Should You Visit Koh Tao?

Is Koh Tao worth visiting?

Yes, Koh Tao is worth visiting for a number of reasons. This is a island that everyone should explore, and we loved our time here. During our first trip to Koh Tao in 2011, we fell in love with the laid back, backpacker-friendly atmosphere. We've been back several times since then to experience it even more.

Whether you're a traveling as a family, a couple, or a backpacker, this island has a lot to offer. Any local will tell you what makes it special is the spectacular scuba diving & snorkeling and terrific beaches.

A true island paradise, Koh Tao brings backpackers and scuba divers from around the globe. The island has cheap scuba certification courses, but because of its popularity, the reef and sea life are starting to struggle. The island itself is strikingly beautiful with stunning beaches and many dramatic viewpoints. Hiking and exploring by motorbike are popular activities.

The beach at Koh Tao The beach at Koh Tao

8 Reasons to Visit Koh Tao

1. Scuba Diving & Snorkeling

The island is Thailand's most famous scuba diving destination for it's affordable certifications and prolific dive shops. There are a variety of dive sites near the island, but with fame and popularity come challenges. The coral and sealife is feeling the pressure of the high number of tourists, and the reefs show their damage. But the training you receive here is affordable and well-established.

2. Beaches

The white sand beaches have a mellow vibe with beautiful blue waters. This is a true tropical paradise with beachside cafes, easy snorkeling, and warm water. The beaches range from quiet and isolated to high energy and vibrant.

3. Food

You'll find a huge ex-pat community on the island, and with them they bring a variety of international cuisines. There are also local establishments that sell the typical Thai dishes with lots of seafood, curries, and noodle dishes. It's fun to enjoy a beachside restaurant that lets you sit right by the water looking off into a tropical paradise.

4. Nightlife

While most people head for the island for its scuba diving, when the sun goes down everyone heads to the beach to party. The island has a very active nightlife scene with its own Full Moon Parties, dance clubs, beachside bars, and more. Head to Sairee Beach for the most active nightlife and entertainment options.

5. Resorts

While it's mostly famous as a diving destination, there are also a diversity of resorts, from luxury to affordable, available on the island. The beaches are beautiful and many resorts offer scuba diving packages as well.

6. Hiking

Hiking is the best way to enjoy the inland beauty of the island. There are paths that take you through the jungle covered land to viewpoints and remote areas. Many paths are rustic and not always well maintained so it's helpful to ask a local for directions beforehand.

7. Shopping

The main beach areas of Mae Haad, Sairee, and Chalok Baan Kao have the highest concentration of clothing and dive equipment shops. Because it's an island with limited access, prices can be a bit high.

8. The Costs

Depending on your budget, schedule, and travel style, Koh Tao might be a very affordable destination for you. Check out the travel costs for Koh Tao here or see if Koh Tao is expensive here.




Expert Advice from Local Travelers

We're asking our community members and registered users to contribute their experiences about Koh Tao.

How can you save money during your time in Koh Tao?

We went to Koh Tao for a diving course. This seems to be a popular reason to visit the island, because the courses are so cheap. The actual diving was better elsewhere in Thailand though.

sun_and_sand
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Mar 3 2024

I got a cheap place to stay as part of my scuba classes, so that saved me some money. I also ate at a lot of the small local restaurants that were a bit back from the beach.

island_life
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Nov 25 2023

We took a diving course while we were on the island, so the dive shop let us stay for free at their accommodation.

Isabel
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Sep 19 2023

What was your favorite thing about Koh Tao?

I loved the boat trip around the island. We stopped at some beautiful spots for snorkeling and photos. Nang Yuan island was amazing and probably the highlight of the tour.

Leonardo45325
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Dec 21 2023

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Is Koh Tao worth visiting in the Summer?

The weather here is somewhat warm for most of the season, with average temperatures around 24°C (76°F). However, this time of year it's also rainy, so it might not be ideal for many activities.

The low season for travel in Koh Tao is during the summer. This destination is quite touristy, but in the low season you'll see fewer crowds and much better prices.

With the warmer weather, the beach is very popular this time of year. Spend time enjoying the waves and sand during your visit. The nearby hiking this time of year is a must-do, so take some time to get out on the trails, take in some fresh air, and enjoy the scenery. You'll also find it quite easy to get around on foot, because this is a very walkable island, especially in the nice weather. Resorts are quite popular in the area, so you might want to prioritize staying at one. Many visitors choose to come to Koh Tao looking for a relaxing vacation, so the resorts have plenty of nice amenities. A visit this time of year should definitely be on your list, as the natural scenery is just breathtaking. Explore the island scenery to take in the views, admire nature up close, and enjoy the fresh air. This is a great time of year to relax at the beach, take a hike, and enjoy the amenities of a resort. Also, you can experience the nightlife and the beautiful scenery.


Summer Weather in Koh Tao
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
July 24°C (76°F) 174 mm (6.9 in)
August 25°C (76°F) 206 mm (8.1 in)
September 25°C (77°F) 158 mm (6.2 in)

Is Koh Tao worth visiting in the Autumn?

Autumn is the shoulder season for travel in Koh Tao. This destination is quite touristy, so in the shoulder season you'll still come across plenty of touriss. However, the prices tend to be a little cheaper.

The weather here is somewhat warm for most of the season, with average temperatures around 24°C (76°F). However, this time of year it's also rainy, so it might not be ideal for many activities.

