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Koh Tao is an island on most people’s Thailand itinerary, it was our first island and after spending a month in Vietnam not getting any sun or beach time, we couldn’t wait to step off the ferry and get back into island life. We booked a hostel on Mae Haad pier, about a five minute walk from the boat, which was pretty central to the shops and restaurants. A lot of people also stay in Sairee Beach or the more remote areas elsewhere on the island. If you are looking for ideas of what to do whilst on the island make sure you keep scrolling!
EXPLORE THE VIEWPOINTS
If you are wanting to explore the island then by far the best way is to hire a scooter. We met up with our friends who had just completed their diving course and planned our route to a number of viewpoints and bays we were hoping to swim at. The roads on Koh Tao are extremely steep and so it is probably best that you hire a scooter that is quite powerful. Unfortunately we weren’t that lucky, we went for the cheapest scooter option not realising that we might need some power. Once you turn off the main road to Mango viewpoint you are greeted with some pretty steep roads! It was a case of me having to constantly get off and back on the bike as we wouldn’t be able to make it up with both of us on it. At one point I had to get off and walk up the steepest part, I nearly didn’t make it up myself! I slipped on the gravel and couldn’t get a good grip even on all fours, luckily no one was around to laugh at me, but I did have to quickly get back on two feet as I heard an engine approaching!
The highlight of the day though was the John Suwan viewpoint, it wasn’t nearly as hard to reach on the scooter. There is an adventurous 15 minute climb over boulders with ropes there to help you, but once you reach the top and get your breath back you will probably want to go back for sunset!
GO ON A SNORKELLING TOUR
As we didn’t do any diving on the island we were very keen to do some snorkelling! We booked a full day tour with Diamond Tour, but there were so many others on the island that run the exact same itinerary. We had a group of about twenty which was much less than some of the other boats we saw that were absolutely packed. We made four stops at different bays to snorkel, the first being Shark Bay. It isn’t guaranteed that you will see any sharks, but luckily enough one swam right underneath me! I was surprised that I wasn’t scared, seeing as though I used to hate seeing any kind of fish in the sea. We also spotted a turtle and swam with lots of colourful fish around the corals. Although I must admit by the end of the day we were both knackered from all the swimming, even though we wore life jackets the whole time!
TAKE A BOAT TO NANG YUAN ISLAND
Going to Nang Yuan Island was on our list to do before we reached Koh Tao, and luckily it was included on the itinerary of our snorkelling tour. It was our last stop of the day which we were very grateful for as when we arrived it seemed that most people were leaving, so more space for us! There are lots of spots to swim as the beach is made up of a narrow sandbar with calm sea either side. We also made our way up the never ending steps to the viewpoint which is a must do if you go to this island.
If you don’t want to go on a snorkelling tour you can of course agree a price with one of the many taxi boats on each island.
RELAX ON SAIREE BEACH
There are lots of beaches and bays to explore on Koh Tao, but the one we chose was Sairee Beach. It has got a chilled atmosphere, there was plenty of space to not be right next to anyone else and a number of bars to grab a cold drink.
SIGN UP TO A DIVING COURSE
Although we didn’t end up doing any diving on Koh Tao if you are wanting to take a diving course at some point on your travels I would highly recommend you do it here. Every street we took there would be at least a few diving schools, I think there are over fifty on the island and at really reasonable prices, 11,000 baht seemed to be the going rate! A few recommendations would be Crystal Dive, who we we enquired with as they had been recommended on a travel blog and Impian Divers, who our friends went with and loved it!
WHAT’S IN MY BACKPACK