Koh Tao peaks at the top of many tourist’s list of favorite islands. Quite literally, as the tiny island in the Gulf of Thailand is home to many viewpoints, each with their own incredible view. These five viewpoints are worth a visit when you’re on Koh Tao. Let’s go!
The many viewpoints of Koh Tao are spread out over the whole island. We recommend making the necessary preparations before venturing out, as most viewpoints require a bit of climbing. A pair of proper walking shoes and a bottle of water are definitely needed. Plus your camera, of course!
Koh Tao’s viewpoints are super popular amongst tourists, which hasn’t gotten unnoticed by the locals. As a result, an entrance fee is asked at many of the viewpoints – ranging from 20 to 100 baht. Some viewpoints are part of a restaurant and those can be visited for free, provided that you order a drink or snack at the restaurant.
1. John-Suwan Viewpoint
We kick off this list with the most adventurous viewpoint. You will need to climb quite a bit to reach the top of John-Suwan Viewpoint. Certain parts of the path are slippery; making your proper shoes come to use.
Ropes have been attached to the rocks to help you with your climb, but do not underestimate the hike – as it’s quite exhausting. Taking the heat into consideration, it’s best to start your climb in the early morning or in the afternoon.
But it is worth all the effort once you reach the top. The viewpoint is located at the most southern point of the island and boasts a marvelous view of different bays and their white sandy beaches.
How to get there
John-Suwan Viewpoint is located right next to Freedom Beach. Travel along the main road of the island to the south until you reach the end of the road, where you will be greeted by a large sign that reads “Welcome to Freedom Beach”.
After you’ve parked your motorbike at the designated parking area, you still need to hike up to the left of the parking area for a few minutes. Upon arrival, you will be asked to pay an entrance fee of 50 baht. The final stretch is a climb of around 15 minutes to the top. Good luck!
2. Koh Nang Yuan Viewpoint
This incredible viewpoint is located on the neighboring island of Koh Nang Yuan. From the top, you can enjoy a beautiful view on all three islands that Nang Yuang consists of, plus the white sandy beach that connects them.
The viewpoint is tremendously popular, thus extremely busy. There is always a line of people; because everyone wants her or his picture taken. But it’s definitely worth the wait!
If you don’t feel like waiting, you will need to take an earlier taxi boat to Koh Nang Yuan. The island opens for the public at 9.00 AM, and most of the tourist boats arrive at 9.30 AM. Head straight for the viewpoint (turn left) once you hop off, so you can take in the view all by yourself.
There is an entrance fee of 100 baht to enter the island, which includes the viewpoint. Keep in mind that it’s forbidden to bring plastic bottles and cans to prevent littering and pollution. Before starting your hike, it is wise to use some anti-mosquito spray, as a part of the hike takes you through the jungle where hungry mosquitos linger.
How to get there
Rent a taxi boat from Sairee Beach for 500 baht and schedule the time you want to be picked up with the captain. Another choice is to join one of the many snorkeling tours that are offered on Koh Tao. These tours stop for one to two hours on the island and cost 500 baht. Besides a visit to the island, these tours also take you to a few other beaches in Koh Tao.
It’s a fifteen-minute hike to the viewpoint. The hike is not extremely challenging as it follows a well-constructed path with plenty of steps. Only the last part is quite challenging, as it requires you to climb up the rock to reach the viewpoint.
3. Mango Viewpoint
Mango Viewpoint offers the highest view of the island at 300 meters high. And its quite the journey to reach the top.
You can drive all the way up by motorbike, but do be wary as most part of the road is not properly maintained. Accidents are common here, so we only recommend driving up if you’re experienced and confident on a motorbike. I recommend against traveling by motorbike when it’s raining or has rained, as the largest section of the road transforms into a giant mud pool.
You can reach Mango Viewpoint on foot – but take into consideration that it will take you around an hour if you follow the main road. So bring plenty of water and try to avoid the afternoon heat.
Once arrived, you can relax and catch your breath as the 100 baht entrance fee allows you to take a seat in the restaurant. The restaurant, where you can order a drink or enjoy a meal, is run by a friendly Thai family.
How to get there
Hop on your motorbike and follow the main road to Hin Wong Bay, situated in the northwest of the island. Halfway to Hin Wong Bay, around the peak of the hill, you will find a road. Take this road, or if you prefer walking, park your motorbike here.
Follow this road all the way to the end and keep left at the T-junction. This is where the most challenging section of the roads starts, as asphalt has made way for gravel and sand. Mango Viewpoint is located at the end of this road. Keep an eye out for the signs, as there are many other viewpoints along this route. The view offered by the Mango Viewpoint is by far the most spectacular.
4. Love Koh Tao Viewpoint
Don’t feel like climbing? Or don’t feel confindent on a motorbike? This is the viewpoint for you!
