Beaches and diving is at the top of the list for things to do, but ko tao does have more than that. The nice thing about divers is, that they spent most of their time in the water. So you could start the day with the obvious and relax on a quiet, empty beach.
It is recommended to rent a longtail boat and explore the many hidden bays of Koh Tao. This is a fun way to get in-touch with the spectacular underwater world by lazily snorkeling around. And don't worry! In case you get hooked up with the fishies, just learn diving! Don't miss amazing Koh Nang Yuan Island, unique in the world for it's three connecting coral beaches! Deep sea and night fishing are offered by local fisherman. Catch your dinner for tonight!
Those who are fascinated by the beautiful rock formations, go and see James at Gecko Climbing to take you on a climb! In several places Thai cooking courses are offered. Aroi! (thai. delicious!)
For those who start their day with physical exercise, why not rent a kayak or a mountain bike?! Explore the turtle's back by hiking up to Two-View. The breathtaking views make it absolutely worth the effort.
The Monsoon Gym (Mae Haad) is pretty cool to meet other people and to stay in good shape, even on your vacation !
The afternoon heat is the time to relax. Thai culture has a long history of the different types of relaxation, such as a traditional Thai massage, herbal sauna, facial & feet massage, refreshing drinks. Or just get into one of the numerous hammocks along the beaches and let yourself be lulled to sleep by the gentle seabreeze!
Why not heal body, mind and spirit on your stay on Koh Tao? Holistic healing approaches are accessible with techniques like Reiki, Foot Reflexology, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Meditation and Yoga. You have the choice for one-day sessions or 3-4 day courses. Check it out! You see, the turtle has a lot to offer besides diving, right?!
POINTS OF INTEREST
Sairee Beach: at its southern end you will find Jor Por Ror, a massive rock formation, which bears the engraved monogram of King Rama V. The King visited Koh Tao on June 18, 1899. Opposite is the Fishery Museum & the Fishery Conservation Unit, where marine life is observed and cultivated (Giant Clam Garden).
Next stop could be at Sairee View, a beautiful hilltop resort at the north end. The resort owner purchased a huge whale skeleton from villagers years ago. The place where the whale's bone is kept is also a spectacular viewpoint, especially during sunset. Close by you can visit the mysterious diamond caves.
Another great panoramic view you'll experience is at Two View, the second-highest peak of Koh Tao (313m). You can get there both from Sairee Beach and Tanote Bay.
Chalok Baan Kao: On the east end you will find stunning viewpoints in every direction. To the east you see Thian Og Bay, to the north you view Chalok and to the south you see both bays together. All routes involve steep walking, but it's definitely worth it!
Next proceed on the beach to the west side of Chalok, cross the concrete bridge leading to Saan Jao. Take a break at the Viewpoint Restaurant with the best angle of the Buddha Rock. Then climb the stairs behind uphill and follow a shady path down to the next bay, June Juea Beach. This is where real trekking starts, thus only the sportive and energetic ones should proceed beyond that point. The pathway goes very steep uphill and enters thick forest. After a while you reach Cape Jeda Gang. Time for another refreshment. Check out the view and the huts on the cape. From there uphill again, stay on the coast side path until you reach the next bay, Sai Nuan. Up again, pass the "Lost Hippie's Totem" and finally arrive in Jansom Bay. From there it is only a 10 minute walk to reach Mae Haad. This trip takes roughly three hours without breaks from Saan Jao Beach,- so don't start too late.
The John-Suwan Viewpoint - is named after two friends, Mr John and Mr Suwan, who went up hill in search of a good place to build a home but instead found a viewpoint overlooking two beaches curving into each other just like the famous view at Phi Phi Don island. The viewpoint is located on a mountain ridge, at Chalok Baan Kao beach to the south of the island. It takes about 15 minutes of trekking for about 400 meters to reach the viewpoint. - Chalok Baan Kao Viewpoint - is located at the back of Koh Tao Cottage on Chalok Ban Kao bay. The concrete-paved, steep path leads to the top of the hill. There, visitors can find a wood walkway and small pavilion where refreshing drinks are available. The spot offers a sweeping view of the bay. If the weather is clear, you may catch a glimpse of Pha-ngan or Samui Island as well as the Ang Thong archipelago further away.
Bicycles for rent are available on the island
There are motorbikes for rent around the island both scooter and off road. Many shops located on Mae Haad Jetty and on the way to Chalok Bankao beach. Price is ranged from Bt150 to Bt300 per day depending on type and condition of the bike. The road system on Koh Tao is not fully developed, so there are many dirt roads and tracks, particularly those leading to most beaches on the east side of the island. These roads are very steep and could be in bad condition after heavy rain. Riding on these roads is dangerous! So we would like to recommend that you ride very carefully, if the roads or tracks are too steep, park the bike and walk to the beach instead.
In addition to the accidents that often happen, damage to the bike can be a problem. The bike's owner normally charges full price even if the bike has a little damage. So please read the contract and check the bike condition carefully to avoid any possible dispute.
Car rent and taxis
Jeeps and motorcycles can be hired at ??? baht per day. Driving on the island is not easy as the road goes through rugged terrain. Taxis and motorbike taxis can be found at Mae Haad or can be hailed from the roadside.
Taxi prices are not fixed and can double in late hours of the day. Be sure to discuss the fare before the ride.
Some beautiful beaches are hard to access by overland travel and long-tail boat taxis are the best mode. At Mae Haad the boat taxis can be hired.