Getting Around Koh Tao
When navigating yourself around the island there are a number of choices available for getting around Koh Tao. Whilst the roads are not all concrete they are steadily improving. Koh Tao has one major concrete road which connects the north end of Sairee Beach with Chalok Baan Kao in the south. This road passes through the main village of Mae Haad in the middle of Koh Tao.
There are now an increasing amount of small concrete roads leading to the other beaches and bays around the island. Everywhere else you will find dirt tracks, most of which will challenge even the most skilled of driver. Steep trails, sharp curves, sand, potholes, washed out tracks. Plus add in dogs sleeping in roads, chickens running across and crazy drivers, this really does demand mindful driving and fast reactions.
If you’re not an experienced motorcycle rider or have never driven a car in this type of environment before, we strongly advise you to use a taxi, walk or cycle for getting around Koh Tao. If renting a motorbike or jeep for getting around Koh Tao, keep your speed down and don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The easiest and most efficient way for getting around Koh Tao is by hiring a motorbike. This will also give you the freedom to explore the island and its breath taking beaches and scenery at your own leisure. Aside from the main roads, you will find other accessible dirt tracks, but these can get quite boggy and muddy during the rainy season. It’s perhaps a good idea to avoid these tracks after heavy rainfall, unless you have opted to rent a dirt bike or off-road bike. These are often the most practical and versatile type of bike for getting around Koh Tao. Motorbikes can be hired from as little as 150 THB per day if booking long term. If riding a motorbike you should always wear a helmet. Motorbikes are available in automatic and semi automatic versions. Avoid renting quad bikes as these seem to be more dangerous that 2 wheeled machines. Only rent a motorbike if you are an experienced rider!
The traditional long tail boats are a convenient and fun way of getting around Koh Tao to find the hidden bays and remote beaches on the island. The boats can be found at any of the beaches on the island. You can pay for them by the journey, or if you wish to explore as much of the island as possible then they can be chartered by the day for around 1500 THB. As a rough guide, a journey from Mae Haad pier to Chalok Ban Kao will cost approximately 200 THB per person. A journey from Mae Haad pier to Tanote Bay will cost approximately 400 THB per person.
Songthaews (taxi cars), can be found parked up in most of the busy areas of Koh Tao. Taxis and can also be found driving along the main road that runs through the middle of the island, where you can jump on and off along the way at your leisure. Songthaews are normally available from early morning until late night. The price you pay is dependent on how far your journey is and the number of people in the vehicle. If you travel alone or as a pair then expect to cover the whole cost of the journey. There are no real fixed prices. Taxis are the safest way of getting around Koh Tao.
Walking & Cycling
Of course there are other ways of getting around Koh Tao. If you are in good shape and feeling adventurous you can also walk around the island. It is possible to navigate around many areas of the island on foot in a day although with certain hilly paths this can be quite challenging. Walking on the main road from Mae Haad to Sairee, especially at night, can be dangerous due to the motorbikes and cars, so it’s better walk along the dirt road passing the school, where there is little traffic.
You may also wish to hire a mountain bike for getting around Koh Tao and take in the beautiful surroundings at the same time. There are many mountain bikes for rent around the island, which are not only practical and cheaper than motorbikes, but also help to protect the environment.
Whether you choose to walk or cycle around, you will discover the real beauty of Koh Tao. If you are not afraid of exercise and enjoy a bit of excitement, you will be rewarded with the rich variety of scenery on offer. You will get up close with wildlife and have more opportunities for getting some amazing photos.