Top Things to Do In Koh Tao

Koh Tao – meaning ‘turtle island’ – got its name from the abundance of sea turtles that gather on its shores. The beautiful white-sand beaches, which ring the hilly island, are surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand. This compact island is also 55km to the north of Koh Samui.

Koh Tao is known for its tropical coral reefs – home to a wide range of sea creatures, including turtles, whale sharks, and rays!

There is so much to do on this island, from ocean activities, hiking routes, and high-end resorts where you can chill out.

To ensure you don’t miss out on the great things Koh Tao has to offer, here is a list of the top things to do when in Koh Tao!

Go rock climbing

Thanks to Koh Tao’s natural boulder fields, rock climbing has become a very popular activity to do on the island. As you climb, enjoy the panoramic views and beautiful sight of the ocean, watching the fish swim among the corals below. There are lots of different routes to choose from, each giving you a unique but equally spectacular view!

Watch the sunset from Mango Bay viewpoint

Located high in the hills in the north of the island, witnessing the views from Mango Bay viewpoint is a must when visiting Koh Tao. Hike up the hills and end your evening enjoying this phenomenal sunset from one of the best spots on the island!

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Go snorkelling & scuba diving

Koh Tao is known for its impressive marine life, making it the scuba diving destination of choice in Thailand. The dramatic coral landscapes are home to turtles, stingrays, reef sharks, barracudas, and whale sharks! Koh Tao is one of the cheapest places in the world to get scuba certified.

HTMS Sattakut wreck of Koh Tao, Thailand

Popular dive sites include the underwater sculptures of Ocean Utopia, the wreck of HTMS Sattakut, Japanese Gardens, Lighthouse Bay, and Chumphon Pinnacles.

Practically anywhere along the Koh Tao coast is a great spot for snorkelling, but Shark Bay and around Koh Nangyuan are among the most popular.

Visit Koh Nang Yuan

Koh Tao Thailand Koh nang yuan

Koh Nang Yuan is a small cluster of three small islands connected by two white-sand strips and is surrounded by gorgeous corals and lots of sea life. The islets feature stunning aquamarine waters and pristine white sands.

Due to its close location to Koh Tao and famous view, visiting the island is one of the best things to do and often part of every traveller’s agenda. It’s only a 15-minute long-tail boat ride from Koh Tao – you can kayak to the island from Koh Tao too!

Take a day trip to Koh Nang Yuan and enjoy yourself by swimming, relaxing, snorkelling, diving, and exploring the island. Another thing you must do is hike to the top of the smaller island and see the island from an amazing view.

Visit Freedom Beach

Freedom beach is by far the most popular beach on the south coast of Koh Tao Island. Freedom beach is a quiet and private beach, perfect for relaxing on. It is a very scenic place with its soft sands, clear waters, hammocks and hidden coves for you to discover!

Not too far out, there is a shallow coral reef where you can see the Buddha Rock standing out on the cape. Colourful schools of fish can be found if you swim around the cape.

Visiting Freedom beach is a great starting point for the hike up the John-Suwan Viewpoint.

Visit Sairee Beach

Sairee Beach is the longest beach on Koh Tao that stretches 1.85 km up the west coast. It’s the largest and liveliest beach in Koh Tao, offering a wide variety of accommodation, dive centres, restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, and great nightlife.

There is also a coral reef just 30 metres from the shore, perfect for a spot of snorkelling. There is lots of sand, and the water is pretty shallow, making it ideal for families with children. It is a great place to relax and top up your tan, and there are fun things to do on the beach like play a game of beach volleyball, frisbee or football.

In the evening, go stand up paddle-boarding and watch the world go by and the sunset from the ocean.

A must-do thing when visiting Sairee Beach is seeing a fire show! Most local beach bars have fire shows on, but Lotus Beach Bar is a popular one amongst both locals and tourists. Have a drink whilst you watch this spectacular show put on by amazing Thai performers. You might even be picked from the audience to join in!

Take a Thai cooking class

Immerse yourself in the true Thai culture by taking part in a cooking class. Enjoy learning how to cook popular Thai dishes like Pad Thai, Pad Kra Prao, and Khao Soi (Chiang Mai’s specialty).

This article was written by Dani Andrews, a Travel Expert for Touring Highlights.

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