You can usually find accommodation at the pier when you arrive. However, during peak times it is worth booking ahead unless you want to sleep on the beach or spend the night in one of the more expensive lodgings. If you are planning on taking a scuba diving course whilst on the island, most dive schools have an attached resort and will either discount the accommodation or throw it in for free when you book a course. During busy periods, most resorts with dive outfits will not want you to stay unless you are diving at least every second day with them. If you don't want to stay with your dive operator and use their free accommodation, you may want to ask for a discount.
The majority of the accommodation on Ko Tao are centred around three main areas: Sairee Beach, Mae Haad, and Chalok Ban Khao.
This is the largest beach on Ko Tao. On the west side of the island from the ferry terminal on the southwest corner of the island and running almost the length of the island. All along this beach you will find dive schools, resorts, restaurants and bars. The southern and central sections of the beach are well known for their nightlife, and the northern end has a large number of shops and restaurants which lends it to be a bit quieter at night (but with the bars only a short walk down the "Yellow Brick Road".
- Blue Wind (N Sairee Beach). Bungalows on the beach. Extremely helpful manager, and friendly staff. The bakery offers variety of good quality food.300-1,500 baht.
- Casas del Sol (Sairee), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Five two bedroom self-contained villas with en suite baths, kitchen, lounge, terrace, ocean views and private swimming pool.4,200-8,500 baht.
- Koh Tao Cabana (Sairee Beach). Two room typesː whites, a wooden cottage-style room, and a villa, a rounded concrete structure with a king-sized bed, spacious terrace and newly renovated daybed section.
- Koh Tao Heights (2-3 min by taxi to the beach), ✉ email@example.com. Traditional Thai design and eco-living on a hillside in the centre of Sairee with a panoramic view of Sairee Bay and Ko Nang Yuan Island.1,667+ baht.
- Rocks Guesthouse (Formerly Koh Tao Backpackers Hostel) (Central Sairee Beach), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. Eight and six bed dormitory rooms with air-con, hot water showers, lockers in rooms, free Wi-Fi and swimming pool. Close to many restaurants, shops and bars.200 baht.
- Silver Sands Beach Resort (Central Sairee Beach). Fan and air-con bungalows and hotel-style rooms. Close to many restaurants, shops, and bars.
- Simple Life Resort (Sairee Beach). Air-con rooms, swimming pool, bar-restaurant, spa and massage room and free Wi-Fi.
- Spicytao Backpackers Hostel (Turn right at the Sairee crossroad, 10 min walk from town). Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 11:00. The popular Spicy Backpackers chain. Free breakfast, hostel guided tours, peaceful location. One of the best places on Ko Tao to meet other travellers.250 baht.
- 1 Summer Guesthouse and Hostel, 52/1 Moo 1 (Opposite Smile Mart - follow signs for Gym and Fitness), ☏ +66 63 2406236, ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. Hostel with fan and AC dorm rooms, en suite and shared bathroom facilities, common areas and shared kitchen and Guesthouse with double bed, twin and triple bed private AC rooms with en-suite, fridge and balcony. Short walk from the main party area so quiet of a night. Large 24/7 supermarket opposite.300+ baht.
All ferries arrive here making access to and from the island easy. Sairee Beach is to the north and Chalok Ban Kao is to the south. Banks and government offices as well as many dive centres, restaurants, and many guesthouses are here.
- Baan Suan Ta, 10/9 Moo 2 (About a 2 min walk to piers). Small hotel in a quiet area of Mae Haad.900 baht (fan) or 1,500 baht (air-con).
- Harbor Hostel, 5/30 Moo 2 (Just ~150 meters from the pier on the left towards the top main road on the right side.), ☏ +66 77 456959, +66 84 3840834, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: from 10:00 to 20:00, check-out: between 10:30 and 11:00. This cozy clean dormitory hostel with air conditioning run by the same company as the Pumpski Apartments. High speed Wi-Fi is available.250 baht.
- Harbor House, 6/24 Moo 2 (The hotel is 200 meters from the pier on the left hand side on the road leading to the upper main street, to the right of the 7-Eleven), ☏ +66 77 456168, +66 96 3691346. Check-in: 14:00-20:00, check-out: 10:30-11:00. Cosy, clean and service minded 10 room hotel.Start: 900 baht per night for Standard room, 350 baht per night for a bunk bed in dormitory.
Chalok Baan Kao
Chalok Baan Kao is a much more chilled, relaxed environment than Sairee Beach, while still giving access to a great range of restaurants, beach bars and BBQs plus a wide range of accommodation from luxury resorts to budget rustic, beach side bungalows.
