Things to do in Koh Tao, Surat Thani

What would you think of when you hear the city name, Surat Thani? Most people might picture delicious rambutans, salted duck eggs, or the scenic Ratchaprapha Dam. But, when it comes to the islands in the province, we’re sure Koh Tao comes to mind for many island explorers.

So, what’s special about this island? Koh Tao is a small island that’s located pretty far from Surat Thani. However, despite its small size, it offers a lot of places to explore and fun activities to partake in, such as scuba diving and hiking. So, if you’re the outdoorsy type of person who always seeks enjoyment during a holiday, check out some things to do in Koh Tao, Surat Thani’s southern island.

— How to get here —

Image credit: @mo_clochette68 via Instagram

You can get a boat ride to Koh Tao from Chumphon, Surat Thani, and Ko Samui; however, if you’re travelling from Bangkok, we recommend flying to Chumphon Airport and grabbing a taxi from the airport to Lomphrayah Pier. Or, you can take a bus from their Lomphrayah bus office in Khaosan. The bus ride costs from ฿1,250 (~USD33.78)/ride, which includes a boat ride to the island, and takes about 6-7 hours to get to the pier. If you save time, air travel is faster as it takes about one hour.

Image credit: @hataichanok.y via Instagram

Once you reach Lomphrayah Pier, you can buy a round-trip boat ticket to Koh Tao from ฿1,300 (~USD35.12). The boat journey takes roughly one hour.

After reaching the island, you can rent a motorcycle at Oli’s Motorbike Rentals, located five minutes from the pier, from ฿250 (~USD6.75)/day to explore the island freely. Or, if you are a fitness enthusiast, you can rent a mountain bicycle from ฿100 (~USD2.70)/day instead.

— Where to stay —

Image credit: Baan Talay Koh Tao – Resort & Yoga via Facebook

For hotels and resorts, you can find many around Koh Tao. But check out Baan Talay Koh Tao – Resort & Yoga. This resort comes with minimalist, cosy vibes as well as sweeping views of the coast and the indigo ocean. The highlight here is not limited to the accommodation but also yoga classes. While resting here, you can experience its yoga retreats and courses, where you will be practising yoga for peace of mind with its professional mentors. If this sounds interesting, the room price starts from ฿1,500 (~USD40.55).

Image credit: Cape Shark Villas via Facebook

Our 2nd choice goes to Cape Shark Villas. This resort offers many pool villas with private pools on a rocky cliff with stunning beach views from ฿4,500 (~USD121.77). Here, you will be offered over 10 types of rooms surrounded by greenery and enjoy some private time in this paradise.

Image credit: Jamahkiri Dive Resort & Spa, Koh Tao, Thailand via Facebook

Next to Cape Shark Villas, Jamahkiri Resort & Spa is also worth considering. Priced from ฿6,500 (~USD176.13), they have deluxe rooms, bungalows, and penthouses with beautiful sea views. We love how the resort is laid out with stone pathways surrounded by some lush vegetation, creating a wonderful setting. With your accommodation set, you’ll have no trouble finding fun things to do in Koh Tao.

— Things to do in Koh Tao —

Koh Tao is one of the most popular island destinations in the south where you can endlessly enjoy a variety of outdoor activities from morning to night. But here are some of our favourite things to do in Koh Tao that’s 10/10 in our opinion.

To enter the island, you’ll pay ฿20 (~USD0.54) as an admission fee after you reach the pier.

Walk along Sairee Beach

Image credit: @nachattps via Instagram

Let’s start with Sairee Beach, as it’s really close to Koh Tao Pier, so you can walk here after disembarking the boat. It’s the largest and liveliest beach on this island with many restaurants, cafes, and businesses nearby to explore. Also, you’ll see crowds of people unwinding here, such as sunbathing, having a picnic, and walking along the shore. Best of all, it’s free!

After checking in and unloading your belongings in the room, you can come here to absorb the vibes and watch activities going on around for relaxation.

Address: Koh Tao, Surat Thani  
Google Maps

Admire a panoramic view of Koh Tao at John-Suwan Viewpoint

Koh TaoImage credit: @travelwithcora via Instagram

One of the spots you don’t want to miss is John-Suwan Viewpoint. It’s a scenic viewpoint where you can climb up and admire the views of the curves of Shark Bay and Chalok Baan Kao Bay. The admission fee is ฿50 (~USD1.35). With this price, you can also access Freedom Beach and Taa Toh Beach.

