Best of Koh Tao – Thailand l Diving Paradise

Koh Tao( เกาะเต่า ) means Turtle Island, dedicated to the island shape, and yes you can find turtles there as well!😉
Located at Chumphon Archipelago on the Gulf of Thailand, near by famous neighbors Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
Sunset in Mae Haad

Spotting a turtle is considered a luck charm by Thai people, we saw one and they must definitely be right, because we felt blessed by that encounter.
If you’re a fan of snorkeling or/and diving there’s no way you won’t love this place!
But first you have to get there:

From Bangkok

By Train + Ferry Boat
At Hua Lamphong Train Station you can buy a combo train+ferry ticket (Bangkok-Chumphon by train, Chumphon-Koh Tao by ferry).
I certainly recommend buying the ferry in advance(at Hua Lamphong) to avoid overcharge(very likely to happen) and/or losing the ferry and time once in Chumphon.
Soon as you arrive at Chumphon (nearest coastal city to Koh Tao) there’s still a half hour bus ride until the pier, the bus will be waiting for you and it is a free service included at the ticket price, it will bring you directly to the pier.
Enjoy your bus ride, it’s a beautiful way down the pier.
Ferry ride takes about 1.5 hours.
There are 2nd class seats, 2nd class beds(air-con and fan fares) and 1st class cabin options available at the train, the trip will take around 8 hours.Best will be choosing an overnight train and enjoy your sleep until the destination, it also matches the morning boat assuring you won’t have to spend the night in Chumphon.
If you’re not short on time and don’t mind an adventure, train would be my recommendation.This is the way we’ve done it and we would definitely do it again!👍
Hua Lamphong – หัวลำโพง
(Officially “Bangkok Railway Station” – สถานีรถไฟกรุงเทพ)
Address: Hua Lamphong, Rama 4 Road, Mahaphruttharam, Bangrak, Bangkok
Address in Thai: ที่อยู่: หัวลำโพง ถ.พระราม 4 แขวง มหาพฤฒาราม เขต บางรัก กทม
MRT: Hua Lamphong station – Blue line, exit 2
BTS(skytrain): *Interchange with MRT needed- Asoke station – Sukhumvit line, interchange with MRT blue line
Website(Thailand Railway): *In this website you can check all timetables, fares and seating options with pictures of all trains in Thailand.

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
Our boat to Koh Tao

By Flight + Ferry Boat
There’s 3 airports nearby: Surat Thani, Koh Samui and Chumphon.
From the chosen one you will have to take a bus/taxi/tuk tuk until the pier and then a ferry to Koh Tao.
Note that flights directly to Koh Samui are usually extremely more expensive than other destinations in Thailand, the reason is a private(and beautiful!) owned airport with a route done by only one company(Bangkok Airways).
If there’s availability from your departure point, Chumphon is the best choice.

By Bus + Ferry Boat
Multiple buses to Chumphon depart from Southern Bus Terminal during the day.The trip will take around 8 hours.
BE AWARE that private buses from Khao San Road are NOT a good choice as multiple THEFT are occurring on those trips.
After arrival, you have to catch the next boat to Koh Tao.Ferry ride takes about 1.5 hours(there’s slower boats, if possible plan to arrive in time for the fast one).
I personally would rather use the train, as you will have a bed to sleep all the way and guaranty to board the fast boat on time.
Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai) – สถานีขนส่งสายใต้ใหม่ตลิ่งชัน
Address: Borommaratchachonnani Road, Chim Phli, Taling Chan, Bangkok
Address in Thai: ที่อยู่: ถนน บรมราชชนนี แขวง ฉิมพลี เขต ตลิ่งชัน กรุงเทพมหานคร
Best way to get there is by taxi.

*For very short budgets, there’s a night-time ferry that leaves Chumphon 23:00 and arrives 5:00 for 300 baht(day time 1.5 hour trip will cost 550 baht).

Where to Stay/Where to Explore

There’s definitely more than one option when it comes to choosing a location, and it will depend on what you’re looking for:

The main beach in Koh Tao.
The two occasions i advise you to stay here is if you came specially to party or are on a strict budget.Don’t get me wrong, Saree is cute(with reasonable snorkeling!), but there’s other chin dropping locations that are just the whole package.
Saree is a place to visit after the sunset, walk around the shops, have something to eat and enjoy beach parties.
The main pier is located just besides Saree at Mae Had Beach.

