Koh Tao is mostly known for its scuba diving and bar hopping along the beach. But this little gem has a lot more to offer than just that. Scattered with beautiful beaches and little bays, Koh Tao is a steep and hilly island offering great hiking trails. With some of these leading to the best viewpoints on the island.
One thing you don't normally see people doing is hiking on Koh Tao and exploring it by foot, often leaving some trails a lot less crowded.
In this series, we want to share with you some of our favourite hiking trails on Koh Tao. In part one, we will be taking you from Mae Haad to Chalok Bay, giving you a chance to discover the nicest and less visited beaches on the island.
Running along the coastline, this route will take you from south-west to the south passing seven beaches on the way. This is quite an easy hike as most of the trail is well constructed with a concrete path. Although, there are a few steps and parts of the trail do become a dirt path. Other than that, it is still quite an easy hike suitable for all ages.
Where To Start
We will be starting from Charm Churee Villa in Mae Haad near the Songserm Pier. From the main road, take the turn towards the Songserm Pier. Then take a left turn half down the road at the sign for, Sensi Paradise Resort. Follow this road all the way to the end until you see Charm Churee Villa. If you are driving a bike, you can park it at the resort for free.
Once you have parked up and are ready for a day of hiking on Koh Tao, start making your way to Jansom Bay only a short walk from the resort.
Jansom Bay is a small private beach belonging to Charm Churee Villa. So if you plan on staying for a swim, be prepared to pay 200 Baht (6$). Otherwise, continue hiking through the resort to Sai Nuan Beach 1 located 800 meters away.
From here you will come to the first climb of the hike. Walking up the steps through Bamboo Huts Resort, you will find a nice view overlooking the ocean below. Further down the path, at the end of the resort, you will see a huge boulder to the right of some steps. Climb up this boulder and be sure to thank us later.
On top of the boulder is a beautiful panoramic view overlooking the best crystal clear waters around Koh Tao. Take some time to enjoy the view, before continuing on hiking along Koh Tao's west coast for another 500 meters to Sai Nuan Beach 1.
Sain Nuan Beach 1 became one of our favourite beaches while hiking on Koh Tao last year. With fine white sand, lined with coconut trees, and its turquoise water this beach is the perfect escape from the crowds.
Take a break and stop for a dip in the sea, or carry on towards Sai Nuan Beach 2. Here you will find a couple of restaurants and Koh Tao's Banana Rock Bar.
After walking through Sai Nuan Resort and trying to rejoin the path from the beach can be a little confusing. The best way to get back on track is by walking through the Siam Cookie Bungalows, where the path becomes a steep dirt road.
After a steep climb to the top, the road will veer to the left and to the right. Keep to the right heading for Tao Thong Villa 2 passing Tao Tong Villa 1. Tao Tong Villa 1 is a small bay and not really impressive. It's worth skipping to save yourself time hiking back up the steep steps.
Follow the sign pointing to Tao Thong Villa 2 and continue hiking towards Sunset Bungalows. The trail will soon become overgrown either side by vegetation. But not to worry, the track is still easy to follow. You will see a red arrow on a boulder pointing you in the right direction.
When you reach Sunset Bungalows to your right, hike the trail until it meets a concrete road. From here, you will have the option to take a walk down to check out June Juea Bay or stay on the road towards View Point Resort.
Hitting the resort, you will come to a small well-maintained grass area with a lovely view overlooking Chalok Bay.
To get to Chalok Bay, hike across San Jao Beach through a small restaurant and over the bridge. Now, you have finally reached the third largest beach on the island. Hurray.
Hiking on Koh Tao from Mae Haad to Chalok Bay should take you between 2-3 hours return. That is of course if you plan on doing it without stopping along the way. We suggest hiking all the way to Chalok while stopping for photos and picking out your favourite spots. On the return journey, stop at the places you liked the most and spend the day enjoying the beaches and some snorkelling.
If you don't feel like hiking both ways and have access to two bikes, you can always park one bike at each end of the hike.