Despite only being in Koh Tao for 4 nights it was the place I stayed longest whilst travelling through Thailand and if I could have stayed longer, I would have. It was my favourite island out of the 5 I visited whilst in the stunning country and I developed a little love affair for this small spot of paradise that grew with each day I stayed on its floating hills filled with boutique hotels and healthy food spots.
Seeing it slated on Channel 4’s programme ‘Murder in Paradise’ was difficult. I’m suddenly finding myself constantly defending my treasured spot which I grew so fond of. Yes, there were 6 tragic deaths on the island but there were about 112 killings in London last year alone! My heart goes out to all those affected by the events that happened on Koh Tao and although it was evident to me that there was one very important family on the island who owned most of the businesses I felt safe a respected there.
So to restore the faith I want to highlight what made Koh Tao so special for me;
1/Exploring with ease
Koh Tao isn’t the biggest island in the world and that just makes me love it more. You can get from one side to the other in about 30 minutes and the little side roads are filled with treasure troves. I felt the most safe when browsing around Koh Tao, nobody bothers you or approaches you and there are tons of unique food spots, market stalls and boutiques filled with bargains. Obviously I recommend you act smart, the same with anywhere in the world and don’t wonder off alone in the dark. You know the drill…
Just like Koh Phangan being famous for the Full Moon Party and Koh Phi Phi being legendary for Leonardo DiCaprio’s ‘The Beach’ filming spot, Koh Tao is famed for it’s incredible diving and rightly so. Although I had a flight to Bangkok the following day so couldn’t dive deeper than 12 meters I still met some beautiful sea creatures that call the Japanese Gardens in Koh Tao their home. This diving spot is perfect for beginners and you’re guaranteed to see some brightly colored inhabitants. I recommend Mojo Divers.
The beautiful beaches are alive until past 1am but don’t wake up again until lunch time. I wondered down to the sleepy shores at around 8am one morning and it felt like I was the only person awake on the entire island! The beaches aren’t the only things that have a lie in, most shops and restaurants open up at 11am. After all, you need that time to recover from the buckets you downed the night before!
The 20,000 backpackers attending the Full Moon Party on nighboruing Koh Phangan head over to the calmer bars of Koh Tao for some R&R after the madness has ended so be aware this is the island’s busiest time. Make sure you aren’t too hungover for the ferry ride over either, it takes about 90 minutes and will be one of the rockiest rides of your life.
Koh Tao has the best neighbour. A tiny island called Koh Nang Yuan 5 minutes from its shores that is most popular for the view point where you can look over to the stunning green island and it’s turquoise waters. The island also features cute cats and a strip of sand where the sea closes in on either side!
I’m a real foodie and a wise person once told me that comes with travelling. They were right. You can find some real treasures on the streets of Koh Tao. In my 4 nights on the island I devoured plenty of good meals and I can’t wait to return and discover more hidden gems but for now, here are my highlights;
Los Pollos Hermanos for a taste of home – Los Pollos is run by a lovely Canadian man who made home on the island and opened up a Nandos type restuarant down a little lane. From wraps to chicken wings there are A LOT of good choices on the menu, especially if you like hot food. Being dairy free veggie I went for a baked sweet potato which was so good I went back the next day for another.
Vegeta bowl is my vegan pick – just look at the photos, do you need any more convincing?! I spotted the sign for Vegeta Bowl whilst eating dinner at Los Pollos and made it my mission to go back for a meal there the next day. My lovely non-vegan but very healthy friend decided to join me and we went for a falafel bowl with avocado. Accompanied by cucumber water and a vegan peanut butter brownie ball for dessert. INSANELY good!
I recommend going high for food with a view, the climb will be worth it. Sunset bar has very good reviews for a meal with a killer view. I realise now that I didn’t review any Thai food on the island but as always it was top notch and no, I wasn’t ill at any point so can highly recommend these spots.
Obviously when you are anywhere in the world, travel smart and be safe. What happened to the backpackers in Koh Tao was very real and despite what a great time I had on the island other people have encountered tragedy.
Consider travelling with a group like I did through TruTravels and use my code to see Thailand for less – TRULM7
Have you been to Koh Tao? Did you feel safe whilst away?