Things are changing! Where the island has always been a divers paradise solely, more and more people make the trip for all the other things to do in Koh Tao. Diving still is big business and there are more than 100 dive schools in Koh tao. 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 the backpackers that make a trip to Koh Tao. An increasing amount of Thailand islands hopping travelers come to experience the laid-back vibe, to snorkel in the stunning remote bays, drive a scooter around and Koh Tao and 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 where to stay in Koh Tao accommodation options. If you are planning to go scuba diving then you might get yourself a free stay! Some dive schools offer free or hugely discounted Koh Tao accommodation. If you don’t have any plans to see the underwater world and just want to see the tourist spots in Koh Tao then there are a couple Koh Tao where to stay area’s, let me guide you through them.
Over the last 10 years I have lived, worked, partied and traveled to Thailand almost 20 times. This resulted in almost 50 Thailand travel blogs, Koh Tao has been on of my favorite tourist spot in Thailand and I stayed in total almost 6 months on the island. Therefore I hope this travel blog is a valuable source for your upcoming trip to Thailand. Let me help you with Thailand itineraries, what to pack for Thailand, Koh Tao viewpoints and info about low-cost airlines in Thailand.
Free $30 Airbnb credit
Claim your Airbnb credit now by signing up for Airbnb through this link. It surely will get you your first night for free in Koh Tao. There are many Airbnb accommodation options in Koh Tao, have a look at all the apartments and villas that are offered online.
Where to stay in Koh Tao
If you 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.
Mae Haad accommodation options:
* There are not really luxury hotels in Mae Haad apart from these the above. Sensi Paradise Beach Resort is a nice place to stay, but if you are looking for luxury hotels in Koh Tao then Mae Haad is may be not the best place to stay in Koh Tao.
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 about the best restaurants In Koh tao and 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.
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 renovated in 2017 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. Good Dream Hostel gets a 8.1 review score out of almost 200 reviews. That is pretty good for Koh Tao. Click on the link to find a bed for $8 per night. To me this is one of the best places to stay in Koh Tao for budget travelers. Great location yet quiet as it is two streets away from the hustle and bustle.
A place more relaxed and green is Spicytao Backpackers. It is a 4-minutes walk to the 7-eleven crossing so still pretty 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, but I never stayed here myself. It is pretty basic, but surely one of the cheapest. Spicytao has a 8.0 reviews score out of 10 reviews. You can sleep here for $7 and breakfast is included.
One of the best options for backpackers traveling to Koh Tao is Savage. A new addition to the Koh Tao accommodations right in the heart of Sairee Beach. Sleep here in a dorm for $15 per night. Pretty pricey for Thailand, but a fabulous location and a completely new hostel as of end 2018. Savage has 90 reviews and is rated with an 8.6.
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!
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. I also stayed at some luxury Koh Tao hotels away from the hustle and bustle, check for example my Bamboo Huts Koh Tao review.
More examples of great places to stay in Koh Tao are: