On July 15, 2021, Thailand expanded its reopening plans to Ko Samui, Ko Tao, and Ko Phangan! With safe reopening protocols, travelers can now vacation in Ko Samui and travel to specific areas in Ko Tao. The islands are part of the Phuket Sandbox 7 + 7 Extension program, which allows fully vaccinated international travelers to reduce the mandatory stay in Phuket from 14 to 7 days, after which travelers can choose to spend 7 nights in Krabi, Phang-Nga, or Surat Thani.
From its amazing dive spots to its fascinating viewpoints, Ko Tao is truly an island paradise, and we can’t wait for you to experience it! Let’s take a look at some hidden gems in Ko Tao for you to add to your travel wishlist!
There’s a reason Sairee Beach is one of the most visited beaches in Ko Tao, and when you see the sunset in person, you’ll understand why! Witnessing a sunset on Sairee Beach is like watching a postcard come to life. The long stretch of white sandy beach faces west, making it the perfect spot for a sunset viewing. Along the shoreline are beach bars and restaurants for you to enjoy a refreshing cocktail or meal while watching the sun dip down below sea level.
If you love snorkeling or haven’t yet tried but have been dreaming of it, Mango Bay is the place to visit. The abundance of marine life and coral reefs make this hidden gem in Ko Tao ideal for exploring the ocean. The turquoise beauty is located on the north coast of Ko Tao with soft sand beaches and surrounding rocky mountains. Mango Bay is a great snorkeling destination for beginners, as the water is relatively calm with spectacular visibility.
Another fantastic dive spot in Ko Tao is where sharks swim freely, and brave divers can paddle alongside them. Shark Bay is home to blacktip reef sharks and Ko Tao’s regular visitors, whale sharks, who swim peacefully 6 to 12 feet from the sea bed. With the help of experienced guides, visitors can swim with the blacktip reef sharks, some of which measure up to 6 feet in length! The best time to swim with the sharks is between 7 am and 10 am. Other marine life you may encounter are sea turtles. Fun fact: Tao means turtle in Thai!
Sai Daeng Beach
Beach paradise awaits you on Ko Tao’s south coast at a tranquil hidden gem known as Sai Daeng Beach. Some of the island’s clearest waters are found here, offering yet another great diving experience in Ko Tao. However, if you’re looking to just relax for a few hours, Sai Daeng Beach is a quiet haven where you can lay back on the warmest sandy beach to reflect and unwind.
Chalok Baan Kao
Tranquility doesn’t stop there! Another serene beach location to visit is Chalok Baan Kao, a quiet getaway for those searching for some health and wellness. The turquoise waters gently touching the shore paints the perfect picture of wellness. After taking a quick dip in the refreshing waters, lay back on the sand before heading to your next destination!
Next, set out on a hiking excursion to one of Ko Tao’s prettiest viewpoints, Mango Viewpoint. If you want to see the Sairee Beach sunset from a higher distance, this viewpoint is a great spot for 360° views. Visitors can walk from Sairee Beach or drive for a faster trip. If you want to add a little adventure to your journey, take a scooter up the road to the viewpoint. At the top, you’ll also find a small bar and restaurant with views looking out toward the sea.
Love Koh Tao Viewpoint
Whether you’re traveling with your significant other or visiting with friends and family, the Love Ko Tao Viewpoint is a charming little viewpoint located in the center of Ko Tao. From Sairee Beach, you can take a 10-minute drive or rent a scooter from a local bike shop. At the peak, you’ll find picturesque views of Tanote Bay and areas to lay back on a hammock or chill at a cafe. The best time to visit is early morning when there are fewer crowds, and the front-facing hammocks are vacant!
John Suwan Viewpoint
The final viewpoint that is a must-see when in Ko Tao is John Suwan Viewpoint, one of the most stunning views in Ko Tao. The nature trek up to the peak takes around 15-20 minutes and is relatively easy to reach. However, you may also take a car or scooter up to the top. Once you’ve reached John Suwan Viewpoint, you’ll find views of Chalok Baan Kao and Shark Bay. The landscape stretches on for miles and offers a vista-worthy moment!
The Best Time to Visit
While Ko Tao is tropical and sunny year-round, July through September is a great time to visit for good diving visibility. During the green season, you’ll see a bit of rain; however, the rain quickly passes, giving way to sunny skies and lush surrounding forests. Don’t let the green season deter you from visiting, the Gulf is ready and open!
How to Get There
The best and quickest way to get to Ko Tao from Ko Samui is by ferry. The Lomprayah High Speed Ferries frequently operate with sailing durations between 1.5 hours and 1 hour 45 minutes. For just a few dollars extra, you can opt for the VIP section of the Lomprayah ferries, which offer a small room with drinks, snacks, and blankets!
In addition, you can also take the Seatran ferry from Bangkok pier, which operates a little slower than the Lomprayah catamarans, with a journey of around 2 hours.
Start Planning your Ko Tao Vacation Today!
Now that you’re well-equipped with the hidden gems of Ko Tao, it’s time you start planning your tropical island vacation! There are hidden gems on every corner of the island for you to explore and check off your travel wish list. To learn more about travel to Thailand, visit here.