Things are changing in Koh Tao. Where it has always been an exclusive divers paradise, more and more people make the trip to the island not only for the diving. It still is one of the cheapest places in the world to get your Open Water certification and loads of young adventurers do so, but it is not only those travelers that take a boat to Koh Tao. An increasingly amount of islands hoppers come to experience the laid-back vibe, to snorkel in the stunning remote bays, party on the beach or just chill out and watch incredible sunsets.
With all these crowds coming in, the community is expanding and so are the options where to stay in Koh Tao. If you are planning to dive then first of all get yourself a free stay as all dive schools offer free or hugely discounted accommodation. If you don’t have any plans to see the underwater world and just want to roam around the island freely then there are a couple Koh Tao where to stay area’s, let me guide you through them.
Where to stay in Koh Tao
If you just want to stay close to the pier then opt for one of the many guesthouses and hostels in this area. It is like the city center of the island. Obviously it’s the busiest and definitely not the best place to stay in Koh Tao. During the day it is very lively and there are many cafés and restaurants, but in the evening there is hardly anything to do. Mae Haad lacks a nice beach as well, although within a 10 minutes walk you will get to Sairee Beach or down South the remote and private Jansom Bay.
I have never stayed in this area, but if you just want to drop your bags close to the pier, rent a scooter to explore the island and come back to only sleep then this is your area. Two popular hostels and well reviewed are Taco Shack Hostel and Koh Tao Central Hostel.
Sairee Beach is the most popular area and the place where most travellers hang out, the perfect neighborhood to meet fellow backpackers and to me the best area to stay in Koh Tao. The 7eleven crossing in Sairee Beach is the central point around which everything is located. The two narrow streets leading towards the beach are the main tourist drags with plenty options to find delicious Thai food and excellent restaurants like Barracuda and Portobello bistro. Here you will also find a good sushi restaurant named Oishi Kaiso and Le Petite Palace is a lovely French place serving excellent wines and food. Read all about this in my blog Best Restaurants In Koh tao plus best bars of course! ;) All of this and many more places to eat, drink and party you can find within 100m from the 7eleven crossing. Evenings gets very lively and roaming around here will for sure be among your favorite things to do in Koh Tao. Read the 5 best things to do in Koh Tao apart from diving . Including viewpoints, coastal walk, hiking and unique sunset spots!
Budget Accommodation in Sairee Beach
Accommodation options are obviously plenty and hard to choose from in this area. A good place for the budget traveller is Good Dream Hostel. A friend of mine lately stayed here and did not speak a bad word about it. They recently renovated and opened up in a new building. It is a 2-minutes walk to the 7eleven crossing and a 2-minutes walk to the beach as well. A place more relaxed and green is Spicy Tao. It is a 4-minutes walk to the 7-eleven crossing so still very central, but located in a lush green area with plenty hammocks to chill out in and between the palm trees, according to many budget travelers the best place to stay in Koh Tao. One of the cheapest options is Jizo Hostel for 300THB per night. The location is excellent as it is right on the 7eleven crossing, but therefore obviously very much alive. They have fast Wi-Fi though!
It is hard to tell you where to stay in Koh Tao if you are looking for cheap beach bungalows. There are a couple along Sairee Beach but they are from small local guesthouses, which is more or less all based on walk-in. The more north you walk, the more options you will find. I heard that they start from 800THB per night but I never rented one.
Are you willing to get away from the crowds? Then head to Chalok Bay in the South where you will find great places to stay in Koh Tao. Enjoy its amazingly relaxed vibe and beautiful bay. Don’t expect the bustling vibe like in Sairee Beach, at nighttime it can get very quiet here. A couple cool sights are within walking distance. The fabulous John–Suwan viewpoint and Chalok Viewpoint are only a little hike from the bay. Two stunning beaches and bays are just around the corner as well: Freedom Beach and Shark Bay. In 2009 I stayed in Chalok Bay and I loved the serenity at night, some chill bars with hammocks are around and you will find peace in places like High Bar and Natural High! Are you looking for an island life feeling away from the crowds then ‘where to stay in Koh Tao?’ has just been answered! Ever heard of the Chalok viewpoint Koh Tao from where you can see Koh Phangan?
Staying in one of the remote bays
Are you the adventurous type of travelers or may be the more hippie type of traveler? Then I found the best place to stay in Koh Tao for you. Consider one of the bungalows off the beaten path in Koh Tao in one of the many remote and fantastic bays like Tanote Bay, Aow Leuk, Mango Bay, Hin Wong Bay or Sai Nuan Beach. Here they offer stunning ocean side bungalows for the grab, definitely one of the more unique places to stay in Koh Tao. Value for money is amazing, but as soon as the sun sets there is nothing but darkness. Perfect if you want to listen to the ocean in a hammock on your balcony and simply enjoy the silence. The roads leading to these places can be rough. Best way to get to these places with your luggage is to rent a taxi boat! Are you into island hopping? Check out all my island hopping Thailand tips!
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Best place to stay Koh Tao
Prepared to splurge for a romantic night? Are you willing to surprise your lover with the best place to stay in Koh Tao and looking for a romantic place then you are in the right place! TripAdvisor rated ‘The Place Luxury Boutique Pool Villas’ as the world’s most romantic hotel in 2015. Spacious luxurious villas that come with all the amenities you can think of: a private infinity pool on your balcony, total privacy, endless jungle and ocean views and a garden bathroom. Expect to pay for what you get! I stayed here 3 nights and had the time of my life, read about it in my blog Best Place To Stay Koh Tao, I also stayed at a couples retreat away from the hustle and bustle, check out my Bamboo Huts Koh Tao review.
Examples of great places to stay in Koh Tao are:
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