How to Stay Safe on Koh Tao
Our paradise island is a mecca for backpackers and is the top scuba diving destination in Thailand. With our white sandy beaches and bays, amazing viewpoints, a diverse range of activities, and vibrant nature and marine life, it’s no wonder so many visitors fall in love with Koh Tao. The island receives over 100,000 visitors per year, the vast majority of whom have an incredibly enjoyable holiday and have no issues with safety. The truth is that the island is incredibly safe, and as long as you exercise good judgement and common sense – just as you would anywhere else in the world – you should have no safety concerns during your stay on Koh Tao. Despite this, our travel agency staff are often asked about the best ways to stay safe on Koh Tao. So we have put together a list of our top tips to help you have a safe, happy, and healthy time!
Our Top Tips to Stay Safe on Koh Tao
- Have the information for local emergency services saved on your phone in case you need them.
- Have your emergency contact details saved on the screensaver or home screen of your phone in case you lose it.
- If in doubt about a particular business, product, or activity, ask some locals or local ex-pats for their advice. Most Koh Tao residents are friendly, welcoming, and happy to share their opinions and recommendations.
- Dress respectfully. Swimwear on the beach is fine and party clothing for nights out is not frowned upon. But the Buddhist culture is one of conservative dress, so walking around the streets in swimwear is discouraged and if you plan to visit any of Koh Tao’s Holy Sites and temples, strict rules apply.
- Only drink bottled water. Drinking tap water in Thailand is not recommended unless your accommodation has proper water filters fitted.
- Drink lots of water. To stay adequately hydrated on Koh Tao you need to drink a minimum of 3 litres per day. You can always buy electrolyte sachets to give you an extra boost if needed, and fresh coconuts are great for hydration too.
- Don’t take drugs or accept drinks or lifts from strangers.
- Organise your Koh Tao scooter rental through a reputable supplier, and if you don’t know how to drive one, don’t rent one!
- Don’t drink and drive on your rental scooter. Aside from the damages you’ll have to pay, very few insurance companies will pay out on claims for drunken bike accidents should you be injured.
- Always wear sunscreen. We recommend starting your Koh Tao holiday with a high factor and gradually reducing throughout your stay to reduce burning.
- Don’t carry all your cash and cards with you when you go out. Leave any money and valuables you don’t need with you behind, preferable in a safety deposit box or in a safe at your accommodation.
- Protect yourself from mosquitoes to avoid adverse reactions to bites and viral infections such as Dengue Fever and Chikungunya Fever. Repellent and coils are readily available from local stores, 7-Eleven shops, and all of the major supermarkets on Koh Tao.
- Make sure you have adequate travel insurance so that if you need emergency assistance at any of the Koh Tao hospitals and clinics the cost can be reimbursed.
- Koh Tao is not known for petty crime or pickpocketing, but we recommend against carrying money, wallets or other valuables in your back pockets, just in case.
- Have a small personal first aid kit as part of your packing checklist.
Follow all of these hints and tips, and you’ll have no problem staying safe on Koh Tao during your stay.