Ko Lanta Travel Guide, Thailand: Best Things to do

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Ko Lanta is one of the biggest islands of Thailand situated in the south of Thailand. It is famous for beautiful beaches along its west side. Here is a complete Ko Lanta Travel Guide.

How to Reach Ko Lanta:

Ko Lanta is accessible from a lot of places like Krabi, Trang, Phuket, Phi Phi island using many modes of transportation like waterways or road ways. Below is a description of how to reach Ko Lanta from various place.

Krabi to Ko Lanta:

Krabi is one of the nearest airports to Ko Lanta. There are two ways to reach Ko Lanta from Krabi.

  • Roadways or,
  • By ferry

Reaching Ko Lanta from Krabi by Roadways:

There is no regular scheduled van service from Krabi Airport, although vans and taxis can be chartered to Ko Lanta for about 2,000 baht per vehicle (2,500 baht if you are going to the south end of Ko Lanta). The minivan ride takes around 3-4 hours to Ko Lanta as it also picks up and drops off people on the way.

If you get a bus from the Krabi airport to Ko Lanta then it should cost you more than 350 Baht. Alternatively, if you are taking a bus from the Krabi bus stand, it should not cost you more than 250 Baht to Ko Lanta. But the bus ride will be really long.

From Krabi to Ko Lanta by boat ferry:

If you want to come to Ko Lanta by boat from Krabi, you will have to take a bus or a minivan to the main pier in Krabi. The pier is called as Klong Jirad Pier. It is situated at the edge of the town to avoid the traffic. From the airport, it takes around half an hour to arrive on the pier.

on-the-way-from-phi-phi-to-ko-lanta

One ticket from Airport to Krabi pier would cost you around 50 Baht to 100 Baht depending upon the transport type. The ferry can directly be booked at the airport itself. You can either book a regular ferry or a speed boat for the express transfer.

Tickets can also be booked online or bought at the airport itself. The ferry from Krabi to Ko Lanta takes around 2 hours and you get down at the Saladan pier which is situated at the Northern most point of the island. Most of the hotel guys offer a free pickup at the Saladan pier since the Ko Lanta island is very large in area.

Reaching Ko Lanta from Phi Phi Islands:

Boat takes around 1.5 hours from Phi Phi island to Ko Lanta. It costs on the average 300 Baht. There is a limited connectivity from Phi Phi island to Ko Lanta in terms of boats & ferry. Please make sure one day in advance that you book your ferry beforehand. During high season, ferry might not be available.

Also read: Phi Phi Island Travel Guide

About Ko Lanta:

Ko Lanta is a large island. It is around 30 Kms in length and 6 Kms in width. There are a total of 9 beaches that lie from North to South. Since these beaches lie on the western coast, most of these beaches are famous for the sunset views. Here is the list of beaches with their orientation from North to South:

  • Kor Kwang beach
  • Klong Dao beach
  • Pra Ae or Long Beach
  • Relax Beach – Pra Ae beach
  • Klong Khong beach
  • Klong Nin beach
  • Kantiang Bay
  • Ao Nui (Nui Bay)
  • Bamboo Bay

More About these beaches can be read here: http://wikitravel.org/en/Ko_Lanta#Beaches

What to do in Ko Lanta?

Like other islands of Thailand such as Ko Phi Phi, Ko Samui, Ko Tao etc, Ko Lanta is not filled with so younger crowd. Here mostly people come to relax, watch sunset etc. There would not be so much of fun or party. Although, in the town, you can find such places.

sunset-in-ko-lanta

Some of the activities that you can do on the island are boating, trekking, snorkeling, diving, Kayaking, fishing etc. More about it can be found here: http://wikitravel.org/en/Ko_Lanta#Do

Ko Lanta Snorkeling Tour:

Snorkeling tour around Ko Lanta is famous among the tourists. It is claimed that in the far islands you can even see sharks & sea turtles besides some of the amazing natural creations. The snorkeling tour is organized on the long-tail boat. It takes almost an entire day.

If you are in a group of a few people say five or more, you can hire an entire long tail boat. The snorkeling tour will usually start around ten in the morning and you will return by four in the evening. The price includes lunch, snacks, and national park fee.

an-island-near-ko-lanta-on-snorkeling-tour

The advantage of hiring a longtail boat is that it will be more kind of a personalized tour for all. There are four famous islands situated south to the Ko Lanta.

