With more than 35 dive sites, around 60 dive schools and notably inexpensive prices for diving, Koh Tao is Thailand’s diving mecca. However, Koh Tao has a lot more to offer and is the perfect holiday destination for backpackers, flashpackers and families alike. Spend your days relaxing at one of the beautiful beaches, indulge in the local culture by taking a Thai Cooking Class or be more active and choose from a variety of sports offers. Koh Tao is definitely worth a detour during your visit in Thailand!
There is not really a best time of year to visit Koh Tao. Being a tropical island, the days can be rainy during the dry season and dry in the monsoon season. The weather can never be guaranteed but Koh Tao generally has calm and sunny days all year round. Being on the East coast of Thailand, Koh Tao is in a sheltered zone, so we do not feel the strong May-November monsoon, which affects the West coast of Thailand considerably. Koh Tao usually has a light monsoon season, which starts in mid-October and finishes by mid-December. Even during this period you can have the best days on Koh Tao. For diving conditions and visibility the same is true, we can never predict great or bad visibility at any particular time of year. Just come to the island when you have time and if the weather is good enjoy it and if it is raining you can also enjoy it, its never cold !
Diving on Koh Tao offers a great variety of marine life, from small critters to the biggest fish in the ocean. The divesites close to Koh Tao all feature beautiful coral and countless colourful reef fish. You can also see stingrays, moray eels, sea snakes and if you are lucky turtles, schooling barracudas and the biggest fish in the ocean – the whaleshark. If you are more into the small stuff, you can hunt for nudibranchs, shrimp and pipefish.
The safest and cheapest way to get around is by foot. Koh Tao is a small island and you can reach a supermarket, restaurants and the beach within only a few minutes. You can also rent a bike, but be warned: the streets can be challenging if you are not a skilled driver and usual traffic rules do not apply here. The most beautiful way to see the island is by taxi boat. Hire one for the day and drive all around Koh Tao, stopping at all the stunning beaches. There are also many taxi drivers on Koh Tao, who will take you from A to B. Compared to other places in Thailand, taxi prices are quite steep so be sure to ask for the price before hopping on.
Koh Tao offers a wide range of choices for your nights out. Along Sairee Beach you can find beach lounges with a relaxed and chilled vibe, many beachfront restaurants and a few beach bars playing music until late. Dance away on the beach or just sit back and enjoy the view, the choice is yours! It is not only in Sairee where you can spend a good night out. There are a lot of other bars spread allover the island where you can enjoy live performances, relax to Reggae tunes or party with house music.
You can find all different types of cuisines on Koh Tao. Most popular and also budget-friendly are the small Thai restaurants, serving local fresh Thai dishes. In the evening you can also grab a bite to eat from the typical small food stands on the side of the road. Fancy Indian, Mexican, French or Italian food instead? Also not a problem on Koh Tao!
There are several banks on Koh Tao, many ATMs, money exchange offices and even Western Union facilities. Visa and MasterCard are also widely accepted, although in many restaurants they prefer cash.
There are several medical centers on Koh Tao. Emergency Services (SSS), hospitals and a recompression chamber can be found on the nearby island of Koh Samui, which is 90 minutes away by speedboat.
For most nationalities it is possible to receive a 30 day visa on arrival if you fly in to Thailand or 15 days if you arrive overland. It is also possible to get longer visas, however the rules can change frequently. The best is always to check with the Thai Embassy in your home country before coming to Thailand as they will have the latest advice for you.
From the mainland coming from Chumphon or Surat Thani to Koh Tao, you also have the choice of taking a night ferry. The ride is longer than during the day but most of the ferries offer quite comfortable beds and air conditioning.
Lomprayah bus departs from Khao San Road in Bangkok at two times: 06:00 (arrival in Koh Tao 14:45) or 21:30 (arrival in Koh Tao 08:45). The bus ride is approx. 7 hours and they will take you directly to the pier in Chumphon for the catamaran departure to Koh Tao.The cheapest and easiest way to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao is by bus & ferry. The
night train. It leaves Bangkok at 19:30 and arrives Chumphon at 04:15. Then the a minibus picks you up at Chumphon train terminal bringing you to the ferry which leaves 07:00.More comfort but worse connection you have if you travel by
Nok Air. The flight time is approx. 1 hour. From Chumphon airport, you will be transferred to the pier where you take the ferry to Koh Tao. Sailing time is approx. 1.5 hours between Koh Tao and Chumphon, transfer time from the airport approx. 45 mins. You can book the flight & ferry combined directly on their homepage.You can fly from Bangkok, Don Muang Airport to Chumphon Airport with
You can also fly from Bangkok to Koh Samui via Bangkok Airways. The flight is approx. 1 hour. This flight option is usually more expensive than flying to Chumphon but offers better connections and more options in departure times with flights leaving several times a day. In Koh Samui you have the choice between the Seatran and Lomprayah ferry which leave at around 08:30, 12:30 and 17:00. Sailing time is approx. 2 hours between the islands. Please check their websites for exact schedule. From the airport to the Seatran pier the transfer is approx. 10 mins, to the Lomprayah pier about 45 mins.
The most beautiful thing in the world is, of course, the world itself.