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
Beach party at Saree

*If you choose any of the options below, bear in mind that you will need some kind of transportation every time you wish to leave your hotel (see more about that in “Transportation” section below).
It may sound like a bummer to you, but on my point of view the fun of Koh Tao is exactly exploring the Island beautiful landscapes.
The distance between the bays is quite short(not enough to explore by walk), this is a small Island.
It will guarantee you paradisiacal looks and snorkeling right in front of your hotel.
If you rather stay right in the middle of the buzz, where most of the restaurants and parties are going on then “Saree” or “Mae Haad”(located besides Saree) are better options for you.

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
Janson Bay waters

Jansom Bay
We were misled to believe we were booking a hotel at Jansom Bay. The beach front hotel we stayed was cute, we have no complains about it, but when we spend the day at actual Janson Bay we could confirm that it would have been the right choice for us.
The small bay offers stunning snorkeling, beautiful setting, quiet surroundings and is not far from city center.
There’s just one hotel there however, limiting a little for budget travelers.
If not staying at Jansom, visiting their private beach(200 baht per person until 17:00), even paying a fee is worth it.If on a budget you can arrive near 17:00 to enjoy the waters for free, still you have great visibility.😄

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
Jansom Bay

Shark Bay
Beautiful snorkeling and for the fearless(and experienced swimmers in nice weather please!) the option to swim to the famous Shark Island(can be done by boat otherwise).
If you’re on a budget and is not an experienced motorcycle driver, it may not be the best option for you to pick a hotel here due the steep way down the beach(for experienced drivers it isn’t a problem).
Much wider than Jansom and Banana Rock, great for spending a day.

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
Path to Shark Bay and Shark Island

Banana Rock
Unless something changed(the island is growing fast!), the path there by land is a truly hard one.Totaly worth it though(one more time, only for experienced drivers).
Another way to get here is by long tail boat(see more at “Transportation” section below).
There are only a bar and a restaurant there, placed in a way on this tiny bay, that makes you feel like you are in a secret place, everyone else there is silently sharing with you.
Again, great snorkeling, here we spotted a turtle and heard about many seeing sharks.

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
Banana Rock

Ao Leuk
Large stretch of sand, quiet and peaceful vibe, over again enchanting snorkeling.
Yet another tough road, but much easier than Banana Rock one.

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
Ao Leuk

Koh Nang Yuan
Koh Nang Yuan is a small island just about 10 minutes far from Koh Tao, and is also a fantastic choice.
Although the access is only by boat i would recommend to stay 1-2 days there(depending on your taste) and then in Koh Tao. For that, you have to book in fair advance, we’ve tried around 3 weeks before our travel date and the hotel was already fully booked(there’s just one hotel at Koh Nang Yuan).
Another options is doing a day trip to Nang Yuan, for 400 baht(price for the boat, not per person) you can rent a private long tail boat for 2 ways.In this case there’s a 100 baht entrance fee per person.
This is a must see, make sure to save some time on your schedule!
*No plastic is allowed at the island, don’t even bother bringing bottles of water because you gonna have to leave it at the entrance.

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
Koh Nang Yuan

Other Locations (Mango Beach, Sai Nuan, Chalok Ban, Ao Thian, etc)
There was some sites we didn’t have time to see, that were greatly recommended as well, if you get the chance to explore Mango Beach, Sai Nuan, Chalok Bay, Ao Thian (or any other lovely place) let us know how do you like it.✨

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
Snorkeling in Shark Bay


→Long Tail Boat- Great private and yet cheap option to explore on your rhythm.
You can ask at your reception desk for one, or find it yourself around Mae Haad pier for quite good prices(bargain in both cases).

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
Long Tail Boat

→Motorcycle- Renting a motorcycle is easy(even if you don’t have a license) and pretty cheap compared to other Thai islands.
Is advisable to take pictures of your vehicle state to avoid damage charges not caused by you.If possible rent from the hotel you’re staying it will ensure more credibility.

→Taxi- If you don’t know/want to drive a motorcycle, you still can move around by grabbing a taxi(that are actually trucks you embark and seat at the trunk).This is an expensive alternative, specially if used frequently.

*We rented a motorcycle to better explore the island.It wouldn’t have been the same without it.

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
Snorkeling in Jansom Bay

What to do

*Known as a diver’s paradise, Koh tao is one of the cheapest places in the world to take a Padi course (diving certification).🐳

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise

*Snorkeling is another star at the paradisiacal island, including group snorkeling trips, snorkeling off the beach or even renting a boat to explore on your pace.🐠

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
Corals in Shark Bay

*Beach parties are big at the main beach area, with acrobatic fire shows, relaxing Thai cushions placed at the sand, everything while facing the sea.🎉

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise

*Chilling at the beach, enjoying the most delicious coconut water with THE view, what better to do?🌴

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise

*Shopping for us have always been part of vocation experience, I adore to ramble around the local craft shops and buy some souvenirs, Koh Tao has plenty of little shops to please that desire.🎁

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
New tank top😜

*Thai Massage is a must!Preferably overlooking the sea.🏖

*Delicious Thai food, as I mentioned before, is one of the things that make Thailand special.Is not only the beautiful nature, but the people, the food, the vibe.Thailand got it all!🌞

*Check the View Point and  enjoy a drink while admiring the breath-taking scenery.

