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Staying in Koh Tao worth it, if you do not dive?

Rome, Italy
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Staying in Koh Tao worth it, if you do not dive?

Hey, thought about going to ko tao for 4 nights middle of february with my girlfriend. We want to avoid the backpacker crowd in Thailand (of course meeting people is good, but I am not there to party) We chose Ko tao because we heard it's fairly good developed, but not too much and it is also not too busy with people.

Do you think we might get bored staying there for 4 nights? Is Ko tao more expensive than Ko Samui or Phuket?

We are beginning of our 30s, love to eat simple/good thaifood, having a relaxed drink while listening to live music, snorkeling, taking kayak trips and just reading a nice book at the beach. Thank you!

Edited: 04 January 2017, 16:37
36 replies to this topic
Salt Lake City, Utah
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1. Re: Staying in Koh Tao worth it, if you do not dive?

I do not dive, I'm in my early 40's and I don't party at all. I've visited Koh Tao 2 times in the last 2 years. Koh tao is a great little island. Price wise, I think it's on par or a little less than Samui I've never been to Phuket. Tao is the least developed with Samui in 2nd and Phuket is much more developed. In general, the smaller local restaurants cost about 1/3 more than they do on the mainland. The only island where you will get decent snorkeling from the beach is koh Tao. If you look at windguru website in their archives for Koh Tao, you will see that the wind and waves in February always come from the east to the West. I went in June both times and the wind came from the south west to the north east making the East side bay's better. I'll let someone that's been to Koh Tao in February comment further on this subject. All the foreign food restaurants and the restaurants along the beach will cost you quite a bit more than the local restaurants along the main road up off the beach. You'll get much better Thai food at the local restaurants than at the spendy places that cater to tourists. Koh tao has tons of open space between bays. My 1st trip my wife and I stayed at Jun Juea beach on the south end of Koh Tao and it was super quiet there. We usually had the little beach to ourselves. If you are comfortable riding scooters, Koh Tao has less cars on the roads than the other 2 locations. I wasn't comfortable renting a scooter on Samui but did on Tao.

I don't think 4 nights will bore you if you plan to snorkel and lounge on the beaches. If you like to hike and explore there's even more to do on Koh Tao. I was there 3 nights on our 1st trip and it wasn't long enough to see everything. I spent 6 nights on my 2nd trip and it was about right. On my 1st trip I did a round the island snorkel trip. The 2nd time I visited I snorkeled from the beach 2-3 hours each morning and afternoon. It was Awesome! I made a little video showing what it's like at each of the beaches I visited. https://youtu.be/i13XAHGOtos Most of the beaches are rather rough because of all the awesome coral. Sairee beach has the softest sand. It's really, really long and if you want to stay right on the beach there is plenty of variety. You'll find that the backpackers stay in the hostels mostly because of how much cheaper they are compared to the other lodging; 300thb/night compared to 1500-2000thb/night for low to midrange A/C bungalows.

2. Re: Staying in Koh Tao worth it, if you do not dive?

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Hobart, Australia
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3. Re: Staying in Koh Tao worth it, if you do not dive?

If you are trying to escape the backpacker crowd, then Tao is probably not the place to do that. It attracts a lot of them.

Koh Tao, Thailand
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4. Re: Staying in Koh Tao worth it, if you do not dive?

Koh Tao has a lot more to offer than just diving, as Ay_tim has mentioned. With lots of shallow bays and beaches around the island you can certainly enjoy a number of different snorkelling areas (being mindful of the wind/wave directions when selecting the best spots to visit), as well as being able to check out a few different hikes and view points, rock climbing, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, yoga, and live music spots (some of which become part of more lively bar crawls and more 'backpacker' activities).

Generally Koh Tao experiences quite an influx of visitors over the Christmas and New Year period, with February usually being quieter than January. However the Gulf of Thailand is still within it's potential monsoon season (due to the wind and wave direction) whereas Phuket is out of their monsoon season, so this can also affect how busy each side can be with both the backpacker crowd and holiday makers.

Sairee tends to be the most popular area on the island, so if you were looking to avoid more of the backpacker crowd you could also consider some of the resorts and villas further to the north or in to the hills of Sairee, as well as Chalok which is on the southern end of the island. Chalok tends to be much quieter than Sairee but still has a lot of great restaurants and cafes, with some great beaches very close by including Sae Daeng, Freedom Beach and Ae Leuwk. Chalok's own beach is also quite pretty, with some bars and restaurants backing on to the sand.

I agree with Ay_tim that you certainly wouldn't get bored in 4 nights on Koh Tao, as you could easily spend a day exploring the each end of the island, a day relaxing on a beach, as well as time snorkelling, hiking, and generally just relaxing and enjoying the surroundings!

Prachuap Khiri...
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5. Re: Staying in Koh Tao worth it, if you do not dive?

Ay_tim...........excellent vid and helped me make up my mind about visiting Tao, or shall I say not visiting. Eye opening, along with the post about charges for beach access, as before seeing these 2 posts, was thinking strongly about popping over.

But definitely not for me.

Prachuap Khiri...
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6. Re: Staying in Koh Tao worth it, if you do not dive?

oops,

Edited: 09 February 2017, 05:41
Bangkok, Thailand
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7. Re: Staying in Koh Tao worth it, if you do not dive?

Koh Tao is full of the backpacker crowd.

You shouldn't bother if you don't like snorkeling or diving, there's literally nothing else to do there, other than lie on the beach obviously.

You can easily spend 4 days just snorkeling in Koh Tao.

Edited: 09 February 2017, 15:38
Koh Tao
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8. Re: Staying in Koh Tao worth it, if you do not dive?

Other things to do, that Graham missed out on -

"different hikes and view points, rock climbing, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, yoga, and live music spots" as mentioned earlier, also there's Muay Thai camps, the classic laying around in hammocks reading and relaxing, a shooting range, mini golf, fishing and cooking classes (off the top of my head).

So not quite nothing to do.

Bangkok, Thailand
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9. Re: Staying in Koh Tao worth it, if you do not dive?

Sigh. You can kayak anywhere where there is water. You can do yoga anywhere in the world. What next, is 'eating' something to do? I'll give you rock-climbing and the viewpoints but the rest are clutching at straws.

Koh Tao
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10. Re: Staying in Koh Tao worth it, if you do not dive?

Eating

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