Photo: What lies beneath?

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.

Things to see and do

Use the quick links below to jump to a particular section of our sights and activities coverage for Ko Tao.


What's the diving like on Ko Tao?

What’s it like to dive on Thailand’s Ko Tao? The island really does have something to offer every level of diver; many divers flock here for all sorts of levels of training, and also to just enjoy fun ... Read more about What's the diving like on Ko Tao? .

Can children learn to scuba dive on Ko Tao?

Ko Tao attracts more families each year and I would think that most parents, divers or not, might be surprised by what’s on offer diving wise for their little mermaids. Here’s a wrap on what kids can do and expect when it comes to scuba diving on the ... Read more about Can children learn to scuba dive on Ko Tao? .

Learning to dive on Ko Tao with limited time

Doing your open water course here on Ko Tao will take 3 and a half days. But what if you don’t have that long? Learning to dive is best taken at a relaxed pace but if you are really short on time there are a number of things that you can ... Read more about Learning to dive on Ko Tao with limited time .

Learning to dive on Ko Tao

So you have run the gauntlet of choosing a dive centre on Ko Tao. You have decided whether you want to take the SSI or PADI course. What should you expect while you are studying how to ... Read more about Learning to dive on Ko Tao .

Should I do PADI or SSI?

As if choosing a dive centre on Ko Tao wasn’t a big enough task in itself, you are then likely to be asked if you would prefer an SSI or PADI course. Here’s what you need to ... Read more about Should I do PADI or SSI? .

Choosing a dive centre on Ko Tao

Thailand’s Ko Tao has somewhere in the region of 40 dive centres, so choosing one can feel daunting, particularly if you have never dived before. As with any choice, you need to keep in mind what you are looking for during your experience; don’t waver or compromise, and you should get what you want. So, what should you be looking for when it comes to diving on Ko ... Read more about Choosing a dive centre on Ko Tao .

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I have made Thailand my home, I live on a small island called Ko Tao off the east coast and teach travellers to scuba dive. Many people comment on how lucky I am but luck really has nothing to do with it. My response is always the same, you can do it too, and it's true. ... Read more about Become a dive instructor on Ko Tao .


The most popular sites, including Chumphon Pinnacle, Sail Rock and Southwest Pinnacle, are some kilometres from the island, where fish gather in larger numbers. Many other sites are a matter of 20 minutes' away and offer great training and fun diving too. Diving visibility and weather conditions tend to be best around the middle of the year. The monsoon kicks into full swing in November and ... Read more about Diving .

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What's the best beach on Ko Tao?

If I had 100 baht for each time someone asked me which is the best beach on Ko Tao then I wouldn’t need to work again. The answer isn’t that simple and like anything in life it depends on your definition of best. The simplest thing to do then would be to work our way around the island on a little tour to give you the facts to decide for ... Read more about What's the best beach on Ko Tao? .

Where to go snorkelling on Ko Tao

Ko Tao is dotted with beaches and bays and picking where to go snorkelling can be difficult; what you choose to do will depend a little on how much time you have and what you want to both see and ... Read more about Where to go snorkelling on Ko Tao .

How to see a whale shark on Ko Tao

As a going away gift for my first backpacking trip one of my comical mates gave me a travel tips book. This wasn’t your normal travel manual by any means. It included topics like how to stop a runaway camel and how to avoid dying in an airplane crash. The best way to avoid crashing in an airplane apparently according to this book is not to fly. Therefore the best place to see a whale shark is ... Read more about How to see a whale shark on Ko Tao .

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General activities

Turtle conservation on Ko Tao

Ko Tao is named after the turtle, but this is due to the island’s shape, rather than an abundance of real live turtles. But there is a place you can see them these ... Read more about Turtle conservation on Ko Tao .

Which diving course should you take after Open Water?

You’ve completed your Open Water Course and fallen in love with diving, so what should you do next? There seems to be a dizzying array of options. Here’s a rundown of your choices on Thailand’s Ko ... Read more about Which diving course should you take after Open Water? .

Ko Tao Animal Clinic
Off the island's main road in Mae Haad (leave Mae Haad heading towards Chalok and turn left as if heading for Tanote Bay or Ao Leuk; the clinic is away from the turn on the left)
T: (0810) 905 372

Visitors to Ko Tao are sometimes a little perplexed by the notion of beach dogs or street dogs, who often have names but no specific owners. They’re well looked after, well fed, sociable and roam with ... Read more about Ko Tao Animal Clinic .

Where to watch sport on Ko Tao?

Having travelled with a sports fanatic I know how important seeing the game, match, fight, race or whatever can be. I don’t understand it, but know to some it’s like air. So when you’re travelling to Ko Tao, where to go when you really can’t miss… that ... Read more about Where to watch sport on Ko Tao? .

Should you rent a motorbike on Ko Tao?

Personally I would say, “No way Jose!” to anyone contemplating the undeniably risky method of getting about by motorbike on Ko Tao. However it would then be fair to accuse me of a certain amount of hypocrisy as I do indeed own and drive one. Well, chances are that unlike me — I own my own bike — you will be renting one. So what’s the ... Read more about Should you rent a motorbike on Ko Tao? .

