A Guide to Koh Tao
Koh Tao [เกาะเต่า], or Turtle Island, is a diver’s paradise. It is located between
Surat Thani and Chumpon provinces and only a 2 hour boat ride north of Koh Samui. It has been dabbed
the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand. Abounding with beautiful bays, white sand beaches,
beautiful coastal rocks and crystal clear water, Koh Tao is simply a heaven on earth.
A plethora of seaborne activities are waiting to be discovered. There are many diving schools
on the island if you don’t know how to dive and want to explore the underwater world
which is said to best in the Gulf of Thailand.
On land, you can enjoy fresh seafood at restaurant, sipping tropical cocktails in a bar
by the beach or going shopping for some souvenirs. Relaxing body and mind at spa
or some active sports are also available for those who would like to get the adrenaline running.
Koh Tao offers a wide range of accommodations from budget to upscale to suit all types of needs.
Mae Haad Bay (อ่าวแม่หาด)
All boats arrive here. Naturally highly developed, but still managed
to keep some of its old fishing village charm. Money exchange, post office, government office &
health center are in Mae Haad. Most dive centers have an office here, lots of travel agents, email
services, supermarkets, bike rentals, good restaurants and party venues. A few up-market resorts
are located on the southern end.
Sairee Beach (หาดทรายรี)
Sairee's white sandy beach stretches about 1.7km over most of the west
coast, interrupted only by a few huge boulders. Mae Haad is only a 10 min walk away. Being the
most popular area on Tao, Sairee offers a huge range of aaccommodation,
dive centers, restaurants, shops, beach bars, travel & email services, nurseries, etc.
You also find here the Fishery Museum, the Rama V rock and on the way to Mae Haad the police
station, the public school and the temple.
Jan Som Bay (อ่าวจันทร์สม)
Private bay (visitors welcome for a nominal fee) with an exclusive,
beautiful up-market resort and a budget
bungalow. Only a 10 min walk fro Mae Haad.
Gul Juea Beach (อ่าวกุลเจือ)
South-west coast, best reached by foot or long tail, two simple, small resorts,
a real getaway.
Cape Jeda Gang (แหลมเจ๊ะดะกัง)
South-west coast, taxi boat recommended, one resort, simple huts & solid
bungalows. Can't get it more private.
Chalok Baan Kao (อ่าวโฉลกบ้านเก่า)
Third largest beach, located on the southern coast facing
Phangan and Samui.
This bay is smaller than Sairee, but offers a similar range of accommodation, eateries
and nightlife. It is beautifully framed by Taa Toh lagoon to the east
and Saan Jao beach to the west.
It also connects with Thian Og bay and Sai Daeng beach.
The rock formation at cape Taa Toh resembles a sitting Buddha,
this is best to be seen from the viewpoint opposite.
Thian Og Bay (อ่าวเทียนนอก)
Next to Chalok Baan Kao. Huge private bay with one resort, a hillside spa, a dive school
and a mountain top restaurant/bakery. Lots of Black Tip Reef Sharks.
Sai Daeng Beach (หาดทรายแดง)
With only two resorts nestled into an idyllic landscape & a sandy beach,
it's not only famous for its beauty similar to Ao Leuk, but also for being closest to one of
Tao's prime dive & snorkel sites: Shark Island.
Ao Leuk Bay (อ่าวลึก)
On the way to Tanote bay, you can experience real
solitude and serenity. You can swim or just sit in crystal clear water surrounded
by fish. Three small, simple resorts in a breathtaking surrounding. No luxury.
Tanote Bay (อ่าวโตนด)
Well preserved bay away from the crowds with excellent snorkeling,
5 laidback resorts, a German dive school and a dive
resort / water sport center with kayaks & water ski.
Cape Thian (Laem Thian) (แหลมเทียน)
Between Tanote & Hin Wong, a private cape with a small bay, excellent snorkeling
and a lovely little resort. A remote refuge with free pick up service.
Hin Wong Bay (อ่าวหินวง)
North-east coast, abundant coral reefs in a natural pool, four small hillside resorts
and one diving school.
Mango Bay (อ่าวม่วง)
The only bay in the North and only to be reached by boat. Little beach and excellent underwater sights.
Only one new resort with free pickup service.
Nang Yuan Island (เกาะนางยวน)
This unique island, with its triple-connecting beach, is just a short boat ride of Koh Tao and has only one dive resort catering
for all budgets. A perfect place for a day of snorkeling or to chill out after
the day tourists have left. Nangyuan has one of the most beautiful beaches where you can sit
and enjoy quiet sunsets on the beach, no cars or hustle or bustle.
There is a restaurant, coffee shop and a small shop for the basic needs.
Plastic bottles or cans are not welcome to protect the environment.