When you first step on Koh Tao, you might find the beauty of this island so overwhelming that you may momentarily forget how to travel around it given your limited time. You don’t have to feel anxious as you can choose to tour the island in three ways: on foot, by land or by boat.
1.Explore Koh Tao by walking
Koh Tao is a small island so you can actually explore it on foot. It’s only 20 square kilometers wide, and the distances between towns, beaches, and bays don’t exceed five kilometers. By walking, you get to interact with nature at a leisurely pace without the distractions and noise that characterize the busier parts of the island. Besides, the only way to access the island’s mountain vantage points and hidden coves such as Laem Thian is by foot. But the downside of walking is that there are no footpaths, so you always have to walk on the right side. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight and bright-colored clothing with you in case night falls while you’re out walking.
2.Explore Koh Tao on wheels
If you want to move around at a faster pace, there are three modes of land transport in the island that you can try: pick-up truck ‘taxis,’ motorcycles, or bikes. ‘Taxis,’ which are actually pick-up trucks, are stationed in certain terminals within the island. These terminals are found at Mae Haad, Sairee, Chalok Baan Kao, 7-Eleven, the junction, and the pier. It is a better idea to ride these taxis if you are with a group since it can be boring for an individual or solo traveler to wait for a taxi to fill up with passengers. Otherwise, you can tell the driver that you will pay extra for the vacant seats if you are in a hurry to go.
Another land transport option you can try is renting a motorcycle. This is the ideal choice for individual backpackers. The rental rates range from ฿150 to ฿250 per day, and you will be asked to leave your passport and a deposit fee. Before you rent a motorcycle, you have to make sure that the one you pick is in good working condition, with no scratches and broken parts. Use it carefully when you ride as you will be liable to pay for any damages.
Bicycles are the best choice for those who want to explore the island on wheels but don’t want to deal with the noisy engine and smoke a motorcycle brings. There is only one bicycle repair shop at Chalok Baan Kao although there are several resorts and smaller shops that rent their bikes out to tourists. With bicycles, you can travel on muddy trails in Koh Tao where motorbikes would have been stuck. You get to explore more of the island at a shorter time than if you chose to walk or ride a taxi.
3.Explore Koh Tao on water
Who says taxis are only meant for land? In Koh Tao, there are ‘longtail’ boats that the locals call “taxi boats” and you can choose to ride these taxi boats if you want to explore the waters around the island. There are views from the sea that are impossible to see from land, which is why you could try these taxi boats. You can find these taxi boats moored at Koh Tao’s pier and the large resorts.
Travel safety reminders
When traveling on land, it’s important to exercise care and caution. The roads of Koh Tao are narrow, and vehicles, people, and livestock all share the roads here. There are large open ditches your motorbike or bicycle could fall into, so you have to be careful when you ride. Don’t forget to wear protective gear such as a helmet. If you will travel by water, don a life vest.