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Ko Tao – the place to party, dive and hike

If you like beaches, diving and the island life: surely come to Ko Tao! Turtle Island is not too big, about 21 km2 / 8.11 mi2, but offers all that you might need!

How to get to Ko Tao

You will get to the island by ferry arriving at the Mae Haad Pier, by departing from either Chumphon (Ta Yang Pier, mainland Thailand) or Ko Phangan (Thong Sala Pier, island Ko Phangan).

There are 3 different ferries running to and from Ko Tao. In fact, the Lomprayah catamaran is the fastest but also the more expensive one. On the other hand, the Songserm Express and the Seatran Discovery are cheaper and slower, but fine too!

What to do in Ko Tao

Sairee Beach, the place to be in Ko Tao

Whereas the Mae Haad Pier is at the west side of the island, this is evidently where most of the buzz is to be found! In any case, the beach to go is called Sairee Beach. Alongside the coast is a pedestrian path with bars and shops on either side.

Pub Crawl Ko Tao

If you are the party kind of girl/guy, you definitely should join a Pub Crawl (be prepared for the buckets!). You can book this through your hostel for example, or via a bar or online. Unlike the hangover that will only remind you the next morning, you get a free t-shirt as a memory for the long run.

Diving at Koh Tao

Looking for some adventure? Ko Tao is, without a doubt, thé place to go diving. Get your PADI at one of many diving schools. As a matter of fact, probably there is a diving school that teaches in your native language. Make sure to especially explore the South west pinnacle, the Japanese gardens and Chumphon pinnacle. Generally good chances to spot a whale shark there! Undoubtedly you will see beautiful corals, triggerfish, butterfly fish, angel fish and groupers (in all sizes, really).

Prices diving Ko Tao

To illustrate, you will pay around 8000 Baht (approx. US$250 / €210) for PADI Open Water or PADI Open Water Advanced. You can also pay 8600 Baht (approx. US$265 / €225) and have your accommodation is included.

Scuba diving

Scuba diving is a great alternative to discover the underwater world of amazingly coloured stingrays, eels, see snakes, yellow snappers. At your lucky day you’ll spot a turtle or a whale shark.

Go for a hike at Ko Tao!

If you prefer action above sea level you certainly should go for a hike! Above all, make sure you go prepared. Wear grippy comfortable shoes & clothes, a hat/cap, take water, snacks and some money with you and go for it. I did the Sairee – Tanote Hiking and Viewpoints ⛰ and I would surely recommend it (Google for: koh tao a complete guide hiking).

Make sure to pin the points in an offline map (like maps.me), as not much other information about this route will be available. For the same reason, navigation instinct required, but by all means worth it!

In detail, at point B (Two View Crossroads) you have to pay 100 Baht (approx. €2,60 / US$ 3,10) as the entrance fee to point C (Viewpoint Two View crossroads) and D (Viewpoint Tanote Peak). That is the entrance fee you pay to a lovely lady that is trying to save up for an asphalt roadway heading to the reservoir. She already has 6 meters (/ 20 feet) so your money is well spent. Even more, you even get a drink with it!
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Where and what to eat in Ko Tao

For one thing, you should try the local Thai dishes like Pad Thai, papaya salad or chicken rice with cashew nuts. When at Ko Tao, try a fresh fruit smoothie. Also take a walk on the wild side by ordering a spicy curry!

For lunch and dinner, I recommend wandering away from the beach into town for cheaper and local restaurants like Blue Chair, 995 Roasted Duck. Walk further and discover restaurants that are not on Google Maps and Tripadvisor. In a healthy or vegan mood? In that case: Vegetabowl, you won’t be disappointed.

Get around in Ko Tao

Regarding transport on the island, walking will be the easiest way. Or you can take a taxi, inform at hotels when and where they leave. From one side of the island to the other one be prepared to pay 400 Baht (approx. €10,40 / US$ 12,30), or 300 Baht (approx. € 7,80 / US$ 9,25) to the pier and walk from there to your hotel. Keep tight, it’s a lot of fun in a back of a truck.

The traffic in Ko Tao

There are mainly motorbikes and big cars at Ko Tao. The quality of the roads is medium and the so it the quality of most vehicles. There are no different types of ways or any distinction in roads, every road is used by everyone. Always take good care and especially when crossing traffic. It can get busy at popular spots, and with a lack of (following any) traffic rules please take care of yourself. You will manage and you will get more used to it, but especially when this is your first time in Thailand / South East Asia, just observe for a bit, look how other people manage, and take it slow.

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