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For something different, take a tour of Ko Tao's coast by sea kayak. A surprisingly easy way to get around, particularly if you take a tandem kayak, kayaking is a great way to appreciate the rock formations that cascade into the sea around the non-beachy parts of the island. Kayaks can be rented for about 100-150 baht an hour or 500-800 baht per day. Be sure to check the conditions and take ... Read more about Sea kayaking .

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Most beaches

Boat trips can be organised from virtually any beach on Ko Tao, through any travel agency or most hotel receptions. Trips tend to leave around 10:00 and return by 16:00. Costs vary, with a longtail typically charging around 550B per person, and a big boat around 650B. The advantage of the latter is more shade, but the longtails tend to visit more beaches. If you are hiring a whole longtail, be ... Read more about Boat trips .

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Located behind Oasis Pool Bar in Sairee
T: (080) 696 9269

If you fancy something completely different how about learning to fly? Basic lessons last an hour, cost 980 baht, and include instruction on a practice bar as well as three flights on the full rig. Flyers use a safety harness and a catch net ensures a soft landing once you've finished your acrobatics. Flyers who can assume the correct position will then be offered the ultimate thrill of being ... Read more about Flying Trapeze Adventures .

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Between Mae Haad and Chalok Ban Kao
T: (077) 456 316

Ko Tao Leisure Park is great for families with kids in tow but also has something to offer those bored of the beach, or just looking for something different to do. It’s also great for those days when it’s not quite sunny enough to roast in the sun or when you have over-roasted and want a bit of time away from the ... Read more about Ko Tao Leisure Park .


Never heard of bouldering? If you took a guess… you’d probably be right. It’s all about climbing boulders. And Ko Tao is becoming increasingly popular with the bouldering community due to the quantity and variety of granite boulders here to ... Read more about Bouldering .

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Sairee Plaza

Walk though Sairee Village after the sun goes down and you are sure to see the lovely ladies from the show handing out flyers and encouraging you to come and visit. The show is a recent addition to Ko Tao night life and good for a giggle. The whole affair is very tongue in cheek. Admission is free but you need to buy one drink to secure your place in the audience. As with any show of this type, ... Read more about Cabaret .

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Haad Sairee Village
T: (086) 269 8725

Fights take place regularly, announced by posters and noisy vans blaring times and dates. The early fights are local kids, progressing over the evening to the big fights. Usually at least one Westerner, often a dive instructor, will participate in these nights, bringing out the local farang community. The ring has a training camp and gym attached, where daily gym and boxing lessons are held. ... Read more about Thai boxing training camp and gym .

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Mae Haad, Ko Tao
T: (087) 274 6529

Ko Tao Bowling and MiniGolf has a 18-hole golf course a 10-pin bowling alley, pool table, and a bar and attached Greek restaurant. The basic bowling lanes are in a dark enclosure behind the bar (240 baht/lane/hour) and are used primarily by expats and other long-term visitors. The lanes are far from flat and and actual person picks up your skittles to reset them but its a bit of giggle and ... Read more about Ko Tao Bowling and MiniGolf .

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Hiking, walking tours and itineraries

Hiking to viewpoints

The hardest thing about walking to viewpoints on Ko Tao is not always the uphill trek but finding the path. The island has some great lookouts worth getting out of your hammock for; here’s your guide to getting to some of the best of ... Read more about Hiking to viewpoints .

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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 ... Read more about Hiking .

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Historic attractions

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Haad Sairee

A large stone bearing the initials of King Rama V, who visited the island in 1899, is located at the south end of Haad Sairee. A small plaque decorates the memorial at the highly-revered site -- don't even think of adding your own initials. The stone isn't worth a special trip, but do check it out if you happen to be passing through. To get here, walk to the south end of Haad Sairee along the ... Read more about Famous stones .

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How to keep fit on Ko Tao

You could be forgiven for thinking that Ko Tao is just about diving and partying, with no thought to healthy lifestyles and fitness pursuits, but you’d be wrong. Here’s a wrap on fitness activities on the ... Read more about How to keep fit on Ko Tao .

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Basic shopping on Ko Tao

Thankfully Ko Tao is hardly a shopping metropolis but if you’re looking for clothes, jewellery, diving equipment or groceries, we’ve got you covered — it’s always a good idea to know the best spots to buy your bananas. Or cheapest ... Read more about Basic shopping on Ko Tao .

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Day trips

Climbing on Ko Tao
South Sairee Beach, Ko Tao
T: (08)7 275 3604

Diving is not the only adventure sport on Ko Tao — climbing is one that’s often overlooked, but is great fun. It may not be as exhilarating as rock climbing in Krabi, but Ko Tao is home to more than 60 routes, of varying degrees of ... Read more about Climbing on Ko Tao .

Free diving on Ko Tao

If scuba isn’t your thing but you love the simplicity of snorkelling then free diving might just be for you. Free diving or breath-hold diving had been around for eons — it existed long, long before scuba. Traditionally it was a way of collecting sponge and fishing, but free diving has evolved into a competition sport and an alternative to scuba for exploring the underwater world. Being a ... Read more about Free diving on Ko Tao .

Cliff jumping on Ko Tao

Arguably Thailand’s perfect all-round island, Ko Tao is best known for its outstanding diving and idyllic beaches and bays. On a recent visit we did both some scuba and beach lounging, but an unexpected highlight proved to be cliff jumping into a gorgeous emerald cove near Laem Thian point on the island’s east ... Read more about Cliff jumping on Ko Tao .

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Where to next?

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

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