What to do in Koh Tao? Check this ultimate list
Ready for the top 25 best things to do in Koh Tao, Thailand?
Koh Tao is one of Thailand’s top islands to visit and it’s no wonder why. There is a piece of something for everyone on this sweet Thai island. Wondering what to do, or where to stay in Koh Tao? The island is perfect for diving, sunsets and beaches. These are just some of the great things on the Koh Tao things-to-do list as there are more things to do besides scuba diving. If you love sunrise for that perfect Instagram photo, you will love the sunrise photo opportunities. You will also need to see the best beaches on Koh Tao!
This is your Koh Tao complete travel guide to ensure you have an awesome visit to on the best islands in Thailand. If you worried about the murders on Koh Tao, I will give you my thoughts on the Koh Tao murders situation. Whether you’re a backpacker that wants to get wasted and do diving in Koh Tao, or you’re on a family vacation. Anyone can discover their amazing visit to Koh Tao. There are some amazing hotels on Koh Tao that are cheap enough for backpackers, but there are also luxury places to stay in Koh Tao if you are looking for something more upmarket. On my visit to this top island in Thailand, I soon discovered a mega relaxed vibe alongside a vibrant atmosphere in the dive resorts.
A lot of tourists travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao. Koh Tao is a little more expensive in shops and restaurants to it being a remote island, however, it’s not too expensive and it’s still affordable on a backpackers budget. Nevertheless, there is a lot of awesome things to do in Koh Tao and you will find them all in this 25 best things to do in Koh Tao blog post.
How to get to Koh Tao, Thailand?
The best way hands down to get around Thailand is with 12Go Asia, the search engine for boat, bus, train and flight tickets in Thailand and South East Asia!
12Go Asia has a search engine that will show you all the different ways to get around Thailand.
This travel company is one of the biggest in Thailand, but they’re fairly priced. You know you will be looked after with this company.
They even give us a free travel bag with a few essentials in for one of the journey 🙂
You can also check out this guide on how to get from Surat Thani to Koh Tao which shows you how to get each of the islands.
Tourists deaths in Koh Tao
You will most likely hear of people being killed on Koh Tao or people asking how many deaths on Koh Tao? Do not let the murders on Koh Tao put you off this amazing island in Thailand.
There is Koh Tao murder news a lot on the media. And yes it’s this does happen on a rare occasion. But it’s nothing like you read on the media. There is a cool vibe on Koh Tao and you just need to stay safe.
At night if you have been drinking don’t go wandering off alone. Stick to the public areas and just enjoy this top Thai island.
25 best things to do in Koh Tao Thailand
Koh Tao in Thailand is sweet for all types of visitors including backpackers, family holidays, honeymoon vacations and all other types of visitors. The list of Koh Tao activities is epic and you won’t be bored. There some amazing places to visit in Thailand, one of my favourite is Phi Phi. See the best things to do in Phi Phi if you’re heading near Phuket.
There are plenty of paid and free things you can do in Koh Tao. This epic Thai island provides fun for everybody, even those of you on a family holiday to Thailand. Here is my epic list of the 25 Koh Tao things to do and activities on your visit.
1. Visit one of Koh Tao’s many festivals
There are plenty of festivals throughout the year. This is one of many things of what to do in Koh Tao. You can get involved with some crazy island partying, dancing or even see a more chilled out festival.
Why not check out the Koh Tao underwater festival, an annual festival held on June 18-19. You get to release turtles into the ocean and other unique activities. If you wanted to you keep nip over to Koh Phangan and the full moon festival.
One of the great festivals to visit is the Koh Phangan full moon party
2. Visit Koh Tao’s best beaches
Koh Tao is blessed with amazing best beaches, so why not visit some of the best beaches on Koh Tao. There are beaches for everyone such as families, snorkelers and swimmers. The beaches are perfect for a Koh Tao one day trip.
I visited 6 beaches in one day on Koh Tao, each one different and all of them is mega! Each beach offers a little of a different side to Koh Tao. My favourite was the one next to the pier in the far corner, it’s perfect for watching the sunset in Koh Tao. This is one of the best things to do in Koh Tao besides diving. If you are travelling from Bangkok to Koh Samui it will be worth it for some of the most amazing beaches in Thailand.
