Koh Tao

There are things to do on Koh Tao. We just didn't do them. The beach was too nice.

Day 1: Bangkok to Koh Tao

It wasn’t any fun catching a 6:00AM bus but it wasn’t bad. We bought — online before we left — Lomprayah’s combination bus-boat ticket from Bangkok to Koh Tao. There were multiple buses and lots of people heading to Koh Tao, Kho Phangan, and Koh Samui.  Each person and each piece of baggage got a destination sticker. We met at their office and then walked to where the buses were parked. The bus (coach) was comfortable and had a toilet, though they also made a rest stop or two. There wasn’t a lot to see along the way but we did start seeing mountains and the odd temple.

Part of the road down to the pier was a little dicey. We went from a different pier than usual because of the weather. Once we got to the pier there was the typical boat confusion. We had to wait for people to get off the boat, get their baggage, etc. The ferry ride was pretty rough, though not as bad as Drake Bay or Tobacco Caye. First time we’ve ever seen someone get seasick. Staff were passing out seasickness bags and people were taking them. Including us, just in case. Thankfully we didn’t need them. 

The hardest part of arriving at Koh Tao was digging our bags out of the pile of baggage. Our hotel was there to pick us up, along with a Canadian family. Our first ride in a songthaew. (It looked like lots of hotels picked up guests.) They dropped us off at the office and our bags off at our bungalow. 

view from songthaew

We went for a walk on the beach. The beach isn’t very wide and at one point disappeared under the water, so we didn’t walk very far. Must have been high tide. We had beer and then dinner at the waterside restaurant. 

sunset on the beach

Day 2: Chores and Swimming

We slept in this morning after getting up in the middle of the night to catch the bus. We had breakfast at the restaurant, booked our boat onward to Koh Samui with the hotel (they also drop off at the boat for free) and found out how to refill our water bottles. They have dispensers outside the dive shop office next door. 

latte with heart
view from porch

We took another walk on the beach, swam for a while, and had some beer in the afternoon. Our bungalow doesn’t have a refrigerator so we can’t stock up on beer, but the store is a five minute walk at most so it’s easy to get more. The view from our bungalow porch is pretty good. 

We had dinner at the restaurant again. 

sunset from porch

Day 3: Snorkeling from the Beach

We got the snorkel gear out today and went snorkeling from the beach. It’s only a couple of minutes walk so we didn’t have to worry about leaving things down there. We saw fish, including the biggest butterfly fish we’ve ever seen, sea cucumbers, camouflage fish, parrot fish, and others. 

view from restaurant
lazy dog

There are things to do here on Koh Tao we’re just kind of like this dog: we’re relaxed and aren’t all that interested. We thought about doing a snorkel tour but none of them sound like they’re worth the hassle.

We ate dinner at the restaurant again. 

Day 4: Ill

The soft shell crab pad Thai last night did not agree with me. By afternoon I managed to feel good enough to get in the water, which did feel good. But that was it. The view is still nice though. The restaurant has both tables and chairs along with low tables and mats where you can lounge or dangle your feet over the edge. 

view from restaurant

Scuba diving is big here on Koh Tao. They run lots of classes. Our hotel has a dive shop and school so there’s always a fair amount of activity around. We enjoy watching them haul and organize gear. They load it and the divers into smaller boats and take them out to the larger dive boats moored in the bay. 

We decided we needed some pictures of Sairee Beach so Steve took the camera out in the water. The beach is about 1.5 km long and while it’s dotted with hotels and restaurants, they don’t overwhelm the beach. 

Day 5: More Beach Time

I felt good enough for a normal breakfast today and a couple of beers later on. Our hotel is right on the pedestrian walking street that parallels the beach. The restaurant is on one side, the offices and dive shop on the other, and the bungalows on pedestrian paths branching off the walking street. The walking street goes past shops and hotels into a village where there are more shops, hotels, and restaurants, and currency exchange. It’s quieter down here and we’re only a couple of minutes from the beach.

One last sunset from our bungalow. We discovered it’s better to eat a little early. The restaurant is popular and gets busy later. Plus, while the sunset it beautiful, it also gets HOT when the sun is below the roofline. 

sunset through trees

Essentials​

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Lodging

Our standard bungalow at Sairee Cottage was charming and well located for the beach, walking street, and restaurant. Staff were friendly and helpful. No fridge but a minimart was only about 5 min walk. The only inconveniences were no nightstands and little room to walk next to the bed. A small shelf for glasses and reading material near the bed would be helpful. Good Thai food and breakfast onsite. There were two pools, which we didn’t try out. The beach was so nice and so close we didn’t need to!

Dining

We had all our meals at the hotel restaurant. Breakfast was very good as was the Thai food. The international food was less appealing but then I was eating that when I didn’t feel well and wanted something bland. We tried green papaya salad, fish and chips, pizza, fried mackerel, moo wan, duck red curry, pad Thai.

Transportation

There’s no airport on Koh Tao so the only way to get there is by boat. Once there, the hotel got us to and from the boat, and we walked everywhere else.