You only have a couple days on the island and dont know where to go out in Koh Tao? With this little guide I will give you some insider tips and the best restaurants in Koh Tao. I have lived on 'the Rock' for 4 months and visited 5 times, I think I know most places by now. You are spoilt for choice with upscale dining, local Thai cuisine, party places, live music and of course beach lounge bars, most of them all clustered around Sairee Beach. Koh Tao is developing more and more and new places are popping up all the time!
Lotus bar Koh Tao
Before you go eating out you might want to go for a sundowner, at least that is what I do most of the days I am on Koh Tao. I always go for sunset drinks on Sairee Beach, like literally every day. to me that is what is so special about Koh Tao, everyone does, everyone comes together at Sairee Beach to watch the magnificent sunset. On sunset beach there are numerous bars lined up, but I always ended up in either Fizz Beachlounge or Victors Bar at Wind Beach Resort. I had two good reasons for these places: beanbags and good music. Where the music at most beach bars is really cheesy, at Fizz, Victor Bar and Maya Beach there is most of the time a DJ playing some funky lounge music. Then there is the famous Lotus Bar Koh Tao, see my picture down below. Googling Koh Tao Restaurants you will find loads of pictures like this. On Tripadvisor it is rated as one of the top things to do in Koh Tao, but we all know TripAdvisor is always wrong! Why? Everyone comes here to see to famous overhanging palm tree and take a picture with it. Does that mean Lotus Bar Koh Tao is a great bar? Nope! The music is shit all day long and all the people coming to take pictures with the palm tree will block your sunset view constantly. That does not mean I never go there by the way cause after a couple buckets this place is nice to dance on the beach under the stars. The music is seriously bad, but it is always crowded and therefore a good vibe.
Want to know my top 5 best things to do in Koh Tao, with viewpoints, secret sunrise spots and an awesome coast walk then click the link!
Where is the Koh Tao party?
So after your dinner you probably want to know where you can find the Koh Tao party, right? If you are only here a couple nights and want to make the most of it you should join the famous Koh Tao pub crawl. Choppers Bar Koh Tao is were it all starts. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday they come together at this place and go around Sairee Beach. If you want the best nightlife then definitely join the their pub crawl! It is pretty tacky but you will get drunk, get a free t-shirt and make loads of friends. Expect to party in a group of sometimes more than 100 crazy travelers, seriously every time I see them passing by everyone is having a blast. The Koh Tao pub crawl ends in a different bar every day, which are also the main bars to go to on the island.Choppers Bar Koh Tao is also your place for watching live sports and listening to great live music.
Other places to go are Bar Next 2, Fishbowl and Lotus Bar of course, all situated on the beach and close at around 2am. This is also where you will find the fire shows. Fishbowl is popular for live music and beerpong, where Bar Next 2 is trying to be a bit more sophisticated. The bars are all pretty tacky to be honest don't expect booming nightlife. It is just one of those Thai island bars on the beach where young people getting drunk drinking buckets. Simple but good fun!
Best restaurants Koh Tao
Walking around on the island you will see that there are unlimited restaurants in Koh Tao and it is hard to pick one. A lot of tourist will end up walking on the beach road in Sairee Beach all the way until they pass all the restaurants and then decided where they go. I have done that often and its a pleasant walk to be honest.
Most people rave about Barracuda restaurant and it is often named as one of the best restaurants in Koh Tao. I ate there a couple times and definitely enjoyed their delicious meals. However it is a very small and narrow place and therefore to me does not have a typical Koh Tao atmosphere. More of a favourite to me is Portobello Bistro, located in the same street. They have really good pizzas and Mediterranean food, it is spacious, open, lofty and therefore has a very laid-back atmosphere, Koh Tao style!Portobello is also perfect to go with a group, but let them know you are coming as they are often fully booked.
My favorite place among the Koh Tao restaurants is Le Petite Palace. It is located in the busy walking street of Sairee Beach. Once you are inside the homey atmosphere makes you forget about the bustling street outside. The food is amazing and they serve very good red wine per glass. If you are the last one in the restaurant there is a chance the friendly French owner will join you to empty some bottles. The Sushi place across from Le Petite Palace definitely serves delicious sushi. Of course a bit more expensive than other restaurants, but still very affordable.
