Koh Tao beaches guide

Somewhat uniquely for a Thai island, Koh Tao’s beaches are not the biggest draw for tourists with the breathtaking marine life surrounding its shores being the trump card here. But that doesn’t mean that the island is bereft of golden sand, with a number of developed bays offering high-end resorts plus low-key bars and restaurants, and a smattering of secluded coves as well.

The first of Koh Tao’s beaches with visitors encounter is Mae Haad where the ferries arrive. Although this is generally too build up for swimming, there are bathers at its far end by the Sensi Paradise Resort. Haad Sairee is the most developed of the beaches on Koh Tao and offers over a mile of white sand flanked by palm trees, bohemian beach bars, diving shops and restaurants.

Haad Sairee

Koh Tao's most developed beach, Haad Sairee is just the place for relaxing on pristine sand, enjoying snorkelling trips, dining in fantastic restaurants and dancing away until dawn...more

Chalok Baan Kao

As Koh Tao's second favourite beach, Chalok Baan Kao is a great choice for those wanting to escape the bustle of more developed Haad Sairee and chill out for a wee while ...more

Tanote Bay

Tanote Bay is a long sweep of golden sand with a rocky outcrop at its centre which offers a fertile ground for snorkellers with a range of diverse marine life and coral always on show ...more

Ao Thian Og

Thian Og Beach is also know as Shark Bay and is blessed with some of the best snorkelling in Asia which a large number of impressive black and white tip reefs sharks...more

Ngan Yuan Island

Koh Ngan Yuan is actually three separate islands connected by a narrow sandbar with a pristine bay and lagoon plus the underwater wonder of the Japanese Gardens...more

Koh Phangan beaches

Just minutes away by ferry, the backpacker haven of Koh Phangan has much more to offer than just Full Moon Parties with some of the most picture-perfect beaches in all of Asia...more

More on Koh Tao beaches

Even developed Sairee Beach is lovely and rustic

Even developed Sairee Beach is lovely and rustic

Haad Sairee offers safe swimming all year round due to its sheltered location, is a protected bay and, is the best place to stay during the monsoon season when some of the other Koh Tao beaches suffer rough seas. The water at Haad Sairee is also the clearest on the island, with the reef 10m from the shore perfect for snorkelling. But perhaps use jelly shoes / wet suit socks during low tide and watch out for longtail boat traffic.

Chalok Baan Kao is situated at the southernmost extreme of Koh Tao and faced Ang Thong National Marine Park. Its picturesque beauty and clam waters makes it is the second most popular of Koh Tao’s beaches. Despite being quieter than Haad Sairee, Chanlok Baan Kao boasts all the tourist services one might require including scuba dive shops, mini markets, ATMs, travel agents, bars and restaurants. And there are both basic beach bungalows and high-end resorts here.

Mango Bay is a wide yet shallow sweep offering beautiful coral for snorkelers and deeper rock dives for scuba enthusiasts. A new resort has just opened and a road is being build here, although longtail boat remains the normal way of accessing this stunning rocky cove.

Hin Wong Bay has a standout attraction of a pinnacle rising from 30 metres below sea level to just below the surface with a wide variety of colourful fish species. Although mainly a diving destination, and too far to swim to the diving site, there are a few pockets of sand for those that want to scramble across the rocks.

Nang Yuan is actually comprised of a trio of tiny islands which are connected by white sandbars at low tide. There is a 100 baht entrance fee here as the island is privately owned with a single resort, but it is well worth the expensve with some exquisite snorkelling offshore including the renown Japanese Gardens.

Koh Tao has lots of little snorkelling coves

Koh Tao has lots of little snorkelling coves

Laem Thian can be reached via a rough track from Sairee Village. Although the restaurant and resort have closed down, it is possible to find very good snorkelling in the rocky surrounds. This is the easternmost point of the island.

Sai Daeng Beach is one of the most isolated on the island and accessible by longtail boat or the good, yet very steep, road. Although nothing much goes on here, there are a few bungalows to rent and place to grab some food. It is a picturesque spot though, and perfect for escaping that post-Full Moon Party embarrassment.

Freedom Beach is a small yet pretty beach with good snorkelling and soft white sand.It can be reached via a walkway from Taa Toh Lagoon. There are coral outcrops in the bay and stingrays shelter under rocks here. There is a smaller inlet for getting away from it all just a few minutes paddle south.

Thian Og Bay is also known as Shark or Rocky Bay and the place for intrepid snorkellers to come in order to swim with black tip sharks. Although they can reach over two metres in length, there are never any problems and the beach itself is a gorgeous sweep of pearl-white sand perfect for lounging on and allowing your heart-rate to return to normal.

Tanote Bay is actually split into two by rocks and offers a range of accommodation as well as watersports equipment. There is awe-inspiring snorkelling just offshore, and bars with hammocks line its length.

Jansom Bay is a small privately owned Koh Tao beach with a decent restaurant and showers for visitors. There is reasonable snorkelling by the rocks but watch out for strong currents. A small entrance fee is charged for coming here.               

A popular spot for novice divers, Aow Leuk Bay can be reached by land and also offers superb snorkelling. Equipment can be rented here although it’s not the best place for relaxing.

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