Ko Tao has hundreds of places to stay are spread over a dozen different bays and beaches. We commence our coverage at the logistics hub for Ko Tao, Mae Haad. From there we cover the most popular area to stay, Sairee Beach, but we're split it into three sections – southern Sairee (noisy), northern Sairee (quiter) and Sairee Village (off the beach).
From here we just back to the south of the island, with low key Haad Sai Nuan, Laem Jeda Kang and Ao June Juea filling out the southwest corner. Chalok Ban Kao, Freedom Beach, Ao Thian Ok and Sai Daeng are the primary south coast beaches. On the more remote east coast, you have Ao Tanote, Ao Leuk and Hin Wong. Last but not lease, Ko Nang Yuan sitting off the northwest coast of Ko Tao.
Ko Tao is a small island but it offers a mind-boggling array of accommodation options spread across more than a dozen diverse bays and beaches. Plenty of the hotels and guesthouses on Ko Tao however are really pretty poor: poor quality, poor value for money or, in many cases, both. Of course, that's not to say there aren't great places to stay on Ko Tao, as there are some unique and memorable... Read our full review of Where to stay on Ko Tao.
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.
Named after the Buddha’s trusted sidekick who was known for cheerfulness in stressful situations, Ananda Villa offers great value with positive vibes on a convenient stretch of Mae Haad Beach. Superior rooms are spread over two floors of a bright seafront building beside an umbrella tree, each with a large private terrace, with beach access from ground floor rooms. Most of these face trees... Read our full review of Ananda Villa.
The Sensi Paradise’s smart dark-wood villas are spread over large grounds with lots of flowering trees pouring over Mae Haad’s best stretch of beachfront. Rooms come in 12 varieties, topping out with a three-bedroom villa that fetches 15,000 baht per night. With wood shingle roofs, vaulted rattan ceilings and mosquito nets hung from bamboo frames, designers achieved a level of elegance... Read our full review of Sensi Paradise Beach Resort.
Jom Thong gets the job done if you’re after a modern and comfortable air-con room in the centre of Mae Haad village. Staffed by a sweet Burmese woman who makes up for limited English by trying extra hard to take care of guests, the three-storey concrete guesthouse is one of the larger options in Mae Haad village. This means that you might find a vacant room here if arriving to a busy Ko Tao... Read our full review of Jom Thong Guesthouse.
This midranger has a private feel thanks to its location at the far northern end of Mae Haad beside the rocky headland. It vies with Sensi Paradise, located at the opposite end of the beach, for the resort with Mae Haad’s best stretch of sand. Koh Tao Beach Club is a medium-size family beach resort and not some kind of private beach club, as the name may suggest. A patient receptionist sent... Read our full review of Koh Tao Beach Club.
Koh Tao Central Hostel is arguably the best option if you’re looking to roll straight off the ferry and into a cheap dorm in the heart of Mae Haad village. The crew of British staffers aren’t shy about showing off their roots: the sign mimics the design of the London Underground and the associated Reef Bar, located across the lane, usually has Premier League action on the widescreens.... Read our full review of Koh Tao Central Hostel.
The southern stretch of Sairee Beach includes a party strip that gets a little crazy late at night – beware that noise can be an issue in this vicinity. You’ll also find resorts closer to the village which are slightly removed from the wildest nightlife. This is a popular and tightly packed part of Ko Tao.
A newish venture managed by the Goodtime Adventures crew, this small hostel will hit the spot for young travellers looking to stay on the beach and near the nightlife. There are two dorm rooms, both mixed gender and both with eight bunks that each come with personal reading lamp, outlet and locker. Both rooms are clean and quite spacious for a hostel – interiors even come with a sofa and... Read our full review of Goodtime Beach Hostel.
Sairee Cottage tries to please everyone from divers to backpackers who are happy with basic bungalows up to well-heeled travellers seeking a luxurious beachside villa or deluxe room by the pool – and it pulls it off nicely. On a busy day we received patient service at reception, which is notable on a beach where jaded and rude resort staffers are common. The priciest rooms are large... Read our full review of Sairee Cottage Resort.
While best known for a beachside restaurant of the same name, Flowers offers solid fan and air-con bungalows set down an easy-to-miss footpath on the inland side of the beach walk. A busy but friendly Thai manager laid out the room rates before handing us off to a young Burmese staffer who went out of his way to make us feel welcome. He showed us a large white wood bungalow with metal roof... Read our full review of Flowers Resort.
