The Lotus resorts are a great cheap option for those looking to stay in Sairee Beach. With super central locations, these guesthouses offer comfortable rooms with wifi, fans, balconies and on-site restaurants. You can get a room at Lotus Mountain View (9/9 Moo1 Sairee Beach, Koh Tao 84360) from around THB700 per night.
Another good budget option is the Ko Tao Garden Resort (20/1 Moo2 Koh Tao 84280) which comprises individual chalet-style rooms with wifi, fans and en suite bathrooms. Located just 100m from Mae Haad Beach this resort is great for those looking to relax by the sea.
The Sairee View Whale Skeleton Resort (20/4 Moo1, Ampor, Koh Tao 84280) is a unique mid-range option for those looking for a little more than just a simple guesthouse or hostel when staying on Koh Tao. With a lovely outdoor pool and spectacular sea and mountain views, this resort offers guests a relaxing and tranquil stay. All rooms are well equipped with air-conditioning and en suite bathroom facilities as well as free wifi, flat screen TVs and outdoor seating. As the name suggests, this resort also has a huge whale skeleton hanging above the communal seating area!
Balcony Villa (36/19 Moo1 Sairee Beach, Koh Tao 84360) is a great mid-range option with private facilities and of course balconies to look out over the coast. Although slightly more inland than many other resorts on Koh Tao, this villa has free parking and it is only about 2.2km to the main pier.
Perhaps one of the most luxurious hotels on Koh Tao is the Jamahkiri Resort (21/2 Moo3 Koh Tao, Ao Thian Og, 84360). This resort boasts a spa, private beach, a swimming pool and even its own dive centre. You won’t want to leave this lavish resort, but with a wine cellar, rooftop bar and great restaurant you don’t have to!
If you want extra privacy as well as luxury while staying on Koh Tao, why not choose the Phandara Luxury Pool Villas (25/4 Moo1 Haad Sairee, Koh Tao, 84360). With air-conditioning, wifi, private pools and fantastic sea views these sumptuous villas can be your home away from home while exploring the island.
Dive Centre Accommodation
One of the benefits of heading to Koh Tao to learn to dive is that many of the dive packages include accommodation. Notable dive centres which offer accommodation include Davy John’s Locker and Simple Life Divers. These dive centre accommodations offer simple yet comfortable rooms while also having the added extra of social events and bars which allow you to meet and get to know your fellow divers.
Should I book in advance?
Even if you don’t book your accommodation before you arrive in Koh Tao there are plenty of rooms available year-round – out of the Christmas and New Year holidays! – that you will be able to book on the day.
Koh Tao station guide
Koh Tao - Bus
Offering some of Asia’s finest dive and snorkelling sites, the Thai island of Koh Tao is in the Gulf of Thailand around 80kms from Chumphon on the nation’s southern peninsula. There is no airport on the island and the only way of getting here is on one of the many ferries that operate on routes in this part of the gulf.
Koh Tao’s passenger port is at Mae Haad, situated on a sheltered bay on the west coast and abutting the golden sands of Sairee Beach. There are several ferry options from Chumphon. High-speed daytime ones take about 90 minutes to make the crossing. Larger cargo and car ferries depart Chumphon at 23:00 and dock around 05:00 the following morning. It is best to book tickets online to ensure availability.
Chumpon is a stop for trains running on the main line from Bangkok to Padang Besar on the Malaysian border. Taking one of the early evening sleeper trains from Bangkok leaves passengers with plenty of time to catch the 07:00 sailing from Chumpon.
There are also buses to Chumpon from Bangkok’s Southern terminal. Those in a hurry can pre-book a combined flight-ferry service as budget carrier Nok Air’s flights from Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport are timed to coincide with boat departures from Chumpon and include transport to the ferry pier.
An alternative route to Koh Tao for people travelling in southern Thailand is to take one of the ferries from Surat Thani on the mainland or the neighbouring islands of Koh Phangan or Koh Samui. Crossing times from Surat Thani are around seven hours for the night sailing and three hours on the fast boat.
Koh Tao is only a few kilometres across at its widest point and a fair proportion of the accommodation is close to Mae Haad. There are a few taxis on the island, but drivers operate on a fixed price policy. Most visitors get around on foot or rent a bicycle or motorcycle.