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Koh Tao, Bild: SERG60 / shutterstock

Koh Tao – Small island with great charm

With its magnificent landscape, its beautiful beaches and its colourful underwater world, the island of Koh Tao is an ideal holiday destination. The small island belongs to Thailand. The small island, also called Ko Tao, can be found in the Gulf of Thailand. It is located about 45 kilometers from Ko Pha-ngan off the Siamese southeast coast and is part of the province of Surat Thani.

Koh Tao is the third largest island of the Samui archipelago, which includes another 60 islands such as Ko Pha-ngan. Translated, Ko Tao means “island of turtles”. The name comes from a time when many sea turtles still populated the island.

Although the island is rather small, it is very popular with tourists and is one of the favorite destinations of many vacationers. Above all, the beautiful nature and the enchanting beaches attract visitors year after year.

How to get to Koh Tao?

Koh Tao can be reached from the Thai mainland as well as from the other islands. However, there is no airport on the small Siamese island. Most travelers come by ferry from Surat Thani on the mainland or from Koh Samui .

From the Thai capital Bangkok , Koh Tao can also be reached by bus and ferry. By traveling by boat, it is at least possible to admire the wonderful island landscapes more closely.

Getting around the island

Koh Tao
Image: Preto Perola / shutterstock

Getting around Koh Tao is no problem. The island has a size of just 21 km². A good opportunity to roam Koh Tao on foot and get to know its fascinating landscape at your leisure. Inexpensive scooters can also be rented. However, inexperienced holidaymakers should beware of the hilly dirt roads beyond the roads, where accidents can easily occur.

If you don’t like to drive yourself, you can usually find plenty of taxis in Mae Haad and Sairee Village. Another attractive transport option is offered by the long-tail boats, which are offered on almost all beaches.

 

The sights of Koh Tao

Ko Tao
Image: AmpareChana / shutterstock

The best attraction of Koh Tao is its idyllic nature. Some areas are very mountainous and invite you to hike. The views of the bays in the north and east of the island are considered extremely charming.

Some viewpoints are particularly recommended. These include, above all, the John Suwan Viewpoint at the south end. From there, you can overlook Shark Bay and Ao Chalok Ban Kao. Also worth a detour are the Nangyuan Terrace, the Mango Viewpoint and the Chalok Viewpoint.

Diving on Koh Tao

Koh Tao is an El Dorado for divers. Numerous diving clubs offer their services on the island. Both diving and scuba diving can be learned there. Visibility under water is sometimes up to 40 meters. Apart from November, the island is always good for diving.

Popular activities include hiking, windsurfing, wake boarding and water skiing. Those who prefer to relax can take part in yoga or massage classes.

A walk on the beach, swimming in the turquoise-blue water and sipping delicious cocktails under shady palm trees does not have to remain a dream! Spend relaxing days in the holiday paradise of Thailand and enjoy the sun, beach and sea. Koh Tao, the largest island in Thailand, is particularly charming. The tropical island paradise offers a warm and Mediterranean climate and a fantastically beautiful nature with distinctive flora and fauna. Many of the hotels are located in close proximity to the water, so nothing stands in the way of a relaxing day at the beach or an exciting water sports experience.

The 10 most beautiful beaches on Koh Tao

Koh Tao is famous for its numerous bays and beaches. Therefore, don’t miss out on discovering the breathtaking underwater world on a diving or snorkeling trip. With a kayak or a boat, you can head for even the most remote places and enjoy the peace and seclusion.

With the large selection of beautiful beaches, it is not easy to decide where on Koh Tao you want to stay for the duration of your holiday. To help you decide, we present the 10 most beautiful beaches on Koh Tao.

1. Mae Haad

Mae Haad Beach, Kog Thao
Mae Haad beach, Image: Matyas Rehak / shutters

One of the most developed areas on Koh Tao is Mae Haad. With its many shops, bars, restaurants and internet cafés, the town offers all kinds of shopping and entertainment for tourists. And despite the trouble, Mae Haad has retained the charm of a simple fishing village. If you are interested in boat tours or diving trips, all you have to do is contact one of the offices of the numerous diving schools that have set up shop here.

2. Sairee Beach

Sairee Beach is one of the most famous beaches of Koh Tao. Here on the west coast there is a beautiful sandy beach over a length of about 1.7 km. The town, which is highly appreciated by tourists, offers a wide range of different accommodations, diving schools, restaurants, bars, shops and post offices. The local fishing museum offers a change from the daily water sports.