Flying well under the radar of online booking and review sites, Nat Resort serves up dirt-cheap private rooms at a great location. Nat is set in a row of small resorts on the inland side of the coastal lane and a 10-second jump from the beach. Most rooms come two to a concrete building with fake-wood siding; each side has a private entrance and porch with wood chairs facing abundant... Read our full review of Nat Resort.
Not as mental as the southern stretch of the beach, this northern strip is home to larger resorts (which climb up and around the headland) and more specious bungalow villages. This is a reaasonable area to consider if you prefer to have Sairee Village within walking distance rather than the pubs and clubs of the south and prefer a beach bar than a beach club. We found much of the accommodation here to be of decidedly mediocre value.
Anchored onto the northern headland and gazing down the full length of Sairee beach, the long-running Koh Tao Cabana continues to bring one word to mind – elegance. While said elegance doesn't come cheap, if you're looking for a luxurious option on Ko Tao within easy walking distance of the scene, then Koh Tao Cabana probably belongs on your shortlist. Grounds are sprawling and considerable... Read our full review of Koh Tao Cabana.
Perched on Sairee's northern headland, just before Aminjirah and Thipwimarn, Koh Tao Hillside Resort offers more midrange priced rooms tumbling down the hillside to the water's edge and a slither of beach. We're not exaggerating when we say the rooms here tumble down the headland, this is a very steep property (keep your eyes open and you'll see the rails of an inclinator that must have been... Read our full review of Koh Tao Hillside Resort.
Set right beside Bow Thong, Palm Leaf Resort is a deceptively large property running back from the beach to the road and offering a couple of reasonable options near the sand. We were shown what they call a Deluxe Villa Room, which are set just a little back from the beach. They are set in a staggered two storey red polished concrete block with a thatch roof and bamboo detailing. The building... Read our full review of Palm Leaf Resort.
Long running Silver Sands combines a comfortable flashpacker pricepoint with a beachfront location that is also spitting distance from the heart of the Sairee Village scene. There are a few varieties of lodgings available, with those closest to the beach being typical beach bungalow fare in two rows running back among gardens from the beach, behind that is a more modern (though apparently... Read our full review of Silver Sands.
Set midway along the northern stretch of Sairee Beach, O-Chai is typical of the older-style beach front accommodation and will do at a pinch. The white concrete and blue-roofed bungalows run back from the beach in a mixed palm grove and while those closest to the beach are right on it, they don't face onto it, rather side on. Why bungalow owners don't build these style of huts staggered and... Read our full review of O-Chai.
A pulsating swirl of restaurants, bars, boutiques, guesthouses and hostels, Sairee village is the centre of the action. Below we’ve spotlighted a terrific hostel and a couple of solid flashpacker options; if looking for something cheaper you could try one of the many rooms found above shops and eateries or head down to a fan-cooled bungalow off Sairee Beach. If you’re after a dirt-cheap hostel, Mae Haad village has a better selection.
Indie Hostel burst onto the scene in 2015 and quickly became popular thanks to a sleek design, enthusiastic staff, strong security, comfortable dorms and a scene for social travellers of various ages and while prices may seem high for a hostel, you get what you pay for and then some. Located slap bang in the centre of Sairee village, the four-storey property begins with a large ground-floor... Read our full review of Indie Hostel.
Located just north of the village centre on the inland road, Koya Guesthouse makes a good base for those who appreciate creature comforts and a family-run vibe. Rooms with balconies accessed through sliding glass doors occupy the upper two floors of a modern ice blue-and-white concrete building – the corner room that we checked out actually had two balconies. Though lacking decor, the rooms... Read our full review of Koya Guesthouse.
With a sky-blue facade and trendy ground-floor cafe, Thalassa Hotel aims for travellers who appreciate some style and creature comforts along with a location at the centre of the action. Accessed by stairs, squeaky clean rooms feature good-quality mattresses on raised wood or brushed concrete platforms, and abstract art in oceanic colours on blue-and-white walls. You also get a desk, LCD TV,... Read our full review of Thalassa Hotel.
Haad Sai Nuan is actually a pair of small and gorgeous beaches broken up by an outcrop of boulders on Ko Tao’s secluded southwest coast. A steep road runs from the Chalok Ban Kao area down to the southern stretch of Haad Sai Nuan, from where it’s a five-minute walk up to Sai Thong Resort. You can also get here by taking the somewhat confusing trails starting at Sensi Resort to the south of Mae Haad Beach.
Sai Thong is a classic bungalow joint on a secluded beach that casts a spell of tranquility on guests – as long as they’re not too picky. The long-running resort extends over the length of Haad Sai Nuan and part of a second cove to the south, with plenty of open space that will make you forget all about the countless buildings in Mae Haad and Sairee. Guests can use free snorkelling... Read our full review of Sai Thong Resort.