Love Koh Tao is situated at the eastern side of the island and looks over Tanote Bay. There is a perfect, asphalted road leading to it, making it super easy to reach.
The adjoining restaurant is located on the side of the mountain and offers a beautiful view. The restaurant does not ask for an entrance fee, but you are required to order at least one drink.
How to get there
Love Koh Tao is easily accessible by motorbike or taxi. Follow the main road of the island to the east and keep following the signs to Tanote Bay. After having traveled around threequarters of the road, you will find the entrance of the viewpoint on your left side, which is clearly indicated by signboards.
5. Moondance Magic View
This isn’t an official viewpoint, but does offer a beautiful view on Shark Island and the rock formations near Aow Leuk Bay.
Moondance Magic View actually is a resort with a restaurant, but is also the entrance to a snorkeling spot located in between the rocks. The terrace of the resort offers a beautiful view on the rocks and the ocean.
The terrace is easily accessible and does not require you to climb. A welcome change!
How to get there
Moondance Magic View is located at the east side of the Island, right after Aow Leuk Bay. Follow the main road of the island to the east and keep following the signs to Tanote Bay. Halfway you can turn right, from where you can follow the signs “Moondance Magic View”. You will find the resort on the right side at the end of this road.
Map of mentioned viewpoints
Transportation on Koh Tao
Koh Tao is a small island of only 21 km2, but the hills on the island make it impossible to travel on foot. Taxis are quite expensive as a short ride will quickly cost you a few hundred baht and are not available throughout the island. Therefore, we recommend renting a motorbike.
Motorbikes are available for 150 to 350 baht a day (depending on the type of motorbike). It’s worth to mention that Koh Tao is a hilly island and some roads are not easily passable. Some stretches of road are very steep or only consist of sand and gravel. Accidents frequently occur, so we recommend driving safely and always to wear a helmet.
Most motorbike rental stores on Koh Tao require you to deposit your passport as a guarantee. Do not agree with this!
We are familiar with the following rental stores, and these allow you to rent a motorbike without having to deposit your passport:
- Oli’s Motorbike Rental – Near the Mae Haad Pier. This is the most famous and highly regarded motorbike rental store on the island.
- Koh Tao Scooters – A decent second choice situated near the Mae Haad Pier.
- Buddha View Travel – located near Chalok Bay.
If you are not an experienced rider or riding a motorbike is too much of a challenge, hopping on a taxi boat is the best alternative.
Unfortunately, taxi boats are not cheap; traveling a short distance to another beach can set you back by 1,000 baht. You can share the boat with other travelers to keep the price down. Taxi boats are readily available at the more popular beaches such as Sairee Beach, Chalok Bay, and Shark Bay. These beaches have many taxi boat booths. Schedule your preferred time of return with the captain if you prefer to visit one of the quieter beaches.
How to get to Koh Tao
Hopping on a domestic flight from Chiang Mai or Bangkok to the coastal town Chumphon is your best option if you are traveling to Koh Tao. Upon arrival in Chumphon, you can book a combination ticket (bus + boat) to Koh Tao. Here you can find the cheapest flights from Bangkok.
If you already find yourself in the south of Thailand, the best way to get to Koh Tao is to travel via Surat Thani. Throughout the day busses ride to the pier from the city center, the bus station, the train station and the airport. Once at the pier, you step on board a boat which travels via Koh Samui and Koh Phangan to Koh Tao. You can find all the necessary information about this trip here.
Hotel Recommendations for Koh Tao
There are plenty of nice hostels, guesthouses, and resort on the island. These are a few of our personal recommendations:
If you are traveling alone and are looking for a party hostel in the center of Koh Tao, we recommend Green Shelter Hostel. This hostel has a super relaxed atmosphere. If you don’t like partying, but want to meet and mingle with other travelers, Dearly Koh Tao Hostel will be right up your alley. This hostel is considered to be one of the best hostels in Thailand. It’s new, spotless, has a nice pool and beautiful rooms.
For travels on a budget, who would rather not stay at a hostel, the choice of proper accommodation is somewhat limited. We have found a hotel which we can recommend with confidence. The Good Dream Hotel is located in the center, just a few minutes away from Sairee Beach. The rooms are new and properly maintained.
If your budget is a bit higher, Simple Life Resort is perfect. You can guarantee a pleasant stay to its comfortable rooms, nice pool, and delicious breakfast.
If you want to stay in style, Sensi Paradise Resort stands tall at the top of our list. It’s located directly on the beach where you can enjoy snorkeling. It offers various luxurious (family) cottages in the garden, on the beach or with an ocean view. The pool is fantastic and its restaurants serve mouth-watering breakfast and dinner.