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
View Point


Please, do not step at the corals!It may seem obvious, but I noticed many people forgetting this detail when excited about the whole situation.Let’s upkeep the beauty that attract us to the place!💙

Best of Koh Tao - Thailand l Diving Paradise
Corals in Koh Nang Yuan

Would you like to explore Koh Tao? Share with us in the comments below!💙


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Things To Do In Amazing Phi Phi Islands – Thailand + How To Get There

Phi Phi Islands – หมู่เกาะพีพี
Going to the paradise?Make sure you have all the details on hands to enjoy your trip without any unpleasant surprises!
Here all you need to get there and have fun on your dream trip!

Getting to Phi Phi

There’s no straight flight to Phi Phi so you need to get to one of the nearest cities and then reach the island by ferry boat.
The ferry boats are spacious enough with seats for everyone and air-con.It also counts with a deck for those who want to admire the view or sunbathe.
Another option is hiring a private speedboat that takes around 45 min(from Phuket) for a more tailored private trip.

Bangkok To Phuket

One of the best ways is getting to Phuket and then to Phi Phi.The reason this is my favorite route is that Phuket is such nice place to know as well, so if you have time why not to spend some time here before Koh Phi Phi?!
Click here for all information you need to get to Phuket.

Ferry to Phi Phi

From Phuket:
The easiest way to acquire your ferry tickets to PhiPhi is buying it directly from your hotel, they will have a nice price and will arrange the van service (that’s included on the ticket price) to pick you up from your hotel and bring you to the pier.
Bear in mind that the pier is around 1 hour away from central beach area (Patong/Karon,etc.), plane well to don’t miss your boat.
You can also buy it from tour stalls around the city, but be prepared to bargain as the price is usually higher compared to the hotels.
Boats depart from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

From Koh Lanta:
Koh Lanta’s ferry only works during high season (November-April).
Similar to Phuket method, the best 2 options are buying from your hotel or at tour stalls around the city.
The practical and cheapest way in Lanta is buying from your accommodation as well.Don’t forget to arrange the pickup time from your hotel to the pier.
Only 2 boats depart per day one at 8:00 am and other at 13:00 pm.

From Krabi:
Free hotel pickup is also included at the ferry ticket price in Krabi.
Boats run from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Island Divisions + Must See Areas

Phi Phi consists in a group of 6 Islands, the largest one is Phi Phi Don where the boats arrive and where most of the hotels are.This is the place you will probably be staying (exception is sleeping aboard a boat in Maya Bay).
Phi Phi Don has no cars, motorbikes or any kind of inland transportation apart from bicycles.As it is a quite small place everywhere is reachable by walk or by boat.
But is big enough to amuse, that’s for sure.😃

The famous Maya Bay is located in Phi Phi Leh(the second biggest island in the group) where “The Beach” movie was filmed.This is a wonderful spot for snorkeling, diving, chilling at the beach, exploring the untouched island interior and view.A must go while in Phi Phi.
On your way to Maya Bay you can stop by the Viking Cave, for us, a quick look was enough and we moved on to Phi Ley Bay(also in Phi Phi Leh) for some snorkeling.
Another famous snorkeling and diving spot is Loh Samah Bay located in Phi Phi Leh as well.
Koh Bida Nai, Koh Bida Nok are some of the smaller less visited islands of the group, mostly frequented by diver groups due to beautiful fish diversity located south from Phi Phi Leh.

Mosquito Island is situated north from Phi Phi Don and is one of the smaller islands known for great snorkeling.
Nearby Mosquito Island stands Bamboo Island where again chilling at a desert beach and snorkeling are the highlights.
Everywhere you’re going to find crystal clear water and mostly white sand, one of the main reasons the love story begins with this beautiful islands.

Arriving on Phi Phi + Hotel

Did you book accommodation ahead?If yes, be sure to let your hotel know what time you are arriving and they will pick you up at the pier, show you the way and help you out with your luggage.
If not, at the arriving pier you will find a lot of hotel options, be sure to ask prices before following them to the place.
If you don’t like any, you can go around and find a place yourself, but this will take you sometime I advise you to save your time to enjoy the site.Phi Phi is not an expensive place to stay and 100 baths may not be worth losing few hours, especially if you got heavy luggage.
If you want to book a hotel in advance I recommend to do so, they are the booking website with bigger variety in Thailand, is the one I mostly use.

