thai islands:

KOH TAO

DISCOVER MY 8 DAY ITINERARY

In February 2019, I went spent 8 days in Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand. Here's my itinerary with my recommendations:

Day 1 

Bed & Ink

Ferry To Krabi

Starting off my long travel day to Koh Tao from Koh Phi Phi, I hopped on the ferry and headed to Krabi. I booked an all inclusive type deal to Koh Tao from here.
Recommendation: Save yourself the trouble and buy the
ticket to Koh Tao while you’re on Koh Phi Phi (if that’s your
route). It’s the same price whether you buy them separately
or together.

Lunch at 

The Bus Stop

I grabbed a sandwich and played some cards with some random cool people at the bus stop.
Recommendation: It was actually pretty good. Not much to recommend here, it was kind of a necessity for a long travel day. 

Bus to Surat Thani and Ferry to Koh Tao

The Bus to Surat Thai was 2.5 hours and then the ferry to Koh Tao was 4 hours, totally 1,100 baht ($35 USD).  So like I said… long travel day. I was completely exhausted.
Recommendation: Make sure your electronics are charged up and you are sitting in the shade. =)
Lunch Stop Breakfast
On the Ferry Koh Tao

Check into

Bed & Ink

My hostel was only steps from the ferry which was so fantastic to discover. I arrived tired and hungry, but immediately was greeted by some fantastic people and a fun hostel.
Recommendation: Go for it! Bed & Ink is nothing fancy, but it has such a good culture for socializing and meeting new people… it was perfect.

Dinner at

Cafe De Sol

I grabbed a salad and a mango juice for dinner at a pricey restaurant nearby. My body needed a break from all the heavy food.
Recommendation: Go for it! If you’re not pinching pennies, it’s a good break from all the heavy Thai food. 
Cafe De Sol

Day 2 

Mango for Breakfast
This foot massage literally changed my life. Go there and ask for Toy.  I had been having trouble with my feet during the trip—they hurt a lot and they were all bloated from the salt water and walking. And I was having a lot of pain. I kid you not, Toy fixed it. My feet were instantly better. Blew my mind. This place was also so peaceful—overlooking the beach, giant windows everywhere. And the greatest tea after the massage too.
Recommendation: Go for it! Come here everyday and get a different type of massage. It’s paradise.

Foot

Massage

at Kayo

Healing

Massage

I started off the morning with some fresh mango from the street for 50 baht. I visited this man often.
Recommendation: Go for it! I think Koh Tao had my favorite
street vendors; take advantage of the prices and
eat deliciously!

Mango Street Breakfast

Foot Massage at Kayo Healing Massage
Spoiler alert: I went here three times while in Koh Tao. Haha. Sufficed to say, you gotta go. Recommendation: Go for it! It’s quite pricey, but probably some of the best burgers I’ve ever had.

Lunch at

Hippo Burger

Laid out on the beach! It’s much more relaxed than Koh Phi Phi, but still beautiful and lively. Gotta soak in the sun.
Recommendation: Go for it! 

Sairee Beach

Sairee Beach
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Dinner at Yang

I ran into my Koh Phi Phi hostel friend, Damien, at Bed & Ink and we ended spending a lot of time together in Koh Tao. We rode his motorbike (the majority of transportation on the Island) to Yang. Authentic and cheap Thai food with a cool atmosphere—lots of locals and tourists.
Recommendation: Go for it! Despite the slow service, the panang curry for 80 baht was fantastic. 
Panang Curry at Yang

Drinks at the Hostel

Bed & Ink Hostel Pig
The first of many nights spent with my hostel friends at Bed & Ink and their famous pig. It’s hard to leave the hostel when there are so many cool people there to hang with.
Recommendation: Go for it! I met so many great people here I stayed way longer than I originally intended. 

