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.
Glistening Ao Thian Ok leaves most of the other beaches on Ko Tao back at the starting post in terms of sheer beauty; the perfect arc of white sand and azure waters will make quite the impression. The beach is the property of Haad Thien Resort now, so getting in to explore and enjoy the beach can prove a little problematic if you are not staying in the resort.
Locally Ao Thian Ok is known as Shark Bay, as its waters are home to harmless reef sharks. Swim a way out and wait if you want to catch a glimpse of these amazing creatures. They're shy so be patient. If you're not staying at the resort yet want the chance to see the sharks in the bay, either take a longtail or swim in from the rocks at the bottom of OK II Bungalows. Neighbouring Haad Sai Daeng has no such restrictions and plenty of sharks to swim with too.
One of the flashest resorts on Ko Tao, Jamahkiri makes its home perched on the western flank of Ao Thian Ok.
Ao Thian Ok is separated from Chalok Ban Kao by a peninsula, and on the eastern flank of this peninsula, facing Ao Thian Ok, you'll find Ao Taa Chaa, which is tiny and secluded. Access is only by boat or through New Heaven Resort. If you are not staying here then you can't just walk through the resort; however if you go and enjoy breakfast or lunch, they will be happy to look after your bags and let you wander down to the beach. This beach also provides closer access to the sharks of Haad Thian than via the rocks at the bottom of OK Bungalows.
If you walk out to the end of the peninsula you'll reach the John Suwan Viewpoint, a spectacular vantage point overlooking Ao Chalok Ban Kao to the left and Ao Thian Ok to the right. Unfortunately the trail hasn't been well looked after, so it's quite a bush-bash to get there nowadays.
Further to the east you'll find the very pretty Haad Sai Daeng where, just offshore, sits Shark Island -- one of Ko Tao's most popular dive spots. The bay itself has some fine snorkelling and sharks can be seen here too. While smaller than Ao Thian Ok, there's plenty of sand on which to just lay around, plan world domination or just play another round of frisbee-golf.
While it's a shame that Coral View Resort decided to build a two-storey building right on the beach, the beach nevertheless remains scenic and relatively low key. It's a good choice for those looking for some peace and quiet but not for you if you want to get out and about.
By Erin Wildermuth.