How to spend 2 weeks in Koh Tao
How to spend 2 weeks in Koh Tao
For those of you who have not heard of Koh Tao, Koh Tao or turtle island is a speck of an island just 21 square kilometers in size located in the Gulf of Thailand and forming part of the Chumphon Archipelago in Surat Thani province.
It is said that Koh Tao was named after the island’s turtle-like shape however two species of turtles do nest on the island, the Hawksbill turtle and green turtle. With a proliferation of tourism over the last 3 decades the population of turtles has dwindled despite the efforts of the Royal Thai Navy and scuba diving companies to re-introduce them into the eco-system.
The island is located in close proximity to Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui and is part of a well-trodden tourist trail which includes all three islands with Koh Tao often getting the spillover of tourists from the full moon parties on Koh Pha Ngan.
The economy of Koh Tao is predominantly tourism based and is well known in particular for scuba diving thus the island attracts divers from all over the world. There are many other lesser known attractions such as Muay Thai, rock climbing, wakeboarding and cliff jumping however these activities have grown in popularity in recent years. I first visited Koh Tao in 2001 and most recently in 2015 and it was barely recognizable, in 2001 I was confined to Sairee beach with no roads on the island, however now all beaches, coves and bays are connected by roads albeit roads in poor condition. Diving was essentially the only activity on offer in the early 2000’s so the island has gone through rapid change, a pattern seen on many Thai islands.
So how do you spend 2 weeks in Koh Tao considering the small size of the island? Considering the small geographic area there is a surprising amount to keep yourself occupied, if you are simply looking to soak in some rays and relax the beaches are a good attraction and despite not being world class in my opinion are nice to chill out on in-between activities. Sairee beach is the longest and widest beach on the island but there are dozens of tiny inlets and bays waiting to be explored. Hiking between beaches is an adventure in itself, huge granite boulders dot the island and give the island a very distinctive look and feel. Leaping from boulder to boulder is great fun as you explore.
As diving is still the #1 activity in Koh Tao you could spend days exploring the myriad of dive sites off Koh Tao. Whilst personally I would not consider any of the local dives of any note, dive sites such as the Chumphon pinnacles are well worth several trips and if you are very lucky you may bump into whale sharks, tiger sharks or perhaps even a Baird’s whale as well as schools of barracuda and large resident groupers. Sail rock is another diving site considered one of the best in the area. Snorkelling off Koh Nang Yuan is a fun alternative for non-divers and this sand spit makes for a nice place to spend the afternoon relaxing.
If you tire of scuba diving then an activity soaring in popularity is Muay Thai in Koh Tao. There are a number of Muay Thai schools in Koh Tao that cater for single visits or long term guests. People can spend 2 weeks in Koh Tao simply learning the art of Muay Thai whilst topping up their tan in-between. A popular gym is Monsoon Gym and Fight Club which introduce Muay Thai in Koh Tao in 2001 and offers classes in a variety of martial art styles, from Muay Thai to BJJ to Western boxing. Monsoon Gym and Fight Club provides accommodation and very reasonable discounts for guests staying for 2 weeks or more so if you are looking at how to spend 2 weeks in Koh Tao then this is a fantastic option.
People often visit Koh Tao looking for different activities to keep them busy every day and Goodtime Adventures located on Sairee beach is the perfect choice offering scuba diving, snorkeling, rock climbing, bouldering, wakeboarding, cliff jumping as well as accommodation and a beachside restaurant. 2 weeks would go by in a flash just by visiting these guys to take care of the visit. Again, prices are reasonable should you book for a longer duration so for those on a budget this is a good option.
Many years ago the only option for accommodation in Koh Tao was the rustic thatched bamboo style. More recently these have been replaced by upscale resorts and hotels giving customers more choice than ever for long term stays on the island. This rise in accommodation standards and nature of the accommodation has paved the way for activities catering to those who wish to be pampered on their trip to Koh Tao and various boutique spas and wellness centers have sprung up all over Koh Tao offering a wide range of treatments and packages allowing customers to unwind and relax.
So here are some of my suggestions for people asking the question, how to spend 2 weeks in Koh Tao, there are of course plenty of other activities and attractions not mentioned as well as day trips to neighboring islands as well as the mainland. If you have any suggestions or questions, please leave in the comment area below.