I’ve never known what I wanted to do in life yet for several years it was clear to me that I loved travelling. As a result of social media, I got to know the world of travel blogs and that’s how I created my own: travellingtolive.com.
One of the most important hobbies for me is chess. Practically since I was born I accompanied my father to numerous chess tournaments and at the age of 7 or 8 I learned to play. I haven’t stopped playing since then.
Chess has allowed me to travel through Spain, to other countries in Europe and to meet many people who are now really important in my life. When I finished high school (after two years of study), I made one of the best decisions of my life: to go interrail for a month to see Europe with a friend.
It was an unforgettable experience that allowed me to meet people of all kinds. I met many travellers with great stories who inspired me to want to continue discovering the world. As a result of those experiences I decided my great passion in life was travel – to know, learn and enjoy new cultures.
One Way Ticket to Southeast Asia
Four years later, with my genetics degree finished, I decided to embark on the greatest adventure of my life: to travel through Southeast Asia without a return ticket. After almost six months of unforgettable adventures, I moved into an apartment in Koh Samui and stayed for just over a month.
I aim to share my passion with all the travellers of the world. I also hope to inspire regular people to get out there and travel too. That’s why I started to take photos of the places I visited so I could share them with my followers.
Why Visit Koh Tao in Thailand
Koh Tao is an island located in the south of Thailand (Gulf of Thailand) and is world famous for its diving courses. However, there is much more to the island than just diving. We weren’t planning on diving despite it being the cheapest place in the world or at least one of the cheapest places.
Our plan was to visit the beaches. Actually, we had a clear image in our heads of where we wanted to go – Koh Nang Yuan. This island consists of three islands connected together and is located near Koh Tao. In the end, we found out that Koh Tao had a lot more to offer than just that island!
11 Amazing Nights in Koh Tao
We visited Koh Tao for 11 nights and it seemed ideal to experience the island in a relaxing and unplanned way. This meant walking the streets and exploring as much as we could without running or dying from heat.
Obviously, if you rent a motorcycle you can explore the island in five days or less. We opted to travel on foot since the motorbike agencies make you leave your passport and have been known to charge tourists $300 for a small scratch! For that price you could buy a completely new bike.
Since we stayed for 11 nights we got the chance to see most of the island. This included Koh Nang Yuan, Chalok Baan Kao Bay, Shark Bay, Sai Daeng, Sairee Beach, Freedom Beach and some great trekking around the island. We also did a snorkelling tour to see sharks and turtles. It was amazing!
My Favourite Place: Koh Nang Yuan
My favorite place in Koh Tao was Koh Nang Yuan. It is the most crowded place but also the most spectacular. Not only is the viewpoint beautiful but the snorkelling is incredible. In the Japanese garden, the most famous area of the island, you can see corals and colourful fish. We absolutely loved it.
The most impressive part was on the other side of the beach where we could see sharks. Certainly a bucket-list moment that we will cherish forever. It was amazing to find sharks swimming so close to the beach.
Top 10 Things To Do in Koh Tao
1. Check out the Famous View at Koh Nang Yuan
The one image that comes to mind when people think about Koh Tao is the classic view on Koh Nang Yuan. Not only is this viewpoint amazing but the island itself is beautiful too. After taking photos and admiring the views we snorkelled in the Japanese Garden and saw colourful corals and fish.
2. Go on a Snorkelling Tour in Koh Tao
There are many fantastic snorkelling spots around the island. However, the beaches are shallow and it can be difficult to swim between the rocks and corals to areas where you can see something. That’s why I recommend a snorkelling tour. You can see marine life further away from the beaches.
Tours cost around 850 Thai baht per person and last all day. This includes lunch and visits to five different spots: Koh Nang Yuan, Hin Wong Bay, Mango Bay, Shark Bay and Aow Leuk Bay. We went with a company called Oxygen Tour Koh Tao and found them to be very professional.