Things To Do In Phi Phi

If you didn’t bring your gear, you can find some on the island.However, if snorkeling is the main interest you have, bringing some professional equipment is advised.
All over the islands, you have sites to explore, just walking into the sea or taking a long tail boat around.
There’s a lot of snorkeling trip offers, but this can be not as fun due to crowded boats, schedule, etc.
The best option is renting a long tail boat privately, the prices are reasonable and you get the best from your tour. If you really enjoy a place you can choose to stay more in it; if not you can just move on, choosing your own time is also great to avoid meeting crowded tourist boats and finally been picked at your hotel(if you staying seafront).

Amazing Phi Phi Islands, ThailandAmazing Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Muay Thai:
We had dinner once and came back for some drinks in another night at “Reggae Bar” a bar and restaurant with a Muay Thai ring right in the middle.
Customer fights are arranged with all equipment provided and local kids fight as well.Is just some fun demonstration of Thai boxing that proved entertaining for us.
They have a burger eating challenge, both of times we’ve been there someone was trying to win it, and that just added to the play atmosphere.

Amazing Phi Phi Islands, ThailandAmazing Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Beach Party:
If you’re a party animal you don’t need my tips, just enjoy it!
But even if you are not much into nightlife Phi Phi has this huge party scene starting in quite early time.
After your perfect day at the beach spending few hours listening to some music, watching fire acrobatics, and maybe even dancing a little bit won’t hurt once in a while.
Everything looking to the waves.🎉

Amazing Phi Phi Islands, ThailandAmazing Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

View Point:
Breathtaking view awaits you if you’re willing to leave your beach chair.=p
Choosing the right time to climb up is important because burning noon sun is not something you want when going up the oblique path.
The view definitely worth the walk.Enjoy it!

Amazing Phi Phi Islands, ThailandAmazing Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Kayaking to Monkey Beach:
Don’t want to the kayaking part?That’s fine you can rent a long tail boat to get you there.
We did it the sporty way and noticed the kayak parking at Monkey Beach I could see many others did it too.
But I have to say it was harder than I imagined and thanks God hubby was there to help, two of myself wouldn’t get there.
How beautiful is it to appreciate animals in their natural environment?!A big monkey family came to say hi to all of us!
This may sound cliché but please remember wild animal shouldn’t eat artificial snacks, unless you offering water or fruits you better just appreciated they appearance.
Also, monkeys can be aggressive and the right thing is to avoid any contact and just look from a safe distance.
No one lives in this stretch of sand, please do not leave your trash there, let’s keep it the paradise it is.

Amazing Phi Phi Islands, Thailand Amazing Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Souvenirs, clothing and craft stalls and stores can be found everywhere in Phi Phi Don.
“I Love Phi Phi” shirts are a souvenir I recommend as in the future every time you wear it the memories come back.🌅
Nice to do on the evening or night after enjoying the day activities.

Amazing Phi Phi Islands,

Plenty of Padi courses and diving trips signs were distributed around the main island with multilingual instructors offered.
We personally choose not to take the course in Phi Phi as it would take time and we wanted to enjoy all aspects of the island, but I’m sure it would be a beautiful spot to do so.
If you’re a diving lover or want to get your Padi, Phi Phi has fair amount of company options with world-class diving sites.

Amazing Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Thai Food at Sea View Restaurants:
Oh, the food! As I mentioned before, Thai food is part of the experience.
Try out a new dish every day and prepare to miss them when you get back home.
And for some ambience, a nice choice of restaurant facing the sea will surely do.🏖

Amazing Phi Phi Islands, ThailandAmazing Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Tips: *If you are staying at a seafront hotel you absolutely must bring earplugs if you’re hoping to sleep.At night most of the restaurants turn into a beach party and the sound echoes into the bay.The pros are waking up with wave sounds and having your breakfast with your feet in the sand.
*Phi Phi is a very small Island that in many times of the year is crowded. When walking in one of the tinny streets if a baggage/goods carrier boy seems impatient or get your way, be gentle and remember that is holidays for you but its hard-working for them in a jammed place all day long that sure can be very stressing.Remember to always look from another perspective and I’m sure you gonna enjoy your trip even more.😉
That being said, Thai people are extremely friendly, respectful and good-hearted so make sure to reciprocate their treatment.❤

Ps: The websites and air company recommendations are made by personal experience and I don’t get any kind of remuneration for that.

Is Phi Phi on your bucket list yet?Share with us in the comments below!


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