Mae Haad Bay
You’d think that the beach at Koh Tao’s main port town would not be among the best Koh Tao beaches, but in the case of Mae Haad Bay, you’d be wrong. The sands away from the pier areas are just as soft and golden as elsewhere on the island, the waters are clear, and even with boat traffic considered, it’s never really that noisy.
Mae Haad Bay can be accessed from either side of the pier. There are plenty of places to park if you are travelling by scooter, and Mae Haad is easily reached on the main road from both Sairee or Chalok Baan Kao. If you are coming from Sairee, you can also follow the small paved road which runs parallel to the beach, often dubbed ‘the yellow brick road” by local residents. Despite this nickname, there is nothing remotely yellow about this route, which will take you all the way along Sairee Beach, up a small hill and past the back of the local school and temple before dropping down a small incline into Mae Haad.
There are no charges for using Mae Haad Bay, however, if you decide to relax on one of the deckchairs or loungers at one of the beach bars, you will be expected to purchase some refreshments or food.
Services & Facilities
There are several beachside cafes offering a range of Thai and western food, refreshing shakes, and alcoholic beverages. South of the pier, you’ll find Coconut Monkey, LolLiPop and Tattoo Bar, and just north of the pier is Breeze.
Swimming and Snorkeling
North of the pier close to Crystal Dive, there is a sectioned off area where you can snorkel and swim without needing to concern yourself with boat traffic. The southern side of the beach gives way to a rocky coastline where it is safe to swim and snorkel. Just be careful not to swim directly out from the beach into the boat channel, as this is a heavily used waterway frequented by dive boats, passenger ferries and cargo ships alike.
Right in the southern corner of Mae Haad Bay, there is a wreck of a small boat that is easily accessible just a 50 metre swim from shore. Exploring the wreck and rocky coastline, you’ll see many small varieties of tropical fish.
Recommended for… Afternoon Snorkeling & Sunset
Although on the southernmost section of the vast curve that encompasses both Sairee Beach and Maa Haad, the bay still faces west and therefore provides some stunning sunset panoramas. This combined with the unique shallow wreck just a short swim away makes it a great place to spend a chilled out afternoon.