Jutting out from Ko Tao’s southwestern corner, Laem Jeda Kang is a rocky cape with a couple of coves on either side. Tao Thong Villa operates bungalow joints on both sides, with the original resort overlooking a tiny beach that leads into a secluded patch of sea that’s good for swimming and snorkelling. From here a rough road winds up and down to Chalok Ban Kao. You can also hike down here from the southern end of Mae Haad, passing Haad Sai Nuan along the way.
March down a long set of concrete steps and you arrive at Tao Thong Villa, a family-run bungalow spot set over a blip of a beach wedged beneath the imposing boulders of Jeda Kang Cape. Tao Thong wins an award for charm: the Thai mother and daughter gave us a warm welcome, and we dug the little library with guitars and pictures of the Thai king and family members. It’s a very laid-back spot... Read our full review of Tao Thong Villa.
Further down the southwest coast, Ao June Juea is a secluded backpacker-style beach within steps of the massive Pinnacle Resort and not too far from Viewpoint Resort and access to Chalok Ban Kao. It’s a solid 30-minute hike up to Mae Haad.
This aptly named spot has a handful of simple dark-wood bungalows peppered over a steep hill behind quiet Ao June Juea. Look no further if you’re after tremendous views for cheap in a secluded corner of the island. Most of the old-style bungalows are set high up on the wooded hillside that backs the beach; you’ll have to huff it up some stairs to score the best views. All rooms come with... Read our full review of Sunset Bungalows.
The beachfront land directly behind Chalok Ban Kao beach is stuffed with dive resorts alongside several mediocre midrange resorts like Ko Tao Resort, JP Resort and Sunshine Resort – we didn’t feel that any of these midrangers were worth listing but they probably won’t be horrible either. Some better options can be found in the periphery of the bay.
This very good midrange resort is spread over the headland to the west of Chalok Ban Kao, which stretches high above the sea to the namesake viewpoint near the sacred Buddha rock. Freestanding circular villas come with brushed concrete walls, mosquito nets draped over sumptuous beds, hardwood floors and vaulted rattan ceilings. Equipped with safes, TVs, WiFi, fridges, coffee/tea facilities,... Read our full review of Viewpoint Resort.
Located on the inland road just north of Chalok Ban Kao village and not too far from Mae Haad, Baan Cha-lok is a good option if you’re after a simple dorm or well-equipped private room and don’t want to be near the party scene. The hostel is about a kilometre inland from Chalok Ban Kao Beach on the way to Mae Haad. A soft-spoken Thai staffer led us upstairs to a private room with brushed... Read our full review of Baan Cha-lok Hostel.
The New Heaven group has a bit of a dynasty going on Ko Tao, running a well-regarded dive school, resort, restaurant and yoga studio on Chalok Ban Kao along with a cafe in Sairee, a reef conservation program and Baan Talay over near isolated Ao Leuk. At the main Chalok Ban Kao location you’ll find comfortable air-con rooms situated in a two-floor building next to the diving practice pool... Read our full review of New Heaven Dive Resort.
One of the more idyllic spots on Ko Tao, Freedom Beach covers the western corner of the cape that separates Ao Chalok Ban Kao from Ao Thian Ok. The only place to stay, Freedom Beach Resort, was combined with Taa Toh Resort after some shuffling around among the owners.
Operated as two separate resorts in years past, Taa Toh bought out the more backpacker-oriented Freedom Beach and the two are now run as one resort spread over a pair of gorgeous locations. Indeed, location is the main selling point here. Simple sky-blue wood bungalows come with metal roofs and porches, set stilts on the hill overlooking Freedom Beach. It's not the best value judging by the... Read our full review of Taa Toh Resort and Freedom Beach Resort.
The beach itself is home to just two resorts only one of which is budget. A third perches on the headland overlooking the bay. The main stretch of the beach is owned by one upscale resort, which restricts access to non guests. This bay is easier to get to than neighbouring Haad Sai Daeng, making it the better choice for staying in a quiet locale while still being in reach of a night out in the busier areas.
The Haad Tien sprawls along the entire length of Haad Tien Beach, with a second, slightly cheaper resort, Beach Club by Haad Tien, wedged into the eastern corner of the bay. We're covering both properties in the one review as they share the same owner and are sometimes a little difficult to unravel. The Haad Tien (why is it that hotels incorporate the leading The into their name? Please stop... Read our full review of The Haad Tien.
