We really really LOVED Koh Tao. The funny thing is, it wasn’t even on our original itinerary. We’d already been to the Gulf (Koh Samui, Tao and Phangan) on holiday in 2011, and both wanted to check out some of the Andaman Islands (Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta) instead, but one look at our trusty Lonely Planet reminded us that the ‘rain stays mainly on the plain’ so to the Gulf we went.
Oli is a bit of a water baby and as I’m learning to be too Koh Tao was the obvious choice. Learning to dive here is a fantastic choice, as the climate is safe and calm for newbies and there’s plenty to see in the beautiful sea? Even sharks! More importantly, it’s incredibly cheap. You can read all about Oli’s experience of getting both his Open Water here and Advanced Open Water here.
Whilst definitely becoming a keen snorkeller, I’m not quite ready to take the plunge with diving yet — so what did I do on Koh Tao? I’ll summarise. I ate amazingly well, I was inspired to get fit (say what??) and I enjoyed some of the most beautiful landscapes around.
This is a pretty picture heavy post — I hope you enjoy it!
There is a ridiculous amount of delicious eateries to choose from on Koh Tao, and we left with much fuller bellies than we arrived with. I couldn’t think if any better way than a top 10 to properly elaborate on our favourites.
- Porto Bello (Sairee)
- I Love Salad (Chalok Ban Kao)
- Puds (opposite Tiks, Sairee)
- Mint Kitchen (next to Roctopus, Sairee)
- Sairee Sairee (errrrm Sairee, shockingly)
- Lamoon’s Homemade Ice Cream (outside Porto Bello, Sairee)
- Yellow Rice & Chicken (nr AutoKan, en route to Chalok Ban Kao)
- Through The Looking Glass (Sairee, shuts at 2pm)
- Taste of Home (Sairee)
- Sairee Cottage (amazing BBQ!)
I was genuinely overwhelmed at the prospect of whittling down our favourite activities on Koh Tao, as there are LOADS.
Crazy Golf was super good and clean fun, and you also have the option of both bowling, and Pétanque!
Koh Nang Yuen (home to the Japanese Gardens — fab snorkel and dive spot) is a great little day trip and should only cost you 200 baht each to charter a longtail. Big boats of day trippers get here about 10 and leave at around 4, so I’d plan to get here for 2 so you can have a couple of hours free (you have to leave by 6pm).
We loved snorkelling on Ao Leuk beach (private, but really casual) as the visibility was amazing….and there are stacks of baby sharks but there are a lot of other places to snorkel on Koh Tao too.
You could try Trapezing — which is around 500 baht for a 90 min session. I’m definitely planning on trying it out next time (it was closed when we were there).
There’s an insanely good amount of ways to get fit…..Grounded Yoga was my personal favourite, as the sala was outside, the instruction great and the class small. There’s a CrossFit gym, if you like your fitness to pack a bit more punch and right next door you can train with some Muay Thai experts at the Thai Boxing ring.
Lastly, don’t miss The Queens Cabaret in Sairee. It’s a must do……..
We have already planned our return to this bewitching little dot of an island, I hope this post has inspired you to take a trip here too.
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