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Things To Do In Ko Tao
Ko Tao is a hidden jewel of Thailand, presented to only those who research that bit hard. A small island in the Gulf of Thailand, it is a part of an archipelago and is renowned for the marine life its bays are blessed with. This natural bounty and clever tourism industry ideation has made Ko Tao the cheapest go-to place for learning scuba diving and getting the PADI diving certificate. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best and most coveted things to do here in Ko Tao. There are, however, many others, as listed below.
Get a PADI Open Water Certificate
PADI or Professional Association of Diving Instructors is a recreational diving certification granted to you once you complete your course hours of scuba diving from a legitimate instructor. Now this certificate and the course that precede it are both very expensive all around the world. But in Ko Tao, they come as cheap as pennies. The island is known for this. You will find diving schools a dime a dozen here, and the program offered will usually last for 3-4 days with diving equipment provided. Some of the popular schools here include Ban’s Diving School, Davy Jones Locker and Big Blue Diving.
Enjoy the Beaches
Ko Tao has some very pristine beaches, with crystal clear waters that show you some amazing corals and fish too. Two of Ko Tao’s best beaches are Sairee and Sai Nuan. You can chill at either. While Sairee is a day-drinking, cool, hipster-vibe beach, San Nuan has an idyllic peaceful charm to it. Nightlife is teeming at Sairee Beach with pubs, bars, cafes and music. You can also visit the Tanote Bay to dabble in snorkelling and sight the beautiful sea creatures there.
Snorkeling in Koh Nang Yuan
Ko Tao is a small island but there are many smaller islands around Ko Tao that have their own unique features. Like Koh Nang Yuan. This island is not too far and is easily reached by taking a ferry or catamaran. Snorkelling is the USP here and tourists come from far and wide to dive and swim and snorkel in the waters of Koh Nang Yuan. A couple of snorkelling cruises also ply from its beaches so if you aren’t a certified diver then you can opt for one of these. You can also spot turtles on its beaches and blue spotted rays and black tip reef sharks in its deep waters.
Rent a Bike and Explore
Ko Tao is small, like small-small, like 21 sq. km small. So imagine renting a motorbike or scootie and just riding away into the meandering pathways and hilly roads of Ko Tao. You will be able to complete your exploration in a couple of hours. The rent on a day’s motorbike is pretty cheap and you get to see everything - from smaller, hidden beaches to homes of locals, resorts to mountain views.
Hike up to the Viewpoints
Ko Tao is known for a couple of good hiking trails that lead you to some great viewpoints. Since this island has a mountainous terrain at its heart, you can trail up easily and get to ascend a good height to see the landscape. There is a trail that starts at Freedom Beach Resort and winds all the way up to John Suwan Viewpoint, while another begins at Sairee Beach, on the hill beside 7-eleven, and treks you up to the Mango Viewpoint. Fraggle Rock is also a good hike. The best time to take either of these hikes is early in the morning, so that you are back by breakfast, or at the latest, brunch.
Go for a Pub Crawl
Pub Crawls are coveted in all of South East Asia, especially Thailand. They include a tour of the pubs and party spots of the area in one night, with loads of drinking and loads of music and loads of dancing, and some retching. That is the reason most pub crawl tours give you a tank top or T-shirt with Pub Crawl scrawled across it and a bucket to keep handy in case your nightly adventures come puking out of you. But seriously, a pub crawl is so much fun, even if you are with a group of friends or alone. Pub Crawls in Ko Tao run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week.
Get a Thai Massage
How can you go to Thailand and not get yourself a massage? In Ko Tao, just like in other Thai cities and islands, the massages are the best part of any sundowner, when you are tired and bone-weary with all the beaches and climbing and adventure. There are so many massage parlours, spas, resorts and boutiques and a ton of massages, from body to foot to head to face. Try the parlours along Sairee Beach promenade and go for some coveted massages like the Aloe Vera massage for sunburn and patent coconut oil body rub and massage. Most full body Thai massages start at 300 Baht and last for about an hour, while back/neck/shoulder massages are cheaper at around 200-250 Baht and last for about half an hour.