After spending a manic few days in Bangkok we decided it was island time so booked a bus to take us down to Koh Tao. We grabbed a bus at 5am and then a ferry. The overall journey was about 9 hours but as soon as we stepped on the island it was so worth it.
We booked an apartment right near the pier as we knew we wouldn’t want to lug our backpacks around and found it a few minutes away with plenty of shops and restaurants on the way. Air b&b has some great cheap options if you want a break from hostels!
Because we really liked the look and vibe of Koh Tao we decided to spend 7 days there. Most people go here for the amazing diving, and you’ll be able to find a dive school on every corner. It’s named turtle island for a reason! We didn’t dive while we were there and probably would next time by booking a hotel and dive school in one to cut down the costs.
We spent the first few days walking the island and just exploring, sitting by the beach and swimming in the bright blue waters! Unfortunately our first day was a bit cloudy and rainy so we decided it was the perfect time for a massage. We headed to Paradise Massage which is towards the end of the Main Street. We had beds right on the beach and could hear the rain on the ocean which was bliss. We then spent the afternoon on the Haad Sairee beach which gave me time to do my first beach clean! It’s amazing how beautiful these islands are but how much rubbish washes up on their coast lines. What’s great about this island compared to others we’ve gone too is that 90% of the cafes etc use paper or reusable straws!
The next day we decided to hike to the south of the island, a lot of people rent scooters on the island but we didn’t want to spend the money or risk me causing an accident! We walked all along the coast with some amazing views and ended up at Freedom Beach. Being here in low season is actually really great as you can enjoy the places you visit without feeling overcrowded. If you do hike be warned that a lot of it is through forest and no pavements, so wear sensible shoes and lots of bug spray!
That evening we decided to do the Koh Tao pub crawl. It’s a pretty famous experience in Thailand and didn’t disappoint. We headed to a few bars with beer pong and a pool party and consumed a lot of alcohol. The spirits here in Thailand should definitely come with a warning of strength! We met some really cool people and got a free T-shirt – bonus!
One thing that’s a must do is head over to the neighbouring island Koh Nang Yuan. To get there just grab a long boat (taxi boat) from along the beach. It should be about 300 baht per person for a return if you manage to haggle a little bit! Remember to take enough money for the 100 baht entrance to the park as I forgot and we thought we would be stuck looking at the island for 5 hours! Luckily one of the cafe owners went out of his way to get us to pay on card for the tickets and some drinks and got us in! This island is really stunning, with a stretch of white sandy beach connecting the two hill tops, you can climb to the top to get an amazing view too!
Our days here were a blur of relaxation, including multiple visits to the free pool party with a super chill vibe, watching the sunsets and eating amazing food. I can’t recommend this island enough!
Best places to eat
Vegetabowl – A cute little vegan cafe off the main strip with delicious smoothies and the best chocolate cookie!
Blue Water Cafe – Right on the beach front for sunset with live music this is the perfect place to grab Pad Thai! They also have western food and great brunch options!
Cafe Culture – A perfect spot for brunch, a bit on the more pricey side but you gotta treat yourself sometimes! Bonus – they did dairy free milk which I haven’t found much of!
Cafe Del Sol – We walked past here on the way home one day and had to go in because the smell of pizza was too good. As much as I’m enjoying Thai food sometimes you just need a good old pizza.
In Touch – Sat on a little balcony above the beach, this place did great fried rice and offered some shade from the sun!
If you’re island hopping make sure you check out 12goasia to book ferry’s etc. It allows you to book online using card so saves spending your cash! We’ve found that not many places take card and when they do charge 3% on every transaction , same when you get cash out so booking online for transport and accommodation really helps save cash!