You can also the Thailand island hopping and check out the best beaches on Koh Samui.
3. Hike up to one of Koh Tao’s Nang Yuan viewpoint
Koh Tao has some amazing viewpoints scattered all over its stunning island. Each one offering you a breathtaking view of the islands vast forestry and white shorelines. The Nang Yuan viewpoint is a number one Koh Tao must-see.
This is one of the best free Koh Tao activities and things to do if you’re on a budget. Or even if you just fancy an active Koh Tao activity. Why not come and see Koh Tao’s best viewpoint for a truly amazing photo opportunity. My favourite viewpoint in Koh Tao was at Nang Yuan island, like the one in the photo below.
How to get to Nang Yuan island from Koh Tao?
You will have to get them a boat from Koh Tao to nang Yuan. We got a private boat across to the island which took about 30 minutes.
You can pay for a private boat to nang Yuan for around $10
Check out the Nang Yuan Accommodation.
4. Rent a bicycle in Koh Tao and get your fitness game on
bicycle rental in Koh Tao has been growing in popularity due to the increased development of roads on the island. Therefore, cycling around the island is a great way to see its stunning scenery and also you keep you fit along the way!
Top tip – Make sure your bike has good tyres and gears, there can be some tricky hills.
5. Rent a motorbike in Koh Tao
renting a motorbike in Koh Tao should cost you around 150 BHT ($5) for 24 hours. This is my favourite way of getting around the islands in Thailand, it’s so much fun and you get to see more of Koh Tao at your leisure.
If you are on a Koh Tao day trip, this is the best way to get around the island to see all the amazing locations and thongs to do.
Top tip – make sure to take plenty of pictures of the bike before you leave the shop, i.e any scratches and then show the shop what you find before you leave the shop. You don’t to be charged for something that you didn’t do!
6. Get PADI certified at one of Koh Tao’s dive centres
Koh Tao is one of the world’s heart dive locations and also one of the cheapest places in the world to get certified. You can get your open water certification in Koh Tao for as little as $200, that’s crazy cheap! I had a wicked day diving in Koh Tao. You should check out the best Koh Tao diving school review for your visit.
Check out the best snorkelling beach on Koh Tao, it’s amazing!
Koh Tao has lots of sweet dive sites around the island. Don’t worry if you’re not a pro, there are courses and fun dives for all levels.
7. Go snorkelling in Koh Tao
Koh Tao’s coastlines are surrounded by big rock formations that are home to plenty of coral and epic marine life, making snorkelling in Koh Tao a mega experience. Also, most of the year in Koh Tao the weather conditions are good and provide us snorkelers with crystal clear and calm waters. Perfect for anyone including families. This is one of my favourite things to do. Snorkelling is also something to do in Koh Tao when it’s raining. Once you’re wet, you’re wet 😀
Snorkelling is one of my favourite activities where ever I am in the world, check out best snorkelling beach on Koh Tao to make the most of your visit to Koh Tao.
8. Take a boat trip around Koh Tao
what to do in Koh tao? Take a private boat tour. There are a few boat tours in Koh Tao that will provide you with a 9am-5pm tour around some small neighbouring islands. Make sure to get a boat tour that includes; transfers, snorkelling, equipment, lunch, fresh fruit and water. I would investigate the reviews before buying a ticket, just to make sure you’re getting the most value for your money. Also, have a quick check of the weather, so you can pick the perfect day for a boat tour around Koh Tao.
9. Go for a hike around Koh Tao
Go off-road and discover some of Koh Tao’s interior with your own created hike. There is plenty of hiking walks on Koh tao and you can easily make a full day of it. Still looking for things to do in Koh Tao besides diving? Then hiking in Koh Tao is a great choice.
Make sure to take water, wear good sturdy trainers/shoes and take a map! I would also let your accommodation on Koh Tao know where you plan on hiking, just in case anything goes working.
10. Hire a Kayak in Koh Tao
Fancy paddling around stunning bays in the gorgeous sunshine? Then this Koh Tao activity is for you! You can kayak to some of Koh Tao’s best bays such as; Sai Nuan, Jansom Bay and Freedom beach. Also, kayaking in Koh Tao is perfect for finding those sweet snorkelling spots.