Day 3

Breakfast at The Coconut Monkey

I grabbed breakfast with a hostel friend, Francis. He’d been on the island for like two weeks and got breakfast here every day. Super cool place, great food.
Recommendation: Go for it! The outside section is hard to beat. 
View from the Coconut Monkey
Breakast at the Cocont Monkey

Swimming at the Regal Resort

I found another pool near the beach and crashed the resort. Nobody really cares. Haha.
Recommendation: Go for it!  When you want beach views, but not necessarily want sand in your camera… find a pool!
The Regal Resort

Aloe Vera Massage at Kinnerie

Knowing I had a bad sunburn coming on, I tried to get ahead of it and get an AloeVera Massage for 400 baht. It was kind of just an hour of someone rubbing Aloe Vera on you. Not really a massage, but useful!
Recommendation: Eh, if you have time. Just an FYI, if you have a sunburn, do not get a Thai massage. Trust me, it’ll hurt. 

Drinks at

Hippo Burger

After some time hanging with friends at the hostel, we decided to get drinks and dinner at Hippo Burger. Shout out to Lois, Tom, and Damien. Y’all are the best. Recommendation: Go for it! 
After dinner, we walked around the streets of Koh Tao near Sairee Beach and got some fun super cheap buckets—a Thai staple. We headed over to the beach property in front of the restaurant Leo and chatted the night away.
Recommendation: Go for it. There are a ton of hammocks and lounge chairs, perfect for hanging with some friends. 

Leo with our Street Buckets

Day 4

Snorkeling

Day Trip

I spent the day snorkeling around Koh Tao for 850 baht ($27 USD) which included lunch and snacks. Koh Tao is famous for being the cheapest place in the world for scuba diving. But, if you’re like me and you’re not a diver, the snorkeling is great too. We went to three places around the Island for diving and ended at the neighboring island, Koh Nangyuan. The snorkeling was so fun and the lunch was surprisingly delicious.
Recommendation: Go for it! If you don’t dive, this is a must do on the island!
Koh Tao

Coconut Shake on Koh Nangyuan

I had the yummiest coconut shake on my snorkeling trip. Walking all the way up to the viewpoint can make ya thirsty. And who doesn’t love drinking out of a coconut? Recommendation: Go for it! This is a small island and they don’t allow plastic of any kind. Respect the ocean and drink out of a coconut! 
Koh Nangyuan
Koh Nangyuan

Ordered Dinner from Shalimar

I was craving Indian food (no surprise), but no one felt like leaving the hostel, so we ordered take out via Facebook Messenger. Apparently that’s how all the restaurants do take out on Koh Tao which is fun and easy for travelers. The food was fantastic! And I created a couple new Indian fans. Recommendation: Go for it! Service was great, food was amazing.

Valentine's at the Hostel

It was Valentine’s Day! And there was no better way to spend it than with my hostel family. Chloe and the wonderful crew at Bed & Ink threw a fabulous Lonely Hearts party and we had so much fun, we didn’t even go out. 
Koh Tao on Valentine's Day

Day 5

Lunch at AC2

Like the majority of restaurants on the island, it had stellar views, but the food was so so. I was craving pizza and it was alright. Not too bad, but then again I live in New York, so my pizza standards are pretty high.
Recommendation: Eh, if you have time. It was aight. 

Foot Massage at Impress

I was recommended by my friend Damien to go here, and it was definitely the worst massage ever. Damien, you are wrong. Kayo is the bomb.
Recommendation: Skip it. 

Passion Fruit Shake at

Happy Coffee

Passion Fruit Shake from Happy Coffee
I shopped around a bit in the area and picked up a delicious shake for 50 baht ($1.50 USD). Passion fruit is truly underutilized.
Recommendation: Go for it. This place was conveniently on the route from Bed & Ink to Sairee Beach, and it’s cheap!
The Chicken Lady

Dinner from the Chicken Lady

Once again, the street food on Koh Tao is excellent. Near the hostel, there is someone Chloe so kindly referred to as, “The Chicken Lady.”  Not only was she adorable, but I had the best spring rolls and fried toasty of my life. I never had a fried toasty before, but it’s brilliant: ham and cheese sandwich pressed and fried in panko batter. Recommendation: Go for it! I can’t tell you exactly where she is, but check out the street vendors—they’re all very good.

Out at Fishbowl

Fishbowl is where everyone on the island goes out at night. It’s a wonderful place filled with buckets, beer pong, live music, and fire shows.
Recommendation: Go for it! You can’t leave Koh Tao without going. 