  • Ko Ngai called as Ko Hai island
  • Ko Muk island
  • Ko Kradan island and,
  • Ko Ruk island

However, Since Ko Ruk lies far away, there are generally two types of packages for the island trips from Ko Lanta:

  • One without Ko Ruk island and,
  • Another included Ko Ruk island

It is said that Ko Ruk island is really beautiful and you can see a variety of marine life over there. I do not know how much truth it holds. We did one-day island trip of which included three islands which included all the islands except Ko Ruk.

Ko Kradan island:

Ko Kradan would probably will be your first island that you visit on the island tour. There is a snorkeling place. Though shallow but that was interesting. There was tall white grass-like structure inside the sea. Also, there were some thorny animals.

snorkeling-tour-ko-lanta

Ko Muk island:

Ko Muk will be the next destination after Ko Kradan. Ko Muk is famous for the Tham Morakot or Emerald cave or Morakot cave. This cave is a part of the reserve forest. There is a cave of around 100 feet in length. Beyond the cave is an attractive, small, completely enclosed beach formed by a sinkhole.

The Emerald cave is only accessible during the low tide. Carrying a source of light is necessary. You will usually be given the life jacket by the tour guide itself. I would advice you to wear the life jacket because the current will be high and it will be dark inside the cave as well.

emerald-cave-ko-muk

Once you swim across the cave, you will reach to a point where the cave opens up into an enclosed beach. You can relax there. As the name suggests, the water color is really emerald over there. Once we came out of the cave, we were served pineapple and watermelon. If you want to make the pineapple tasty, you can just dip that into the seawater and eat that.

Ko Ngai island:

Ko Ngai will be the last island where you will take a break and stop for lunch. Ko Ngai is famous for shallow beaches. The beaches are long and filled with white sand. You can walk on the beach for long hours. The water on the Ko Ngai beach is close to transparent and very shallow for tens of meters. You can really walk for almost tens of feet into the water on the beach and it will mostly be knee deep to a long extent.

Most of the long tail boat serve lunch on Ko Ngai. The lunch would mostly compromise of authentic styles Thai Dishes. While retuning, the weather might turn ugly. It started raining while we were returning. The waves will be higher but the journey was enjoyable.

Where to Stay in Ko Lanta?

Ko Lanta has a series of beaches extending from North to South. I would advice you to stay towards the southern part of the island. Most of the stays will have laundry services, motorbike renting shops nearby, Usually when you board a ferry to Koh Lanta, there will be people from different hotels or stays trying to convince you to take their stays.

There are a plenty of options. Enquire about the stay location and nearby area. The one where we stayed had a free pool table, bar, and even we used their deep freezer to chill our beer super quick. The pool service was free. The beach was also not so far. Watching the sunset was one of our favorite hobbies. When you encounter such guys trying to sell their services enquire about everything. And similarily, you can keep on bargaining.

Best Beaches to stay in Ko Lanta:

Below are some of the best beaches which I have listed out for a memorable stay:

Usually, the first few beaches like Klong Dao beach, Long Beach, and Klong Khong beaches will be crowded in high season. But they also have some of the best bungalows. New ones have also been coming in the southern part of Ko Lanta.

The most preferred stay should be at Nui beach, Kantiang bay, and Nui Bay beach. These are the perfect locations because they are neither too far from the pier and neither they are too far from the Southern part enclosed within reserve forest.

ko-lanta-beaches

Towards the southern Part of the Ko Lanta island, there are some bay formation, a kind of depressions into the island which makes beautiful beaches. There are also some sunset viewpoints nearby. These locations are, moreover, perfect because you can go for night shopping, drive to the southern part of the island towards lighthouse etc.

Things to do in Ko Lanta:

  • Take a long tail boat tour to the four islands
  • Watch the sunset from light house in Ko Lanta National park
  • Spend another evening at Noon Sunset Viewpoint
  • Go to Tiger Cave
  • Take Elephant Safari
  • Do Kayaking in the mangroves
  • Go for Trekking
  • Visit Khlong Chak Waterfall
  • Visit Old Ko Lanta town

Ko Lanta Photos:

watching-sunset-in-ko-lanta ko-lanta-sunset ko-lanta-old-town islands-near-ko-lanta

Phi Phi Island Travel Guide, Thailand

Ko Phi Phi islands are a group of six islands in Krabi Province, Southern Thailand. Koh Phi Phi is at an equal distance from Krabi and Phuket. It is situated towards the east of the Phuket while south to the Krabi. Often called as one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Koh Phi Phi is accessible by boat from Krabi, Phuket, and Koh Lanta island as well.

