Hiking

Take in the turtle by foot

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!

What we say: 4 stars

Ko Tao is baby-sized compared to neighbouring Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui, but its hilly landscape offers some excellent opportunities for exploring on foot. Don't underestimate the distances involved, however: your guidebook might say it's possible to walk around the island in one day, but you will probably have already had enough after a three-hour jaunt along the coast trail from Mae Haad to Chalok Ban Kao. The best idea is to start early in the morning and take plenty of water.

Suggested routes:
Mae Haad to Chalok Ban Kao: One of the more popular hikes on Ko Tao, this will take you around a scenic series of coves and inlets. Starting from Mae Haad, you first negotiate your way past the string of resorts clustered around the beautiful Ao Jan Som. Further south the path gets more challenging and though it's not a particularly steep walk, rocks and overgrown spots present their own obstacles. Soon you'll reach the gorgeous Haad Sai Nual, which has another cluster of resorts. Continue south past Juea beach to reach a viewpoint from where you can take in a sweeping panorama of Chalok Ban Kao. From there it's a simple walk along a beach and then a boardwalk to the village.

Mae Haad to Tanote Bay: Walk over the hump of the island in this challenging walk from the busiest part of the island to the most tranquil. Start by scaling the paved path that leads up to Moonlight Bungalows, and continue on past the sign that says Park. From here it's a rough and ready trail amid a series of huge boulders that look like they might just roll all the way down the side of the mountains at any moment. Soon you'll reach a couple of usually abandoned huts at a lonely summit of Two Views, from where you can take in panoramas of both sides of the island. Follow the path downwards and you'll reach a construction site large enough for at least as couple of soccer pitches. That's the start of a new reservoir project intended to solve the island's water-shortage woes. A little further down and you'll reach a wide, unsealed road. Turn left, and it's smooth stroll and beautiful views all the way down to Tanote Bay. The walk takes about three hours.

Last updated: 22nd October, 2013

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