Day 6 

Check into

Savage Hostel

My last two nights on the island, I switched hostels. I recommend this for a couple reasons. I had a blast at Bed & Ink, but the beds were quite uncomfortable. But it was cheap (which is great) and very social (made so many friends it was fantastic). Savage was nearly triple the price and it wasn’t social at all, but the dorm beds were amazing and it had a rooftop pool and free breakfast. Savage is located right in the middle of Sairee while Bed & Ink is in Haad Mae. There’s a seven minute walk between the two, but they feel very different. I liked that Haad Mae felt more authentic—I saw a lot more locals. But Savage is in the heart of the tourist area—amazing restaurants and near all the bars and nightlife. So they have pros and cons, and I like that I stayed at both of them. Recommendation: Go for it!

Lunch at

Blue Water

I worked on the rooftop of this nice restaurant across from my hostel. I ordered the Croque Monsieur for 210 baht ($6.50 USD) and it was good.
Recommendation: Go for it! This restaurant is gorgeous. 
Blue Water

Foot Massage at Kayo

I had to get another one. =)

Dinner and Hang at Bed & Ink

I went back to find the chicken lady,
but she was out of fried toasties! I was
devastated, but landed on some good old spring rolls instead. Hung out with my friends at Bed & Ink hostel who didn’t realize I switched hostels (lol) and we went out. 
Felt like I was in college again and played beer pong with Tom and Lois and some of their friends from their scuba class. Tom and I joined the competition as last minute team mates, and we had very low expectations for our skills. Tom had never played before, and I hadn’t played since college. Turns out we totally rule. And almost won the entire thing. We got third place out of like 30 teams and had a blast. Recommendation: Go for it! Because sometimes certain Canadians are super strict and weird about dumb rules, and you kick their butt anyway because you’re just trying to have a good time. =)

Beer Pong Tournament at Fishbowl

Beer Pong at Fishbowl

Fire Show at BND

We went next door to watch the fire show with some new friends and almost got singed a bunch of times. But you know, that’s the thrill of these shows… sometimes the fire dancers are bad and you have to be on alert so you don’t get burned.
Recommendation: Go for it! There are so many young travelers running around Thailand with burn injuries… and you can bet it’s from doing the fire jump rope. Ha! Love it. 
The crew at the fire show
Fire Show at BND
The Fire Boys

Day 7 

Free Breakfast at the Hostel

I chose the “healthy” option for breakfast today. It was delicious. Definitely the best free breakfast I’ve ever had at a hostel.
Recommendation: Go for it! This one as tasty. 

Pool Day at

Savage

Lois and Tom checked into the same hostel and we had a pool day! Chloe came over and joined us, and we had a great day swimming, drinking, playing pool, and hanging out. Recommendation: Go for it! A rooftop pool with your mates? Yes, please. 
Swimming at Savage

Lunch at

Hippo Burger

The third and final lunch at Hippo Burger! Because we just loved it so much. We went back to the pool until the sun went down. 

Dinner at

The Whitening

Pretty amazing Italian food on the beach? Perfection. This restaurant is beautiful—incredibly romantic and super tasty.
Recommendation: Go for it! I would go back here in a heartbeat just for the atmosphere. Loved it. 
Dinner at The Whitening
Dinner at The Whitening

More Fire at BND

Ended my last night on Koh Tao with my besties Lois and Tom at our favorite spot: the fire show. We were tired from the sun, but relaxed with a drink by the fire. Love you guys! 

Free Breakfast at Savage

I ordered the “Sweet” breakfast and immediately wished I ordered the healthy again. I wanted to try it, but it just wasn’t for me.
Recommendation: Skip it. 

Check Out

I checked out of Savage and headed toward the pier to buy my ferry to Koh Phangnan for Full Moon party. Side note: if you’re going to Full Moon party, buy your ferry tickets days in advance, because they fill up and I ended up having to pay double to take a speed boat. 

Lunch at

Lollipop Cafe

Lunch at Lollipop Cafe
While I waited for my speedboat to leave, I had lunch at this place in Haad Mae. This place was so cool—I had lunch in a tree house overlooking the water! Hard to beat.
Recommendation: Go for it. 

Day 8 

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