Koh Tao Island: 22 Best Things To Do In Koh Tao Thailand

by David & Intan

Thailand has some of the most underrated islands in Southeast Asia, so of course we had to put together this list of the best things to do in Koh Tao Island.

In short, Koh Tao island is the perfect place for scuba diving, island hopping, white sand beaches, and enjoying scenic viewpoints without some of the huge crowds you see at other places in Thailand like Phuket and the Phi Phi islands.

Best of all, Koh Tao is a very budget friendly destination. Here’s our complete list of 22 top things to do in Koh Tao Thailand!

Best Tours In Koh Tao


Where Is Koh Tao Island?

Koh Tao island is located in the Gulf of Thailand, near the southern islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.

The distance from Bangkok is about 400 kilometers (250 miles) as the crow flies, so most people visit all three of these islands on the same trip since they’re all located pretty close together (Koh Tao, Phangan, and Samui).

How To Get To Koh Tao Thailand

There’s no airport in Koh Tao island, so the closest airport is the one in Koh Samui (USM), which you can fly to from Bangkok (BKK) or Phuket (HKT). From the islands of Koh Samui or Koh Phangan, it’s easy to take a ferry over to Koh Tao.

Another option is to fly from either of the Bangkok airports into Surat Thani (URT) and take the ferry to Koh Tao from there. You can shop for flights in Thailand on Skyscanner.

Best Things To Do In Koh Tao Thailand

1. Koh Nang Yuan Viewpoint

Koh Nang Yuan is a pair of small islands right by the west coast of Koh Tao. There are several cool things to do at Nang Yuan, but the twin island viewpoint is the main attraction.

This is easily the most famous view in Koh Tao, and it’s one of the most scenic too! You can reach it by taking a boat from the north end of Sairee Beach and then a quick hike to the top of the island.

Read More: Koh Nang Yuan Island

Koh Nang Yuan viewpoint

Koh Nang Yuan island       Koh Nang Yuan viewpoint

2. Mango Viewpoint

This is a popular viewpoint near the top of Koh Tao island, with great sunset views. It has an entrance fee of 100 Baht ($3).

You get top notch panoramic views of Sairee Beach in the distance, along with the whole south side of Koh Tao island. GPS here.

Mango viewpoint in Koh Tao

3. Summit Viewpoint

This is a secret viewpoint with a tree swing hanging from a big banyan tree. It has a 100 Baht entrance fee.

We were the only tourists there! At the top you get great views of the south end of Koh Tao. GPS here.

Summit viewpoint in Koh Tao

4. Wat Koh Tao Temple

This is the only Buddhist Wat in Koh Tao, and it was just built in 2018.

The Thai style architecture is great for photos, and you don’t need to wear anything special to walk around or take pictures from the outside.

Read More: Wat Koh Tao Temple

Flowers at Wat Koh Tao Temple in Thailand

5. Shark Island

Shark Island is a small, rocky island near the east coast of Koh Tao, and it’s great for kayaking and snorkeling trips.

If you want to kayak to Shark Island, the best place to start from is Sai Daeng Beach since the distance is less than a kilometer.

Read More: Shark Island

Shark Island in Koh Tao

6. John Suwan Viewpoint

This is one of the best viewpoints in south Koh Tao. At the top you can see almost the entire island, with huge twin bays on either side of your field of vision.

It’s one of our favorite spots! The climb to the top takes just 15-20 minutes and there’s a 50 Baht entrance fee, but you can avoid it if you go early.

Read More: John Suwan Viewpoint

John Suwan viewpoint in Koh Tao

John Suwan viewpoint in Koh Tao       John Suwan trail

7. Ang Thong National Marine Park

This is a group of 42 paradise islands in the Gulf of Thailand, and it’s easy to visit on a private day trip from Koh Tao or Koh Samui / Koh Phangan.

The ultra scenic panorama viewpoint at Mu Ko Ang Thong (below) should be reason enough to go. You get to see bunches of mini islands covered in jungle and scattered out on the blue horizon, a bit like Thailand’s version of Raja Ampat.

It’s famous for being one of the best views in the whole country!

Read More: Ang Thong Marine Park

Ang Thong National Marine Park

8. Scuba Diving

Koh Tao used to be the best place in the world (by far) to get scuba certified.

Prices have come up a bit since a fixed pricing racket started on the island, but Koh Tao can still be a very economical place to learn how to dive, and there are dive shops everywhere.

Even if you already have your Open Water certificate, you can get advanced diving certs here or even do an underwater photography class.

Scuba diving

9. Thai Massage

There are massage shops on every street corner in Koh Tao, and prices can be very affordable, at 300 Baht ($10 USD) for a 1 hour body massage.

It’s the perfect way to unwind after a day of hiking or diving.

Thai massage

10. Thai Food

One of the great things about Thailand is the food, and Koh Tao has loads of restaurants and cuisines to choose from.

No matter where you stay in Koh Tao, you’ll be able to choose from favorite Thai dishes like Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong, and Pad Krapow.

You can even take a cooking class if you want to learn how to make them yourself!

