Easily in contention for my favourite Thai island Koh Tao is found in the Gulf of Thailand and is the smallest of the three island archipelago of the Surat Thani Province (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao). This is the ‘safe side’ of Thailand free from threat of Tsunamis. Koh Tao is my hideaway island, away from the backpackers of Koh Phangan and tourism of Koh Samui and is better known as Thailand’s diving Mecca. While you do get the diver frat on the island they generally crowd on the busy Sairee Beach and knowing the island are easy to avoid. We do this with our romantic Koh Tao hideaways travelling inland, to lesser known beaches, to cliff sides. Here are three of my favourites.
With a hill top location (top left) Ko Tao Resort Paradise Zone is far from hidden but it is off the beaten track with a private location high above the quiet Chalok Baan Kao Beach and the only access to Paradise Zone is transcending a steep, winding, private road to the top of the island. At Ko Tao Resort Paradise zone it is all about the infinity pool (or higher seaview rooms if you can afford them). Unmatched views of the island which overlook the ant-like hordes on beaches below. Peaceful, quiet and serene and a personal favourite for romantic Koh Tao Hideaways. The ‘Paradise Zone’ is an exclusive resort area detached from the lower beach location of the original ‘Ko Tao Resort’ (be careful when booking). The resort offers free shuttle service between the two so reaching the beach is simple. The nearby Chalok Baan Kao Beach has perfect sands with shallow waters and an easy walk to snorkel the reefs. The area is also rich in local life. Keep an eye out for a cute monkey called ‘Loy’, he’ll let you rub his belly. The resort provides free pick-up and drop-off at Koh Tao’s main pier and all tours and activities on offer elsewhere.
The cheapest of our romantic Koh Tao Hideaways. The Moon Dance Magic View Bungalows offer a ‘back to basics’ hideaway experience. Bamboo huts, outside (enclosed) bathrooms, cold showers, one light bulb, mosquito nets and the unrelenting sounds of nature. The bungalows peering out over Lang Khai Bay a secluded area hidden on the back-end of Koh Tao island. Not great for the squeamish as bungalows do sits cliffside above never-ending crash of waves below. The location of Moon Dance Magic View is well off the beaten track only accessed by bumpy roads and off-road vehicles. To reach civilisation or a 7/11 on Koh Tao island it will take a 100 Baht journey (200 return). For this reason stock up before arrival. I suggest bottles of wine to join the romantic views and natural surrounding of the bungalow’s hammock. To find the sea you can climb the cliff by rope and wooden stairs to find a secluded wooden jetty below.
The expensive, luxury option for romantic Koh Tao Hideaways and to date too expensive for our budget so we won’t give details on a stay. I would occasionally call in for the spa facilities as Jamakhiri is by far the best spa on the island. If you can’t afford a stay here book a day of pampering (free pickup on Koh Tao island). Again the resort is well off the beaten track only recently to be connected by a shiny new road. Less fun getting there but better on the taxis suspension. Located cliffside at Haad Tien Bay the Jamakhiri Resort and Spa has arguably the best sea views on the island.
Via Chumphon – Boats (Lompraya) leave Chumphon pier early morning and afternoon (possible seasickness). For travel from Bangkok best routes travel overnight by bus or train to meet the early morning boats. Another option is an overnight stay in Chumphon. I once took a 500km / 7 hour taxi from Bangkok (not advised).
Via Surat Thani – Boats (Lompraya) leave Surat Thani pier early morning and afternoons. Takes around 4 hours+ with stops en route at Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Not advised for travel from Bangkok.