Ko Tao Travel Guide

Koh Tao is an island off the southern coast of Thailand, located close to the top tourist destination of Koh Samui and the party island of Koh Phanganand just 45 miles from the mainland town of Surat Thani.

The island is also known as Turtle Island due to its turtle-like shape and is quiet and peaceful as it has been fairly untouched by tourism. The unspoiled beaches and pristine waters make the island a great place to visit to dive, swim, snorkel or just relax on the sand.

Most boats arrive and depart from a small port in Mae Had, which is the most developed place on the island, with money exchanges, travel agents, a post office, motorbike rentals and a health center. Sairee Beach is the most popular beach on the island, with a nice assortment of beach bars, accommodation, dive centers, tasty restaurants and shops. Facing the nearby party paradise island of Koh Phangan on the southern coast is Chalok Baan Kao Beach, which offers similar attractions to Sairee Beach but is smaller and quieter.

Hin Wong Bay on the northeast coast of Koh Tao is abundant in coral reefs and marine life, making it a popular spot with divers. Whale sharks have been spotted on numerous diving trips around Koh Tao and the island is also a breeding ground for hawksbill and green turtles. There are many other activities to enjoy from rock climbing and Thai cookery classes to touring the island on a long tail boat or kayak.

Getting There & Away

There are two airports close by, one on Koh Samui and the other in Surat Thani, both of which are easy to catch boats from to Koh Tao. There is a daily ferry service from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao and trains run from Bangkok to Chumphon on the mainland, where there is a daily catamaran and nightly ferry. Trains also run from Bangkok to Surat Thani and a ferry fromthere to Koh Tao takes 4 hours.

Koh Tao attractions

  • John-Suwan Viewpoint: the viewpoint is 400 meters up on a mountain ridge, at the back of Chalok Baan Kao Beach to the south of the island.
  • Two View: the second highest mountain on the island at 313 meters sits in between Sairee Beach and Tanote Bay and offers a panoramic view of the island.
  • Sairee Beach: the most developed beach on the island with many local eateries, good swimming and white sand.