The ideal 2-day guide for Thailand’s Koh Tao island, including top diving and snorkelling spots, beaches, and island viewpoints.
This guest post was written by Austin Tuwiner of Scuba Otter. Ten months ago, Austin decided to say goodbye to college and hop on a plane. Ever since, he has been travelling the world and scuba diving every chance he gets.
There are plenty of activities on offer when visiting the beautiful Thai island of Koh Tao.
Crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and colourful reefs are just the beginning.
Whether you’re interested in scuba diving amongst diverse marine life or looking to enjoy a quality meal with stunning views, we have your Koh Tao itinerary covered!
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Koh Tao essentials
How to get to Koh Tao: Book a bus and high-speed ferry transfer to Koh Tao (from $15) – available with pick up from either Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi or the closest airport at Chumphon.
Best place to stay on Koh Tao: View Point Resort.
How to get around the island: Renting a quad bike will give you more flexibility in navigating the diverse terrain.
Top Koh Tao experiences
- Watch the sunset at Mango Bay Viewpoint
- Swim a Freedom Beach
- Scuba diving and snorkelling excursions
- Get your Open Water Scuba certification
- Hike the coast (Mae Haad to Chalok)
- Rock climbing
Best time to Visit Koh Tao
The winter months (between December and February) are the ideal time to visit Koh Tao. Clubs and bars on Koh Tao experience heavy traffic during these months, making it a great time to party on the sunny island.
If you’re interested in scuba diving or snorkelling, hit Koh Tao between July and September, when there’s optimal visibility for peak diving experiences.
October and November are the least desirable months to visit Koh Tao as the island usually endures heavy rain.
Recommended Koh Tao itinerary
If you have two days on Koh Tao, here are our recommendations for maximising your time on this gorgeous island.
Day 1: Beach life
It’s easy to see why water activities are so popular among visitors to Koh Tao.
You can experience the diverse marine life through snorkelling or scuba diving, while colourful coral reefs are an added benefit.
Lounging on the beach is an equally attractive option as many hotels have designated beachfront areas.
Here, we’ve outlined the ideal first day itinerary for a Koh Tao traveller that includes a few beach activities as well as ways to unwind afterwards.
Scuba diving or snorkelling
You’re ahead of the game if you arrive on Koh Tao with a scuba diving certification. Shallow reefs off Koh Tao make the waters an ideal destination to explore reef systems and varied species of marine life.
Remember that if you plan on diving, having the appropriate diving insurance is key for protecting yourself.
Swim above water, and you’ll catch yourself taking in the picturesque island backdrop that Koh Tao offers visitors. While October and November are the least desirable months to dive in Koh Tao due to rain levels, diving sessions are offered year-round on the island.
All levels of scuba experience are welcome on Koh Tao. For the beginners, remember to be cognisant of your breathing and never hold your breath! Wreck dives provide more experienced divers a new challenge, while shallower waters are perfect for beginners.
Lounge on Sai Nuan beach
If you’re looking to spend a casual afternoon unwinding at the beach, Sai Nuan is your perfect destination. Sai Nuan is described as one of the more relaxed beaches on Koh Tao and can be reached via water taxi or by hiking from the Sairee or Mae Ha coasts.
Palm trees and other greenery provide a top-notch backdrop that pairs perfectly with the beach’s turquoise waters for a postcard-perfect view.
Sai Thong Resort and Restaurant, located near the beach, is the perfect place to break for a meal.
Unwinding at night
After spending a day diving or lounging on the beach, you’ll be ready to experience some of the nightlife that Koh Tao has to offer. There are tons of places to party or have a casual outing on the island.
If you haven’t yet had enough beach time and want to keep the ball rolling into the night, check out Sairee Beach. Clubs are lined up along Sairee Beach, offering visitors live music, specialty drinks, and locally curated events.
There are several bars, clubs, and restaurants to suit all kinds of travellers. Places such as Coco Bar offer a chill vibe, while AC Bars Beach Club offer a more vibrant environment.
Day 2: An elevated view of Koh Tao
A quick Google search shows you how gorgeous the views of Koh Tao really are. Thanks to the island’s hilly terrain, there are ample opportunities to explore and take in the island’s unique beauty.
This section of our itinerary shows you how to experience Koh Tao from a higher perspective.
Go cliff diving
What’s better than hiking up to see a sweeping view? Jumping off into clear waters once you reach the top.
Cliff diving is a thrilling experience. Our recommendation for the best cliff diving spot on Koh Tao is Ao Tanot Bay with it’s famous boulder that visitors can jump off.
Deep waters ensure a safe landing.
Hike to a Koh Tao viewpoint
Hiking is one of the best Koh Tao activities if you want to get a better feel for the island through its elevated viewpoints.
The Mango Bay viewpoint is our number one recommendation. It offers panoramic views of Sairee Beach. Walking up to the top takes around 90 minutes while the walk back down only takes 30 minutes.
Is two days on Koh Tao enough?
Not a chance!
We didn’t even scratch the surface of this beautiful island of the Gulf of Thailand.
What we did do was give you a sample of some of the great experiences Koh Tao has to offer visitors. Hopefully you’ll take a suggestion or two on board for your next adventure!
Koh Tao: Pin it
Lead image: © Norrphoto via CanvaPro.