As a rather small island compared to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan that surround it, Koh Tao has a more small-town feel to it and you can walk around much of it easily, adding to the convenient and more intimate feel there.
The biggest reason to come to Koh Tao is for the diving, which is said to be among the best of any island in Thailand, and there are over 50 dive spots around the island and almost the same number of dive shops who will take you out and even give you certification if you are a diving newcomer. Whale and bull sharks can sometimes be spotted in the waters around Koh Tao, which for many is a very unusual sight. So if you love diving and aquatic life then this is the island for you.
The main beach in Koh Tao is Sairee Beach where most visitors to Koh Tao stay. Here you will find a range of accommodation options but most are well within backpacker budget, and it makes a great place to watch the sunset as you sip a cold drink at one of the many beach bars that dot this strip of coastline. The northern end is quieter than the southern end so if you are looking for the action head south. Similarly if you want a quieter time then it’s best to pick accommodation near the northern end of the beach.
As you turn inwards from the beach you will find Sairee Village which has everything you could want in terms of shops, restaurants, and bars. If you want to explore further in Koh Tao then you easily go for a walk around or travel by boat and hop to different areas of the island, some of which are inaccessible by road.
Koh Nang Yuan
If the beauty of a paradise island attracts you, your visit to Koh Tao is not completed unless you’ve checked out the nearby Koh Nang Yuan. This tiny island is truly breathtaking, however over the last years you’ve started to see the marks that unconscious tourists have left there. Next to that, you can feel that you’re being exploited as you’re not allowed to take water bottles with you plus you’ve got to pay a fee to enter the island. However, Koh Nang Yuan is still a little paradise island where you can swim in of the most crystal clear waters and experience a stunning underwater world. Plus, if you still have the energy, you can hike up to a great viewpoints and take a nice shot of what paradise looks like.
Koh Tao definitely has a more compact and comprehensive feeling than other larger islands like Koh Samui, and if you want to stay in a small, concentrated area like Sairee Beach where everything is available in one place then this is a great option. Added to that, the diving here is fantastic and a vibrant nightlife scene exists making it something of a party island backed up by beautiful scenery and plenty of activities during the day.