The ferry crossing from Ko Phangan to Ko Tao took a little over an hour and the ride was pretty smooth. As we approached the island we were excited to see how beautiful Ko Tao was and we were also anxious to get out for some snorkeling. Our hotel had a shuttle waiting at the pier which was really convenient and in no time we were checked in to our rooms.
We stayed in the quiet area of Chalok Ban Kao and it had a small variety of restaurants and shops which suited us just fine. We decided that we didn’t want to waste any time so we booked a snorkel trip for the next morning.
The snorkel tour took us around the island but unfortunately the waters were rough on the east side so we had to miss a couple of snorkel spots but we certainly enjoyed the beautiful scenery and chalked it up as a great way to see the entire island. Our first stop was at Shark Bay and my Mom and I jumped out of the boat eager to see black tipped reef sharks, coral, and whatever else we could see. After a short snorkel we were back on the boat….the water was too rough and for the short period of time that I had my head in the water I didn’t see anything aside from damaged coral.
We moved on to the next stop which was Mango Bay, the snorkelling was nice at this spot but our boat was anchored quite far from the snorkelling area and the currents made for a long hard swim. At one point I was floating waiting for Mom and I said to Gordon “I keep calling her but she isn’t coming over”, then I noticed that she was swimming hard but she literally wasn’t moving!
Our last stop of the day was at Ko Nang Yuan which is a separate little island on the northwest coast of Ko Tao. We found this little island to be really beautiful although it was quite crowded with day trippers. Gordon and I hiked up to the viewpoint while Mom relaxed on the beach – I think I spotted her while I was at the top.
We also did some snorkeling here and it was pretty good. I thought it was quite nice to be able to go snorkel whenever you wanted right from the beach. I think Mom really enjoyed her snorkel at this spot!
I saw these divers below me while snorkeling – Ko Tao is a very popular island for dive schools.
The next day we ventured over to Haad Sairee (the most popular beach area) to walk around the town and visit the beach. We were happy we didn’t stay in this area, it was really busy. We did have a good time strolling the foot path parallel to the beach, we did a little bit of shopping and stopped in at one of the cafes for a delicious watermelon shake.
When we woke in the morning, we decided to take a taxi to Ao Leuk Bay since it was a snorkel spot that we missed on the boat trip and we had heard it is one of the better places to snorkel on the island. We arrived at the beach and the water was really rough again so we had the taxi take us to Freedom Beach instead. The water was nice and calm so we spent the day snorkeling and beaching.
Our taxi driver had recommended June Juea Beach for some snorkeling and he said it is usually calm on that side of the island so we took his recommendation and checked it out. It was a very quiet beach and the snorkeling was quite nice in spots.
On our last day we gave Ao Leuk Bay one last try and it wasn’t quite as rough as the last time we tried but still not calm by any means. Gordon was the brave one and went out to have a look but didn’t stay out really long because it was getting rough again. One thing that I found annoying at this beach was the sign advising beach goers that no food or drink are allowed and that you would be fined 2000 baht ($80) for bringing anything on to the beach – being the rebel that I am, I drank a bottle of water that I brought myself…ssshhhhh.
Gordon and I decided to do one last snorkel while Mom took a siesta. We walked along the raised foot path but in one area we had to walk through chest high water (Gordon walked through chest high water and I swam) to get to Buddha Point. We were happy we made the effort to go because the snorkeling was very nice although we had to swim quite a ways out to get to the nice coral.
Ko Tao is such a beautiful island with its rocky clad jungle hills and clear water, but it’s developing really fast so now is definitely the time to visit!
Where we stayed: Aukotan Place Hotel
Written by: Tammy Hermann…Live~Love~Travel