Our Mini Guide to Koh Tao

16 Mar

We have spent a total of 16 days on Koh Tao (Turtle Island) since starting our travels. This incredible little island is just under 20km all round and boasts some of the most breath taking sights a holiday spot has to offer. From the surreal snorkeling and diving, breath taking sunsets and relaxed atmosphere – Koh Tao has managed to exceed all our expectations.

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First time round we stayed on Freedom Beach, one of the 11 bays the island has to offer. We stayed at the Taa Toh Resort and, although we enjoyed our 5 nights stay there, without transport and abundant energy, getting into town is quite far which forces you to eat all meals at the restaurant (which can get quite pricey). None the less, the area is quiet, beaches clean and water clear. The Freedom Beach Bar is on the water and one of the most beautiful spots to have a sundowner! Don’t expect much from the staff at the resort, they were generally unpleasant and many guests complained about inadequate service. If you choose not to stay at Freedom Beach, a day trip is also a great option!

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After leaving Freedom Beach we moved to the popular diving area – Sairee Beach. Sairee is the longest beach, stretching 1.85km along the west coast. We stayed in simple cottages at SBC resort (sometimes called Nat Resort), just a few meters from the shore line. Accommodation varies in price and features – we stayed in a wooden hut and concrete bungalow. The spider species tends to thrive in the wooden bungalow option, so if (like us) you’re not a fan of (huge) spiders, the concrete option is recommended… Sairee has a large number of restaurants to choose from, bars and places to stay – creating a real village atmosphere!

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One of the high lights of our stay was hiring a quad bike. We spent the entire day exploring one bay to the next – each one unique. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite make it down to Mango Bay (we weren’t quite prepared for the steep cliffs which we would needed to tackle by foot) – but when the budget allows, that is definitely our next stop! None the less, we did stop at the view point which overlooks a part of the island…

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Our best buy was a set of goggles and snorkel. They can be bought all over the island and add so much excitement to your day. Snorkeling is truly magnificent on this island and each day a new spot can be discovered!

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Best advice… Accommodation is easy to find but not so easy before and after a Full Moon Party as tourists tend to flock to the island to get some diving in the bag before heading home. Most places on Sairee Beach only accept walk-in bookings with no online reservation system. Sairee Beach is the place to be if you are young, enjoy meeting new people and wanting to have a good night out! Although beautiful, most of the other bays are not as easily accessible, so expect to relax at one spot if choosing a more remote bay. Food prices range, but cheap restaurants are easy to find. Bingo is a great budget spot and the restaurants off the main road have some amazingly priced dishes! Snorkeling trips are relatively inexpensive, so if you can afford a trip to Koh Nang Yuan (which is connected to Koh Tao with a sand bank) definitely spend the day doing that! Prepare for mosquitoes… They are out to bite at any chance they get and Dengue fever has ruined many holiday plans in the last few days… Bring mosquito repellant and coils to burn – they are much more expensive on the island than at other places, so bring some supplies! :)

Our time here is not up just yet. Who knows, we might even stay and become dive instructors… :) One must never stop dreaming…

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9 Responses to “Our Mini Guide to Koh Tao”

  1. renee March 16, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    Love the best advice! :) Happy travels! :)

  2. sarahryan85 March 19, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    I loved Koh Tao too, very peaceful there.

  3. Sam March 22, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    I lived here for a year this is a good little guide :) I miss my morning swims at Freedom beach

    • katekingsley89 March 22, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

      The best :) did you work whilst living here?

      • Sam March 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

        Yes I worked at Fishbowl bartending and also as a dive master :)

  4. confessions-of-a-nomad March 22, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    It looks amazing here I can’t wait to go!

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