10 Best Beaches in Koh Tao

Martina Rosado
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Hin Wong Bay

Sai Daeng

Sai Daeng, Koh Tao is a picturesque little paradise nestled between two steep hills. The beach bay is located just to the south of the Ghost Beach and the coral reef in the bay is a very popular location to share snorkelling experiences or to sleep-out under the stars.

The beach has not been given official national protection due to being heavily over-tourism. It is a popular spot for nudists to play or swim in the nude, though some of the locals claim that is a result of foreigners who flatter them by letting them swim naked. But, the sea is deep and very wild and they are probably right.

You can also find a small international jetty on the water side of the beach. In the past, many Chinese ships have docked here, giving the beach a big nuisance for local people, who are not allowed to dock at this place. And, many times in the past, some boats were damaged by the dockers, not only they broke all the ones that they rocked by pushing them by the jetty, but some of them pushed the boats to the sea bed, leaving them for the mainlanders.

Freedom Beach

Sai Nuan

Sai Nuan Beach has its pros and cons but is considered the 3rd place on the island for snorkeling. With visibility good and calm sea life, sometimes you can see the walls of the Tayrona National Park on the horizon. While the snorkeling isn't as effective as in other beaches on the island, thanks to coral rubble and other flowered sharp rocks, it's good for exploring the corals. The coral reefs are still intact and you can find a lot of different species of fish there, even though coral bleaching is a phenomenon that affects many reefs in Thailand's islands. If you have an opportunity and you want to do an excursion there, you'll have a good time and see a lot of fish.

Overall, when you visit this beach the water and the climate are great and the view on the mountain is beautiful.

Best Times to go Snorkeling: all year round.

Conditions: mild temperature with good visibility (below 10ft).

Depth: shallow corals at 2-10ft.

Fins: beginner level

Snorkeling Equipment Needed: snorkeling suit, snorkel, paddle board

Words of Encouragement: keep it real if you come to this beach.

Cons: coral reefs still being damaged by poachers.

Sairee Beach

Sairee beach is situated just a few steps away from the Sairee town. The beach is a mere 20 minute walk away from the town, making it one of the closest beaches to town and perfect for a quick shower before snorkelling.

The beach offers sun beds for long term visitors with umbrellas that are provided on request. There are also a selection of showers and toilets.

The beach is great for swimming and swimming as it is sandy and the water is clear. Avoid the dangerous section of the beach between the two small dirt trails.

The beach is a great place to work out and enjoy the tropical climate.

Chalok Bay

Chalok Bay is a small, secluded beach in the west of the island just across the Chao Well Bay. There are no facilities in the area and the beach isn't great for swimming, but a quiet, secluded spot to rest your head makes it a great choice for people looking for a getaway or for friends who are looking to escape the crowds.

There is no charge for parking and the bay is close to Chalok Ban Kao National Park. The bay is surrounded by a rocky outcrop and featured in National Geographic's Koh Tao Guide. The beach is also popular with snorkelers and divers who enjoy spotting the shallow sea caves in the area.

Ajarn’s Tip

The bay is most popular in low tide and when the water is calm, which soaks the rocks and makes the swimming-inhabited coral holes along the shoreline quite the experience. The west side of the bay is home to a small collection of bungalows with large lounging decks overlooking the bay.

Closing Thoughts

When you plan on swimming at Chalok Bay, you have to be aware of the tidal schedules running the bay. The tide has to be running out or it will be the ebb.

Shark Bay

With its own tropical climate and large uncrowded sandy beaches, the island of Koh Tao is a perfect place for a relaxing island holiday. One that, for a number of adventurous individual, is the perfect place for their next vacation.

Known as the diving capital of Thailand, Koh Tao is a great place for divers with over a 100 dive sites dotting the island, a number of those being world class.

While water activities are certainly not the only things to do on Koh Tao, they are certainly one of the most popular things to do. Aside from the island’s outstanding dive sites, there are some great reasons to visit the island, including the beaches, the lively nightlife, the wild beauty, and the tropical climate.

Though not every beach will necessarily appeal to every visitor. Shark Bay, for example, seems the obvious choice for some, but there is a lot more on the island to see than just the wide, white sandy beaches.

Before outlining the main beaches on Koh Tao, it’s important to note that, with its relatively large area, many of the beaches on Koh Tao are more than just a beach.

Some, such as Mae Haad and Dream Island, while beaches can also offer a solid binge-cruising experience, so if you want to just relax instead of partying, you may want to consider taking a day trip elsewhere.

Ko Nang Yuan

Ao Leuk

Located in the north part of the island,  Ao Leuk is a great place to mak e your first entry, as it has a gradual slope from one end to the other.

The fish density is much higher than in other beaches here, so this can be a good place for you to start.

If you do take your dive gear, however, make sure you stick to the rock at the south end or the upper beach side.

To maximize your time in the water, it is advisable to use this beach as a pare from swimming to other places for snorkeling.

Ao Leuk is an idyllic place for calm swimming, snorkeling, and just enjoying the beauty of nature.

Ao Tanot Bay

Ao Tanot is a gorgeous beach with lots of colorful coral and snorkel. If you like to spend your day in the water and love snorkeling, this is the place for you!

The reef system of Ao Tanot is a place where some corals and colorful fish life are found. Watch for hogfish, zebra fish and other colorful fish. At Ao Tanot you can also find coral walls visited by snorkelers.

A hotel run by a German family is located on the beach, giving you a bit of civilization. The staff’s English is not good, though, so if you’re traveling here alone, make sure you can understand Thai. They will be very happy to help you get a drink and make you feel at home.

Map of Koh Tao

A long time ago when currency was still a bartering system, the French hid some gold somewhere in France.

People have been searching for it for centuries, but no one knows where it is. This is a bit like the mystery of what makes beautiful Koh Tao Island in Thailand tick.

Its tropical beauty has always had a special appeal for those enduring challenging lives, but now is renowned as one of the best beaches in Asia.


Koh Tao is located in the Gulf of Thailand. The island is part of the Chumphon archipelago which is about 70km south of mainland Thailand.

It’s the smallest of the seven main islands making up the archipelago, but that makes it more manageable.

The island is about 1km long and 200m at its widest point, making it perfect for a relaxing vacation. Koh Tao is shaped like a crescent moon. The beaches are lined with palm trees swaying in the breeze.

There’s even a limestone mountain with caves and jungle inhabited by monkeys and wild boars.

Koh Tao is known for its beauty, but it’s also emerging as a premier diving center on the world’s most popular diving holiday.