Beaches on Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a small island off of Thailand’s southern coast. Koh Tao means “Turtle Island.” This name might refer to the island’s turtle shape, or to the many turtles who once flocked to its shores. Along with the other islands in the region, it is part of the scenic Chumphon Archipelago. Koh Tao has less visitors than the nearby islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, making it a good choice for those who would rather avoid the crowds. Interestingly, visitors to the island include many Thailand natives, as well as foreign tourists.

Ao Leuk

Ao Leuk Beach is a beautiful bay. The beach is wide and sandy, and the shore is lined with boulders. You can hop over the boulders and into the warm turquoise water, which is perfect for swimming in. This is also an amazing place to go snorkeling and diving. You are likely to see tons of fish, turtles, and black tipped sharks. Just walk a few yards into the water, and you will already be surrounded by the many colorful fish. Ao Leuk has reasonably priced bungalows and a great, inexpensive restaurant with delicious fresh food and an amazing view. Ao Leuk Beach is relatively small, but it also tends to be not have so many visitors, so you will have plenty of room. It is a good idea to follow the rules of making sure to leave the beach by 5:00 pm and not bringing your own food, so as not to irk the locals.

Ao Thian Ok

Ao Thian Ok Beach is more than “OK” for those who want some time alone. The beach is located away from the central areas of Ko Tao, which keeps it nice and quiet. It does, however, have a nice resort. Most of the beaches on Ko Tao have palm trees, but Ao Thian Ok has a rare, different type of tree. This is a great place to snorkel, as long as you view the presence of sharks to be an advantage.

Sairee Beach

Sairee Beach is perfect for those who like being in the epicenter of the action. It is Ko Tao’s biggest and busiest beach, with plenty of resorts and other tourist accommodations. By night there are often beach parties, and Sairee Beach definitely has its share of nightlife. By day, you can go snorkeling and enjoy the marine life, but keep your ears peeled for incoming boats. If you enjoy the exquisite underwater scenery, you might be glad to know that Sairee Beach is home to one of Asia’s largest diving schools. They offer classes for all skill levels in their two training pools. Additionally, they conduct dive tours, and have a large and nice resort right next to the water. If you want a bite to eat, stop into one of Sairee Beach’s many restaurants and bars.

Chalok Ban Kao

Chalok Ban Kao Beach is the Sairee of the south. It has the largest number of tourist lodgings in the southern part of the island. The beach itself is beautiful, but its murky, shallow waters do not lend themselves to swimming and snorkeling. However, you can reside in comfort in Chalok Ban Kao, then hop over to some of the nearby beaches for some fun in the water. Some good options are Ao Taa Chaa, Ao Taa Toh, and Freedom Beach. If you prefer to stay in Chalok Ban Kao, you might choose to go kayaking, or check out the dive school there. The staff is friendly and multilingual, and also run a dive shop. For a less structured activity, there is always beach volleyball.

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