Koh Tao Travel Guide

Koh Tao Overview

Koh Tao (or Ko Tao) is a sparkling gem of an island located off the eastern coast of Thailand, and one of the most popular places in the world to become PADI scuba certified thanks to its rich coral and marine life. The island is ringed not with a road but with giant rounded boulders and a brilliant blue surf, topped with lush green palm trees and thatched bungalows. Most of the Koh Tao can only be reached by boat or ATV; there is one main beach (Sairee Beach) and one thoroughfare, which is a sidewalk and a road all at once- watch out for the scooters!

Koh Tao is located about 700 kilometers south of Bangkok, and the fastest way to get there is to fly to Koh Samui and then take a ferry to Koh Tao. The cheapest way to get to the island is to take a bus or train to Chumpon, and from there hop a ferry to Koh Tao. You can also take a boat from Koh Phangan, the island just to the south. The island’s rainy season is from November to mid-January and much of the tourist attractions close down, so you don’t want to visit Koh Tao during this time. If you are looking for action and nightlife and a wild raging ruckus of a time- go to another island. Koh Tao is the place to exhale.

Things to do in Koh Tao

Compared to her sister islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, Koh Tao is sedate and relaxed, quiet and more romantic, the perfect spot to chill out. Restaurants line the beach with low tables and soft cushions, and as night falls, colorful paper lanterns cast a rainbow glow on this tropical world while nightly grilled feasts keep travelers happy.

Most of the adventures on Koh Tao take place in the water, and SCUBA diving and snorkeling are the island’s top attractions, with fluorescent fish, long silver barracudas, and bright golden jellyfish half the size of your pinkie. Prickly sea cucumbers lump around the sea floor, miniscule glowing blue fish dart around yellow and purple coral, anemones pulse with the waves and ever so often- a shark will drift by. Hikes and ATV rides around the island are also popular, but probably the favorite activity of all who visit this incredibly beautiful spot is to do a whole lot of nothing.
Koh Tao is the place to lounge in a hammock all day with a book and a coconut milkshake, to bathe in the warm ocean waters and forget what day it is. But remember the sunset; the view from the top of Koh Tao is absolutely unforgettable- and there just happens to be a cocktail bar up there as well.

Hotels in Koh Tao

Sensi Paradise: comfortable and clean rooms, a little dark, romantic, huge balcony area

Buddha View Dive Resort: offers SCUBA courses, fun resort right on the beach
Silver Sands Beach Resort: friendly service, wooden bungalows, reasonably priced
Charm Churee Villa: secluded jungle resort, open showers, very clean rooms if small
Jamahkiri Boutique Resort & Spa: stunning rooms, impeccable service, relaxing and chill
Haad Tien Beach Resort: fantastic location on the beach, beautiful architecture, balconies

Koh Tao Weather

Koh Tao Travel Resources



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This page was last modified on 18 Mar 2011 by Matt