With the warmer weather, the beach is very popular this time of year. Spend time enjoying the waves and sand during your visit. Resorts are quite popular in the area, so you might want to prioritize staying at one. Many visitors choose to come to Koh Tao looking for a relaxing vacation, so the resorts have plenty of nice amenities. A visit this time of year should definitely be on your list, as the natural scenery is just breathtaking. Explore the island scenery to take in the views, admire nature up close, and enjoy the fresh air. The nearby hiking this time of year is a must-do, so take some time to get out on the trails, take in some fresh air, and enjoy the scenery. You'll find plenty to do during autumn, as you'll be able to take in the beautiful scenery, go hiking, and lounge on the beach. Also, you can relax at a luxurious resort.


Autumn Weather in Koh Tao
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
October 24°C (76°F) 276 mm (10.9 in)
November 23°C (74°F) 380 mm (15 in)
December 23°C (73°F) 118 mm (4.6 in)

Is Koh Tao worth visiting in the Winter?

The high season for travel in Koh Tao is the winter, so expect to see more tourists than usual. This destination is quite touristy, so in the high season it's busier than usual. You'll see larger crowds and longer lines, as well as higher prices. On the other hand, there's plenty to see and do at this time of year because everything is open.

The weather this time of year is terrific, and averages around 22°C (72°F) through the season. This is one of the main reasons that travelers come, because they are looking for beautiful weather and a fun escape.

With the warmer weather, the beach is very popular this time of year. Spend time enjoying the waves and sand during your visit. Resorts are quite popular in the area, so you might want to prioritize staying at one. Many visitors choose to come to Koh Tao looking for a relaxing vacation, so the resorts have plenty of nice amenities. A visit this time of year should definitely be on your list, as the natural scenery is just breathtaking. Explore the island scenery to take in the views, admire nature up close, and enjoy the fresh air. The nearby hiking this time of year is a must-do, so take some time to get out on the trails, take in some fresh air, and enjoy the scenery. During this season it's fun to experience the cuisine, the nightlife, and the beaches. Also, you can check out the resorts, the beautiful scenery, and the hiking.


Winter Weather in Koh Tao
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
January 22°C (72°F) 94 mm (3.7 in)
February 23°C (74°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
March 24°C (75°F) 57 mm (2.2 in)

Is Koh Tao worth visiting in the Spring?

The weather this time of year is terrific, and averages around 25°C (77°F) through the season. This is one of the main reasons that travelers come, because they are looking for beautiful weather and a fun escape.

Spring is the shoulder season for travel in Koh Tao, which means slightly less visitors than in the peak season. This destination is quite touristy, so in the shoulder season you'll still come across plenty of touriss. However, the prices tend to be a little cheaper.

A visit this time of year should definitely be on your list, as the natural scenery is just breathtaking. Explore the island scenery to take in the views, admire nature up close, and enjoy the fresh air. With the warmer weather, the beach is very popular this time of year. Spend time enjoying the waves and sand during your visit. Resorts are quite popular in the area, so you might want to prioritize staying at one. Many visitors choose to come to Koh Tao looking for a relaxing vacation, so the resorts have plenty of nice amenities. The nearby hiking this time of year is a must-do, so take some time to get out on the trails, take in some fresh air, and enjoy the scenery. This is a great time of year to browse the shops, take in the beautiful scenery, and enjoy an evening out. Also, you'll be able to relax at the beach, enjoy the amenities of a resort, and get out into nature.


Spring Weather in Koh Tao
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
April 25°C (77°F) 74 mm (2.9 in)
May 25°C (78°F) 189 mm (7.4 in)
June 25°C (78°F) 174 mm (6.9 in)

Things to Consider Before Visiting Koh Tao

Museums
Koh Tao isn't a place that's filled with a huge number of sights and attractions. It's a small island that is all about beachfront beauty. Most visitors enjoy the island's outdoor paradise setting, but on those rainy afternoons, there really are very few indoor activities or temples to visit.

Not As Family-Friendly
While there are some family activities, it's not as child-friendly as other destinations.

Related

What is Koh Tao most famous for?

Koh Tao is most famous for its affordable scuba diving courses, laid-back island vibe, popularity with backpackers, and stunning island hikes. People visit this impressive island for its great scuba diving & snorkeling and beaches. It's also known for food, nightlife, resorts, and hiking. And many travelers come for the shopping, as well. It is often described as laid back, mellow, beautiful, tropical, and popular.


What is the most famous sight in Koh Tao?

The most popular sight in Koh Tao is Mango Bay Viewpoint. You can see prices and costs for this and other sights in Koh Tao on our travel costs page.

Or, see tickets, activities, and tours for Mango Bay Viewpoint and other attractions here.

How touristy is Koh Tao? Is it a popular island to visit?

Koh Tao is a popular island for tourists and travelers. Here are some of the most popular activities and tours. (Prices in US Dollars)


    • Advanced Adventurer - 2 days ( Advanced Open Water): $279
    • Full day snorkeling adventure around Koh Tao: $22
    • Basic Diver ( One Day Experience): $125
    • Snorkel Tour to Koh Nangyuan and the hidden bays of Koh Tao onboard the Oxygen: $22
    • Koh Tao Snorkeling Tour to Hidden Bays and Koh Nang Yuan: $29
    • 5 Islands Full-Day Tour Around Koh Tao and Koh Nangyuan: $24
    • Premium Snorkel Tour to the Bays of Koh Tao onboard the Oxygen: $33
    • Koh Nang Yuan and Koh Tao 5 Point Snorkeling Tour: $23

    How long should I spend in Koh Tao?

    The ideal length of time for a trip to Koh Tao is two to seven days. Since Koh Tao has a variety of activities such as scuba diving & snorkeling and beaches, most people need this much time to see and do everything here.

    If you have a specific amount of time for your trip, see our advice about how much time to spend here: Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Koh Tao?, Should I spend 3, 4, or 5 days in Koh Tao?, and Should I spend 1 or 2 weeks in Koh Tao?.

    More Things to Do in Koh Tao