Top tips – Wear a life jacket, check the local weather for wind conditions and bail out any water that seeps into the kayak.
11. Get adventurous with the water sports in Koh Tao
Ready for some wild fun above the water? water sports on Koh tao is a growing trend and you can get to grip with some epic things to try. There’s plenty of water sport things to do in Koh Tao. For example, surfing, kite surfing, tubing, standing paddling and paragliding.
There’s also sailing courses in Koh Tao.
Are you visiting Koh Phangan after Koh Tao? Check out the best beaches in Koh Phangan for an amazing day on the beach!
12. Go fishing in Koh Tao
Are you ready for some serious angling? You can get your fishing on big time in Koh Tao. There are full-day match fishing trips available from 9am-4pm and also night fishing trips available.
Also, don’t worry about the expertise of your guides, you will be accompanied by guides that are professional anglers!
Check out fishing Koh Tao for your next epic fishing trip.
13. Visit one of Koh Tao’s many spas
Indulge in one of the many treatments available in the spas in Koh Tao. You can spend the day being pampered and rejuvenated with oils, hot stones, massages and hot steam rooms. Sounds perfect, right?
Don’t worry about your budget, there is something for everyone’s pocket, even a backpackers budget.
14. Get a Thai massage
Everyone knows massages are a massive part of Thai culture and you won’t have to look far in Koh Tao to find massage areas. Thai massages have become something of ancient art, so why not get a piece of this ancient art practised on you.
For a mega experience, get a massage at one of the many massage beds on the beach. You can watch the sunset whilst you have the stress from your shoulders massaged away happy days.
15. Try a yoga class in Koh Tao
Get in touch with your mind, body and spirit with one of the yoga classes in Koh Tao. The locals rate it highly as a way of relaxing, finding focus and toning the body. There are plenty of different styles of yoga for you to try out!
I saw people practising on the beach under the sun, that’s a cool way to get your yoga on. Check out Koh Tao yoga for one of the best yoga classes in Koh Tao.
The best yoga I did in Southeast Asia was at the yoga barn Ubud. This is one of the best places in the world to do yoga.
16. Go for a run on one of Koh Tao’s beaches
I love running and there’s no better place to run than under the rising sun on one of Koh Tao’s beaches. It’s a perfect way of keeping fit, starting the day in a great way and this can all be done before dinner.
Top tip – Go for a run first thing or when the sun is setting. Also, it’s the quietest times on the beaches in Koh Tao.
17. Try rock climbing in Koh Tao
There are plenty of sweet granite rocks scattered around Koh Tao, perfect for practising your technical climbing ability. Also, most sites around the island are very quiet and you can climb without seeing any else.
Some of the popular rock climbing sites on Koh Tao are Mek’s mountain, secret garden in Sairee and front/back garden in Chalok Baan Kao. You can book on courses and hire guides from the rock climbing shops on Koh Tao.
18. Book onto an underwater photography course
Fancy underwater photography as a career or maybe just a hobby? Koh Tao is the perfect place to start. You can book this epic course at one of the four schools on Koh Tao. Also, these schools are western run by western management.
19. Try out Koh Tao’s Thai boxing classes
Learn the 700-year-old ancient art of Thai boxing. Learn how to use the body’s eight limbs at one of the Thai boxing classes available on Koh Tao. Also, the classes are available for both men, women and suitable for all levels of competence.
20. Learn how to cook Thai food
Discover the secrets of making a mouth-watering Thai curry or some of the many delicious Thai cuisines. If you didn’t know already Thai food is amazing and learning how to cook like a Thai is a skill you can take home with you forever!
There are many places to book a Thai cooking class on Koh Tao.
21. Pick up goods with shopping on Koh Tao
There are plenty of things to buy in Koh Tao, with clothing, unique gifts and a lot more on offer. However, with a lot of things be aware of inflated prices. Everything has to be imported from the Thai mainland, hence some of the expensive prices.
You can pick up some bargains on some of the clothes available on Koh Tao. Just remember the bartering skills.
22. Dine at one of Koh Tao’s best restaurants
There are plenty of tasty places to eat in Koh Tao and you will never have to search far to find one. The island caters for all taste buds, seafood lovers, vegans and meat-eaters will all be happy with the food available on Koh Tao. The is also restaurants on Koh Tao for all budgets, therefore whether it’s a luxurious family holiday or a backpackers tour, everyone can find food suited to their wants and budget.
