Koh Tao also named “Turtle Island” by local fishermen due to the island resembling the shape of a sea turtle when viewed from their boats.
Koh Tao is a small paradise island located on the east side of the Surat Thani coastline with two neighbouring islands, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.
Koh Tao has been dubbed “Death Island” due to a string of murders and mysterious deaths that have occurred there since 2014.
Koh Tao is a safe place to visit, but if you’re travelling alone, stay in hostels, stick to public areas, and don’t walk alone at night.
Transfers can be booked through 12go.Asia. It’s the most convenient, reliable and affordable website for booking transfers throughout Thailand.
Make sure to arrive at the ferry terminal early enough to check in at the ticketing office and receive your tickets.
It takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to travel from Koh Samui and approximately 1 hour to travel from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao. Every day, numerous boats depart from both islands for Koh Tao.
There are many hotels and resorts to choose from on Agoda or booking.com. If you are looking for a very affordable, clean and conveniently located hotel check out Koh Tao Toscana Resort!
The easiest and cheapest way to get around is by scooter. For a reliable and affordable scooter company, I recommend Oli’s Motorbike Rentals (within walking distance from the boat harbour).
You can also walk around Koh Tao (nowhere is more than 5 kilometres away). If you are not comfortable riding a scooter, taxi cars are available.
John Suwan Viewpoint is the best viewpoint on Koh Tao Island.
It’s an easy, short 20-minute hike to the top of the viewpoint and you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the island.
On the island’s southernmost point, John Suwan viewpoint is accessible from the same parking lot as Freedom Beach and Taa Toh Bay. There is a 50 Baht entrance fee to enter John Suwan viewpoint, Freedom Beach and Taa Too Bay.
When visiting Koh Tao, Nang Yuan Island is a must-see. You can get a long-tail taxi boat anywhere along Sairee Beach and there is no need to book ahead of time. Private long-tail boats cost 600 Baht per couple return (16 USD), but they are less expensive with more people. It only takes 20 minutes to get to Nang Yuan Island from Koh Tao by long-tail boat.
The entrance fee to Nang Yuan Island is 250 Baht per person, and plastic bottles are not permitted on the island.
This is usually a stop on snorkelling tours, but I highly recommend booking a private long-tail boat and going early in the morning to beat the crowds!
The beaches are stunning, and there is one restaurant on the island where you can purchase food and drinks.
Spend at least half a day here (checking out the viewpoint, swimming on the beaches and snorkelling).
See the previous paragraphs for how to get to Nang Yuan Island. Plan to arrive as early as possible in the morning before the tours arrive at 11 a.m., so you can have the entire viewpoint to yourself. There isn’t much space for many people because it isn’t a large viewpoint.
It takes about 10-15 minutes of stair climbing to reach the viewpoint.
Sun Suwan Viewpoint is located close to John Suwan Viewpoint but it is much easier to reach because it is only a short climb up some stairs, so no hiking is required.
With a viewpoint 360 bar and an elevated view from the tower, this is the best option for sunset. The entrance fee is 50 Baht per person.
Taa Too Lagoon is a beautiful beach with crystal turquoise water and golden sand. Because the beach is not very crowded, it is ideal for lonely travellers, relaxation getaway lovers, and so on.
The Taa Toh Lagoon coast is free for all and there’s a beachside restaurant here to purchase food and drinks.
There’s a nice wooden beach walk to get between Freedom Beach and Taa Toh Lagoon.
Locals and tourists alike consider Freedom Beach to be one of the best beaches on Koh Tao!
Freedom Beach on Koh Tao is one of the island’s smaller beaches, but its beautiful scenery makes up for its size.
This white sandy beach is hidden away beneath a shady palm tree and mangrove jungle, and it has some of the clearest, bluest water on the island.
A shallow reef with an abundance of corals and schools of fish can be found just off the shoreline, making it an amazing snorkelling spot.
Haad Sai Daeng is my favourite beach on the island, owing to its beautiful scenery and clear waters. It’s also the island’s hidden treasure and most idyllic beach.
There are a couple of beachside restaurants, making it the ideal spot to eat and drink without having to leave this breathtaking view. I suggest getting a drink from the next location down below.
It’s the closest bay to Shark Island, the best snorkelling spot on Koh Tao. You can rent kayaks and snorkelling gear along the beach.
Make sure to visit Coral View Bar for a drink or some food and enjoy the stunning view of Haad Lai Daeng Beach from this restaurant.
Shark Bay is a stunning private bay with fine white sand beaches and turquoise waters. It’s an excellent location for snorkelling as black tip reef sharks visit the bay each day.
Head to Taatoh Seaview Resort and you will see a sign next to the restaurant that has free beach access to Shark Bay.
Located high in the hills on Koh Tao Island, Mango Viewpoint offers incredible panoramic views of Koh Tao’s western coastline and Sairee Beach.
Take caution if riding a scooter up to the viewpoint because the road is undeveloped and only a dirt road.
The admission fee is 100 Baht, which includes either tea or coffee.
Koh Tao is one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand and a destination you will definitely not regret visiting!
Nearby islands Koh Samui and Koh Phangan also offer plenty of mesmerizing places to explore. If you’re seeking the ultimate Koh Samui or Koh Phangan adventure, make sure to check out my other blog posts: 10 Things to do in Koh Samui and Things to do on Koh Phangan.