Address: Koh Tao, Surat Thani  
Opening hours:
9am-7pm, Daily

Google Maps

Hike from Sairee Beach to Laem Thian and explore an abandoned resort

Koh TaoImage credit: @a_mallard_duck via Instagram

For those who are adventurers, you can try hiking from Sairee Beach to Ao Laem Thian, which takes about one hour.

Image credit: @dowdy.abroad via Instagram

There’s an abandoned resort awaiting you in the area. The resort is a spot where some explorers love to enjoy their time. You can take a look around once you’re here if you’re into exploring abandoned places.

Address: Koh Tao, Surat Thani  
Google Maps

Take a dive and swim with marine life under the water

Koh Tao
Image credit: via Instagram

When it comes to fun activities to do here, scuba diving stands out as a top choice. Just a 3-minute walk from the pier, Koh Tao Scuba Club offers scuba diving adventures from ฿900 (~USD24.34)/dive. If you’re doing it for the first time, you can check out its Scuba Program from ฿3,000 (~USD81.18)/person without accommodation. Within the program, you’ll find two diving experiences, an instructor and guide, equipment, theory sessions, insurance, transport arrangements, a satisfying lunch, snack options, beverages, fresh fruit, coffee, and the added convenience of island-wide pick-up and drop-off services.

Address: Koh Tao, Surat Thani  
Opening hours:
8.30am-8.30pm, Daily

Contact: +66 9 2761 0824 | Koh Tao Scuba Club’s website | Google Maps

Loosen up at Tanote Bay

Koh Tao
Image credit: @chorismyname via Instagram

If Sairee Beach is too loud and busy for you, you might want to ride your motorcycle all the way to Tanote Bay on the east side of the island. The beach here is quieter and less busy than Sairee Beach, but you can still find some activities to enjoy.

Address: Koh Tao, Surat Thani  
Google Maps

Take a boat ride to Ko Nang Yuan

Image credit: @bebam.ji via Instagram

Situated a few minutes away from Koh Tao, Koh Nang Yuan is a highly praised location among travellers. You can take a long-tailed boat from Sairee Beach to Koh Nang Yuan in 20 minutes from ฿400 (~USD10.81)/round trip. The island has a viewpoint where you can get up there and take photos with a nice view.

The admission fee for entering Koh Nang Yuan is ฿50 (~USD1.35).

Address: Koh Tao, Surat Thani  
Entrance fee:
฿50 (~USD1.35)
Google Maps

Dine and watch the sunset at Seaside Bar & Restaurant

Koh TaoImage credit: Seaside Bar & Restaurant via Facebook

When the sun starts going down, head to Seaside Bar & Restaurant to enjoy Thai dishes and seafood along with taking in a sunset view. The restaurant is located near Sairee Beach and is decked with huts and wooden pavilions, giving out a Bali feel. Sitting on the coast, it offers a good location for observing the sunset. At night, you can expect entertainment from live music performances provided at the scene.

Address: Koh Tao, Surat Thani  
Opening hours:
Morning session 11am-2pm |Evening session 5pm-11pm

Contact: +66 8 7091 1190 | Seaside Bar & Restaurant’s Facebook | Google Maps

Have a night out & enjoy a fire show at Lotus Bar

Koh TaoImage credit: Shane L via Tripadvisor

After filling your stomach up with goodies, it’s time to relax at Lotus Bar and savour a mesmerizing fire show. This vibrant bar attracts a lively crowd of tourists seeking a night out. They offer a selection of special drinks and provide outdoor floor seating, allowing you to soak in the ambience and enjoy the surroundings

The fire shows here will amaze you with the performers’ juggling and swinging skills. The show starts at around 7pm every day.

Address: 9/99-101 Koh Tao, Surat Thani  
Opening hours:
3pm-12am, Daily

Contact: +66 6 5296 9995 | Lotus Bar’s Facebook | Google Maps

Get a fun holiday experience with these things to do in Koh Tao

If you have a passion for exploring islands in Thailand, Koh Tao is the perfect destination for a great travel experience. Its stunning scenery and wide range of activities are sure to bring you joy, making the trip worth every penny. So, pin this destination on your travel list for your next vacation.

Also, for more travel ideas, visit 8 BKK craft beer scenes for a night out, 12 things to enjoy in Pattaya, and 10 activities you can do while taking a trip to Chiang Mai.

Address: Koh Tao, Surat Thani 84280
Contact: +66 6 5350 9041 (Lomphrayah Pier’s phone number) | Lomphrayah Pier’s Facebook | Google Maps

Cover image adapted from: @travelwithcora via Instagram, via Instagram, Shane L via Tripadvisor, and Jamahkiri Dive Resort & Spa, Koh Tao, Thailand via Facebook

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