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8 Best Beaches on Koh Tao, Thailand

8 Best Beaches on Koh Tao, Thailand

A quick guide to finding the best white sand and secluded beaches on the incredible Koh Tao Island in Thailand.

You might be surprised to know that Koh Tao boasts some of Thailand’s most magnificent beaches!

The beaches on Koh Tao range from secluded white sand beaches that you’ll have all to yourself to long-stretched beaches boasting bars and restaurants. Some beaches also boast incredible cliff-jumping locations such as my favorite spot, Tanote Bay which is a must-visit.

Whether you’re looking for a great snorkeling or freediving spot, or just a scenic cove for swimming– this updated Koh Tao beach guide has you covered.

Beach on koh tao island
Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler & adventure photographer for 6 years with 700+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

Koh Tao Beach Map

I spent just over two months on Koh Tao completing my Dive Master program, so I had plenty of time to check out these beaches and to make a good call on which ones would make the list. Keep in mind this list isn't in any specific order and will depend on what you are looking for. 

Check out the map to find the locations of all of the beaches on Koh Tao in the list below. 

Map with beaches on koh tao

Travel Hack: Click on the map of the Koh Tao beach locations above and it will load on your Google Maps app. You can save it by clicking the grey star at the top, which will add it to "Your Places" on your Google Maps account. This way, you have a handy digital app on the go with all the beaches pinned– just refer back to this article (or bookmark it) for the explanations!

8 Best Beaches on Koh Tao

1. Koh Nang Yuan

Koh Nang Yuan isn't located directly on Koh Tao but is found on a very small double-headed island about half a kilometer off the northwest coast of the island.

This is one of the most famous and recognizable photo spots in the Gulf of Thailand, with an awesome viewpoint looking over a skinny stretch of white sand connecting the two island heads. This is a must-visit location if you're visiting Koh Tao as it offers great snorkeling, diving, and crystal-clear waters to relax in.

To get here, you'll want to jump on the epic day trip from Sairee Beach, since you need a boat to get here.

Koh nang yuan beach on koh tao

2. Shark Bay (Haad Thien Beach)

Shark Bay is located on the Southern facing side of Koh Tao.

This beach is famous for its snorkeling and the Black Tip Reef Sharks that frequent the shallows in the early mornings. If you're looking to swim with the sharks I suggest arriving at sunrise, check out this post detailing how and when you will need to visit this beach. 

The actual beach (Haad Thien Beach) is privately owned by the resort. You can either drive to the resort and pay for entry or simply enter the bay from the cliff-side stairs.

The best route to access the beach is to head to OK2 Bungalows and walk down the cliff-side ramp until you reach the water. 

Once you are at the water, there is a bamboo walkway over the jagged rocks around the side of the bay. You can either chill out once you reach the smooth rocks and snorkel in the bay, or keep walking around for some small little cliff jump spots of 2 -3 meters.

Shark bay beach on koh tao

3. Freedom Beach

Freedom Beach is one of my favorite beaches on Koh Tao. This small, sheltered white-sand beach has epic turquoise water and a quiet surf ambiance without the waves. Some hammocks are hanging from the trees just behind the water's edge and is a great spot to read a book or simply just escape the crowds.

Freedom beach, koh tao

Freedom Beach is on the opposite side of Shark Bay and can be reached by riding about 3 minutes passed the turnoff to OK2 Bungalows. There will be a short stretch of dirt road before reaching the car park for a resort. Keep walking down and you will see a sign for Freedom Beach. 

The owners of the small restaurant do a pretty great job of keeping the beach clean, so if you want to thank them, buy a drink or snack.

Tip: Remember to take your trash with you. 

Freedom beach on koh tao island

4. Tanote Bay

Although Tanote Bay is on the other side of the Island from the hustle of Sairee, it is one of the most popular beaches on Koh Tao. This is largely due to the awesome snorkeling and cliff jumping. 

Tanote bay, koh tao

To get to Tanote Bay from Sairee, head towards Cha Lok until you see a large sign on your left. You will pass the small and only animal clinic on the island and continue up and over the hill. Continue straight on this road until you reach the end, where you will see a small dirt road that continues to the beach. 

This main road is one of the most scenic in Koh Tao, offering epic panoramic views. We found ourselves stopping multiple times along the road to check out the epic views of the island coast. 

There is a large rock surfacing about 4m out of the water at Tanote Bay. This rock has some of the best snorkeling out of the other beaches on Koh Tao. You can also climb to the top of the rock to jump off into the deep water below. 

Tip: The road down to Tanote Bay is very steep so take your time and wear a helmet.

Tanote bay, koh tao

5. Hin Wong Bay

Hin Wong Bay is another epic bay with a small rocky beach on Koh Tao. This spot is a little quieter than other beaches on Koh Tao, mainly due to the monster hill that you have to ride up to reach it. 

To get to Hin Wong Bay, ride towards Smile Mart from the Sairee Beach main area. Keep riding along this main road, past Smile Mart, and up the hill. It is quite steep and you will most likely need at least a 110cc scooter to get up this one.

Hin wong bay on koh tao

Once you've reached the top of the hill, you can check out the spectacular views of Sairee, before riding down the other side of the hill towards Hin Wong Bay. 

Many people like to visit Hin Wong Bay for snorkeling or simply just relaxing on the rocky beach. Many dive boats moor here when the weather is rough on the Sairee, Western Side of Koh Tao. 

