Hiking to viewpoints

Get outta that hammock

What we say: 3.5 stars

The hardest thing about walking to viewpoints on Ko Tao is not always the uphill trek but finding the path. The island has some great lookouts worth getting out of your hammock for; here’s your guide to getting to some of the best of them.

land

See where you are going?

Fraggle Rock Boulder and Mango Bay viewpoint are probably the easiest to find from Haad Sairee. They involve a steep hill walk but the jungle bush-bashing is very limited and you even could cheat and get a taxi almost all the way. We’d wear trainers, but you could just about get away with flips-flops.

To start leave the main road 7-eleven in Sairee and start your walk up past Banyan Bar, Asia Divers, Roctopus Divers and Gym and Fitness. The climb takes 30 to 40 minutes from the gym to Fraggle Rock; allow an hour to get to the Mango Bay viewpoint.

Turn Here

Turn here.

Follow the road up and you will crest the island and see a signposted lefthand concrete road to Mango Bay. If you fancy this viewpoint, which offers a southerly view along Sairee beach, then this is where to turn. Follow the single lane concrete path which slopes gently up, then down, then steeply up, past the butterfly garden and on to Jim’s Bar. Turn left here and a little along the path pay 20 baht to go on to the viewpoint. Cold drinks are available for purchase and it’s a cracking place to watch the sun set.

Jim had the right idea.

Jim had the right idea.

If you fancy a little bush-bash, don’t turn left to Mango Bay. Instead directly after the turn and on your right you will see a telegraph tower; take this righthand turn and follow the snake-like path up through nine turns.

On your way up you will pass a place that has a reasonable view down over Sairee, but don’t give up here. Look out for the restaurant (being built at time of writing) and then you are almost there. The path will travel around a large boulder and steeply into the jungle; it’s concrete most of the way, so it’s easy to follow before it peters out into jungle track.

Head towards the light!

Head towards the light!

You will pass a few large boulders before seeing a huge one loom on your right and then it’s a bit of a scramble over the boulders to the lookout point. It’s worth it. The view is amazing; don’t be surprised if you are not on your own there at sunset.

f_018

Practise the you-know-what camera setting before you get here.

If you fancy yet more of a challenge, then Two Views is not only a great lookout but it can also be a circular walk. You certainly need trainers for this one; allow an hour to get to the point. Start from the main road in Sairee and look for the turning off the main road that runs between Mae Haad and Sairee signposted OK View.

A Sign !

A sign!

You are not going to OK View. You need to follow the path to Moonlight Bungalows. When you see the sign and entrance continue on the path that runs off and up to the left. Keep to the main path and you will be rewarded with the only sign that exists to let you know you are on the right track.

On the right track.

On the right track.

The path is then going to take you past a salmon-coloured house, after which you need to turn right up the rutted track shown above. It’s a jungle hike from here on up and while the path is rutted and has fallen trees, it’s easy to see where to go. You will pop out onto a machine-made road where you have two viewpoints over Sairee — hence that name. If you are too pooped to continue, then there are two distinctive rocks and a sala from which you will see the bay.

Give up and sit down!

Give up and sit down!

But you only have about 15 minutes until you are rewarded with views of Sairee, Ao Tanote and Hin Wong. If it’s clear, you will be able to see Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Samui and Ang Thong Marine Park.

Distinctive Rocks

Distinctive rocks.

Once you have taken in the views and had a quick rest then you can either go down the way you came or loop through.

Dead End?

Dead end?

This loop will take you an hour to get down to civilisation (and a taxi!) and another hour to walk back to your start point. When you get back to those distinctive rocks, turn right instead and follow the road along to what appears to be a dead end; if you look to the left you’ll see a track that once again leads through a bush-bash.

The way back.

The way back.

It will take you past an abandoned, semi-finished resort and loads of lovely smelling wild mint. The path is rutted and care needs to be taken.

Nearly there ?

Nearly there?

You will pop out on the path that leads to Laem Thien. Turn left and head down to come into Sairee. You’ll see Chic Resort, which as of October 2013 is still under construction. At the end of the road, turn left again and the path gently slopes down into Sairee. You will arrive at the 7-eleven, where you can pick up a taxi or walk back.

Watch your step, take plenty of water, apply sunscreen and mosquito repellant and take all your trash with you. We’d also advise going with a friend, taking a phone and letting someone know when you expect to be back.

Last updated: 22nd October, 2013

About the author:
Ayesha ditched her power suit in favour of a wetsuit and ventured to Ko Tao to indulge in her passion for scuba diving. Apart from writing for Travelfish.org she manages the Master Divers Blog and whenever possible is underwater with her camera shooting fish!
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