3. Swim with Sharks and Turtles in Shark Bay
Possibly the most famous beach in Koh Tao after Koh Nang Yuan is Shark Bay. The name of this place says it all. You can see sharks and turtles. Not only that but the beach is beautiful too. There are a couple of ways to enter the bay: through the Haad Tien Beach Resort and from a rocky path.
4. Walk the Chalok Baan Kao Bay Coastal Track
One of the best excursions you can take is to walk the coast along several spectacular beaches. We decided to walk from Chalok Baan Kao Bay to the port. It’s not a marked out path but you just need to know the direction and then set off! The walk passes through beaches and jungle.
5. Relax at the Beautiful Chalok Baan Kao Bay
Chalok Baan Kao Bay is an ideal place to go sunbathing and swimming in the sea. There’s also a range of pool bars where you can order a refreshment or beverage and relax by the pool. I recommend going to relax by the pool with the sound of the sea and a cold drink in hand.
6. Walk among the Palm Trees of Koh Tao
The advantage of exploring the island on foot is that you can enjoy the paths to beaches. Although it can be tiring to walk it does make for great exercise. Some places on these paths are like viewpoints where you are surrounded by palm trees overlooking the sea. It’s so nice to be in nature!
7. See the Sunrise in Chumphon
Arriving into Koh Tao via Chumphon by ferry in the early morning gives you a chance to see a spectacular sunrise at the port. The sunrise we saw started at 6:00am and cleared at around 6:30am. Instead of waiting for the ferry check-in to open, head to the beach and enjoy the show.
8. Search for Sharks in Sai Daeng
Another place to see blacktip sharks in Koh Tao is at Sai Daeng. Make sure you visit on a clear and calm day as it can be difficult to see sharks in rough, murky waters. There are some free deckchairs to use on the beach that are perfect for setting yourself up for the day while you search for sharks.
9. Spend the Day at Sairee Beach
Sairee Beach offers crystal clear waters and beautiful white sands. Other beaches in Koh Tao can have dead coral washed up on shore but not at Sairee Beach. It’s certainly one of the best beaches on the island with some restaurants and shade located near the beach which is handy too.
10. Visit Freedom Beach and the Viewpoint
One area that we missed on our trip to Koh Tao was Freedom Beach and the viewpoint next to it. We heard some good things online and from other travellers and locals about this beach though. You have to pay 100 Thai baht to access the viewpoint and this also covers kayak use for the day.
Meeting Locals in Koh Tao
Koh Tao is a touristy island with very little local life. The only way to meet locals that don’t want to sell you anything is to go walking. Forget about the motorcycle and just walk around the island.
As you get away from the port, hotels and bars – you will reach areas where there is practically nothing except for locals and their communities. Thai people are friendly, smiling and open to tourists. Feel free to strike up a conversation with locals when you can and learn about their way of life.
Food Scene of Koh Tao
Tukta was the most delicious restaurant we tried in Koh Tao. Ever since first discovering it, we ate there everyday! It was recommended to us by a Spanish girl who is living there. The truth is that we went there twice a day.
It opens at 11am so you can’t go for breakfast but keep it in mind for lunch and dinner. Dishes are normally around 60-70 Thai baht which is the cheapest you will find on the island. On top of that the food is delicious! Especially the garlic pepper chicken and the breaded chicken appetizer.
They also have water to fill at their canteens for free. Tutka is a little bit slow in serving food but the family who runs the restaurant is very nice and it’s always worth the wait. We highly recommend this Koh Tao restaurant.
Best Places to Stay in Koh Tao
Koh Tao is a relatively expensive island and it’s not always easy to find cheap accommodation. We stayed at Namhasin House. I think it’s good value for money. This place is simple but sufficient with all you need. It’s located a bit out from the port so you get to avoid the noise of the parties.
Need to Know Before you Go
All I can say is enjoy every moment! Koh Tao is an incredible island full of activities. If your budget allows it, indulge yourself and book a great hotel with views of the sea or near one of the beaches. Enjoy sunrises in the morning and sunsets and night without too many tourists around.