There are plenty of Koh Tao beaches to go around but which are the best? Here are 13 cracking strips of sand to choose from.
1. Shark Bay (Thian Og Bay)
Powdery white sand and aquamarine waters are the order of the day at dreamy Shark Bay on Koh Tao’s southern tip. There are accommodation options stacked up around the hillside here which allow the lucky guests to soak up these amazing views during their stay. Access to the beach is free, albeit by walking through a resort but it’s this kind of seclusion that is the real appeal of the place. [read more]
2. Tanote Bay
Extremely pleasing on the eye, Tanote Bay is one of the most stunning coves on the island. Its perfect blend of sand, rocky boulders and green jungle backdrop make it a visual feast and it’s accessible via a road from Mae Haad which makes getting around a lot easier than some other eastern Koh Tao beaches. There is also good snorkeling around the bay which adds an all-rounder quality to the beach. [read more]
3. Sai Daeng Beach
Sandy Sai Daeng is one of the island’s south coast beaches that has a real escapism feel to it. As is the case in many parts of the island, the road here is not great so getting a taxi is advised to make your time here as stress-free as possible! It’s a gorgeous bay with good snorkeling close by so if you’re not thinking of staying here be sure to drop by one day to sample everything the beach has to offer.
4. Sairee Beach
Koh Tao’s signature long strip of sunset-facing sand is home to a wide range of resorts, cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs. This is the place to stay if you want to be in the middle of the action during your stay. The northern part of the beach is the quietest and things get livelier as you work your way south. Between here and Mae Haad you’ll have all of your party requirements covered.
5. Jansom Bay
This stunning bay is home to an exclusive resort so you’ll need to pay a small fee to access it if you’re not staying there. However, this helps to give the beach its secluded status and it’s a great place to visit for relaxation, sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling. The lack of through-fare means it’s ideal for all of these pastimes and with a great restaurant on its doorstep you certainly won’t go hungry.
6. Sai Nuan Beach
Looking like something out of a Treasure Island movie, Sai Nuan beach oozes charm and is the epitome of laid back isolation. You’ll need to get a longtail here from Mae Haad but it’s worth the effort as it’s relatively quiet as a result. Bear that in mind though, because getting to and from this beach is not as easy as you may need it to be. That’s said, hermits and recluses love it, so stop by if that’s you.
7. Chalok Baan Kao
The setting here is spectacular, with the bay recessed cosily inside a deep cove. The beach is carved beautifully into its rocky surrounds and its long curve is ample size to house many a sun-worshiper. It does become a bit of a flat (and in parts muddy) expanse at low tide though, so bear that in mind if this is of importance for you. Don’t let it put you off though, as this is a popular and well located beach.
8. June Juea Beach
Nestled in between Sai Nuan and Chalok Baan Kao lies June Juea Beach. As with its northerly neighbour, getting to and from this beach is not easy but you can exploit that fact if you’re looking for a hideaway to truss up your hammock and soak up the views in peace. It’s okay for swimming here and there are a couple of resorts that claim a piece of the beach as their own. Definitely one for the solitude seekers.
9. Mango Bay
Although the beach here is tiny, staying at Mango Bay is about far more than finding a spare bit of sand to lay on. It’s all about the visuals at this place, such is the feeling you’ll experience when you look out at the view of the bay from your balcony. The resort here is stacked beautifully into the rocky hillside and overlooks the mesmerising green and blue tones of the waters below. Truly an incredible spot.
10. Freedom Beach
This small, white sandy bay has a beach bar that will help keep you hydrated while you enjoy the peaceful serenity of your surroundings. It’s reached by walking through a resort and you can hike up the hillside to a viewpoint and gaze at the nearby coastal coves as well as across to Koh Phangan. A great beach to chill out on for a day but why not hole up in one of the bungalows here for a bit longer.
11. Mae Haad Beach
Central to the main town and the focal point for arrivals and departures, Mae Haad beach can be pretty hectic as a result. The coming and going of ferries and longtails prevent it from being a favourite but some quieter, sandy parts exist south of the pier which are well worth checking out. Its main draw is its locality to all that’s going on as well as it being just a short stroll away from Sairee beach.
12. Ao Leuk Bay
This bay on the east coast is a great beach-hopping destination if you’re hiring a longtail boat for the day. There’s a rocky, boulder-strewn but sandy beach here which is good for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking. Equipment can be hired from the beachfront bar if you don’t have your own. The lack of a decent road here means it’s a little isolated and you’ll need to rely on taxi’s for coming and going if you stay here.
13. Koh Nang Yuan
Last but by no means least is Nang Yuan, a tiny island and beach in its own right. It has a postcard-perfect sandbar that joins its mini archipelago together. Catch a longtail here for a small fee and check it out but beware.. you’ll get stung for another ‘entrance’ fee if you set foot on it! It’s well worth it though, to sample its beauty and great snorkeling. There’s one resort here.
As you can see, there’s a varied and mouth-watering choice of Koh Tao beaches for you to explore. The tough bit is deciding which one to make your home while you’re there. Best of luck with that!