a little bit

About Koh Tao

This geographical masterpiece is also known as the Turtle Island because of its shape from above, and is just 70km north of Koh Samui. The Island is famous for the spectacularly clear, crystal waters that surround it, making it easier to marvel at the wonders that lie beneath the water’s surface. Koh Tao has the best snorkelling and diving sites anywhere in the Gulf of Thailand, and once you’re witnessing it, it will be immediately obvious why. With vividly colourful coral reefs all along the coast of the island, housing a vast array of some of the most beautifully exotic fish anywhere in the world. Don’t for a second think that the island only has one trick, however, as the beaches and nightlife await to oppose such nonsense. The beaches, from secluded bays to long expanses of soft, white sand lined with bars and restaurants will leave you breathless. The nightlife is also nothing to be scoffed at, with many an entertaining evening to be had bar hopping or at one of the many spacious night clubs. Koh Tao has something for everyone, but while days and nights pass on your holiday there, its undeniable beauty is what remains.

our list of

THINGS TO DO IN KOH TAO

1

Explore the Island

As with all the islands in the Gulf of Thailand, renting a scooter really is the best way to do some exploring. Koh Tao has so many amazing beaches, snorkelling spots, and viewpoints (many of which are secluded) to see and experience. Be prepared to travel on dirt roads and trails, as the island’s hilly landscape means many of the wonderful locations will take you off-road. As such, a scooter with off-road tires would suit you best. Be sure to drive carefully, and of course, no drinking and driving. Renting scooters can be a confusing affair sometimes, so be sure to give our Travel Tips section regarding renting motorbikes in Thailand a read before doing so.

2

Go to the Viewpoints

Such a beautiful island, of course, has some mind-blowing viewpoints, but even among these, Hello Islands has our favourites: John-Suwan Viewpoint, Mango Viewpoint, and West Coast Viewpoint. Take a camera and your best set of appreciating eyes along to save all those holiday memories.

3

Around the Island

Koh Tao is, first and foremost, an island of unbelievably beautiful beaches, crystal waters, and the marine life that inhabits those waters, all in all, a perfect holiday destination. What better way to see the true spectacles this island holds than hire a private longtail boat to take you around the island and stop at all the bays. Snorkel, swim, and lounge on the idyllic beaches.

4

Go Dive

Koh Tao is among the best diving destinations anywhere in Thailand, with numerous dive sites, with every level of diving expertise being catered for. The marine life is breathtaking and is available to view almost anywhere off the coast of the island. If you don’t have a diving license that’s not an issue either, as most dive schools on the island offer fun diving courses that will allow you to dive up to 12m after just one training session the morning of your dive.

5

Kayak between the bays

While you’re on holiday in Koh Tao, you may as well take a kayak out onto the still, crystal waters and hop between the gorgeous bays. Take some snorkelling gear with you too so you can stop whenever you want to check out the marine life beneath you. The south of Koh Tao is the best for kayaking as there are many interesting places to see and the bays are close together.

6

Hike Koh Tao

Traversing this small island by foot is a unique experience that allows you to explore the ins and outs at your own pace. There are plenty of viewpoints, and a collection of beautiful things to see along the way. It allows for you to detach to an even greater extent and simply appreciate the amazing Koh Tao.

7

Visit the Nightlife

Experience what Koh Tao has to offer after hours by visiting Sairee at night. This small cosmopolitan hub is filled with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, offering entertainment from watching fire shows on the beach bars to an all-night club atmosphere. This is a social point for many of the islands holidaymakers and offers an opportunity to connect and explore new friendships.

WEATHER IN KOH TAO

The three official seasons in Thailand – hot, dry, and wet, are segments of a constant summer holiday. The hot season run from March through to June, with April and May reaching the highest temperatures throughout the year. The monsoon (wet) season is accompanied by heavy rains and occasional rough seas and can vary from year to year. It can start as early as May on the Andaman sea (Phuket, Phi Phi, and Koh Lipe) although it starts officially in June and continues into November. This starts much later on the Gulf Coast (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao) in October or November, and typically runs into January. Most days it will rain for between one and two hours a day (sometimes only ten minutes) and dry up almost immediately, although in the heat it is often a welcome visitor that seldom overstays. It can, however, be torrential when the rains do appear. December through February is categorised as the dry months, although to tourists it will most likely still feel hotter than “home”. Travel tip: Whenever you decide to grace this summer paradise, be sure to pack light, breathable clothing and plenty of high SPF sunscreen, as you will underestimate the sun at your own expense. At least there is sunlight in abundance for everyone to enjoy.