- Alvaro Diving & Taraporn Bungalows, Chalok Bay (Follow the small concrete bridge from the main beach to Taraporn Restaurant. The bungalows are on the next 2 small beaches), ☏ +66 77 456457, ✉ email@example.com. Check-out: 10:00. PADI & SSI diving in small groups. Small family run dive and free dive shop with new equipment, flexible boat schedules and friendly multilingual staff and a relaxed atmosphere. Small quiet outer beach of Chalok Ban Kao south of Ko Tao with bungalows at the beach. You can play volleyball, go swimming or kayaking.500-800 baht.
- Buddha View Dive Resort. A resort primarily for divers with a range of budget to deluxe accommodation. Beach side cafe, bar and nightly BBQs.
- Freedom Beach Resort (Chalok Baan Kao Bay), ☏ +66 77 456596, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 09:00. Beach front bungalows for every budget although many are in need of refurbishment. All the bungalows have air-con and hot water although lack fridges and TV. Two beaches in front and a quiet location 10 min walk to the Chalok Baan Kao Beach. Unfortunately there is quite a lot of old construction material dumped around the resort and nearby coastline. Inconsistent electric supply.From 500 (fan)-2,500 baht (air-con bungalows).
- Sunshine Resort 2 (Bungalows) (Chalok Baan Kao Bay). Check-out: 09:00. Bungalows with 24 hr electricity, windows have mosquito nets. Some bungalows have no wall electrical outlet. Friendly staff. Western toilets, but with a pail and water replacing the normal flush function.300 baht bungalow with double bed and fan..
- Woodlawn Villas, ☏ +66 844459672, ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 10:00. 18 villas, apartments and double rooms within 2 acres of private grounds, set within a natural valley of the jungle, surrounded by coconut palm trees, lawns, tropical gardens and a swimming pool. The closest beach is just minutes away called Chalok Bay.950-8,000 baht.
More populated than other east coast beaches however this doesn't mean it's busy. There is no town or village here and only 4 resorts, each with an attached restaurant and one really tiny shop which is up the hill behind the resorts. There are no ATM machines. There are no really cheap places to eat as there are in Mae Haad.
The sand on the beach is coarse and there is an unbelievable amount of broken glass in it. Likely because of people drinking while sitting on the rocks. Careful where you step and do your bit to pick up some of the glass. The shore is rocky and there is plenty of corral right off the beach. You can rent snorkel equipment for 100 baht per day. There is a large rock just out to sea for those interested in cliff diving.
There are regular trucks that go back and forth 3-4 times per day at 100 baht per person. Ask at your resort for taxi times. Alternatively you can charter your own truck for 400 baht minimum or 100 baht per person.
- Poseidon Restaurant & Bungalows (Near the middle of the beach), ☏ +66 77 456735. Free Wi-Fi in the restaurant when it works. Thai food is 80-140 baht. The low-end huts are quite shabby, but are the cheapest no frills fan rooms in the bay.400 baht.
- Aow Leuk II Restaurant & Bungalows (On the S hillside in Ao Leuk). 450-2,000 baht.
- Black Tip Diving & Water Sports Resort, ☏ +66 77 456488, +66 77 456489, fax: +66 77 456489, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Peaceful resort great for families, romantic holidays or just to get away from all the rest. On a quiet beach with one of the best bays on the island for snorkelling. 24 hr electricity, swimming pool, Wi-Fi available.400-3,000 baht.
- Bohemia Resort (Ao Thian Og, southernmost tip of Ko Tao), ☏ +66 87 9065619, ✉ email@example.com. Thai-style eco-resort on the top of the hill with amazing view on the Ang Thong National Marine Park and Ko Pha Ngan. 10 min walk to the beaches.1,000+ baht.
- Charm Churee Villa (Jansom Bay), ☏ +66 77 456393, fax: +66 77 456475, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Eco-friendly, rustic resort with beach near the jungle.4,200+ baht.
- La Cigale, ✉ email@example.com. 4 private suites on 1 acre of avocado farm overlooking Sairee Bay, 250 m from the beach.2,000+ baht..
- Ko Tao Bamboo Huts (Jansom Bay), ☏ +66 77 456394, fax: +66 77 456475, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Resort built extensively from bamboo in the interests of environmental sustainability.6,700+ baht.
- Koh Tao Star Villa, ✉ email@example.com. Modern, spacious villa in the hills above Sairee Beach. Very quiet with panoramic sea, jungle and sunset views.3,000+ baht.
- The Place Luxury Boutique Villas (Sairee). Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 10:00. 2 boutique villas, both with private infinity pools. Private and far enough away from Sairee to offer peace and solitude but still a short walk to the beach.5,000+ baht.
- Villa Sabaj Jai, ☏ +66 85 385499. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. Occupies an exceptional position 35 m above the sea on the edge of a cape with panoramic views over the ocean, and the nearby beaches Ao Tian Og and Sai Daeng.18,000-35,000 baht.