A quick guide to finding the best beaches on Koh Tao, Thailand. From secluded, white sand beaches to sprawling party hubs, Koh Tao has you covered!
You might be surprised to know that some Koh Tao boasts some of Thailand’s best beaches!
Whether you’re looking for a great
- Koh Tao Beach Map
- 8 Best Beaches on Koh Tao
- 8. Abandoned Resort Beach (Laem Thian Beach)
- Where to Stay on Koh Tao – Accommodation Guide
- More Thailand Travel Guides
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.
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 really one of the beaches on Koh Tao, but a very small double-headed island about half a
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– definitely a must-visit!
To get here, you'll want to jump on the epic day trip from Sairee Beach, since you need a boat to get here.
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, 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
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. There are some hammocks hanging from the trees just behind the water's edge.
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. Just remember to take your trash with you.
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.
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 all the way to the beach.
This main road is one of the most scenic in Koh Tao, offering epic panoramic views. We found ourselves stopping most 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.
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.
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. There are also many dive boats that moor here when the weather is rough on the Sairee, Western Side of Koh Tao.
The Ultimate Koh Tao Travel Resource
Looking for more Koh Tao travel guides and inspiration? Below are my most comprehensive blog posts that will serve as a great free resource for your trip.
6. Cha Lok Bay
Cha Lok Bay is a large beach stretched by a long strip of white sand. There are a few boats moored up on this bay, but the water is clear and much better for swimming than the poplar 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.
7. Sairee Beach
Everyone heading to Koh Tao will end up at Sairee Beach at one point or another. Whether if 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 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.
There are also some great bars along the stretch of the beach. Sairee is great for sunset, as you can watch the sun disappear behind the horizon.
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
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.
Where to Stay on Koh Tao - Accommodation Guide
There are several options for travelers wondering where to stay on Koh Tao island. Generally speaking, most people like to stay near Sairee Beach to be close to all the highlights and things to do. However, you can also stay near Mae Head, or a bit further up the mountain from Sairee as well.
To save you time searching the web, I've listed some of the best options for where to stay on Koh Tao below.
- Best Luxury Pick: Jamahkiri Resort & Spa - a really great bang-for-buck luxury resort. Guests will find this one on the beachfront of Shark Bay in a quiet and secluded location away from the hustle and bustle.
- Best self-catering villa: Phandara Pool Villas - a luxury option for those who want their own kitchen & pool.
- Best Backpacker Hostel: Summer Guesthouse - located within walking distance of the dive shops on Sairee beach and of course, the nightly pub crawls– this is the top budget option with a great vibe.
More Thailand Travel Guides
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.