Thai food

West Koh Tao Beaches

11. Sairee Beach

Sairee Beach is the biggest and most popular beach on Koh Tao island. If you’re looking for white sand, lazy palm trees, and a great place to watch the sunset, this is where to go!

Read More: Sairee Beach

Sairee Beach in Koh Tao

12. Sai Nuan Beach

Sai Nuan Beach is one of the more secluded places in the island, and it’s never crowded at all, so it’s a great spot for hanging out on the beach under some lazy palms.

Read More: Sai Nuan Beach

Sai Nuan Beach in Koh Tao

13. Koh Nang Yuan Beach

Most people go to Koh Nang Yuan for its famous viewpoint, but the sandbar connecting the islands also makes a nice place for tanning or swimming.

It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Koh Tao Thailand!

Read More: Koh Nang Yuan Beach

Koh Nang Yuan Beach in Koh Tao

South Koh Tao Beaches

14. Freedom Beach

Freedom Beach is a private beach that’s super easy to get to, and it’s one of the best spots for kayaking, swimming, and just taking some amazing photos of the tropical scenery.

Read More: Freedom Beach

Freedom Beach drone picture in Koh Tao

15. Taa Toh Bay

Taa Toh Bay is one of the less known spots on the south end of the island, but it’s a great place to unwind and pull up a sunbed/sip a drink, and since it’s facing west it makes a great sunset beach too!

Read More: Taa Toh Beach

Taa Toh Bay in Koh Tao

16. Chalok Baan Kao Bay

Chalok Baan Kao is one of the biggest and most quiet beaches in Koh Tao island, and it’s also just a stone’s throw away from some other amazing spots like Shark Bay, Taa Toh Bay, and Freedom Beach.

Read More: Chalok Baan Kao Beach

Chalok Baan Kao Beach in Koh Tao

17. Shark Bay

This bay has incredible turquoise water and it’s one of the most popular snorkeling spots on Koh Tao island in Thailand. The name comes from the friendly black tip reef sharks that like to hang out here.

If you go around the rocks, there’s a small hidden beach that’s usually empty of tourists.

Read More: Shark Beach

Shark Bay Koh Tao in Thailand

18. Haad Tien Beach

This is another beach at Shark Bay, except it’s a long strip of white sand lined with palm trees. This one is managed by (and accessed through) Haad Tien Resort.

Read More: Shark Beach

Haad Tien Beach in Koh Tao

19. Sai Daeng Beach

Sai Daeng is a nice white sand beach with shady trees to sit under, and good views of Shark Island in the distance. If you get bored, you can kayak out to Shark Island!

Read More: Sai Daeng Beach

Sai Daeng Beach in Koh Tao

20. Ao Leuk Beach

Ao Leuk Beach is one of the busier beaches, but it also has perfect sand and turquoise water, and it’s not too remote. There’s a restaurant and resort at the beach too if you want to stick around longer.

Read More: Ao Leuk Beach

Ao Leuk Beach in Koh Tao

East Koh Tao Beaches

21. Ao Tanote Beach

Tanote Beach is one of the nicer spots on the east side of Koh Tao island. The views and snorkeling are some of the best, and the beach is never crowded! If you need to get your adrenaline fix, there’s a big boulder in the middle of the bay that’s great for rock jumping.

Read More: Ao Tanote Beach

Ao Tanote Bay in Koh Tao Thailand

22. Hin Wong Beach

Hin Wong Beach is hidden in an epic bay on the east side of Koh Tao island. Green palm trees and massive boulders line the coast, and so far the bay hasn’t suffered from crowds or over-development. This is also one of the best snorkeling spots on the island!

Read More: Ao Hin Wong Beach

Ao Hin Wong Beach Bay In Koh Tao Thailand

Koh Tao Island Map

Here’s a Koh Tao island map you can use to plan your trip. You can click the icons to get more info and directions for each point of interest, but keep in mind some of the locations on this map may be approximate.

For more detailed information on how to get to each of the spots on this Koh Tao map, you can check out my individual travel guides for each location.


More Koh Tao Travel Tips

I hope you were helped by this list of the best things to do in Koh Tao Thailand.

Don’t forget to check out my complete Thailand Travel Guide with free tips, info, photos, and more!

Where We Stayed

We stayed at a hotel called Aukotan Place in south Koh Tao. The price was $23 USD for a big double room with cold A/C, hot shower, and good WiFi.

This hotel includes free buffet breakfast even though it’s not mentioned on Booking.com. They also give a free daily transfer to and from the pier, and Sairee Beach, which was super handy, and they have scooter rentals for a good price.

The location of the hotel was perfect. It’s a 15 minute walk from Freedom Beach, Shark Bay, and John Suwan Viewpoint.

Prices may fluctuate from time to time, so just keep an eye out for a good deal.

Our hotel bedroom in Koh Tao


Our hotel dining area in Koh Tao

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1 comment

Sarwar Pedawi November 29, 2020 - 7:37 pm

This blog has made me desperately want to visit these beautiful beaches… ♥_♥
If my destiny lets me to afford visiting such beautiful beaches, I would not waste a minute to avail this offer!
Really nice blog post by the way!


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