Top 10 Things To Do In Khao Tao: Paradise Island

Top 10 Things To Do In Khao Tao: Paradise Island

Khao Tao is known as Turtle Island, named after the fact that the island used to be inhabited entirely by turtles. It is located on the East side of the Surat Thani coastline and is one of the best islands in the world for divers, photographers, and travelers who want to see paradise. If you’re ready, grab your passport, look through these top 10 things to do in Khao Tao, and start making your way here!

Guam Air V&V

1. Learn how to dive

Source: Photo by Flickr user jeff~ used under CC BY 2.0

For divers, Koh Tao is paradise on Earth. This island is just 2nd in the world for certifying divers and provides qualifications and certifications for everything from snorkeling to free diving. It’s also one of the most affordable, as it sometimes offers accommodations for its guests.

Travelers will learn how to dive in one of the island’s dozen or so diving sights, which includes Shark Island, White Rock, and Sattakut Wreck. From beginners to professionals, there is a diving course and a dive spot for everyone, so if this has been on your wishlist, it’s time to try it!

PADI Discover Scuba Diving from Crystal Dive School

Address: D7/1 Moo 2, Koh Tao, 84360, Thailand

Price: from 57.89 USD for the one-day introductory course

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm. Closed on public holidays.

Duration: one day

Contact: +66 077456106

Website: PADI Discover Scuba Diving from Crystal Dive School

2. Spend an afternoon on Sairee Beach

Sairee beach
Source: Photo by Flickr user bee! used under CC BY 2.0

Sairee Beach, which is found on the western side of the island, is not only the most popular beach on Koh Tao, it’s also the longest. You will find gorgeous sandy beaches and clear waters waiting for you here, so make sure you stop here on your holiday.

Sairee Beach is the busiest beach on Koh Tao as well; there are resorts, dive centers, shops, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants all along the beach. You’re never out of reach of anything, so if you find that you want something to eat, head just a couple of hundred meters inland.

Sairee Beach

Address: Ko Tao, Ko Pha-ngan District, Surat Thani 84280, Thailand

Price: Free

Duration: Varies

Near by Food: Barrucuda – bar and restaurant

Website: Sairee Beach

3. Get a Thai massage

Classical Thai Massage
Source: Photo by Flickr user Tara Angkor Hotel used under CC BY 2.0

No trip to Khao Tao is complete without getting at least one Thai massage. Here on the island, you can reserve a massage in your resort, down in a village centre, or even on the beach! How’s that for a relaxing time?

Thai massages generally take up to an hour and can vary in price. If you’re a traveler who believes in supporting the local population, try getting a massage on the beach: these massages generally cost less than at a resort and are done by locals who could use your business. As a bonus, you get to look at the ocean while you get a relaxing massage.

Thai Massage at Royal Thai Massage

Address: 8/28 Mae Haad Koh Tao Surrathani 84360, Thailand

Price: 10 USD for 60 minutes

Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm. Closed on holidays.

Duration: around 60 minutes required

Contact: +66 805282220

Website: Thai Massage at Royal Thai Massage

4. Choose between snorkeling or free diving

Koh Tao Snorkling
Source: Photo by Flickr user Peter Halling Hil... used under CC BY 2.0

No matter what type of water sports you enjoy, there is no question that snorkeling or free diving in the beaches and bays in the area is a great way to spend an afternoon. You don’t even have to be a professional to do it, but it is advised you get some training before jumping out of the boat! Aow Muang is the best place for either activity, just in case you were curious.

There are several dive schools around the island, one of which will be discussed shortly, that can give you a one-day introduction to either free diving or snorkeling. It’s best, however, to start with snorkeling, as it’s much safer. And you might even enjoy it so much you’ll want to take more lessons!

Roctopusdive Freediving

Address: 17/1 Moo 184360 Ban Ko Tao

Price: from 145 USD

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm. Closed on public holidays.

Duration: around 2 ½ days required.

Access: 5 min taxi ride from main pier; located just off of Sairee Beach, next to 7-11

Contact: +66 0844252951

Website: Snorkeling or Free Diving with Roctopusdive

5. Take scuba diving lessons at New Heaven Diving School

Koh_Tao_Renata  John Scuba
Source: Photo by Flickr user Renata used under CC BY-SA 2.0

New Heaven Dive School is one of Khao Tao’s best dive schools. It’s a family owned business that’s been in business since 1995 and was one of the first schools on the island. It currently offers SSI and PADI dive courses and qualifications to all skill levels, although it is best known for its scuba diving lessons.

The school offers a one-day introductory course for new divers, with up to four divers per group. For those not interested in learning to dive, the school is also home to a turtle conservation project that educates tourists in both turtle and marine conservation, which is completely free.

Scuba Diving Introductory Course at New Heaven Diving School

Address: 48 Moo 3, Koh Tao, Surat Thani 84360, Thailand

Price: from 58 USD

Opening Hours: Open daily 8:30am-7pm. Closed on public holidays.

