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Best Area to Stay in Koh Tao & Accommodation for Every Budget

Best Area to Stay in Koh Tao & Accommodation for Every Budget

The best area to stay in Koh Tao really does depend on what you are travelling to Koh Tao for!

Each corner of this tropical paradise offers something different from nightlife, diving, yoga, romantic getaways, secluded beach stays and so much more.

But Koh Tao has no shortage of beauty, whether you want to stay on the more built-up West Coast or the quieter and more remote East Coast you will be surrounded by tranquillity and nature.

Throughout this guide, I will help you to decide the best area to stay in Koh Tao for you by breaking down for you what each destination has to offer, where is the best place to stay for nightlife, diving, yoga, etc and give you a few of my favourite accommodations for every budget in each area around the island.

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The Best Areas to Stay in Koh Tao

Sairee

Located on the most populated West Coast Sairee is the busiest and most vibrant area on Koh Tao, here you can find most of the shops, restaurants, hostels and nightlife.

Sairee Beach is also one of the most beautiful spots on the island to have an unspoilt view of the sunset, you can relax on the beach or at a beachfront restaurant and admire as the sky turns from blue to orange and pink.

The main crossroads in the centre next to 7-Eleven is the busiest area often referred to as central Sairee, here you will find the party hostels and many bars/restaurants, it is by far the busiest and loudest area to stay in Koh Tao.

However, if you do not have a scooter to get around and want to be near some of the best things to do on the island it can be a very good central location to stay.

If you want to be amongst the beautiful chaos here on Koh Tao then stay as close to the 7-Eleven as possible!

If not, then I’d recommend heading up the road away from the beach or following Sairee Beach south along the coast to find something a little quieter.

But don’t worry, there is more to offer here than just nightlife, among the bustling streets in Sairee you can find some excellent Yoga Studios – check out my guide here to see which are my favourite studios – family-run cafes, authentic restaurants and small boutique shops.

Accommodation

Luxury:

Palm Leaf Resort & Blue Tao Beach Hotel

Mid-range: 

Wyh Hotel & Budchui Village 2

Budget:

Savage Hostel & The Stamp Hotel

Sunset at Sairee Beach

Mae Head

Also located on the west coast, I would consider the Mae Head area as everything from Mae Head Beach, along the coast to Sensi Paradise Beach Resort then up to the French market and back round again near the temple Wat Ko Charoen Santiham.

This is the second busiest area in Koh Tao, Mae Head and Sairee are the only 2 ‘built-up’ areas and between them, you have most of the restaurants on the island.

Mae Head is where both the Lomprayah and Seatran piers are located making this very easily accessible when you get to your accommodation. 

It is also within walking distance to Sairee taking around 30/40 minutes so you can reach the nightlife if you want to experience it without having to stay nearby.

Famous around the world for its cheap advanced open water certificates Koh Tao has no shortage of dive shops and most of them are located in Mae Head.

Due to its proximity to the pier, this is the easiest place to stay if your main priority is diving. It is also where the Oxygen Snorkelling Tour departs from each day.

There are also a large number of excellent restaurants here, as well as a few bars and some excellent yoga studios.

Accommodation

Luxury: 

Sensi Paradise Beach Resort & Lucke Boutique Hotel

Mid-range:

Port Station Koh Tao & Infinity Guest House

Budget:

Blue Chitta Yoga & Freediving & Nadapa Resort

Sensi Paradise Private Beach

Chalok Bay

Chalok Bay is a small and quiet beach located on Koh Tao’s south coast, this shallow bay is great for families and although it is not as busy as Sairee there are still plenty of restaurants and shops to ensure you have what you need.

Here you can find many resorts and hotels either right on the coast or situated high up in the jungle offering you amazing views over the ocean.

Chalok Bay is not deep enough to swim in during the day but it neighbours the extremely popular Relax Freedom Beach Resort, here you can find Taa Toh Beach, Freedom Beach, my favourite and easiest beach to access for amazing snorkelling, as well as John Suwan Viewpoint. 

Chalok Bay is a great place to stay if you want to have a quieter stay here in Koh Tao but don’t want to feel completely cut off. 

As well as great restaurants, there is a large selection of dive schools, yoga studios, boutique shops and a 7-Eleven so you still have everything you need just on your doorstep.

Accommodation

Luxury:

Relax Freedom Beach Resort & Koh Tao Resort Paradise Zone

Mid-range:

Chintakiri Resort & Bubble Bungalow

Budget:

Hydronaughts Diving Resort & The Dearly Kog Tao Hostel

Shark Bay

Located in the next bay round from Chalok Bay you can find Shark Bay, here you do feel a little more secluded as the majority of restaurants, bars etc will be a walk or scooter ride away.

In Shark Bay, you can find some amazing villas, hotels and resorts on the cliff edge offering you unspoilt views out to the ocean and across the bay.

Personally, I think Shark Bay is one of the most romantic areas in Koh Tao, especially if you stay on the east side. Most of this edge hosts private villas with pools and excellent views, what more could you want if you just wanted a romantic break!

Shark Bay is also a great place to stay for those who love a bit of adventure, this wild coastline is called Shark Bay for a reason here is your best chance of snorkelling with a Black Tip Reef Shark as well as one of the many turtles that call Koh Tao home.

Accommodation

Luxury:

Cape Shark Villas & The Fisherman’s Villas

Mid-range:

Coral View Resort & Taatoh Seaview Resort

Budget:

OK2 Mamajim Bungalows

Shark Bay Beach

Ao Tanot Bay

One of the most popular bays to visit and stay at is on the east coast, often called Tanote Bay, here you can find a few beachfront jungle resorts as well as a few restaurants and beachfront bars within walking distance.

Tanote Bay is easy to access via the road making it a popular spot for people to visit during the day to swim in the beautiful waters and snorkel. 

This is another great spot for couples as it is more secluded and private than the popular west coast of the island.

The beach here is very large meaning it never feels overcrowded or busy giving you enough space to completely relax and explore without being overwhelmed by people.

With only a few restaurants here in Tanote Bay I would recommend staying if you have a scooter, this way if you would like to gain access to Sairee or any of the busier areas you don’t have to rely on very expensive taxis.

Accommodation

Luxury:

Montalay Beach Resort & Mountain Reef Beach Resort

Mid-range:

Poseidon Resort

Budget:

Family Tanote Bay Resort

Best Time to Visit Koh Tao

Koh Tao is mostly hot but it does have 4 main seasons, these are cooler and dry, hot and dry, hot and wet then monsoon season.

The best time to visit Koh Tao and generally the most popular time when all the prices are high and the island is at its busiest is in the hot and dry season, January to May.

Because Koh Tao is such a small island it often can feel very busy during these months and accommodation can get booked up, make sure you have secured your accommodation in advance!

However, if your main interest during your time in Koh Tao is diving you can visit most of the year.

Koh Tao

How to Get There

Koh Tao is only accessible by boat, but getting here is very easy and can be arranged from either Chumphon, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui or Surat Thani.

The most popular company offering many different departure times from each destination is Lomprayah. If their times do not suit you, Seatran is another great company to look into.

To book your transport, check departure times and compare prices head to 12go.asia – here you can book the full package in one and they often can sort transport for you from start to finish anywhere in Thailand as one complete journey!

If you are coming to Koh Tao from Koh Samui then make sure to check out my full guide covering all the departure times, prices and how to get to/from each port.

Looking for some more great things to do in Koh Tao once you arrive? My guide ‘19 Best Things to Do in Koh Tao‘ has you covered with all of my favourite adventures on the island.

Shark Bay