Koh Tao is about half the size of Koh Phangan and 1/4 the size of Koh Samui. It’s small, remote and easily our favorite island out of the three. Koh Tao can be reached by speedboat from Koh Phangan or Chumphon on the mainland in about two hours. It’s lusher, greener, has massive stones and hidden beaches. It’s also best known for it’s diving and snorkel opportunities. It’s one of the most inexpensive places to get your diver’s certificates. There is only one main road stretching north to south. All other ‘roads’ are gravel, dirt, pot-holed and steep. This place is paradise.
Why visit Koh Tao?
- The best beaches
- World-renowned diving and snorkeling opportunities (hello whale sharks!)
- Quiet and remote
- Amazing resort options
Where to stay?
- Sairee Beach: The longest strip of sand and the main diving training zone with bars and restaurants galore. The beach is only accessed after the tide goes down. Amazing sunset views.
- Ao Chalok Ban Kao/Freedom Beach: Great “pirates of the caribbean” bay with seaside restaurants and bars. Beach is also only accessed when the tide goes down. Calm waters but no sunset.
- Shark Bay: Want to snorkel/dive with sharks? Visit here. If not, come anyway. We didn’t see any when we went. Amazing bay, rougher waters.
- Mango Bay: Not easily accessible. North side of the island. Best reached by boat. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful but pain in the rump to access. We attempted by scooter and didn’t appreciate the “fee” we needed to pay to enter the beach once we made it.
- Koh Nang Yuan: Made up of three little teardrops of land connected by a massive sandbar. It’s a place where post-card dreams are made, blindingly white sand beaches and shores teeming with fish and coral.
What to do?
- Dive or snorkel!
- Visit Koh Nang Yuan
- Visit the “Koh Tao” viewpoint
What we liked?
- Remote hotels
- Slightly older crowd – not so many hippies
- It’s so green! Lush, mountainous, and very green.
- Blue-est, turquoise beaches. Clearest water ever.
- The fishes!
What we didn’t like?
- Limited accessibility to eastern beaches
- Difficult to travel to (We want to come back!)