Relaxing beaches, beautiful sunsets every night and the best chill island vibes are what make Koh Tao so amazing, not to mention the opportunity to dive in the big blue ocean for the cheapest price in the world! Much less touristy than some of the other islands in Southern Thailand, Koh Tao offers the perfect spot to relax for a few days and/or get your diving certification. Friendly locals and dive experts alike travel around on scooters and almost everything is within walking distance. We spent four days there diving, hanging out at beachside restaurants and sipping fruit smoothies, but we could have spent two weeks there if we could. Koh Tao is definitely not to be missed!
How To Get There
We took the “hangover” ferry the day after the Full Moon Party from Koh Pha Ngan to Koh Tao. It cost 400 baht which included the taxi ride to the pier! The ride took about 2 hours and was smooth and uneventful. However if you are not feeling so hot the day after, you might want to hold off on getting the ferry until the next day as it can get pretty wavy out there!
To get to our hostel we pre-arranged a complimentary pick up from the ferry docks to the shuttle. Check out where you want to stay and see what they offer!
When we left we went to Railay Beach on the west coast of Thailand. This involved a taxi, a ferry, a bus and another ferry. The cost was 1200 baht but we were happy to have all of our transportation taken care of. Check with travel agents around the island and compare prices!
Where To Stay
- Big Blue Diving – This was the dive center we chose to do our Open Water Diving Certification at, and they offered a deal of free accommodation for the duration of our course. The cost was 9800 baht for the course, and we stayed in very clean 6 person dorms for free for four nights. There were no meals included but they did serve an extensive variety of food at Big Blue Diving as well, for a reasonable price. This cost may seem expensive but it is actually one of the cheapest in the world for diving, so we jumped on the accommodation deal! You can check them out online here.
- CK Hostel – We did not stay here but one of our very good friends who was not interested in diving chose to stay here. Clean, dorm style rooms, very new facilities, and a fun party atmosphere; she really enjoyed the stay there! You can book online here.
What To Do
- Dive – Like we’ve already said, this is one of the cheapest places to learn how to dive in the world, so if you’ve ever thought about going for your certification, this is the perfect opportunity. There are tons of beautiful dive spots around the island with so many diverse and wonderful sea animals and choral to look at, we couldn’t get enough! Getting our certification here set us up to save money in more expensive places by just paying for dives and not certifications (i.e. Gili Air in Indonesia and of course, The Great Barrier Reef, Australia). The dive instructors at Big Blue were well trained, kind, supportive and knowledgeable and we felt safe and prepared every step of the way (shout out to Denja the best instructor ever!). Research and compare prices of different dive centres before hand as there are many reputable dive centers on the island, but definitely go for it!
- Koh Nang Yuen – This is a small island right off the coast of Koh Tao and it offers one of the most beautiful views we saw on our whole trip. White sand beaches, turquoise waters and a look out point, a trip to this island should be on your list no matter what. You can haggle with the long boat drivers to take you over to the island and pick you up later on (we got ours down to 600 baht total, but you’ll have to fight pretty hard – depending on the time of day; later in the day will be harder to get a good price). You also have to pay to entire the island (100 baht), but it is so worth it! They keep the island stunningly clean by not allowing any plastic or garbage on the island. The picture of this gorgeous island is featured on our home page. Spend an afternoon hiking to the view point and relaxing on the beaches but fair warning; bring some snacks or drinks because food is quite expensive there!
Where To Eat
- Su Chilli – A delicious little spot right on the main street and close to the hostels. Offering delicious traditional Thai food at a reasonable price, we definitely went there a few times during our short stay.
- Kusto – We went here with our diving instructor for a big breakfast before setting off to dive in the ocean. Located right next to the Big Blue Dive Shop (note: not the actual resort), they offered big and delicious breakfast deals that were a little more expensive but not bad! So if you are missing home and looking for a nice western breaky, look no further!
- Beach Restaurants – At sunset these places offer a calming place to sit on the beach and have a drink and dinner while you enjoy the unreal view, but at night, fire shows, limbo, dancing, drinking and partying can be found at every single place down the beach. We had so much fun taking advantage of all the bucket drink deals and party hopping (one place had a pool party!). And when you’re ready to hit the hay, there is no shortage of delicious food stands for the drunk food you’ve been craving.