Photo: Getting ready for another dive around Ko Tao.

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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Broad Chalok Ban Kao is the most popular southern beach and after Mae Haad and Haad Sairee, the next largest centre on Ko Tao.

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The bay itself is very shallow and at most times not suitable to swim as you need to walk seemingly for miles to get deeper than your thighs. Apart from the initial few metres of sand that you lie on, the bottom gets quite muddy too, meaning the water is usually fairly murky.

Don't despair though; if you stay here you have many beautiful beaches within easy walking and longtail distance, making Chalok Ban Kao a great base to explore.

Smaller and quieter than Sairee, Chalok still offers a range of bungalows and accommodation, numerous dive centres and some good eateries and chilled beachside bars too. It's great if you want some peace and quiet as well as access to ATMs, a few shops, medical facilities and internet cafes.

On its western lip, at the beginning of the trail around to Mae Haad, you'll find the very pleasant Haad Saal Chao. This spot remains a pleasant area to hang out, despite the sometimes cloudy waters.

A few restaurants and bungalow operations make the beach their home and the beach has recently seen its very own dive shop open too. Babaloo is the cool beach bar hang out, often attracting visitors from around the island to its monthly parties.

Along the eastern rim, running along the peninsula that separates Chalok Ban Kao from Ao Thian Ok, you'll find Ao Taa Toh.

Further along the lovely and very isolated Freedom Beach is a beautiful spot to hang out. Here you could easily feel you had left civilisation behind. It's certainly the easiest "remote" beach to get to. Both Ao Taa Toh and Freedom Beach have clean beaches and clear waters and a restaurant in which to cool off and enjoy snacks.

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