Hin wong bay beach on koh tao

6. Cha Lok Bay

Cha Lok Bay is a large beach stretched by a long strip of white sand just a 7-minute drive from Mae Haad. There are a few boats moored up on this bay, but the water is clear and much better for swimming than the popular Sairee Beach. 

This beach is fairly easy to find as many dive shops are scattered along the stretch of the beach. To get to Cha Lok Bay, head towards Cha Lok town and keep riding past the turnoff to Tanote Bay. Once you reach Koh Tao Resort, you can walk through the gaps in the many resorts and dive shops and onto the beach. 

Cha lok bay koh tao thailand

Although snorkeling isn't as good as some of the other beaches on Koh Tao, Cha Lok Bay is great for spending the day on the beach or at one of the beach-side bars. This beach is also right next to the popular John Suwan Lookout.

Cha lok bay koh tao

7. Sairee Beach

Everyone heading to Koh Tao will end up at Sairee Beach at one point or another. Whether it's for the famous Koh Tao pub crawl, or looking for dive shops to organize a Padi certificate with, Sairee Beach is the main tourist area of Koh Tao. 

It's not hard to miss this 1.8 km long beach, but I found the best spots were on the northern tip of the beach, away from the longtails and dive boats that are coming in and out of the bay. 

Sairee beach, koh tao

There are also some great bars along the stretch of the beach. I found Sairee to be a great choice for sunset, as you can watch the sun disappear behind the horizon. 

Sairee beach sunset on koh tao

Tip: Make sure to check out the fire throwers who perform nightly along the stretch of Sairee Beach. 

8. Abandoned Resort Beach (Laem Thian Beach)

The Abandoned Resort is one of my favorite beaches on Koh Tao. A once-bustling resort is now empty and deserted. Since it takes around one hour to walk here from Sairee, you will usually also have the whole bay to yourself. 

After checking out the abandoned resort, you have the option of snorkeling in Laem Thain Bay, or cliff jumping on the other side of the bay where some tall rocks stick out of deep water. 

Abandoned resort beach on koh tao

Looking for Where to Stay on Koh Tao?

If you're wondering where to stay on Koh Tao Island and you want to be close to the main activities and beaches, pick a stay near Sairee Beach.

However, other great options include Mae Haad, or for a more secluded vibe, check out the southern beaches or even the east coast around Tanote Bay. Below are my top picks.

Jamahkiri resort & spa koh tao

1. Jamahkiri Resort & Spa Luxury

A great bang-for-buck luxury dive resort at the beachfront of Shark Bay in a quiet and secluded location away from the hustle and bustle.

Phandara luxury pool villas koh tao

2. Phandara Pool Villas Mid-Range

A luxury villa option for those who want their own kitchen & pool. Located on the hill up to Wooden Rock Viewpoint.

Summer guesthouse and hostel koh tao

3. Summer Guesthouse Budget

Located within walking distance of the dive shops and pub crawls on Sairee Beach, this is the top-budget hostel option with a great vibe.

FAQ About Koh Tao's Beaches

Do I need to pay to access the beaches on Koh Tao?

Most beaches on Koh Tao are free to access. However, some, like Shark Bay (Haad Thien Beach), may have an entry fee if you're accessing through a private resort. Always check the access points for signs for any fees before entering.

Can I snorkel at all of the beaches on Koh Tao?

Technically speaking yes, however, some beaches have boats moored or limited visibility so snorkeling would not be advised. The best snorkeling experiences are found at Koh Nang Yuan, Shark Bay, and Tanote Bay, where coral reefs and marine life are more abundant.

How do I get to Koh Nang Yuan?

Koh Nang Yuan is accessible via a short boat trip from Sairee Beach. You can join a day trip or hire a private longtail boat from Sairee Beach. Just make sure you're given a reasonable price.

Is it safe to swim with the sharks at Shark Bay?

Swimming with the blacktip reef sharks at Shark Bay is considered safe, especially since these sharks are generally not aggressive towards humans. However, always maintain a respectful distance to protect both yourself and the marine life, and NEVER touch the sharks.

What is the best time to visit Koh Tao for beach activities?

The best time to visit Koh Tao is from March to October when the weather is sunny with minimal rainfall, making it ideal for beach activities such as snorkeling and diving.

Can I rent a scooter to explore the beaches?

Yes, renting a scooter is the most popular way to explore Koh Tao's beaches at your own pace. Ensure you're comfortable riding on steep and sometimes rough roads, and always wear a helmet.

What is the most secluded beach in Koh Tao?

Laem Thian Beach, known for its abandoned resort, is the most secluded beach on Koh Tao. Its remote location ensures a peaceful escape, ideal for those looking to enjoy solitude away from the crowds.

More Thailand Adventure Blogs

I hope that this guide to Koh Tao's best beaches has inspired you to explore this island gem!

For more travel guides from Thailand, make sure to take a pick from the list below.

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Plan Your Thailand Accommodation

Still in the planning stages of your trip? Perhaps you're booking on the fly. The below accommodation guides will help you plan where to stay in Thailand.

Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel journalist & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. These draw on my personal experience to share unique itineraries, accommodation tips, & fun adventure guides covering hikes, viewpoints, beaches, waterfalls, & tours. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

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