3. Chalok Ban Khao

At the southern tip of the island you will also find even less populated areas and beaches. This includes Chalok Ban Khao, one of the most beautiful stretches of beach on Koh Tao. With one of the many longtail boats waiting for passengers in the bay, you can take a short tour on the water and get to know the island from a different perspective.

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4. Haad Thien

Probably the best beach on Koh Tao is Haad Thien, also known as Rock Bay. Here, the water is crystal clear and the beach is lined with coconut palm trees. Haad Thien is located a little further from the capital and is therefore not quite as crowded.

5. Ao Leuk

If you are looking for seclusion and solitude, you should head to the east side of the holiday island. In Ao Leuk you will find the necessary peace and serenity to forget the distant everyday life and recover from any stress. The beach here is beautiful and the crystal clear water invites you to swim in the sea.

6. Tanote Bay

Tanote Bay is one of the most secluded bays on the island and is ideal for a snorkeling adventure. There are numerous water sports providers with diving schools and kayaks. Located just north of Ao Leuk, you will also find the relaxing seclusion here. With taxi boats you can even be chauffeured from one place to another without much effort.

7. Hin Wong Bay

Hin Wong Bay, Koh Tao
Way to Hin Wong Bay, Image: Huw Penson / shutterstock

Driving along the northeastern coast, you will inevitably reach Hin Wong Bay. Known for its opulent coral reefs, you can experience the unique underwater world during a dive.

8. Sai Daeng Beach

As beautiful as in Ao Leuk and as secluded as Tanote Bay – that’s Sei Dang Beach. Only two resorts have made themselves at home here between the idyllic and beautiful landscape. Not far away is one of Tao ́’s biggest exchange and snorkeling attractions: Shark Island.

9. Thian Og Bay

Near Chalok Bahn Kao is Thian Og Bay. There is only one resort in this private and extraordinarily large bay. The spa offers an attractive wellness offer and in the restaurant on the mountain top you can enjoy an exquisite menu with a fantastic view.

10. Chalok Baan Kao

Chalok Baan Kao is located on the south coast of the island and is the third largest beach on Koh Tao. Smaller than Sairee, this bay still offers a wide range of different accommodation, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Nestled between Taa Toh Lagoon in the east and Saan Jao Beach in the west, there is also a connection to Thian Og Bay and Sai Daeng Beach. Here you can spend a particularly great beach holiday.

The popular holiday island of Koh Tao may not be particularly big, but with the great selection of dream beaches, that doesn’t really matter. A holiday on Koh Tao promises relaxing days in a Mediterranean climate, countless opportunities for shore excursions and water sports experiences, such as diving and snorkelling. Many of Koh Tao’s beaches and bays can be easily reached thanks to the many boats and water taxis on site. Whether secluded beach sections that promise peace and relaxation or the lively hustle and bustle on the island’s large beaches – the holiday paradise Koh Tao offers something for everyone! On the beautiful beaches you can enjoy a carefree and relaxed holiday in Thailand !

Koh Tao Arrival from Bangkok, Koh Samui & Surat Thani by ferry, boat & plane

To get to Koh Tao you have to travel two stages: First from one of the major Southeast Asian airports such as Bangkok or Singapore to one of the airports near Koh Tao, and from there by ferry to Koh Tao. There are many different ways to get to Koh Tao, we introduce you to each one. Fortunately, the trip to Koh Tao is relatively pleasant and leads through a very beautiful landscape. In addition to Koh Tao, a visit to the capital Bangkok is also worthwhile.

Part 1: Getting to the ferry from Bangkok or Singapore

By plane

By plane you can either fly to Koh Samui, Surat Thani or Chumporn. From all three airports you can get to Koh Tao by ferry / boat. Flights to Koh Samui are the most comfortable way to travel, but they also cost much more than flights to Surat Thani or Chumporn, as these two airports are served by low-cost airlines. Information about cheap flights from the discounter can be found here or here. You can find a flight price comparison for flights to Thailand on this page.