January means the peak of the dry season in Koh Tao, making it a very popular time for holiday makers. The temperatures reach year round an average of 26°C, with highs of 29°C and lows of 22°C. Humidity is also low due to reduced rainfall, so that doesn’t factor into any increased heat. Sea temperatures are also at year round lows of 28°C, which is still spectacularly warm, and perfect for enjoying the crystal waters that surround Koh Tao.
February is the single driest month on the island, with rainfall at 39 mm falling over four days of the month. This does mean holidaymakers flock to enjoy the almost constant sunshine, which also means snorkelling and diving conditions are ideal. Temperatures average out at 26°C with highs of 29°C and lows of 22°C, while humidity is at year-long lows as well. As with January, the lower than usual average heat means the ocean temperature is 28°C, warm enough to enjoy all water activities.
Hot season begins! The temperatures in March start rising to an average of 27°C, with highs of 30°C and lows of 24°C. The rainfall remains very low with 54 mm of rainfall over only four days of the month, with humidity staying on the low side as a result. This beautiful combination of climatology factors means March is absolutely ideal if you want a holiday experience with the Thailand warmth and beauty of its beaches without worrying about rainfall. The ocean temperatures also rise from February to a balmy 29°C.
Bring on the heat, as April represents the hottest month in Koh Tao’s year. The temperatures rise to an average of 29°C with highs of 32°C and lows of 25°C, not offering many remissions. If heat is a factor for you, keep this in mind when planning your holiday. Rainfall almost doubles from the previous month at 84 mm falling over eight days of the month and sees humidity increase as well. Sunshine hours per day, however, are at year-long highs, with eight hours of sunshine on average per day, perfect for a tropical beach holiday getaways. Ocean temperatures also reach their highest at 30°C.

May matches April in year-high temperatures, with 29°C the average, highs of 32°C, and lows of 25°C. This heat sometimes even gets to the locals, so be sure to stay hydrated and wear loose, breathable clothing. The humidity increases as rainfall rise to 172 mm over 17 days of the month so holidaymakers can expect some showers, although they often come as a welcome relief. Generally very brief and usually happening at night. Sunshine hours dip slightly to an average of six per day, which still leaves plenty of time to enjoy all the islands beauty. Ocean temperatures, in their reliable nature, remain at a tropical 30°C.
June is still a hot season in Koh Tao, although the temperatures begin their slow and slight decline. 28°C is the average per day with highs of 31°C and lows of 24°C. Humidity is still high this month with rainfall at 118 mm falling over 16 days of the month, which means with the high temperatures, it can be a tad on the sticky side. Six sunshine hours per day on average still means ample time to enjoy what makes this island exceptional, and a 30°C warm ocean certainly helps encourage holiday makers into the island’s crystal clear waters.
July remains pleasantly warm as average temperatures of 28°C see highs of 31°C and lows of 24°C. The rainfall is up again from June to 146 mm over 16 days of the month, which sees humidity rising, occasionally making it seem hotter than it is. July maintains the same six hours of sunshine per day as June, so holidaymakers will have no problem finding time to bask in the Thailand sun. Water activities are still a pleasure, as always, with the ocean temperature at 29°C.
August stays lovely and hot as average temperatures stay at 28°C with highs of 31°C and lows of 24°C. The rainfall is on the rise again this month with 167 mm falling over 16 days of the month. The increased rainfall, a welcome visitor at times in the heat, does mean humidity is generally quite high, so holidaymakers should remember to dress accordingly for this. You can expect an average of six hours of sunshine per day, while the ocean temperature average of 29°C means you’ll have the time to dive, snorkel, and swim in Koh Tao’s warm, clear waters.
September marks the beginning of the wet season! Northeastern monsoon winds bring heavy rain and tropical storms to Koh Tao from September through to November. September’s rainfall, peculiarly, does drop ever so slightly from August at 141 mm fall over 18 days of the month, but that is set to increase drastically over the next two months. Temperatures stay high, however, as a 28°C average sees highs of 31°C and lows of 24°C, with humidity staying in the sticky range. Cloud over is high, but six sunshine hours per day on average means holidaymakers will still be able to make the most of the day in the Thailand sun. The ocean temperatures stay at 29°C, making water-based activities an absolute joy.
The rains fall in a big way this month, with October seeing 275 mm of precipitation over 20 days of the month, so bank on some wet days if you’re in Koh Tao. The temperature drops slightly as an average of 27°C sees highs of 30°C and lows of 23°C, which is still very much on the warm side, and high humidity levels in October can exacerbate the heat. Although cloud cover increases, there is still an average of six hours of sunshine per day. Ocean temperatures keep it consistent at a lovely and warm 29°C.
November is the wettest month of the year, as rainfall buckets down with 463 mm falling over 20 days of this month, coming in heavy showers, often with very little warning. When the rain clears, however, the island is it’s beautiful, green, and fresh self, ripe for exploring. Temperatures drop this month, as a 26°C average sees highs of 29°C and lows of 23°C, offering some relief from the intense heat of the hot season. Six hours of sunshine per day are still on offer here, although there is a large amount of cloud cover, with a 62% chance of a completely cloudy day. Ocean temperatures are rock steady at 29°C during November. The large amount of rainfall during this period may deter some holidaymakers, although in the height of the wet season, the island is more peaceful and green than any other time of the year.
December is the beginning of two seasons for Koh Tao, the dry season and the festive season. Many holidaymakers flock to the island in December, as rainfall drops to 188 mm over 15 days of the month. Temperatures and humidity drop this month as a 26°C average see highs of 29°C and lows of 22°C, offering as stark a contrast as you’ll get to the hot and wet seasons. Ocean temperatures drop ever so slightly to a still very warm 28°C, and with increased sunshine hours to seven a day, that’s ideal for taking advantage of the islands phenomenal beaches and marine life.
These are some of our favourite excursions in Thailand

