Big Blue Diving - Koh Tao - Thailand - Where to Stay on Koh Tao?
Sunday, 05 August 2018 18:55

Where to Stay on Koh Tao? Featured

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When choosing to visit our little island here in Southern Thailand, one of the first things you’ll need to decide on is where you want to stay when you get here. In this blog I’m going to look at the three most popular beaches on the island, Sairee, Mae Haad and Chalok Baan Kao.

Sairee Beach

For visitors looking to experience the best sunsets Koh Tao has to offer, this lovely 1.8 km long beach on the west side of the island is the place to be. With the largest range of shops, bars, cafes restaurants and dive centres on Koh Tao this is the busiest beach, and it’s also home to the most social hostels on the island, and some very luxurious beachfront resorts making Sairee Beach the Number 1 choice for families, couples, singles & for all those adventurous travellers out there backpacking Thailand.

Most of the beach is idyllic coconut palm-lined, with the occasional Causarina (also known as the Australian Pine) providing much needed shade, without the terrifying prospect of coconuts dropping onto your skull. Another tree to keep your eyes peeled for on Sairee is the Barringtonia asiatica, (or ‘Fish Poison Tree’) with its beautiful flowers that often scatter the beach early in the mornings.


The snorkelling here isn’t too bad with angelfish, bannerfish, parrotfish, a few giant barracuda and the occasional turtle to be found in the shallow coral gardens just a few minutes off the beach.

Sairee Beach is also a great place to depart for Nang Yuan island from especially if you fancy a quick 20 minute paddle out in a kayak, or one of those new SUP boards.

For those wanting to let down their hair and enjoy some of the best parties Koh Tao has to offer then Sairee is definitely the place to stay. Popular places include BND Beach Club, Choppers, Fizz, Lotus Bar, Fishbowl, Maya Beach Club, Diza Bar, AC Pool Party and many more!


Places to Eat

A huge selection of restaurants and cafes means it’s easy to find something to keep even the pickiest of eaters happy, and it’s also home to arguably the best restaurants on the whole island too.

Well worth checking out are Duck 995, Tik, Seasons, Su Chilli, The Gallery and the ‘711 Food Court’ for Thai food, while those looking for Western/Fusion should try Baia Burger Concept, Barracuda Restaurant, La Pizzeria, Blue Water Café and Portobello’s.

Vegetarians and vegans should take a look at Vegetabowl, Lanta Restaurant, Shalimar (Indian) and Breeze for the most delicious meat-free options in the area.


Mae Haad

The port town where everyone first arrives on Koh Tao, Mae Haad has a lovely charm about it with the narrow streets revealing hints of what the island used to be like before tourism really hit. It’s got a good selection of clothing and souvenir shops and there are also a few stores specializing in scuba equipment for those looking to start a new diving career on the island

The narrow beach is okay for swimming and snorkelling, but the boat traffic in and out can get annoying and also contributes to the litter problem that a lot of the beach suffers from.

Home to a few excellent places to eat but not as lively as Sairee, it tends to attract a slightly older crowd and those just too damn lazy to go any further after getting off the ferry. It’s also a pretty good place for sunsets, which are often the backdrop to hundreds of swooping Asian palm swifts (Cypsiurus balasiensis) out for their evening meal – one hell of a sight for bird-lovers out there, though quite noisy too!

Party lovers may find Mae Haad a little too quiet for their liking, but with Sairee Beach just a twenty minute stroll (or a one hour drunken stumble) away it’s not completely cut-off from the action


Places to Eat

The town has a handful of excellent eateries for all tastes, in particular Whitening with its Thai/Western fusion and international dishes, Kakureya for delicious Japanese cuisine, Neptune  and Dolce Vita for authentic Italian delights and Pranee Kitchen or Yang’s Restaurant for good yet cheap Thai food.

Vegetarians and Vegans would be fools to miss La Carotte Qui Rit, and Coconut Monkey is also very popular with those with a penchant for veggies over beasties.


Chalok Baan Khao

The third largest beach on Koh Tao and the quietest one of the three I’ve talked about here, Chalok is for some reason home to the majority of our French and Spanish-speaking visitors to Koh Tao. The shallow bay is perfect for those not-too-hot at swimming, and it’s often quite popular with families because of this fact.  Unfortunately the snorkeling here is not so great due to these shallow depths.

As Chalok faces south-west it’s not the best place on the island for those classic sunset photos Thailand is famous for, but being near a handful of incredible view-points more than makes up for this fact – the ‘John Suwan’ viewpoint in particular is well worth the half-hour hike to get there!

The lack of people here is the real draw of Chalok Baan Khao to its visitors – even in high season you get a real feeling of being away from it all, but with 711 just a few minutes away there’s still plenty of home-comforts available for those less-willing to cut all ties to the real world! Nightlife options are a lot more limited as to be expected apart from a handful of nicely chilled bars, in particular Bar Next Door (BND), Pirate Bar and the aptly named High Bar with its incredible views of the bay.

Places to Eat

With far more Thai food options here than any other type of cuisine, Chalok is a nice place to sample just what real Thai cooking is all about. Yin Yang on the main street is always very busy, seafood BBQ is always very popular on the beachfront, but anyone staying here absolutely must pay a visit to The Cape Restaurant, in Viewpoint Resort on the west side of the beach. Not for those on a small budget, the quality of food that’s being produced there is worth splurging on, especially the Black Angus and the Tuna steaks!  Also one of the newer additions to the culinary delights on offer in Chalok and another worth gtting excited over is Suda, a Korean restaurant just a five minute stroll from the beach. With absolutely delicious treats simply all over the menu it’s a nice way to sample Korean food without having to take that long flight to Pyongyang.


Read 587 times Last modified on Wednesday, 08 August 2018 18:33