Thailand is every beach lover’s dream come true, however, it can be a bit daunting to choose where exactly to visit for the perfect beach holiday, so here are my reasons why I believe that Koh Tao is one of the best islands in Thailand to visit right now.
Thailand has long been known as an idyllic beach destination, with its multiple turquoise water beaches, incredibly affordable prices, and delicious food, there is no way to have a bad trip to Thailand, however, there are ways to have a better trip to Thailand and that means finding the right destination for the kind of holiday that you want.
Due to Thailand’s popularity, some of the main destinations can be overcrowded with partying tourists, so when deciding where to go in Thailand it’s important to consider what you want out of the holiday and pick the best island in Thailand that fits your travel style.
I knew going to Thailand that I wanted a chill, easygoing beach holiday, and my boyfriend wanted to get his diving license, so we needed a mix of everything, luckily, through some friends, we came across the small island of Koh Tao.
Koh Tao is the tiniest of islands off of Koh Samui, the most popular big sister where lots of people escape for an island vibe kind of holiday, but also one that I have heard can get quite overcrowded.
So we were curious to explore Koh Tao and see if it lived up to the hype of being this quieter but equally beautiful island. And it did.
Now I am this tiny island’s biggest fan, and it has quickly become one of my favorite places in the world, that’s why I want to tell you all the reasons why I think Koh Tao is one of the best islands in Thailand to visit right now.
Reasons why Koh Tao is one of the best islands in Thailand to visit right now
Perfect island size and vibe
Yes, Thailand has so many beautiful islands to choose from, but I believe that the point of visiting an island is to feel that you are on an island.
For me that means, having that proximity to everything you need, living that slow life, being able to walk to the beach, and then grab a “cab”, which means hopping in the back of a pickup truck, to get to the other side of the island in about 10 min to lay on a different beach for the day.
Koh Tao’s size is just perfect for that, it wouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes by scooter to drive from the top of the island to the bottom, the island is small and cozy and perfect for leisurely exploring all its different beaches.
Gorgeous beaches all around
This brings me to my next point of why Koh Tao is one of the best islands in Thailand to visit right now.
This tiny but mighty island has more than enough gorgeous beaches to explore.
A small amount that allows you to get a sense of familiarity with each, but enough that you can switch it up whenever you feel like it.
I spent most of my days on the popular Sairee beach which is right on the main street of the island, where you can lounge on the beach, and then take five steps to the closest cafe for a fresh coconut.
Trust me, it doesn’t get old.
Amazing brunch spots
One thing that I find really hard to give up whenever traveling somewhere new is good brunch, and luckily in Koh Tao, you don’t have to.
Koh Tao has a variety of amazing brunch spots to have a delicious breakfast right on the water to start your day slowly and fuel up before spending all your energy lounging in the sun, or snorkeling with sea turtles.
It was honestly such a joy to wake up every day put my bikini on, cover up, and head to one of the many breakfast spots to start my day a delicious brunch—good breakfast food just makes me so happy!
Beautiful diving and snorkeling spots
While being the smaller island of the group, Koh Tao still has so much to offer activity-wise, such as some amazing diving and snorkeling spots.
You can even get your diving license on the island if that is something you are interested in.
My intention for this holiday was to simply relax, but my boyfriend is more the active vacationer kind of guy, so this island was the perfect balance for us, since I could chill by the beach and read my book during the day while he went off to get his diving license in some beautiful waters around the island.
Various yoga studios
Again, sadly I’m not the diving kind of person, I would love to, but is just not for me, so while my boyfriend was up bright and early to get on a boat to go on a diving excursion, I would make my way to a morning yoga class.
Koh Tao has various yoga studios in the area, with two popular ones being very well located in the middle of the main street.
The proximity to the yoga studios is so convenient, because when the only thing you have to do all day is eat delicious food and chill by the beach, having the yoga studio so close by makes it easier to push yourself to go move your body for a little bit.
Besides, who wouldn’t want to do a little stretch session with the sound of the ocean nearby?
Best island in Thailand for couples
After having visited Koh Tao as a couple with different interests, it is easy for me to say that Koh Tao might be one of the best islands in Thailand for couples, and a lot of this, I believe, has to do with its diversity and its size.
In Koh Tao, you can have a relaxing easy beach holiday like myself, doing yoga in the morning, brunching the day away, and spending all day in the sand with a book, or you can also go all out and do 6 am diving excursions, like my boyfriend.
The beauty of it is that two people can either share all those things or do separate activities and still spend a holiday together due to the size of the island.
First of all, I felt very safe being alone while my partner was off diving, and second, when he came back from diving, the island was so small that we could immediately meet for lunch, and keep lounging together on the beach before booking a couples massage for that evening.
Everything is possible, and the compact size of the island makes it easier to go with the flow since you don’t have to commute anywhere.
Plus, the quietness and slow vibe of the island is perfect for spending quality time with your loved one.
Great restaurants right on the water
One of my favorite things about Koh Tao and its size is the fact that a lot of businesses here are built right on the water, not out of luxury, but simply out of necessity.
This means that you can enjoy a coffee or a great dinner every day right on the beach without the extra “beach view” price tag.
For me this is the epitome of a beach holiday, being able to be on the beach at all times, and I love that in Koh Tao this is possible without having to go to an expensive all-inclusive resort.
Various Thai spas
This is a no-brainer no matter where you visit in Thailand, wherever you find yourself in this beautiful country, you must visit the spas.
However, I wanted to add this one here to assure you that even though Koh Tao is a very small island, it is not short on spas providing incredible massages for a fraction of the price that you would pay anywhere else in the world.
I have never been as relaxed as I was after this Thai holiday, days of lounging by the water, and getting massages at night before dinner on the beach, this is what holiday dreams are made of.
Fun party street
If you are looking for a bit of nightlife there is also a small party street on the island that will allow you to mingle with other visitors over beer pong tournaments or karaoke.
It is not as big and rowdy as I have heard it can be in Koh Samui, but there are a few options to go grab drinks and dance the night away if that’s what you are after.
Incredible local food
Another reason to visit Thailand, in general, is for its incredibly delicious local cuisine, its curries, Pad Thais, spring rolls, and their mouth-watering mango sticky rice, just to name a few—I could eat my body weight in mango sticky rice— but something that stood out to me in Koh Tao was the local island cuisine.
While being in Koh Tao I tried this small restaurant that specializes in local island home cooking style, and I was blown away!
They specialize in dry-aged locally caught fish served with a variety of sauces, depending on what you choose, and it quickly became one of my favorite meals I ate during the trip.
The food in Thailand is already a great reason to visit, but this tiny island had some of the best food I had during my trip to Thailand.
One of the main reasons why I think Koh Tao is one of the best islands in Thailand is simply because it has everything I would want out of a Thai beach holiday, with a fraction of the crowds you would find anywhere else.
At the beginning of our Thailand trip, we spent a few days at Kata Beach in Phuket, which was meant to be a quieter beach in the city, however, we still found ourselves a bit overwhelmed by the amount of people there, and Koh Tao felt nothing like it.
There are some people around of course, but not as many, and the vibe is different as well, it feels like everyone is calmer, more on the slow life/ island vibe. I can’t explain it, but it just feels different and so much more relaxing.
Hope you found this post useful when deciding which is the best island in Thailand for your holiday, I feel like not a lot of people know about Koh Tao, but the few that do have all told me that they love it. Have you heard of Koh Tao before? Does it sound like the kind of place you would like to visit?