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The ultimate guide to Koh Tao



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Koh Tao is an iconic island in the Gulf of Thailand. Here, it has established itself as the most popular diving island for tourists. People come from all over the world to get PADI certified in Koh Tao due to its ease and very cheap price. Thus, if you are looking for like-minded people, the island is teeming with scuba diving communities. Here, we have a guide that lists the best things to do in Koh Tao.

The Ultimate Guide To Koh Tao

1. Scuba diving and snorkelling

The number 1 reason most travellers want to visit Koh Tao is due to its iconic scuba diving and snorkelling scene. Almost every guide mentions that Koh Tao is the best for such marine activities as it features beautiful coral reefs and marine life such as the whale shark.

Here, you can also get certified with PADI, as it is known for being one of the cheapest places to get certified in the world. And, the scuba diving community is what makes Koh Tao a laid back place to be. Visitors can also choose to take a boat around and see the island on an awesome day trip, which is sure to include some amazing views.

Koh Tao Scuba Diving Course | A One Day Try Dive Experience | TripTins

Scuba Diving, Koh Tao

2. Visit John Suwan Viewpoint and Freedom Beach Koh Tao

John Suwan Viewpoint is another iconic feature of the island as it is featured in tons of postcards and photos. The area is only about 200 metres wide and 500 metres long but includes 3 amazing beaches. Moreover, it features one of the best viewpoints.

Freedom Beach is a popular spot to relax and soak in the sun, as it is famous for tourists. The white, powdery sands and crystal-clear waters make it absolutely worth it to see and experience. The actual beach is in a small bay and has a wooden, overwater restaurant at the end. Furthermore, this beach is where you will start your hike up to the John Suwan Viewpoint. And, the sunrise at Freedom Beach is spectacular, making it a great way to start the morning. A tiny strip of sand called Taa Cha Bay is where visitors can attempt to see baby sharks while snorkelling. Hence, the area is called Shark Bay.

Freedom Beach, Koh Tao — KOH TAO : a Complete Guide

Freedom Beach, Koh Tao

3. Party on the beach

Who goes to Koh Tao without experiencing its nightlife? If you are one of the many who want to party on the beach, there are 3 main places that are the best. Sairee Beach features many places to get drinks, as well as Fishbowl Beach Bar. Lotus Bar also has a lively scene in which visitors can dance on the beach underneath the famous overhanging palm tree. A great photo op for sure, the palm tree is another sight that is featured in many Koh Tao guides and postcards.

However, if you are wanting to party in a more upscale and chilled out atmosphere, try the Fizz bar where you can sink into a bean bag and enjoy the night. Partying in Koh Tao is something that many choose to do, as the island life can consume visitors, making them feel like they are in paradise.

Chill out at a Goodtime Beach Bar today – Goodtime Thailand

Beach Party

4. Sunset at Mango Bay Viewpoint

Mango Bay Viewpoint features the absolute best sunsets, as it faces West. Located on Sairee Beach, travellers surely will know the sunset is the first sign of an epic night. Music all around creates the tone of the evening, while the exotic, tropical views of the sun setting are definitely impressive.

If you are looking for a bit more of a secluded spot to see the sunset, you can hike up to the actual Mango Bay Viewpoint, where the views are even more stunning. But, be sure to plan accordingly, as the hike alone takes about 40 to 60 minutes.

Mango Bay Viewpoint Koh Tao | Funky Turtle

Mango Bay Viewpoint

5. Paddleboarding

Another popular option for taking in the sunset, is by paddleboarding. Here, you can rent a paddleboard at Sairee Beach by finding signs that say ‘SUP Tao.’ One of the places that is best to rent a board is at Maya Beach Club. So, grab a drink at the bars or supermarket and find your balance on the board. Here, you can be sure to enjoy all the island has to offer by sipping on a cold drink with your feet in the water while watching an epic sunset.

However, if you aren’t into paddleboarding during the evening, try it during the day as the activity can be had at any time. As mentioned before, many beachside places rent out the boards for a decent price, making it an easy and fun activity.

Paddleboarding Koh Tao | Funky Turtle


Restaurants, nightspots and scuba diving make up the activities that are most popular on this small, exotic island. Without its iconic reputation for being the best diving island in Thailand, it would still be just as popular for its amazing marine life and sunsets. And, if you are lucky, you may see a whale shark or manta ray, along with many other colourful creatures, making your journey here unforgettable. If you are planning on living in Thailand check out our article on the best places to live in Thailand for nature lovers.


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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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