Ko Tao is so big, we've split it up into areas, select one of the below for detailed accommodation and food listings in that area. Sights and general overviews for Ko Tao as a whole can be found via the icons above. Don't know where to start? Read an overview of Ko Tao's different areas.
Southern Haad Sairee is where all the larger, later and louder party bars are located. Move, Maya Bar, Cave Bar and In Touch cater to the bop-til-you-drop crowd often throwing parties till the sun comes up. This beach area comes alive with fire dancers and pumping music while the beach is decorated and the whole area is like one open air club. Flowers, AC and In Touch have their own restaurants too where they serve Thai and Western food as well as BBQ fish every night.
Walking further north and set back from the beach, El Torro serves both Mexican and Italian food. Bingos serves good Thai food at a reasonable price overlooking the beach and you can usually catch a movie here while chowing down too. Bans Resort has a huge menu serving Thai and Western, some great salads and really good Israeli food too. Fish Bowl Bar stays open late and the team often throw themed parties. Check out the posters for details.
Closer to Sairee Village Resort, restaurants line the beach serving the usual array of Thai and Western food with quite similar menus, on wooden decks with the choice of chairs or cushions. Moon Burger breaks up the samey-ness with its sit-at-the-bar diner style, serving, as you might guess, juicy burgers. Any of the beachside restaurants make a great getaway from the sun at midday and quiet spots to watch the sun go down, grab snacks and cool down with cold drinks and refreshing fruit shakes.
Coffee Boat is the popular Thai restaurant in this area, set back from the beach in front of Prick Tai and in between SBC and Sairee Cabana. The Thai food is tasty, inexpensive and the portions are generous. A range of sandwiches and Western food is on the menu too and this place always bustles. Food arrives quickly and with little fuss. Try the Thai French Fries, essentially salt and pepper 'tempured' mashed potato -- they make an excellent snack!
Food stands serving noodles, papaya salad, fruit and chicken-on-a-stick tour the yellow brick road too. For street food though, you cannot leave Ko Tao without visiting 'The Pancake Man', who serves both sweet and savoury pancakes freshly made with a flourish.
Sairee Village is a hive of activity at night and is home to some of the top Western restaurants on the island.
Papas Tapas, located off the beach close to the 7-eleven, serves beautifully presented food with great cocktails and an extensive wine list, which is all delivered with the most attentive service. While a bit of a splurge, it's great for a treat.
Close by, but on the beach, Fizz Bar and Restaurant serves Mediterranean food in a chic modern environment. A large deck area with comfy bean bags extends out to the beach. The bar serves great drinks and funky music creates an atmosphere which will entertain you from sunset till the early hours. Wander up the sidestreet from Papas Tapas and you will find Portobello serving pizza, Italian and other Mediterranean dishes in a large airy space.
The road connecting the two 7-elevens houses Choppers. Essentially an Aussie sports bar, this place is always busy. With live music and big screens featuring all the big sporting events live too, it's easy to see why this place has tripled its size in recent years and become an island landmark. Almost across from Choppers, Morava has a great loungey feel and serves top class tasty food in a stylish yet comfortable space -- it's certainly the only place to find cheese fondue and sushi. Live chilled music sometimes accompanies diners, adding to the sophisticated feel. Their sweets are excellent too and they are happy for you just to pop in for pudding.
If you're hankering after Indian food then you have two places to choose from: Shalimar, a large white building located on the main road, or Noori, which is located on the beach -- just follow the side road along PapasTapas.
Lotus Bar is at the end of the same road to the beach and this place pumps till the early hours. Mats and beanbags are spread on the beach and fire dancers provide accompaniment to the huge mix of music. Further to the north King Crab provides an excellent fish BBQ and Vibe bar plays chilled and funky tunes from early afternoon until midnight, and is a great spot to watch the sunset to an excellent soundtrack.
Away from the beach and at the junction with the main road there are many more restaurants to choose from. Farango serves tasty pizza, salads and pasta and the two El Gringos cover both Italian and Mexican. Victoria Steakhouse has an extensive Scandinavian-style menu and serves a great BBQ where you get to make your own meal choosing from over 20 different side dishes.
There are some tasty and cheap Thai restaurants located in this area. Krua Thai sits opposite Farango and serves tasty food quickly. Follow the road up towards the boxing stadium and you'll find Tics packed into a tiny corridor and next door P&M, both serving tasty Thai. Tongs is a two-storey Thai restaurant located on the right hand side of the northern branch of the crossroads and while the menu is huge the food isn't as tasty as others nearby. Directly opposite New Way Diving you'll find the restaurant without a name where the Penang curry is delicious.
For breakfast and lunch there are a few bakeries to choose from too. You'll find Cafe Corner next to the 7-eleven closest to the beach, where TVs blare with news and the bakery is half price after 17:00. New Heaven, nearly opposite Papas Tapas, is a little quieter but the food and service are better elsewhere. Zanzibar serves not only sandwiches but tasty pasta and salads and is definitely worth the trip. It's located on the main road at the end of the strip of shops stretching south towards Mae Haad.
You'll find food carts dotted around the area serving the usual selection of Thai fare. These mostly huddle around the 7-eleven.