The ultimate 3 day guide to Koh Tao

Well hello to you my reader chums! If you saw my previous Thailand island guide then you'd know how much I absolutely adored Koh Tao. It was a little bubble of paradise for 3 days and I loved exploring the small, quiet island. If you've added Koh Tao to you're agenda and unsure what there is to see and do, you've come to the right place.

The ultimate 3 day guide to Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a quiet hub for snorkelling, the clearest waters, vacant beaches and breathtaking sunsets. It's an island of dreams, and I could easily have soaked up all its glory for longer than 3 days.

What to see and do

Hire a motorbike and explore


The ultimate 3 day guide to Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a fairly small island compared to its neighbours, however, having a motorbike gives you easy access to find the more secluded and tucked away areas. You could easily ride around the entire island in over an hour, it's really that small. I loved venturing around the island by bike, we were able to go up steep roads, find some pretty cool viewpoints and see every nook and cranny of the island. It really gives you another sense of adventure and allows you to blend in with the locals.

Snorkel in Shark Bay 


The ultimate 3 day guide to Koh Tao

Shark Bay is one of the prettiest and most exclusive beaches on the island. The sands and waters are literally picture perfect and something everyone dreams of on a beach. Shark Bay is renowned for snorkelling hence its name and it's often included on day trips you can book around the island. You can either book one of those tours, or grab your goggles and take a swim from the beach. I would say, however, getting to the beach can be quite tricky as the only direct route is through resorts. But, you can walk through the rocks/water for about 5-10 minutes to reach it from a small beach next to it. The walk although slippery is completely worth it once you reach the powder white sand!

Experience both Freedom Beach and Ta Toh Bay

Freedom Beach and Ta Toh Bay are attached by a long boardwalk over the rocks which means you can easily switch from one to the other. Freedom Beach is more popular and busier than Ta Toh Bay, however, it's still not busy at all. There were the fewest amount of people on Freedom Beach and I loved that. The waters there were also some of the clearest I saw on the island and made a great spot for swimming and snorkelling.

The ultimate 3 day guide to Koh Tao

The ultimate 3 day guide to Koh Tao

Ta Toh Bay was a breath of fresh air and even quainter than Freedom Beach. It's like Freedom Beach's quieter neighbour with the same beautiful sands and waters. It's the perfect place to catch that sun and chill out. 

Climb to the John Suwan viewpoint

This has to be one of my highlights of Koh Tao. Although the climb to the top is rather strenuous and steep, the view makes it completely worth it. John Suwan viewpoint has a 50 baht entry fee and is probably a 10-20 minute journey depending on your fitness level. I personally found it quite tough as I didn't realise how rocky the climb would be and I was wearing the completely wrong clothing.

The ultimate 3 day guide to Koh Tao


Once at the top, I was blown away by the view. The viewpoint showed a 360 view of Shark Bay, Freedom Beach and Ta Toh Bay. From that level, it looked even more stunning than being on the beach and I cannot get over the view. I felt on top of the world (and a little out of breath).

Browse the hub of Sairee Beach 


The ultimate 3 day guide to Koh Tao

Sairee Beach was the more 'tourist' hub of Koh Tao and probably the busiest part of the island, however, it is one of the coolest. There is the best selection of restaurants, cool Instagram worthy bars and places to relax. It's a lovely little hub to walk around, visit the local shops and watch the sun go down. The area also has some really funky accommodation places that it would be a prime place to stay if you like the hustle and bustle of island life.

Where to eat

Koppa Coffee Bar and Restaurant - Koh Tao is home to some of the quirkiest and candid coffee places in Thailand. Every place we went to promoted the eco-friendly way of living and it really made my heart soar. One of the places that became our regular morning breakfast spot was the Koppa Coffee Bar and Restaurant. The restaurant serves up a really versatile menu including pancakes to porridge for breakfast, a lovely selection of smoothies, wholesome lunch options and more - and there's a pool free to use for customers. It's also located steps from Chalok Baan Kao Bay.

Ananas - Ananas was a quaint and slightly french inspired restaurant with a Bohemian vibe. It offered a selection of classic Thai dishes, lovely western food and great smoothies!

The ultimate 3 day guide to Koh Tao

Oishi Kaiso - For any Japanese food fans, this is a lovely restaurant tucked away around the Sairee Beach area. Although serving up sushi and all things Japanese, we actually dined in there for their Thai dishes. It served up one of my favourite Panang curries in Thailand - and was super cheap also.

Gecko Republic Jungle cafe - We stumbled across this cafe (which is actually a hostel) after a drive on the motorbike and it looked so cool we couldn't help to go in. The restaurant offered a mouth-watering tapas menu with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options - and the most delicious drinks. I could have eaten the only menu but we only tried a few dishes. I would highly recommend the red pepper dish and flatbreads.

The ultimate 3 day guide to Koh Tao

Getting around 

Koh Tao is quite a hilly island, however, you are able to get around on foot as it really is that small. Although, for more of an adventure, I would recommend hiring a motorbike to get around as it can make the really hillier areas easier to reach for and allows you to go off the beaten path a little more.

The ultimate 3 day guide to Koh Tao

The ultimate 3 day guide to Koh Tao


Things to know before you go 

  • Koh Tao is a very small island and can only be reached by boat which you can easily book online or at a local tourist centre,
  • I'd recommend packing a good pair of walking shoes for the more hillier areas of the island, especially John Suwan's viewpoint. 
  • Some beaches are harder to reach including Shark Bay, however, every beach you go to is dreamy. Freedom Beach had the clearest waters on the island and is a prime snorkelling spot.
  • The island is renowned for its snorkelling and diving scene and there are plenty of diving schools to book tours.
  • Wherever you stay on the island, everything is quite easier to get to. For a busier environment, stay around the Sairee Beach area, or if you prefer a chill one, Chalok Baan Kao Bay, Freedom Beach and Shark Bay are really quiet areas.
  • The food scene on Koh Tao is incredible and you'll never want to stop eating!
  • Be respectful of the island's eco-way of living and don't litter.

The ultimate 3 day guide to Koh Tao


I hope you enjoyed this island guide. When are you travelling to Koh Tao?

Thank you for reading <3




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