the weather there is mostly warm, and though monsoon season happens at a different time of the year, going to Koh Tao is okay in the rain too. Just make sure not to plan your trip in November and February, as these two months have significant rainfalls.

Other than these months, going to Koh Tao any other month is great, which means, unlike other touring destinations, the crowds here are bearable. But hey also remember that if you absolutely hate sweat and heat, avoiding March and Maybe a wise move too as the temperature goes up till 30ºC on average. But regardless of these four months, the time to visit the island is surprisingly long.


Koh Tao is a popular tourist destination point, so there are numerous commute services that can take you to the island with ease from any part of Thailand. From flight to ferry, bus, trains, tuk-tuk, everything is easily accessible. But since the island itself doesn't have an airport, so you need to land somewhere else and use either a ferry or a bus to take you to the island.


Accommodations are easily accessible at Koh Tao, being the popular touring spot in Thailand; there are numerous hotels and resorts in the area where you can stay at different price points. In fact, there are Air bnbs too now. Remember, some places are near the beach, and some are far, so you can decide where to stay depending on your budget and ease.


Koh Tao Hillside Resort


As for commuting within the island, though Koh Tao is a small island but walking from one place to another can be time-consuming, especially if you are island hopping. It is recommended to get a scooter on rent which is very affordable and great activity in itself but if you are not comfortable with bikes or know how to bike there are other means of transportation too, such as tuk tuk, ferries.


There is no hard and fast rule on how long you can stay at Koh Tao; it really depends on the reason why you are visiting the island.

  • If you are looking to have a great getaway on a budget, this is the best place to have a long vacation without breaking your bank.
  • If you are on a Thailand trip and want to explore the beaches, probably two days will be enough.
  • If you are looking to have your scuba diving certification, then 4-5 days will be ideal.

So you see it totally depends on you, your budget, your trip and definitely how you like your experience at this fantastic place. It is quite possible you decide to visit Koh Tao Island for few days and stayed back for weeks because despite this island is relatively small; there is so much to do and experience!

All in all, we will advise that if you are hoping to have a great holiday and planning to visit Thailand, don't forget to add Koh Tao to your list. Trust us; this small island wouldn't disappoint a bit!