For such a small island there is a huge amount of things to do on Koh Tao, from visiting viewpoints, exploring challenging hiking trails, to beaches to chill out on. We must say, there are far more beaches on Koh Tao than what we mention. But these seven beaches below are our favourites and are definitely worth a visit when travelling to this little paradise.
You will find most of the beaches on Koh Tao have something special to offer. Snorkelling with sharks, camping at an abandoned resort or jumping from huge boulders into the turquoise waters are just a few unique things to do to make for an incredible day.
Below, let us show you our seven favourite beaches on Koh Tao and what makes them special from the rest.
Oh and if you haven't already decided where you should stay on the island, check out our guide to the different areas on where to stay on Koh Tao.
7 Beaches On Koh Tao You Must Visit
Sairee Beach - The Longest
Day or night, Sairee Beach is where all the action happens. It is the longest beach on Koh Tao and also the most popular. Bars, restaurants and bungalows are lined along the 1.8 km long stretch of white sand.
During the hot sunny days, the beach is in use by the many sun seekers, yogis, paddle boarders and kayakers. Whereas at night, the beach comes alive with performers lighting up the bars with their impressive fire shows.
Surprisingly, Sairee Beach used to be one of our favourite beaches on Koh Tao, even though it's not the cleanest or prettiest. While staying on the island for a few months of the year in the past, we loved chilling out in the shallow water while planning our next destination.
Tip: Our favourite part of the beach is by the rocks to the far-right as you're looking at the sea. Here the beach is cleaner, less crowded and has better snorkelling along the rocks.
Sai Nuan Beach 2 - The Secret
In our opinion Sai Naun 2 is the hot little secret of all the beaches on Koh Tao. It's not the easiest to get to, but definitely worth the effort.
Imagine a small cove framed by boulders with soft white sand, turquoise water lined up with palm trees and a rope swing. Sounds nice right? Well, that's exactly how Sai Nuan 2 looks like. If you are looking to escape touristy areas and would like to chill at a more secluded beach, then this is the spot for you.
Tip: Want to make a day out of visiting this beach? Then check out our post on hiking on Koh Tao, which will take you along seven different beaches passing through Sai Nuan 2.
Freedom Beach - Our Favourite
Freedom Beach has become one of our favourite beaches on Koh Tao, mostly due to the low season. With only a hand full of people around, the beach is our go to spot to chill out in the crystal clear water or to relax under the Pemphis acidula trees that line the front of the beach.
Now Freedom Beach has become one of the most popular beaches on Koh Tao, with many flocking to it during the high season. But don't let this put you off. This is still a very scenic beach to be enjoyed throughout the year.
Tip: While you are there, don't forget to check out one of the best viewpoints on Koh Tao, John-Suwan viewpoint.
Cost: Access to the beach is 50 Baht ($1.50). Access to the viewpoint is an additional 50 Baht.
Shark Bay - Not Just A Name
Shark Bay is not just the name of the beach, it's actually one of the only beaches on Koh Tao with easy accessibility for spotting black tip reef sharks and the odd turtle. Around 150 meters from the shore will bring you to a 3-4 meter deep area. Here you will be able to float along while watching sharks as they swim below.
But it's not just the sharks that are attracting travellers to this stunning beach. Shark Bay is also known to be one of the most beautiful beaches on Koh Tao. After Sairee Beach, this is the second-longest beach on the island, shaded by the so-called "Thian" trees.
Tip: Best times to snorkel with these beautiful underwater creatures is during the early morning or late evening, where the water is cooler than in the midday heat.
Tanote Bay - Rock Jumping
Tonote Bay is popular for its massive boulder sitting only a few meters swim from the shore. The huge rock (around 10 meters) offers the perfect opportunity to leap from high above into the clear water below. Do be careful climbing up the rocks during rough sea conditions. Beneath the water, some areas of the rocks are covered in sharp coral.
Laem Thian - The Abandoned Resort
Laem Thian is a tiny beach on the east coast of Koh Tao and is only accessible by foot or boat. A good few years back the resort had closed and it has now become a great location to hike to. 9 times out of 10, you will have this tiny beach all to yourself, where you can explore around the main building and bungalows which were left behind.
For the more adventurous of us, Laem Thian is a great spot for overnight camping and cliff jumping. With some friends, beer, music and a small camp fire, you're sure to have an unforgettable night.
Read our full article Hiking On Koh Tao to Laem Thian and how to find the cliff jumping spot.
Sai Daeng - The Most Overlooked
Sai Daeng will not blow you away by its beauty, but it is definitely one of the best beaches on Koh Tao during the high season. While all the other beaches tend to fill up, you're guaranteed to find Sai Daeng quite throughout the year.
Good snorkelling spots are along the rocks on either side of the beach. Sai Daeng is also the closest point to the neighbouring Shark Island, taking only 10 minutes to reach by kayak. Around the island, you will be able to spot some more black tip reef sharks and sea turtles.
Note: If your guesthouse or hostel doesn't happen to have any maps of the island then you should be able to find free maps outside of nearly every 7/11.
Have you been to any of these beaches on Koh Tao before? Did we miss any of your favourites? Share with us in the comments and don't forget to check out more on Koh Tao and Thailand below.