Duration: around 1 day required

Access: Located in Chalok Baan Koak Bay

Contact: +66 77457045

Website: New Heaven Dive School Scuba Diving Introduction Course

6. Pose for photographs at John-Suwan Viewpoint

Mirador John-Suwan, Isla Koh Tao, Tailandia
Source: Photo by Flickr user Edgardo W. Olivera used under CC BY 2.0

One of the best mountain viewpoints on Khao Tao is John-Suwan Viewpoint. Located on the southernmost tip of the island, it is the best viewpoint from which you can see both Chalok Baan Kao and Thian Og bays at the same time.

The hike up to the viewpoint takes about 20 minutes on average, so make sure to head there prepared: bring water, comfortable shoes, and your camera! The views here are incredible, showcasing the clear waters and coral reefs, and you’ll want to remember your time here, so take plenty of photographs.

John-Suwan Viewpoint

Address: Koh Pha-Ngan, Ko Pha-ngan District, Surat Thani 84280, Thailand

Price: from 2.90 USD

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm. Closed on public holidays.

Duration: around 1 hour required.

Access: Accessible from either Chalok Baan Kao or Thian Og Bay.

7. Spend the morning at Chalok Baan Kao Bay

Chalok Baan Kao Bay, Koh Tao
Source: Photo by Flickr user Fabio Achilli used under CC BY 2.0

As Koh Tao’s third-largest beach, Chalok Baan Kao Bay is perfectly situated on the island’s south side and overlooks Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, and offers views of the Ang Thong Marine National Park. This is a great spot if you’re visiting the island with family, as it’s quiet and offers only shallow water.

If you’re at Chalok Baan Kao Bay and you decide you want to do some exploring, Freedom Beach, Buddha Rock Cape and Cape June Juea are all less than a 15-minute walk. You can also trek over to Shark Bay through the resorts that connect both areas.

Chalok Baan Kao Bay

Address: Chalok Baan Kao BayKoh Tao, 84280, Thailand

Price: Free

Opening Hours: open year round; may close for repairs

Duration: varies

Access: Accessible through all major modes of transportation; located on the South end of the island.

Near by Food: Big Fish Beach Restaurant

Website: Chalok Baan Kao Bay

8. Swim with the sharks in Thian Og Bay

shark bay, koh tao
Source: Photo by Flickr user irumge used under CC BY 2.0

Shark Bay Koh Tao gets its name from the Black Tip Reef Sharks that roam the waters here; it is also one of the most popular places on the island. It is located on the South side of the island, close to John-Suwan Viewpoint; in fact, you can get a view of the bay from that spot!

Haad Tien Beach Resort owns the beach in this bay, so for travelers who are not staying here but would like to swim with the sharks, take a long-tail boat through the bay and find your adventure right in the water! Another alternative is to walk through the OK2 Bungalow Resort and make your way through Ao Leuk Beach and into the water. Either way, getting to Shark Bay will be an adventure!

Swimming with Sharks

Address: Thien Og Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm.

Duration: around 4 hours required.

Access: Ten minutes by longtail boat.

Website: Swimming with Sharks

9. Relax with friends on Mae Haad Beach

Mae Haad
Source: Photo by Flickr user Laure Wayaffe used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Mae Haad Beach is a long stretch of beach that can be found on the northwestern side of the island. It offers its guests incredible sunset views of Koh Ma, an island that you can reach just by walking on the sand bar that connects it to Khao Tao.

The beach, its water, and the coral reef that lives within it have been designated a marine park by the government, so you are sure to see plenty of sea life. Everything from turtles to small reef sharks have been seen in these waters, so make sure you have your camera ready!

Mae Haad is directly behind the island’s biggest town, so you’ll be joined by fellow travelers from all over the world. With the sheer number of resorts in the area, you can spend time on the beach in the afternoon and then wander over to the restaurants, bars, and shops that are just hundreds of meters away.

Mae Haad Beach

Price: Free

Opening Hours: Open all seasons

Duration: varies

Near by Food: Rolling Stone Bar

10. Hike up to Two View Rock for island views

Two View Rock Viewpoint
Source: Needpix

Settled in the centre of the island, facing the West Coast of Koh Tao, is Two View Rock and an incredible view of the island. It’s a trek, to be sure, but seeing the splendor of the island in all its glory will more than make up for that.

Two View Rock gets its name from two boulders that lean on each other. It’s a simple name, but fitting; these rocks have been in the same position for centuries. Through the space between the rock, you can see from Koh Nang Yuan to Sairee Beach and all the way to Jansom Bay. It’s a viewpoint that you must experience!

The hiking trail to get to Two View Rock starts on Sairee Soi 1 road, which is close to the entrance of Sairee Beach; if you’re in Tanote Bay and would like to make this trip, you can access it through the reservoir area.

Two View Rock Viewpoint

Price: free

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm. Closed on public holidays.

Duration: around 3 hours required.

Access: Access is from Sairee Soi 1 road, or from Tanote Bay through the reservoir area

When paradise calls, answer

Khao Tao is an island made for the adventurer, the seeker, and the traveler. It is a place of hidden secrets and will definitely be a trip to remember. So what are you waiting for? Start booking your tickets to this beautiful island now and experience paradise for yourself!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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