No trip to Koh Tao is complete without a few days of beach hopping! Here is our guide to 7 of the best beaches to explore around the island. Sairee…
No trip to Koh Tao is complete without a few days of beach hopping! Here is our guide to 7 of the best beaches to explore around the island.
This huge stretch of sand was our first beach stop in Koh Tao and is the main tourist hub of the island where most people tend to base themselves.
Located on the west coast, Sairee Beach has a wide variety of restaurants and bars close by, making it an ideal place to chill for the day and catch some sun rays.
The sea is lined with longtail boats ready to transport people around the island, so the beach can often be crowded or noisy and isn’t the most ideal place to enjoy a swim.
Although, one of the main reasons to visit Sairee Beach is for sunset! It is the best location on Koh Tao to witness the sky burn orange and the sun dip below the horizon. The vibe is chilled and the setting is romantic – a perfect end to a busy day of exploring!
Koh Nang Yuan
If you are looking for pristine white sand and a vibrant underwater world of tropical fish, then look no further than Koh Nang Yuan!
Located just off the west coast, this beautifully protected island can be accessed by a 15-minute longtail boat ride from Sairee Beach and has an entrance fee of 100 baht per person.
Visitors often arrive early to spend a full day sunbathing or diving amongst the thriving coral reefs.
To keep the island so beautifully maintained, plastic items are prohibited, along with beach shoes and beach towels protect the island’s natural ecosystems.
Don’t forget to stop at the famous viewpoint for a stunning picture of the island from above.
Located at the southern tip of the island is Chalok Bay, the next stop of our beach hopping guide!
Head here from Sairee Beach for a quick 10-minute drive by motorbike, following the main road down towards the south.
Chalok Bay isn’t the most popular beach on Koh Tao, but it is located around the corner from the well-known Freedom Beach, so we had to stop by on our way!
We visited at the end of September and this particular day meant that the tide was really far in, leaving us with only a short strip of sand to step foot onto. We also had the entire beach to ourselves, which was a little overwhelming and we left after a short paddle in the sea.
Being the third largest beach in Koh Tao, we can imagine how beautiful the long stretch of sand would be, making it perfect for a steady stroll if the tide was further out.
Taa Toh Beach
Only a few minutes around the corner from Chalok Bay is Taa Toh Beach – a small, hidden gem overshadowed by it’s more famous brother, Freedom Beach.
Follow the signs to Freedom Beach, as Taa Toh can be accessed from the same carpark and are only a few minutes walk from one another.
We weren’t sure what to expect from the beach, but were pleasantly surprised by the peaceful vibes and how secluded the sandy cove is, making it the perfect place to relax.
There is a small restaurant and a volleyball net to keep you entertained, with a few hammocks to laze around in for those who just want to chill.
On the day we visited, Taa Toh was deserted so we enjoyed a wander along the white sand and took a moment to relax before heading around the corner to Freedom Beach.
Possibly the most well-known beach on the southern coast of Koh Tao is Freedom Beach, famous for its laid-back vibes and stunning scenery.
The crystal blue water is perfect for a dip and the surrounding trees on the beach are an ideal place to escape from the midday sun.
With a similar high tide to Chalok on the day we visited, this meant that we couldn’t enjoy Freedom Beach to its full potential, but the scenery was gorgeous nevertheless!
Also, be sure not to miss one of the best viewpoints in Koh Tao, accessed from the same carpark as Freedom Beach! John Suwan Viewpoint is definitely worth the climb for it’s stunning panoramic views overlooking both Chalok and Shark Bay. Read everything you need to know about the viewpoint here.
Located a short drive east from Freedom Beach is Shark Bay. The name says it all and we just had to plan a visit when we heard about the frequent blacktip reef sharks that swim nearby! It is also common for giant green turtles to be spotted each day if you swim out into the deeper parts of the ocean – a snorkelers dream!
We entered through one of the resorts on the beach and didn’t have to pay an entrance fee. Unfortunately, the tide was high in the afternoon and the resort had steps leading into the sea rather than the sand, so we had to strip to our swimwear and wade through the water to access the beach.
Luck wasn’t on our side the day we visited as the water was murky and we didn’t manage to spot any sharks or turtles, but we can only imagine how exciting it would be!
Further up the east coast is Tanote Bay, the last stop of our ultimate beach hopping guide in Koh Tao.
Here, the tide was far out compared with other beaches we visited, so we had a large strip of golden sand to chill on and take in the stunning surroundings.
Tanote Bay is actually a famous spot on the island for cliff jumping, with a large rock in the middle of the sea which has metal chains to pull yourself up with. It looked pretty high up there, but a few dare devils did take the plunge whilst we were swimming around.
After having no luck at Shark Bay, we decided to try our snorkels here and found that it was actually one of our favourite underwater settings! We were amazed by the beautiful coral and the large variety of colourful fish swimming close by. The sea seemed to be a lot deeper nearer to the shore, so we could dive to the bottom and witness the beauty without swimming too far out.
Still no sharks or turtles, but maybe next time!