Bangkok to Koh Samui: Bangkok Airways flies 10 times a day

Bangkok to Surat Thani: Thai Airways International (02 628-2000) flies daily to Suratthani

Singapore to Koh Samui: Bangkok Airways flies once a day

Bangkok to Chumporn: Air Andaman flies to Chumphon four times a week

By train

Of course, you can also use the train as a feeder to Koh Tao. The following connections are possible. The train runs from Bangkok to Chumporn and is especially suitable for travelers who are not in a hurry – and it is also the most beautiful way to travel to Chumporn:

Express Train #85: The train from Bangkok to Chumporn leaves Bangkok daily at 7:15 PM and arrives in Chumporn approximately between 3:30 AM and 5:00 AM. There is a choice between 2nd class, aircon, fans, sleeping compartments and normal seats.

Diesel Train: This train from Bangkok to Chumporn departs Bangkok at 22:30 and arrives in Chumporn at 6:00. There is a choice between 2nd class Aircon compartments and normal seats.

By bus

If you have a particularly tight travel budget, you can also travel to Koh Tao by bus. However, most buses in Thailand are much more comfortable than you know from Germany. Buses depart from Bangkok:

From Southern Bus Terminal: Air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses depart from the Southern Bus Terminal to Chumporn. The trip starts daily at 9:30 a.m. and ends at 10:00 p.m. Tickets cost between 130 and 320 baht.

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From Kaosan Road: Minibuses and regular buses depart from Kao San Road at 8:00 PM daily. You will arrive in Chumporn at around 4:00 am.

 

Part 2: Ferry ride to Koh Tao

From Koh Samui or Surat Thani to Koh Tao

Mae Haad Beach, Kog Thao
Mae Haad beach, Image: Matyas Rehak / shutters

Since there are such a large number of ferry connections and departure times, we have put together a separate table with all available ferry connections and departure times: Ferry schedule from Koh Samui or Surat Thani to Koh Tao

From Chumporn to Koh Tao

Since there are such a large number of ferry routes and departure times from Cumporn to Koh Tao, we have put together a separate table with all available ferry routes and departure times: Ferry schedule from Chumporn to Koh Tao

If you also want to know what you should take with you on your trip to Thailand. Here we have created a guide on how best to pack your suitcase.

Ferries to Koh Tao: times, prices, tickets & contacts

Since such a small island as Koh Tao does not have its own airport, there is no way around taking the ferry from the mainland or one of the neighboring islands to Koh Tao.

In the following tables we present the individual providers and classes of ferries to and from Koh Tao. Select the route that interests you and then check the departure times. It should also be noted that the different types of ferries also have very different travel times.

The night ferries are really only suitable for hard-boiled backpackers who would like to travel “typical of the country”. You lie on 2 cm thin mattresses with umpteen other backpackers on the floor of the transport compartment.

Ferry Koh Tao – Koh Samui Koh Samui – Koh Tao
Departure Arrival Departure Arrival
Lomprayah 09:30 11:20 08:00 09:45
15:00 16:40 12:30 14:15
Phangan Cruises 09:30 11:30 12:00 14:00
Seatran
Discovery Ferry
09:30 11:30 08:00 10:00
15:00 17:00 13:30 15:30
Songserm Express
Boat
10:00 12:45 11:00 13:45
Transport Ferry (not daily) 09:30 14:30 09:30 14:30

 

Ferry Koh Tao – Koh Phangan Koh Phangan – Koh Tao
Departure Arrival Departure Arrival
Lomprayah 09:30 10:45 08:30 09:45
15:00 16:10 13:00 14:15
Phangan Cruises 09:30 11:00 12:30 14:00
Seatran
Discovery Ferry
09:30 11:30 08:30 10:00
15:00 16:30 14:00 15:30
Songserm Express
Boat
10:00 11:30 12:00 13:45
Transport Ferry (not daily) 09:30 12:30 11:30 14:30

 

Ferry Koh Tao – Chumphon Chumphon – Koh Tao
Departure Arrival Departure Arrival
Lomprayah 10:15 11:45 07:00 08:45
14:45 16:30 13:00 14:45
Songserm Express
Boat
14:30 17:30 07:00 10:00
Ko Jaroen Car
Ferry (daily except Sunday)
23:00 05:00 23:00 05:00
Seatran
Discovery Ferry
10:00 12:00 07:00 09:00
16:00 18:00 13:00 15:00
Talay Sub Night
Boat
23:00 05:00 23:00 05:00
Night ferry 20:00 03:00 24:00 06:00