23. Sunset at Mango Bay Viewpoint
The sunsets in Koh Tao are amazing, especially Mango Bay Viewpoint. You will probably watch the sunsets every night whilst staying on Koh Tao.
The bars in Koh Tao usually have funky bean bags on the beach. Here you can grab a cocktail and watch the sunset over Koh Tao.
Remember to take your camera and take some amazing photos for Instagram.
24. Hike the coast from Mae Haad to Chalok
What to do in Koh Tao if you fancy a change of scenery and want to get away from the sometimes noisy beaches. Do the amazing Koh Tao hike. This is the perfect chance for what to do in Koh Tao that is unique and different. The hike to the Nang Yuan viewpoint is amazing but it is quite short. This walk-in Koh Tao should take you longer. This is a sweet Koh Tao thing to do.
Along the coastal footpath, you will get to visit the sweet sky bar. You will also get to check out some epic Koh Tao resorts and take some amazing photography of palm trees and Koh
Where to hike to?
- pier in Mae Haad
- Charm Churee resort
- Sensi paradise resort
- Jansom Bay on Koh Tao
- Sai Nuan beach
- Sai Nuan 2
- Tao Thong Bay
- Tao Thong 2
25. Freedom beach
Freedom beach is one of the best beaches on Koh Tao to visit. You can do snorkelling on this top Kph Tao beach. It is also sweet for swimming and taking picturesque photos.
Don’t forget to visit the epic mountain top John – Suwan viewpoint nearby. It will take you about 20 minutes to climb to the Suwan viewpoint. But don’t worry it’s not too difficult.
What is the Koh Tao nightlife like?
There are some great things to do at night in Koh Tao such as the picturesque beachfront bars. You can enjoy cocktails as the sunsets, they maybe have a dance.
There are plenty of late-night bars and restaurants on Koh Tao that offer a vibrant nightlife for you to enjoy. You could also go and check out the nightlife on Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Koh Phangan does a wicked full moon party.
Here is a list of other Koh Tao things to see
Another popular place to visit is loved Koh Tao, we visited this by hiring a scooter and driving to the love Koh tao.
10 great restaurants and clubs on Koh Tao to visit
There are plenty of places to eat on Koh Tao but you going to want to try some great food. So I have put together a list of some of the best restaurants on Koh Tao for you to enjoy on your visit.
- The Cove – located in the quieter area of Chalok Baan Kao – this restaurant in Koh Tao serves delicious food for all. You can find amazing breakfasts and make-your-own paninis.
- Darawan Restaurant – located near Sairee beach on a quiet hilltop – You can find worldwide cousins here, made from home-grown organic fruits and vegetables. It’s also a perfect spot for watching the sunset over Koh Tao.
- Coffee House – located 20 metres from the main Koh Tao pier – the Koh Tao best coffee house serves its organic coffee, perfect for coffee lovers like me. You can also grab yourself a delicious sandwich here.
- Indie Cafe – located on the busy strip of Sairee beach – This top restaurant in Koh Tao has a modern setting and serves delicious food for everyone. You can pick up tasty breakfasts and dinners. Also, there are healthy options available for gym-goers and tasty treats for those with a sweet tooth.
- Choppers Bar and Grill – located at the central hub in Sairee village – This is one of the best restaurants on Koh Tao for bistro food, live sports and a great atmosphere.
- Rain Hill Restaurant – Located near Chalok Ban – This is the only Vietnamese restaurant on Koh Tao. Enjoy mega tasty food that is often served with fresh vegetables. If you have never tried Vietnamese food, then this is a top restaurant in Koh Tao for you to visit.
I loved the food on Koh Tao and to be fair the food throughout Thailand is amazing. However, if you’re looking for a cheap snack whilst staying on Koh Tao, then I would check out the 7/11 shop there. You can pick up a cheap snack and drink from there.
Best hotels in Koh Tao
Accommodation in Koh Tao is good, so don’t worry about not being able to find the best accommodation in Koh Tao to suit you. Also, there are plenty of places to stay in Koh Tao scattered all over the island, therefore there is always somewhere near to were you want to stay. For example, you might want to stay near the best beaches on Koh Tao.