Recommended Excursions

koh tao's

Top Beaches

  • Tanote Bay
  • Aow Leuk
  • Shark Bay
  • Mango Bay
  • Laem Thian
  • Freedom Beach

Tanote Bay is one of many gorgeous beaches on the island with excellent opportunities to do some snorkelling and diving. The beach itself is a small outcrop facing another, smaller beach, while the white, soft sand makes kicking back and enjoying the view of Koh Phangan on a clear day another great way to spend your stay here while making the most of your Thailand holiday. The exotic fish on offer around the reefs and rock formations range from rabbit fish to angel fish, so you’re sure to find something eye-catching beneath its waters. If you’d like a thrill, you can also do some cliff jumping from a large rock in the centre of the bay.

Aow Leuk is a snorkelling haven on Koh Tao’s eastern coastline and a perfect place to spend an afternoon away from the busier areas on the island. The beach is a 200-metre stretch, with either end of the bay offering exquisite underwater views. The water is crystal clear, the sand is fine and white, and the atmosphere is a perfect holiday feel and incredibly relaxing. There is a single resort with basic accommodation and a restaurant on the beach, so you can certainly set up camp or grab a meal.

Known locally as Thian Og, Shark Bay is a lovely, secluded bay that is perfect for a relaxing day out or to visit as part of an excursion. The bay is only accessible by boat or kayak and is called Shark Bay due to the Blacktip Reef Sharks that populate the shallow waters near the shore. A 250-metre journey from the shore is where the majority of the sharks will be found, and it is a magnificent spectacle. Keep your eyes peeled for the equally astonishing and massive green turtles that inhabit the same waters.

Situated on Thailand’s northernmost coastline, also known as Ao Mamuang, Mango Bay is another area that’s absolutely stunning both above and below the water. This large bay with a small beach with either side having jungled hillsides and rocky cliffs and reefs running along the sides of the bay. The snorkelling and diving are naturally spectacular, while the beach itself is a brush with holiday paradise. The bay is accessible by boat or kayak, as well as a long walk on the concrete road and through the forest.

It was here, at Laem Thian, that the ten year absence of turtles from the island was ended, and the animal from which the island’s name is derived finally returned. The area is, as almost all bays in Koh Tao, perfect for snorkelling and diving, while here you will see some uncommon fish such as Unicornfish and Surgeonfish, along with others. Schools of butterflyfish and a few batfish are often seen here too. There is also some exhilarating rock jumping sites on the northern side of the bay, with three, nine, and twelve metre jumps available for the holiday makers seeking some adrenaline.

This idyllic white-sand beach is perfect for laid back time spent under the beautiful Thailand sun, but there is a fair amount shape under the Pemphis Acidula trees too, so fret not. Snorkelling is very popular here, with a shallow reef not far offshore, and crystal waters when the weather permits it. The beach itself is privately owned by Freedom Beach Resort, but the public is welcome as long as the rules are obeyed. The fantastic John Suwan viewpoint is also nearby, so Hello Islands recommends making it a two-in-one while on holiday in Koh Tao and visiting this beach.

Where to Eat & Drink

Restaurants & Bars

Koh Tao offers a rich variety of restaurants and bars, with quality at a great price found with great ease.

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FIZZ LOUNGE

Fizz Lounge

Fizz Lounge offers an undeniably alluring ambience, with a laid-back atmosphere meeting genuine quality in the kitchen. Situated right on the beach in Sairee, it serves up a delectable combination of western and Thai at a very reasonable price. The large deck and extra-large bean bags make it a perfect setting to watch the Thailand sun go down with a cocktail in your hand.

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BLUE HEAVEN

Blue Heaven

An incredible setting deserves incredible food, and Blue Heaven has both in abundance. They do Thai seafood on another level, with Snapper, Mackerel, and Salmon dishes the most prominent. A relaxed atmosphere and a stunning view of Shark Island are the cherries on top, while you enjoy the wonderful flavours on offer.

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YING YANG

Ying Yang

Home to one of the most delicious food ranges on the island or even in the whole of Thailand, Yin Yang offers curries packed with fresh flavour and served with absolute pleasure. The restaurant only serves food made to order, ensuring fresh ingredients, and the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. What more could you ask for?

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SERENITY BAR

Serenity Bar

Serenity Bar's location is perfect for watching the sunset with a cocktail in hand. A magical Thailand holiday moment. The restaurant is scattered with hammocks and carpets, with the atmosphere relaxed and inviting. They do serve food, but the kitchen is not always open, while in the lower seasons Serenity Bar will only be open from 16:00-18:00 for the sunset.

1274
1382

Locals

70
400

Tourists

59
160

Hotels

142
170

Restaurants

18
70

Bars

56
95

Taxies