Koh Tao restaurants to eat local Thai Food
There are many places that serve good local food and I have NOT been to all of them. For the very simple reason there are too many local restaurants in Koh Tao. This also has to do with the fact that I kept on returning to Mama’s restaurant. Her place is located on the right side about 100 meters from the 7eleven in the direction of Mango Bay. Those directions sound very random but once you are on the island this will perfectly make sense. Fair enough but it is only a little shack, which is in fact it is her house. She does not speak English and you order by number, not by the name of the dish. The food tastes delicious, her smile is contagious and the atmosphere is extremely uncomplicated. There are only a few tables, what make you share your table with fellow travellers. It is a great place to meet people and last but not least it is cheap! See the picture below where Mama's place is recommended in many languages: I am not the only one who loves this place! It is not one of the best restaurants in Koh Tao, but by far my favourite!
By the way if you want to keep your Thai food healthy order your food including: 'Mai Sai Phong Chu Rot!', which basically means you don't want any MSG in your food!
Looking for a cheap place to eat? Head to Coffee Boat! It is a very simple restaurant but, great location on the beach road, the food is nice, the portions are big, there is Wi-Fi, but you have to deal with a lot of annoying flies! Another local favorite is SuChili. The place is a little more expensive than standard local restaurants, but it is also full of people. The food is good, though the dishes are small. The place is a big open area with a lot of tables and lack any atmosphere, it is not the place where you will find me!
Do you already know where to stay in Koh tao? Be sure you choose the right area, let me help you, read my blog where to stay in Koh Tao. Still in doubt and heard bad stories about the island? Dont worry too much, read here about my experiences in my blog: How to survive the Thai Death Island.
Best coffee places in Koh Tao
My favorite place to drink coffee in Koh Tao is Butter, the coffee café of Sairee Cottage. The great location on the beach road and the good coffee is not even the real reason what make me go there that much. It is the best Wi-Fi in Koh Tao! Their upload speed is excellent compared to most other place.. Café Culture and Blue Water both on the beach road are excellent beach front locations to get lovely breakfast, healthy food and good coffee. Clean eating your thing? Try out the Fitness Café next to Gym & Fitness. There you will find avocado/chicken wraps, berry shakes, etc. There are only a couple Koh Tao Restaurants that have a professional coffee machine, Indie Café is another one. It is a big place serving nice coffees and lunch in an excellent people watching location just at the end of the main street across from Choppers Bar Koh Tao. If you are waiting for your boat out of Koh Tao and happen to be near the pier in Mae Haad go to Coffee House, the stylish white interior is appealing and the coffee is good quality.
High Bar Koh Tao
If you are looking for a complete different thing than the Koh Tao High Bar is your best bid. I probably don't need to tell you why this bar is a really popular spot on the island. Is it the amazing location a little 'higher' on a hill or would it be because you can get some stuff here that makes you fly? High Bar Koh Tao is the number one place on the island where people go to smoke a joint and don't need to be afraid of getting caught by the corrupt police. Don't ask me how but somehow in the Koh Tao High bar no one seems to care about what is going on. Its location is super, but to get there is a little off the beaten path in the South of the island. To get to High Bar you need a scooter or a very expensive taxi. Click here for tips on where to rent a motorbike in Koh Tao.
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Are you up for some adventure? Try the coastal walk in the Southwest! You wont see any tourists here, just tiny deserted bays and some overwater bungalows that sells amazing fruit juices. Read more about it in my blog about the top 5 things to do in Koh Tao! Not sure yet which island you want to go, let me help you. I have been to all the well known tourist islands check out my ultimate guide for island hopping Thailand. I also compared Koh Tao and Koh Samui and of course you have heard of the Full Moon party in Phangan. Don't get disappointed like many people, read first before you go to the Full Moon Party in Phangan: to Full Moon or not to Full Moon. All these and many more tips and adventures from Thailand can be found on my Thailand page or check out some amazing Hotels & Resorts I visited, also on Koh Tao.