Photo: Longtails at anchor.

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.

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The headland just north of Mae Haad hosts a string of budget spots within walking distance of the pier and Sairee. South of the pier you'll find a surprisingly pleasant area with some good snorkelling offshore and a mix of accommodation.

North of Mae Haad

Mae Haad is the port so there will always be boat traffic but there's a small pleasant area to the north. The path continues past Cafe Del Sol and winds up the headland towards Sairee. Perched on the rocky headland are a number of budget resorts and they offer easy walking access to both Sairee and Mae Haad. While there is no beach most resorts have access to the rocky shoreline where you can swim or snorkel or just laze on the rocks with a good book.

Mr J.'s
Backpacker - Under 600B
Mae Haad, Ko Tao
T: (077) 456 066

Mr J. is quite a character, offering his guests free homemade condoms -- guaranteed for 20 years, by the way. In addition to contraception, he offers Western Union transfers, safety boxes (10B/day) and a shop with books, souvenirs, snacks and a frightening selection of fireworks. Mr J.'s rooms come in a variety of sizes and prices to accommodate most budgets. The clean rooms are all packed into... Read our full review of Mr J.'s.

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View Cliff
Flashpacker - 600B to 1,500B
Laem Jo Po Ro, Ko Tao
T: (077) 456 353

Located on the rocky cliff above Laem Jo Po Ro between Mae Haad and Haad Sairee, View Cliff does not just have a clever name. The more expensive rooms here are those overlooking the sea -- built in red brick, these two-storey blocks are clean and well kept, with some rooms offering satellite TV and minibars as well. The blocks line a grassy stretch leading to the water's edge and offer some... Read our full review of View Cliff.

DD Hut Bungalow
Backpacker - Under 600B
Ao Taa Ros, Laem Jo Po Ro, Ko Tao
T: (077) 456 077

The friendly folks at DD Hut offer a variety of accommodation for different budgets. The cheapest fan rooms are very basic and quite shabby but it's probably the only place on Ko Tao with a seafront hut for 250B. The larger bungalows are much more spacious and comfortable and are in slightly better shape. DD's is situated around a grassy courtyard overlooking the sea, so many rooms have a great... Read our full review of DD Hut Bungalow.

Baan Tao
Backpacker - Under 600B
Ao Mae Haad, Ko Tao
T: (077) 456 201-2

Located opposite Wat Ko Tao and the local primary school, Baan Tao Bungalow is a short walk from the centres of Mae Haad and Sairee but provides a more peaceful alternative. Though it has no restaurant of its own, plenty of fine dining is not too far away. Baan Tao offers laundry service, and there is a small shop/bookstore located nearby at Mr J.'s. The beach is about five minutes' away by foot.... Read our full review of Baan Tao.

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South of the pier

Although close to Ko Tao's main pier, the southern stretch of Mae Haad is quite pleasant and is home to one of Ko Tao's best resorts. There are also a few newer guesthouse options back from the beach along the two main roads that run out of town. The southern extreme is tranquil, and the sea here provides some decent shallow-water snorkelling with soft and hard corals, plenty of fish life and even a shallow shipwreck to explore.

Sensi Paradise Beach Resort
Midrange - 1,500B to 4,000B
27 Moo 2, Mae Haad, Ko Tao
T: (077) 456 244

Sensi Paradise, located where Mae Haad beach meets the rocks at its southern end, offers a little slice of paradise for those travelling on a higher budget. Though it has a small selection of less expensive rooms, Sensi Paradise specialises in larger family-size houses and villas. The beautiful grounds of Sensi, one of Ko Tao's fanciest resorts, sprawl from the beach up a lush green hillside. A... Read our full review of Sensi Paradise Beach Resort.

Save Bungalow
Backpacker - Under 600B
Mae Haad, Ko Tao
T: (077) 456 180

Save Bungalows, located across the street from the beach just south of the Mae Haad piers, offers spacious bungalows at reasonable prices available with fan or air-con. While it is conveniently close to the pier, Save is far enough away that guests don't have to deal with too much traffic, foot or otherwise. Save Bungalows is operated by quirky Mr J., so guests will be delighted, if not baffled,... Read our full review of Save Bungalow.

Blue Diamond Dive Resort
Flashpacker - 600B to 1,500B
Ao Mae Haad, Ko Tao
T: (077) 456 255

Blue Diamond Dive Resort, while specialising in PADI certification and recreational scuba diving, caters not only to divers but also to both backpackers and high-end travellers. All rooms here are well-priced, and discounts are given to divers. Located south of the pier in Mae Haad, Blue Diamond is very conveniently located but also tucked away in a quiet location with grassy lawns and lots of... Read our full review of Blue Diamond Dive Resort.

Sea Lodge
Midrange - 1,500B to 4,000B
Mae Haad, Ko Tao
T: (077) 456 111

Located at the pier in central Mae Haad, Sea Lodge caters mostly to longer-term guests. Here you will find large apartment-style rooms with plenty of open space and most modern conveniences. Air-con, minibar and satellite TV come standard with all of Sea Lodge's clean, comfortable rooms. This area can be noisy when ferries, dive expeditions, taxis and other boats come and go with their loud horns... Read our full review of Sea Lodge.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Ao Mae Haad? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.

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