Mao Bay is another of the most remote beaches on Koh Tao and is very rarely visited. Even the healthy coral reefs see very little dive traffic. Mao means ‘drunk’ in Thai and rumour has it that a drunken fisherman once fell overboard and drowned here, so many local Thais believe that Mao Bay is haunted. Due to the lack of visitors, Mao Bay can be quite polluted as there and there are few local businesses that go there to do cleanups. However, some local residents and regular hikers have started a beach cleaning initiative that visits Mao Bay to remove trash on a regular basis. They also visit and clean other beaches at some other more remote areas like Laem Thien Bay and Lighthouse Bay. The potential for some litter aside, Mao Bay is one of the best places to get some quality beach time unhindered by other people.
Unless you charter a water-taxi, the only way to reach Mao Bay is on foot. Setting off from Sairee Beach, you need to take the Hin Wong Bay road out of the village, and take a right at Tarna Align resort. This is the same path you’d take to get to Laem Thien Bay, but towards the end of the track you take a small exit on the left that snakes down the steep hillside onto the beach at Mao Bay. This path is easy to miss, so once you pass the turning points for Secret Steps and Tanote Peak, you’ll need to keep a keen eye out. The path to Mao Bay is about halfway between the fork in the track and Laem Thien Bay. The entire walk from Sairee takes approximately an hour each way.
There are no fees to access the hiking trail or use the beach at Mao Bay.
Services & Facilities
Be sure to take plenty of water and any snacks you want with you, as there are no shops or services along the way, nor are there any resort services on-site where you can buy refreshments and food.
Swimming and Snorkeling
Most times you visit Mao Bay, chances are you will have it to yourself. So you can easily leave your belongings in the shade of one of the large granite boulders lining the shore while you take a refreshing dip and check out the fish and corals. The water is shallow and gives way to pretty reefs on either side of the bay.
Recommended for… Sunrise
Mao Bay faces almost directly east and as such is an amazing place to watch the sunrise. It means an early morning wake up to get there, but we think the view is worth it. If you want a more elevated position, you could take the track to the Secret Steps which are located on the rocky coastline slightly further north, rather than coming into the bay itself.