One of the most asked question here on Trip Advisor is “where to stay” so here’s a little guide to the main areas around the island to help people decide what will suit them most.

 Please note that Koh Tao is a small island and it’s easy to explore the island either via the roads (not the best in some cases) or by boat which can get you to some of the most secluded areas with ease.

Mae Head/ Mae Haad

 All visitors arrive and depart from here. It’s the capital of Koh Tao and has a large array of shops, along with some bars and restaurants. There are banks and a post office here too.

The piers are in the centre of the town with stretches of beach to both the north and south of them. A lot of the accommodation is based around these beach areas.  Apart from when the boats arrive it tends to be quite a sleepy little town and shouldn’t be dismissed because it’s the main port.


Sairee Beach/Village

This is the main beach resort on the island. It has the most accommodation, restaurants and bars. It’s the busiest resort too. The nightlife is the most active in Sairee with lots of places to let your hair down, saying that, you can still find a quiet spot for the night too. There’s some great food on offer in many different varieties. The southern end of Sairee is the busiest and the northern end tends to be quieter and more relaxed.

The beach itself is a long stretch of white sand and is very pretty. The seas is good for swimming and there’s some coral reef not far out so it’s good for snorkelling too.

There’s accommodation to fit almost all budgets and requirements from basic fan huts to 4 star luxury as well as private villas.

The vast majority of the dive operations have a shop either in Sairee or Mae Head so it’d easy to walk around and speak to a few to find the best one for you.


Chalok Baan Kao

This is the most popular beach area in the south of the island. The resort is a good balance between peace and quiet and tourist infrastructure.

The beach itself is very pretty but the sea is shallow and the sea floor is more muddy than sandy so swimming and snorkelling is not good. The resort does have better beaches within walking distance, such as Freedom beach.

It’s a good place to base yourself for excursions around the island and gives you access to all that you would need in the way of facilities.



Thian Og Bay/ Shark Bay

This is a very picturesque beach with great swimming and snorkelling from shore.  There’s a couple of very good places to stay which are ideal for a totally relaxing holiday.

A major reason for the bays popularity is the chance to possibly see white and black tip reef sharks. They can be seen in the middle of the bay when diving (coral reef keeps them from coming too close to shore).


Tanote Bay

Situated on the east coast, the road to Tanote Bay is pretty rough going. A 4x4 is probably the best way to travel there.

The beach is white sand with some beautiful corals quite near the shore. Swimming and snorkelling is very good here.

There’s a few restaurants along the beach as well as accommodation. It has enough for a short stay if you are happy to be based in one area the whole time.


Ao Leuk

A very beautiful bay, with amazing snorkelling. Quite hairy to get to via road, a lot easier by boat. Very little here, a few restaurants and some beach bungalows to rent.


Hin Wong Bay

Another very secluded bay, very difficult to get to, best by longtail. Stunning scenery and warm waters. A couple of places to stay with restaurants. Normally a very quiet location.


The other bays around the island are often explored as part of snorkel day trips. Places like Mango bay or the stunning Koh Nang Yuan just off the north west coast.