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I LOVE Koh Tao. It is the perfect go to Beach from Bangkok and a lot of Backpacker’s first taste of Thailand’s Island life. I have spent a lot of time on Koh Tao and can never get enough of its laid back vibe!
It is so easy to get to from Bangkok.
I have taken the over night bus a few times as I find it is the cheapest and easiest method. It cost me 700THB (£14) from Khao San Road. It was an 12hr trip leaving Khao San at 9pm and arriving at Mae Haad Pier in Koh Tao at 9am.
You can also take a day bus and boat for a bit more money or if you are feeling really fancy, fly to Koh Samui and take a boat from there!
On my second time doing this I was carrying cash as I had lost my Debit card and had done a Western Union cash transfer. I was robbed! I had £100 taken out of my bun bag that was around my waste when I was sleeping. Don’t carry cash if you can help it. Some other people on that bus and other buses I know of, had their credit cards and money taken also. I was very upset!
My advice? Put any cash you have and your bank card in your bra or in your pants! If you have a spare card that you keep in you backpack, make sure it is in a lock compartment as a lot of times things go ‘missing’ from your bags that are in the hold under the bus.
Do not be put of though. I have done this trip, and various like it, over six times and it has only happened to me once!
When I got to Koh Tao, my mood bounced back at the sheer beauty and energy of the island. A short Tuk tuk away from the port is Sairree Beach, backpacker heaven. It’s a little world of backpackers, divers, and other people doing an amazing job putting off real life, it sucks you in and makes you want to stay forever.
There is no denying that Koh Tao is incredibly touristy. Backpackers from all over the world flock here to dive, relax and party in the small beach town. You can get practically any type of food you want on Koh Tao. From cheap local food at my favourite beach front restaurant, Bingos. To fancy Pastas and Pizzas at the amazing Italian Farango. This island has so many cafes, bars and street vendors, I was spoilt for choice. And the pancakes are good!
I could live on Koh Tao. The cheap beach massages, scuba diving and snorkelling in the bath water warm ocean. The hiking, the cheap accommodation and amazing beach bars. The island is so relaxed and as backpackers are so relaxed, everybody just mellows into a chilled out, euphoric way of life.
The parties can get pretty crazy though and of course the famous Koh Tao pub crawl. The beach bars are perfect to chill and meet new friends while watching one of the famous beach fire shows! Everybody from the island then congregates in Cancun Beach bar just after midnight… I wonder who I met there (wink face)!
If Khao San road is the centre of the backpacking world, Koh Tao is the number one backpacker beach destination!
I stayed at Koh Tao Backpackers and it was cheap! When I first got there everyone was asleep. At 4pm! What!? What am I suppose to do? But then I realised all the activities you can do on Koh Tao, especially diving, leave you needing a 4pm nap before you go out to party!
Just a 10 minute boat ride from Sairree beach you will find Koh Nang Yuan. This is one of the most amazing little islands I have seen in my life. I snorkelled and saw sea turtles and nemos! The sand is so white and the water so blue! I also hiked up to the view point to take a photo of it just for you!
I could write a list of places to stay and places to eat, but to be honest, Sairree Beach is so backpacker friendly; it has so many hostels, bungalows, food stalls and cheap restaurants, there is not much need for a guide!
If you are ever in Thailand, this island is a MUST!