Live like a local: what to do in koh tao

Updated: Jan 17, 2020

There is so much to do on Koh Tao nowadays compared to 15 years ago when I first arrived.

Some of my favorite things to do on Koh Tao, and one thing I encourage all of my students to do is to go on some adventurous hikes. On Koh Tao you can see some awesome viewpoints - some of the best (but not the full list!) are: Liem Thian, Fraggle Rock, Koh Naun Yuan, Love Koh Tao and Two Views. Some good trainers and at least 2-3 liters of water are a must!

Koh Tao offers some amazing diving of course, but if you’re an avid snorkeler or not yet sure you want to venture a few meters under the water then there is still something for everyone! Aow Leuk is just stunning and if you’re lucky enough you may spot some baby reef sharks. Hin Wong Bay also offers a variety of colorful fish and more baby sharks in the shallow areas. Mango Bay and Shark Bay are also nice shallow spots to snorkel that offer an array of colorful corals; Shark Bay gets its name for having many reef sharks. There are also a few huge turtles that have been cruising around for a good few years.

We are blessed with many quaint cafes on Koh Tao and wonderful sunset bars. Some of my favorites to name a few are Indie Café, New Heaven, Factory Café and Vegetabowl.

Sunsets on Koh Tao never get boring; amazing colors and bright skies bless this island every night. Some local places to hang out are Fizz Bar on the beach, Maya Beach Club, Blue Water and Whitening... but there are many more. Try wandering along the beach and see where you end up.

For a good meal out with a beautiful setting you must try Barracuda Restaurant @ Darawan. You are welcomed with a huge waterfall and stunning views - sunset here is a must, followed by a menu that is always so hard to choose from as everything is good! Fizz has a great menu with good portions and friendly prices. Su Chili is a local favorite for good, clean Thai food. Lastly Whitening on the beach is if you’re looking to impress for a romantic evening, or they cater for larger tables and groups for friends after diving or dining out for whatever occasion.

If you want to relax by a swimming pool and read a book then Coral Grand Divers has a lovely resort pool. If a cocktail to accompany your book is just what you’re looking for, another popular place with a view is Aminjirah. They offer a stunning view of Sairee Beach and have a great selection of drinks with a delightful pool too.

Getting to Koh Tao is super easy – the main companies with the most comfort I find are the Lomprayah High Speed Catamaran, or the Seatran which is a little slower but still comfortable. Last, Songserm is a little cheaper but it will still get you here safe and sound. It’s best to find the times on the internet as there are now many options.

Koh Tao is a magical and magnetic island; you either visit and stay or visit and return! It’s full of beautiful people, friendly locals, and lots to do. There is something for everyone, from Yoga to Pilates, Muay Thai Boxing to Western Boxing, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Cooking Lessons, Thai Lessons, Hiking, Rock Climbing, Cliff Jumping and much much more…Come see for yourself.

Posted by Natalie Alderton, PADI Staff Instructor

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