Having been here for over 15 years, we have all the best local info and recommendations to help you get the most out of your stay. Our definitive list of the top 10 things to do on Koh Tao should help you plan the perfect holiday here, regardless of how long you intend to stay. So without further ado, these are the things that you simply don’t want to miss out of your Koh Tao Bucket List!
- Try Diving
Of all the things to do on Koh Tao, Scuba diving is by far the most popular activity. Koh Tao dive courses are so in demand that the dive centres here issue a combined total of over 80,000 certifications every year! This makes Koh Tao the number one destination in the world for those who want to learn to dive, continue their diving education, or even become a dive professional. Not staying long enough to complete a course? No problem! One day introductory try diving sessions are available, and while not a certification course, you’ll still get to experience the beauty of the underwater world and see lots of marine life.
- Visit a Viewpoint
Hanging out at a spectacular viewpoint is without a doubt one of the top-rated things to do on Koh Tao. The island is home to some stunning viewpoints and viewpoint bars for you to visit, and we highly recommend you take in the sights from some of them during your stay. Some viewpoints are simply rocky outcroppings or mountainside vantage points, whereas others have small bars or a restaurant where you can get refreshments. Perfect for any time of day, you can take in an east coast viewpoint sunrise, or a west coast viewpoint sunset.
You can find out more about the best viewpoints and when to visit them on our viewpoints pages.
- Enjoy a Classic Beach Day
With over 15 beaches and bays to choose from on Koh Tao, most people don’t manage to visit them all. However, as Koh Tao is a small island and most beaches are easily accessible by road, it’s definitely possible to visit a few on the same day. Whatever kind of beach vibe you are after and whatever activities you’d like to do when you get there, there will definitely be a combination that provides the perfect beach day. Lounge around and sunbathe on the golden sands, take a swim or snorkel, play beach games, hire a kayak or paddleboard, or simply relax in a beachside bar with a beer or cocktail in hand. Beachlife doesn’t get much better than on Koh Tao!
You can read more about all of Koh Tao’s beaches and bays, their facilities, access fees, and all other relevant information on our beaches and bays pages. We also recommend you check out our top picks for the best beaches on Koh Tao.
- Go Snorkeling
Scuba diving may be ranked number one of things to do on Koh Tao, but snorkeling does not come far behind. With calm, sheltered beaches and great conditions almost all year round, there is much to be seen from the surface. You can either self-guide your snorkeling adventures or sign up for an organised snorkel tour. Either way, lots of colourful tropical marine life awaits! Snorkeling gear is widely available for rent at most popular beaches if you don’t have your own.
Don’t forget to check out our handy guide for the top 5 snorkel spots on Koh Tao.
- Max out on Sunsets
There’s no such thing as a bad sunset on Koh Tao, as even on cloudy days the colours are always beautiful as the sun drops over the horizon. So why would you ever want to miss one? The west coast of the island in the best spot for catching the last rays of the day. Chill out on the sand, relax in a beachside bar with live music or DJs, head inland to one fo the west coast viewpoints, or splurge on a few drinks at a luxury resort or the rooftop of a mountainside restaurant. The choice is yours!
- Take a Thai Cooking Class
Taking a Thai cooking class is one of the most fun things to do on Koh Tao, as well as being a great learning experience and giving you a more in-depth insight into Thai culture at the same time. The perfect activity for a rainy day, most cooking schools allow some input on which dishes you would like to learn, and the best part is you get to eat all of the delicious food you cook at the end of the lesson!
- Go for a Hike
For a small island, Koh Tao has a lot of hiking trails, and we definitely recommend you check some of them out during your stay. Many locals rank hiking as one of the best things to do on Koh Tao, so be sure to ask your dive school staff or accommodation reception for their recommendations on where to explore. Whether it’s a casual stroll around the coastline, a steep uphill to an epic viewpoint, or a full traverse to the other side of the island, it’s definitely worth strapping on your trainers to see some of the less-visited parts of the island.
Top tip: Be sure to take plenty of water with you, and if you are not sure about hiking alone, you can always sign up to one of our hiking tours.
- Have a Night Out
For the backpackers among you, a night of partying is probably near the top of your bucket list of things to do on Koh Tao. With a variety of bars, sports bars, and party bars, there are options to suit all music tastes and every time of night. There is even an organised pub crawl a few nights of the week which is a great way to meet people, especially if you are travelling solo. However, before you go too metal on the party lifestyle, we do recommend you check out our top tips to make sure you stay safe on Koh Tao.
- Check out the East Coast
You’d be surprised how many visitors spend the entirety of their stay around Sairee Beach and Mae Haad Bay, without checking out any other parts of the island. This is such a shame as the quieter and more tranquil beaches, bays, viewpoints, and scenic views on the east coast offer a completely different experience from the hustle and bustle of the villages on the western side of the island.
- Watch a Muay Thai Fight
There are a few Muay Thai training facilities on the island, and learning this art has become one of the most popular things to do on Koh Tao among the male backpacker market (although ladies, there’s no reason you can’t get involved too!). You have to get your timing right to attend a fight night at the local stadium, as scheduled matches only happen once or twice a month. Entry is normally only a couple of hundred baht, and an evening at the Muay Thai boxing ring comprises several fights. It’s normal to begin with lightweight matches earlier in the evening – sometimes even with some local children competing in their first-ever bouts.
You can find out more about Muay Thai training facilities on our gym page.