A guide to the Island Koh Tao, Thailand. Where to eat, where to stay, my top tips and where to party.
If you follow me on Instagram (@petitesideofstyle) you will know I recently travelled around Thailand for seven weeks, visiting around 10 Islands and staying in some of the best hotels in Asia.
The first week we stayed in Koh Tao, a small Island with a population of under 2,000 people. An Island which with a bike you can travel around in a few hours.
What to do: I spent three days learning how to dive with Simple Life diving school and I would recommend you to do it on the Island too. Its one of the cheapest places in the world to learn how to dive. The experience is like no other. I could not even begin to put into words what it is like being almost 30 metres under the ocean, seeing titan trigger fishes, sting rays or nemo's but most beautifully the colours and the coral. Ive seen pictures all over the internet of coral and sea life but nothing beats seeing it for yourself.
Whilst on the island visit Koh Nang Yuan, an even smaller island a long tail boat away. Or in our case a 45 minuet kayak away. It is still one of my favourite views in Thailand. Make sure you climb up the view point and take a snorkel with you. It is quite over crowed so try and go as early as possible.
Where to stay: For the first few nights we stayed at The Hillside Resort. If you're staying here I would recommend hiring a bike (around 150THB-200THB). As the name of the hotel states, it really is up in the hills. Even walking from hotel room to lobby is enough exercise. The views are worth it.
For a more central stay, closer to the beach, bars and restaurants - Thalassa Hotel. Compared to the hillside resort the Thalassa is very modern, clean and no bugs in site. Which is very rare on the Island.
Where to eat: Remembering that I was not an avid Thai eater before travelling, I followed the boyfriend wherever he wished to take me and boy did he transform my taste buds. Adam had been in Koh Tao for six weeks before I arrived (doing his dive master course) and he patiently waited for my arrival so we could try The Gallery together. A luxury dining experience attached to a beautiful gallery of photography from around the Island and surrounding Islands, which you can buy. A great idea to pop out for dinner and shop for art work whilst you wait for it to be prepared.
If you're lucky enough to be on the Island on a Sunday visit BanYan for a huge and very homely roast dinner. I had only been there for six nights but Sundays were the only days I had home food - we called them, Western Sundays. (Adam also recommends Hacienda for their roasts, but I never got to test that one for myself)
Where to party: Between doing my diving course and most beach parties cancelled because of the King passing, night life on Koh Tao was quieter than normal (I was told). On the nights we did stumble out of bars we visited Rock Bar, which was a true Thailand experience, just like I had imagined. Bustling through the crowds to the bar, Chang's in hand, we headed onto a bean bag on the beach. End your night with a 711 cheese and ham toastie.
Tips for visiting Koh Tao
- Hire a bike
- Visit Koh Nang Yuan (Kayak over)
- Visit John-Suwan view point
- Learn how to dive
- Visit Tanote Bay Beach
- 45 minute hike to Laem Thain to explore the deserted hotel
Watch my Koh Tao vlog here.