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Guide to the best beaches & Viewpoints in Koh Tao
Koh Tao is one of the best (and cheapest) places in the world to get you PADI diving qualification, which is usually a very good indicator that the sea is crystal clear. That’s definitely the case for Koh Tao! We didn’t do a diving course (BIG regret), but we did do a ton of snorkelling, and the marine life to see with a simple snorkel is AMAZING! This luscious green and deep blue paradise island looks even better from above at the many viewpoints dotted around. This post will guide you through the plethora of gorgeous beaches and viewpoints Koh Tao has to offer, and also the ones we would steer clear of!
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Also read: Guide to Bars, Restaurants & Activites in Koh Tao (LIVE SOON)
Here’s a lil graphic map to show you where all the beaches and viewpoints are in relation to the Mae Haad Pier (where you’ll likely b e dropped off from the ferry – check out our post on how to get to Koh Tao here ~LIVE SOON~). They’re all pretty spread out, but all worth the journey so hiring a bike is advised!
A quick mention of the beaches you should avoid: Mango Bay – this place is probably great if you know how to get there! We took our bikes and had to push them part of the way because it simply wasn’t rideable. We ended up at a resort which had no access to Many Bay and it was too dangerous to climb the rocks over to it. The second beach we’d avoid is Ao Hin Wong. There’s a diving centre on this beach so we thought it’d be good for snorkelling, however the whole beach and close to the shore is packed with litter!
Where to stay – Koh Tao Central Hostel
Taa Toh Lagoon
Number one on the list was our favourite beach! Taa Toh Lagoon is tiny, but it’s perfect. You pay an entry fee of about 100Bhat (the beach is owned by a resort) and this includes bike parking, the beach, sun bed, bottle of water, loads of beach toys (balls, rubber rings) and snorkels if you don’t have them. Once you’re in you can put a deposit down for a kayak and paddle far out to get even better snorkelling views! There’s a restaurant/ bar on the beach at really reasonable prices, so get there early and you’ll have made your money back in fun in no time!
Right round the corner is Freedom beach (we think Taa Toh is also called Freedom beach sometimes as well) and is a little bigger than Taa Toh but with none of the fun things included. It’s connected round the rocks by a stone bridge path so you can hop between the 2! The rocks you can swim out to here had really good snorkelling spots. It’s also a fishing spot and the fisherman chucked some food toward us and the fish went crazy, so much fun!
Sunsuwan Viewpoint & Bar
Just behind the entrance to the beach, you’ll find a sign to go up to the Sunsuwan viewpoint. Like any beautiful viewpoint, you’re going to have to work for it, so prepare to get hot! You pay 50bhat to go up and you get a bottle of water at the top. There’s a lovely breeze, a bar and the most perfect view! The deep crystal blue waters cut right through the middle by the lushest green jungle. This is definitely somewhere you could enjoy sunset.
Sai Ri Beach
Sai Ri Beach is arguably the largest and most popular beach on the island. Lined with restaurants and bars you can leisurely let your days turn into nights without even realising. You can walk from the main Mae Haad area to Sairee Beach, it takes a little while but we’d recommend not driving as as soon as the sunset this beach turns into a party. Every night there’s a fire show, and you won’t be leaving before sunset because the view is something not to be missed! So prepare yourself for the long-run when relaxing on Sairee – bring your dry clothes and party hat!
This beach is what got us (especially Sam) into snorkelling! The beach itself is ok, the pebbles/ stones are sharp to watch your feet – we saw several people leaving here with pretty bad cuts, but lying on a towel you’ll be fine! We were lying on the beach when we heard a very excited girl come running out to her friends saying there was sharks! We didn’t have a snorkel, so Sam and Peder hopped on the bikes and went back into town to buy some. They were gone around 35mins and the sharks were still there so you’ve got a good chance of seeing them for yourself if you come at the right time of year. A pretty cool thing to see baby reef tip sharks on your first time snorkelling?! There’s also a restaurant for refreshments to fuel your snorkelling filled day!
This is the perfect place for sunset! Not sure why, but when we went we were the only ones there so we git the best spot! There’s a viewing platform and a hammock to relax in, so think about going a little early to get the best spot. You pay 100bhat entry fee/ parking OR you can buy a beer for 120bhat, so you know what we chose! Once the sunset is over, get back down as soon as possible because the walk down is a bit rocky, and also the start of the drive back to Mae Haad is a bit rocky too so you want as much light as possible.
Koh Nang Yuan Beach
This is the coolest beach ever! You’ll take a speed boat/ long boat over to the 3 little islands you can see from Koh Tao. It’s about 10-15 minutes journey and should cost you 200bhat each way. Head down to the Mae Haad Beach where there’s boats lined up waiting to take people. Haggle your price and confirm what time you want to be picked up later that day (don’t worry, they will come back for you!). The Island is privately owned and costs 100bhat entry. No plastic is allowed on the island so forget your water bottles. There’s a restaurant/ bar for refreshments, and it’s not too over priced!
Find your spot for the day and get ready to soak up the sun, and make sure you bring your snorkel! There were HUGE schools of fish right by the shore, which at first glance looked like big rocks. You can swim right through them and they’ll create a circle around you, magical. Swim a little further out to the deeper side/ secluded rock pools and you’ll catch some brightly coloured tropical fish. We saw a trigger fish and were amazed by how big it was, not realising they’re pretty vicious fish. Our friend told us about them and the first result on google was ‘man loses finger after trigger fish attack in Koh Tao’… oops! Don’t let that scare you though, they only get vicious if you get up close/ swim down to their nests.
Nang Yuan Viewpoint
The most instagram able spot in Koh Tao, the Nang Yuan Viewpoint! We went up here before heading down to the beach, which is probably for the best as you will get sweaty clambering up, but you can then jump in the sea! Be careful up here as there isn’t a proper surface to stand on, you just jump from rock to rock and gets pretty crowded. Head to the ledge for that all important snap of the 3 islands connected by the white-sand strip. Deep crystal blues, luscious jungle greens and stunning white sand, what more could you ask for in a view?
Mae Haad Beach
We’ve included this beach, but not really for the beach… Mae Haad beach is the beach next to the pier that ferry will drop you and while it’s pretty good for sunbathing, it’s not great for swimming as all the boats dock here (petrolly water). The one and only reason you can’t miss this beach is because of the FAT PIG! Mogkol the pig is owned by Bed & Ink hostel, and he takes an evening stroll, everyday, on his own, down to Mae Haad beach. He doesn’t do much down there apart from pee and sleep but he’s super cute and super fat and you shouldn’t miss him!
Koh Tao ended up being one of our favourite places in Thailand. We filled our days with sunbathing, snorkelling and sunset chasing in this little slice of paradise. It’s a super affordable place, making it perfect for backpackers, but you can also book luxury accommodation should you be holidaying! Let us know in the comments your favourite places in Thailand, or where’s on your bucket list!