The Koh Tao Bamboo Huts are one of the more popular hotels on Koh Tao. The Bamboo huts on Koh Tao are cool and you should try to stay here for one night on Koh Tao.
There are plenty of hotels in Koh Tao that are suitable for all budgets and there are even some Koh Tao hotels on the beach that are cheap enough for a backpackers budget. However, keep in mind that the cost of the hotels in Koh Tao will go up considerably when the season starts to get busy.
Book a room at the: Beach Club
Book a room at the: Sukhavati villa
Book a room at the:White jail Koh Tao hostel
Book a room at the: Koh Tao Cabana
Book a room at the: Love Koh Tao villa
Where ever you stay in Koh Tao, you will always be close to a beach, shops, restaurants and bars. In addition, you can get free accommodation on Koh Tao if you choose to do one of the dive courses on the island. The dive centre accommodation looked decent on a walkers glance. I did speak to some of the backpackers staying in the dive hostels and they did say they were okay. Obliviously not going to be the best luxury accommodation on Koh Tao, but it’s free so you can’t complain. I think breakfast was included at a few of the dive hostels as well.
When is the best time to visit Koh Tao?
- Hot and Dry Season – February to May
There are blue skies every day and it is nice, hot and sunny. During this season rainfall is at its minimum. Air temperature can reach as high as 36 degrees Celsius in high humidity and rarely drops below 28 degrees Celsius. The water temperature can reach 30 degrees or even more. Koh Tao’s hottest time is from March to May. If you love scorching hot, then this is the best time to visit Koh Tao. In March and April is generally one of the best times to visit Koh Tao as it is one of the Whale Shark seasons.
- Hot and Windy Season – May to October
After the hot season, some much-needed wind comes in to cool the island down. This is Koh Tao’s windy season. The temperature is still hot with a high of around 34 degrees. The ocean is around 29 degrees and cools down toward the end of the windy season.
- Wet Season – October to February
This is Koh Tao’s rainy season. Although, rainfall rarely smashes it down for an entire day. You may want to expect thunderstorms in the late afternoon and this comes with a cooler vibe to the atmosphere. There is plenty of sunshine and temperatures are a little more enjoyable. During monsoon season which is usually around November, you can expect the Koh Tao weather to change a little.
- The temperature can drop to around 28 degrees Celsius and there is often two hours of heavy rain and the rest of the day can be overcast. During October and November, there can be several days of continuous rainfall.
- It is not all bad during November as this is also a great time to dive with Whale Sharks and the visibility is still up to about 12 meters. Many dive centres shut for several weeks at a time during these months. The rest of the rainy season has light rain here and there. Temperature ranges from 25-30 degrees and the water temperature can drop as low as 26 degrees. During heavy rain, visibility may on occasion be less clear than during our hotter seasons. You may experience seasonal tides on Koh Tao and during wet season we see higher levels, which can mean less access to sandy beaches and often bigger waves.
How to get to Koh Tao?
How to get from Koh Samui to Koh Tao
You can take the local ferry across, which is exactly what we did. Also, you will get to meet plenty of other people and this is the most fun way.
You can get the ferry and just do the Koh Tao day trip. But I would highly recommend staying overnight!
Book ferry from Koh Samui to Koh Tao
Weather in Koh Tao – Live weather feed
Weather in Koh Tao is good for almost all of the year, therefore the best time to visit Koh Tao doesn’t matter that much. The tourist season has a big factor. Nevertheless, here is a live feed for the weather in Koh Tao.
YouTube video and summary of the best things to do in Koh Tao Thailand
Guys hands down this have been one of my favourite islands to visit in Thailand. You can see from the list of the best things to in Koh Tao that you’re not going to be bored! There is something for everyone on this top Thailand destination. There is also plenty of things to do besides diving. Make sure to do the sunrise in Koh Tao if you are staying on the island overnight.
If you love diving, Koh Tao is the cheapest place in the world to get your diving certificate. So you should check out one of the dive schools in Koh Tao.
Other places to visit in Thailand
Many tourists travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and then to the islands are you can just travel straight from Bangkok to Koh Tao on the overnight sleeper. Transport is cheap so you have the luxury of picking where to visit in Thailand!
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