Let’s talk about the accommodation options here on Koh Tao. I’ve been living here for almost 2 years and I’ve stayed in various areas, with different degrees of comfort and prices.
I think the best part about this island is the fact there is something for everyone with prices ranging from 200 baht up to 10,000baht or more per night.
However, with so many options to choose from it can be a little confusing knowing which is the right choice for you before you arrive and get to know the island.
Hopefully this post can help you to avoid some disappointment so you can truly enjoy your stay here on this tropical paradise island.
Plan your Accommodation on Koh Tao in Advance
The first thing you need to decide is what you want from your stay here on Koh Tao.
Are you travelling alone and on a budget, looking to make new friends and find adventure or do you want some down time to relax with a little (or a lot) of extra creature comforts?
Perhaps you are here to do the one thing Koh Tao is famous for – Scuba Diving.
Deciding on what you would like out of your stay here will help you decide where to book your accommodation.
This is important because not many people realise that this island has a lot of very steep hills and getting access to each part of Koh Tao can be difficult without transportation.
Access on foot can take a while for the more isolated places, plus it’s tiring in the heat. A taxi can be expensive, so your best option is to rent a scooter or motorbike if you choose to stay in the more remote areas.
The last thing you want, is come here to do various activities and end up stuck because you don’t want to or can’t ride a scooter.
Choosing the Best Location for Accommodation
There are three main areas of Koh Tao; Sairee at the north end, Mae Haad in the middle and Chalok on the south end.
Sairee is where the parties can be found as well as some of the best western and Thai restaurants.
Mae Haad is where you will get off at the ferry boat, so accommodation here is often the most convenient because most places are in walking distance and easy to find straight off the ferry.
Here you will find the most conveniently located dive shops, due to their close proximity to the pier and great Thai food.
And finally Chalok is a lot quieter, but has many restaurants, shops and dive schools, however, it is located towards the southern coast of Koh Tao.
If you are travelling alone and looking to meet up with people and do some partying while you are here, then a hostel is probably your best option.
The Different Types of Accommodation on Koh Tao
Most hostels are mainly in the Mae Haad, or Sairee area. Hostels here normally come with two options; dorm rooms and single rooms with the single option obviously costing more.
You do need to be aware that with the hostels you really do get what you pay for so make sure to read reviews and check out pictures before you book.
Short Term Accommodation on Koh Tao
You should be looking to pay between 250-500baht per night per person for the average hostel, but keep a look out for the facilities and what is included.
Dormitory rooms with air-conditioning can be an easy way to get sick fast. As hot as it is, having the air con on full all night long can be a really unpleasant experience.
Fan rooms are often cheaper and healthier for you. Some places include breakfast, which may sound like a great way to save money but it may not be of the best quality.
Most visitors tend to walk about and find their own ‘special’ place for food and find some great value alternatives.
On Koh Tao, there are great breakfast and café eateries that won’t break the bank.
Luxury Accommodation on Koh Tao
Perhaps you are looking for something a bit more luxurious; in that case the Mae Haad and Sairee areas have a good selection of slightly more up market hotels as well as your high end luxurious accommodation options.
If you don’t want to stay in a dormitory room hostel or want something a bit more relaxing and luxurious, while still being an easy walking distance from activities and nightlife then these are the areas you should look at.
The more facilities a hotel offers will obviously drive up the price, so if you’re looking for luxury on a budget you can get the price down by looking at places without swimming pools since beaches are all in walking distance.
Beach front hotels are also more expensive since there are not that many directly on the beach, even those advertised as such should be checked because in reality the beach is normally a short walk from any hotel in these busier areas.
The Cost of Accommodation on Koh Tao
A hotel spa tends to drive up the price and is also something that is not a necessity in your hotel, as much cheaper and often better options are just a 2-minute walk away.
Hotel rooms in these areas can range from 500-2500 baht, again generally you get what you pay for.
I would suggest maybe go half way between looking in the range of 1000-1250 baht for the night; that will get you a nice comfortable room in a good location with some extra comforts.
Something to keep in mind is that almost all the hotels in these areas that are further away, have regular shuttles to bring you to Sairee or Mae Haad and will pick you up from the pier on arrival.
Chalok is a much quieter area but also offers beautiful hotels that are directly on the beach.
These are more expensive and more secluded; perfect for those wanting to just stay at the hotel and relax for a few days.
Bear in mind if you are staying in this area hiring a scooter or bike is definitely something you will want to consider if you want to explore the rest of the island.
However, it is not a necessity as this part of the island is pretty flat and is not as taxing to walk to as some other spots.
Sharing Accommodation on Koh Tao
If you’re a couple travelling together, whether in love or just friends; finding something a little more cosy is always a more budget friendly option, as the cost of one room can be shared between two.
For those on a romantic getaway, the more remote areas on the edges of the island are a great option for privacy, quiet time and relaxation.
Resort Accommodation on Koh Tao
Hin Wong Bay, Tanote Bay, Mango Bay, Shark Bay and Aow Leuk are beautiful areas directly on the beach with perfect snorkeling conditions.
These areas are not necessarily that much more expensive to stay at, but this is where you will also find your high end 5 star hotels.
However, the cost of getting around the island away from your hotel will be exponentially higher and having a bike is definitely recommended.
Now there are many people who come here intending to stay for a week and end up staying for months and even years!
Long Term Accommodation on Koh Tao
In this case you want to find cheap accommodation for long term. There are low, middle and high options like with everything.
The cheapest you can expect to pay is around 7000baht per month with a 1000 or 2000baht deposit which you will get back at the end of your stay.
These places will have fans, and very basic linen and bathrooms. They are essentially one room with a bed and closest, which come with small fridges and kettles.
Basically you get what you need, and honestly you don’t need much more. You won’t be spending much time in your room anyway so in my opinion; basic is better.
However, for those that need those few extra things that make your accommodation slightly more comfortable you’re looking at around 8000 – 11 000baht a month.
This should include a small kitchen, bathroom, possibly air conditioning and a slightly larger floor space.
You’re more than likely looking at a one-bedroom place and normally electricity and water bills are not included so be sure to discuss this with the landlord beforehand.
Bills will add roughly 1000baht+ to your rent at the end of the month.
Accommodation with a View on Koh Tao
And finally for those that enjoy a bit (or a lot) of extra luxury expect to pay around 15 000 – 22 000 baht.
These places normally come with a view, a living room area with a TV, a full kitchen, a larger bathroom and a beautiful, spacious bedroom.
They also have balconies or porches and air conditioning. Some have multiple bedrooms and even a swimming pool.
If you are keen to share with a friend or friends then this could work out to be luxury on a budget if the bills are split between you.
If you are looking for the cheapest accommodation options on Koh Tao and a quieter island lifestyle for a couple months, your options are endless.
On Koh Tao there is a place for everyone. I’ll see you in paradise.
Author: MSDT Martin Croot