 

Ferry Koh Tao – Surat Thani Surat Thani – Koh Tao
Departure Arrival Departure Arrival
Songserm Express
Boat
10:00 16:30 08:00 14:30
Night ferry 20:30 05:30 23:00 08:00

 

Contact addresses of ferry companies

Lomprayah High Speed Ferry:

Koh Tao: 077 456 176
Samui: 077 427 765-6
Chumphon: 077 558 212-3
Bangkok:
02 629 2570-1

Seatran Discovery Express
Ferry:

Koh Tao: 077 456 907-8
Samui: 077 246 086-8
Chumphon: 077 521 052
Bangkok:
02 240 2582-9

Songserm Express Boat:

Koh Tao: 077 456 274
Samui: 077 420 157
Chumphon: 077 506 205
Bangkok: 02 2807 897

Ko Jaroen Car &
Cargo Ferry:

Koh Tao: 081 797 0276
Chumphon: 077 580 030
Talay Sub Cargo
& Night Boat:

Koh Tao: 077 456 431
Samui: 077 430 531
Chumphon: 077 553 176-7
Bangkok Airways:
Bangkok: 02 229 3456
Samui: 077 422 512-9

 

As departure times and routes are constantly changing, we cannot guarantee this information. To be on the safe side, check with the respective ferry providers before your trip and plan sufficient buffer times.

The most beautiful Koh Tao Hotels & Resorts in every price range

Here we present the most beautiful Koh Tao hotels and resorts from every price range. Compare Koh Tao hotels to find the best one for you:

  • Anankhira Boutique Villas
  • Villa Lipanaa
  • Seashell Resort
  • Amazing Beach Villas
  • Koh Tao Montra Resort & Spa
  • AC Resort
  • Ao Muong Resort
  • Bans Diving Resort
  • Bhora Bhora Resort
  • Black Tip Dive Resort
  • Bow Thong Resort
  • Chintakiri Resort
  • Coral View Resort
  • Dusit Buncha Resort
  • Jamahkiri Spa Resort
  • JP Resort
  • Khun Ying House
  • Ko Tao Resort
  • Koh Tao Beach Club
  • Koh Tao Cabana
  • Koh Tao Coral Grand Resort
  • Koh Tao Royal Resort
  • Koh Tao Tropicana Resort
  • Koh Tao Viewpoint Resort
  • Mango Bay Grand Resort
  • Sairee Hut Resort
  • Sea Lodge
  • Silver Sands Resort
  • Suksamran Villas
  • Thipwimarn Resort
  • View Cliff Resort
  • Koh Tao Star Villa
  • Sai Thong Resort
  • Sensi Paradise Beach Resort
  • The Rocks Luxury Villas
  • Simple Life Resort
  • Beach Bay Villa
  • Blue Diamond Resort
  • Charm Churee Villa
  • Ko Tao Resort Paradise Zone
  • Koh Tao Beach Side Resort
  • Narakaan Hotel & Restaurant
  • Save Bungalows
  • Utopia Suites
  • Viewpoint Pool Villas

Best time to visit Koh Tao: Climate & weather in Koh Tao, water temperature & rainy days

When preparing a trip to Koh Tao Thailand, the expected weather is of course a very important decision criterion. In Thailand, of course, there are not such pronounced seasons as in Germany, for example, but there is a rainy season that should be observed.

Below we show you the climate and weather for Koh Tao during the year, so that you can choose the best time to travel to Koh Tao for you.

In general, it can be said that the months of December to April are particularly suitable for a trip to Thailand in general and to Koh Tao in particular. The rainy season lasts from September to November. But don’t worry: Although short rain showers cannot be ruled out, the warm climate makes a short shower from above welcome.

The average air temperatures on Koh Tao are tropically warm all year round. During and after the rainy season, the humidity is particularly high.

The Koh Tao water temperatures are also very constant and promise a warm sea all year round. During the rainy season, however, the waves can get a little bigger.

Water Temperatures Koh Tao

This diagram shows the Koh Tao rainy season very well. It lasts from September to November. The duration of sunshine near the equator is shorter in summer than in the “winter months”.

Rainy days Koh Tao

Of course, the Koh Tao weather is also subject to natural fluctuations, so there may well be deviations in these climate diagrams.