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Haad Sairee

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The longest and most popular beach on Ko Tao, while the white sand of Haad Sairee is lined with bars, restaurants, resorts and dive centres, the beach itself doesn't get overcrowded and there is plenty of space to spread your towel and relax.

There's some lovely snorkelling on the reef but when the tide is low it can be difficult to navigate your way in and out. The northern end is home to many clown fish, so you can find Nemo and if you know what you are looking for you will find juveniles of many species too. The bay can get quite busy with longtail transfers so keep a keen ear out for boat engines. Hawkers do walk the beach selling sarongs, tasty snacks and fresh fruit but are not bothersome.

Sairee Beach is the place to watch the sunset and with many beachside bars to choose from, sipping a cocktail at 18:00 is a great way to round off a hectic day of beach bumming. The bars that buzz at sunset seem to be more at the northern end where generally the night life has a more laid back feel. The further south you walk the bigger and later the party gets. Light sleepers should avoid accommodation at the south end.

A path that the locals call the yellow brick road runs parallel with the beach and is lined with souvenir shops, convenience stores, ATMs, clinics, tattoo parlours and massage salas.

Life bustles along in Sairee Village too. Set back from the beach, this area connects the yellow brick road with the main road and is home to more restaurants, bars, clothes stores, internet cafes and two 7-elevens. Sairee metropolis sprawls from the four-way junction at the main road for another 200m in every direction before the bright lights peter out. You could arrive in this area and not need to leave until your boat does -- everything you need is in walking distance.

A huge range of accommodation, from budget backpacker huts to some of the fanciest spots the island has to offer, are in this area. Most places stretch back from the beach and there are a few perched on the rocky headland at the north. At busy times, booking is essential and also a good idea at any time if you want to avoid traipsing around searching. At quiet times it's worth bargaining if you plan to stay more than three days.

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Text and/or map last updated on 30th October, 2013.

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