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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  • Not for the light hearted! 4 stars

    9th August, 2013

    Just did the Mae Haad to Tanote Bay walk 2 days ago.

    WARNING: this is not for the light hearted! The path is nearly non existent and VERY steep in parts. You will definitely need sturdy walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen & A LOT of water. The view is fantastic if you can make it up there!
    An easier walk is to go up the hill from Tanote bay and past the reservoir. This is still steep but paved so a bit easier. The hard part is coming up from the west and I wouldn't recommend walking down that way as it is all washed out from rain so slipping over is very likely!

    Once you reach the top there will be a large rock formation on your left, squeeze through the gap and out onto the flat surface, this is the best view of the west side of the island!

    Hiking reviewed by vanessanz (1)
    Written on 9th August, 2013, rated 4 out of 5. Visited here in August, 2013

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