The family-run OK 2 has simple, well-kept bungalows set on stilts overlooking both Ao Taa Chaa and Ao Thian Ok, where some good snorkelling can be done. Accessed by concrete walkways and stairs that left us gasping, the wood bungalows are solid for the price – especially if you grab one with a view. They all come with mosquito nets placed over springy beds on hardwood floors along with... Read our full review of OK II Bungalows.
Rocky Resort has been perched on the boulders at the eastern end of Ao Thian OK for what seems forever, but the rooms are not like the Grange you have stuffed in the cellar – they have not improved with age. One of the first resorts on Ko Tao, the service remains layabout slow but friendly and the small restaurant is perched right over the rocks offering great views down the sand. To be... Read our full review of Rocky Resort.
With a relatively long stretch of beach and just three places to stay, this is a very peaceful spot. Enjoy great snorkelling and swimming in the pristine waters.
Overlooking the eastern stretch of Sai Daeng and running out on to the boulder-strewn headland that juts out into the sea, new for 2016 Sai Daeng Resort delivers some very smart rooms at a price that won't leave you in tears for what you get in return. A deceptively large resort, the further you wander into it (we were shown around for a solid 40 minutes by a very gracious staffer), the more... Read our full review of Sai Daeng Resort.
Bungalows litter the hills surrounding the very scenic Tanote Bay, and nothing is too far at all from the water.
If you're looking for hotel-style accommodation on Tanote Bay, Montalay is easily the pick of the beachside options, even if the main buildings are slightly back off the beach. The rooms come in two primary flavours, midrange cottages typical of Ko Pha Ngan and, what they call modern rooms in two blocks of, well, modern rooms, set back from the pool and restaurant. The modern rooms are... Read our full review of Montalay Beach Resort.
It is pretty slim pickings when it comes to backpacking on Tanote Bay, but we did like the fun vibe at Poseidon and the budgetish bungalows they offer. If you're on a budget, this would be our first stop (reservations recommended) as Poseidon retains a bit of a backpacker feel and the room standards reflect that. Arranged at oblique angles to one another, most of Poseidon's bungalows run up... Read our full review of Poseidon Bungalows.
Ao Leuk is a lovely little bay that is pretty much owned by the one family. The only guesthouses here are owned by Mama and her daughter, and Mama certainly knows best.
Every now and then we come across a place that makes us want to drop our bag, throw our feet up and lose a week – Moon Dance Magic View is such a place. This is a throw back to a Ko Tao that doesn't really exist anymore, but it is the Ko Tao we fell in love with over 20 years ago. At 1,250 baht for a basic bamboo bungalow, this isn't cheap, but, if this is your kind of place, it will be... Read our full review of Moon Dance Magic View.
Run by the same people who started the original New Heaven Restaurant at Ao Thian Ok (now moved to Chalok Ban Kao), Baan Talay is a small, but very comfortable spot with bungalows scattered through the wooden grounds. While they call the accommodation Thai-style bungalows, if you've ever travelled in Lombok, Indonesia, the solid wooden and thatch bungalows at Baan Talay will bring the lumbung... Read our full review of Baan Talay.
Ao Leuk is without question, one of the most beautiful bays on Ko Tao, and while most of the accommodation is mediocre, Ao Leuk II, perched on the southern headland is easily the pick of the crop. Dominated by an impressive and fabulously placed multi-deck restaurant that does a solid range of both Western and Thai food, it is worth swinging by the restaurant for a meal or just a sundowner... Read our full review of Ao Leuk II.
Don't expect too many creature comforts and you won't be disappointed with Hin Wong Bay. Just a handful of guesthouses are located in this particularly serene spot.
The original place to stay on Hin Wong Bay, Hin Wong Bungalows offers affordable bungalow accommodation perched on the hillside and friendly service in a rustic location. We've stayed here many times over the years and while, as with Ko Tao as a whole, the bay has changed, this is still a worthwhile spot for those seeking a sleepy getaway from the more hectic side of the island. Best in June... Read our full review of Hin Wong Bungalows.
Ko Tao’s satellite island – actually it’s three tiny islands connected by sand bars – attracts boatloads of day trippers from Ko Tao as well as Pha Ngan and Samui. The stunning islands can feel like a theme park managed by the only place to stay, which could improve in just about every possible way.
The Nangyuan Island Diver Resort has turned a tiny and gorgeous island into a cash cow that charges a premium for everything from a rustic fan bungalow to a beach mat. Most of the resort’s efforts seem to go towards handling the endless boatloads of tourists who come on day trips. The restaurant gets absolutely slammed at lunchtime with sticky bodies waiting for overpriced burgers as... Read our full review of Nangyuan Island Dive Resort.
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