Being a small island and tourists pouring in the peak season make it little costlier than most of the islands of Thailand. That’s why Ko Phi Phi is often called as one of the costliest islands of Thailand.

phi-phi-island

How to Reach Ko Phi Phi island

Ko Phi Phi is accessible from Krabi, Phuket & Koh Lanta. Here is a full detail about How to Reach Ko Phi Phi islands:

How to Reach Ko Phi Phi from Phuket

The cheapest and most reliable way to get from Phuket or Krabi to Phi Phi is by ferry. If you are staying in hotels, you can book the tickets to Ko Phi Phi from Phuket from the hotel itself. The minivan will pick you up and drop at the pier from where you catch the Ferry to Koh Phi Phi.

You can also directly book the ferry from the airport itself. There will be counters at the airport where you can enquire about the Ferry price and timings. During peak season, it might be difficult to find a ferry so, please make sure you plan in advance. There are fixed timings for the ferries leaving from Phuket to Ko Phi Phi.

Ferry timings from Phuket to Ko Phi Phi:

[su_table]

Phuket Departure Time Phi Phi Arrival Time
8.30 10.30
11.00 13.00
13.30 15.30
14.00 16.00
15.00 17.00

[/su_table]

Journey Time: Two Hours
Boarding Pier: Rassada Pier, Phuket
Deboarding Pier: Tonsai Pier, Phi Phi
Phuket-Phi Phi Ferry Price: 500 Baht

How to Reach Ko Phi Phi from Krabi:

Even from the airport, bus station or from your hotel, you can book a ferry ticket to Phi Phi from Krabi. They will pick you up and drop at the Pier from where the Ferry leaves. The normal passenger ferry does not leave from the center of town anymore, but from a new passenger port (Klong Jilard Pier) about 3 km outside Krabi Town.

Free taxi transfer to the pier should be included in the price of your ticket. Many times they’ll take you to a travel agent near the Chao Fah Pier and sell you additional accommodations or services. Only ever buy the ticket you need. They add additional ferries during peak season.

Krabi to Phi Phi Ferry Timings:

[su_table]

Krabi Departure Time Phi Phi Arrival Time
9.00 10.30
10.30 12.00
13.00 14.30
13.30 15.00
15.00 16.30
15.30 17.00
16.00 17.30

[/su_table]

Journey Time: Two Hours
Boarding Pier: Klong Jilard Pier, Krabi
Deboarding Pier: Tonsai Pier, Phi Phi
Krabi-Phi Phi Ferry Price: 350-400 Baht

There is a 20 baht per person fee required on the pier for “keeping Ko Phi Phi clean”.

Note: The number of ferries to/from Phi Phi island are increased and decreased depending upon the season and the number of tourists. So make sure you always book the ferry in advance.

long-tail-boats-on-monkey-beach-phi-phi-island

Staying on the Phi Phi islands:

Once you arrive at the Ao Tonsai Pier, there will be a lot of people selling hotels at discounted rate. However, if you want to explore the small island on your own, better to take a right from the Ao Tonsai Pier. Refer the image below for cheap as well as nice accommodation.

I would personally recommend going towards the long beach, there is not so much of crowd and stays are also good. However, if you love nightlife and partying a lot, you can go towards the center of the town. But if you love serene life and peaceful evening go towards the long beach.

Public convenience at the Phi Phi island:

Even though not a big island, because of commercialization, Phi Phi island has a lot of supermarkets, restaurants, tattoo parlors and ATMs.

Ko Phi Phi Tsunami:

Indian Ocean Tsunami had badly hit Ko Phi Phi island in 2004. The water level had risen to several feet and most of the infrastructure at the island like cottages, hotels, pier, roads, trees were destroyed. Redevelopment has, however, been swift, and services are back with building regulations in place to limit the height of new buildings to preserve the island’s stunning views.

Phi Phi island Travel – Things to do on Phi Phi island

  • Phi Phi island has a lot of travel options like half-day boat tour, full day boat tour, private boat tour, snorkeling tour, scuba diving options etc. Most of the shops in Phi Phi sell these itineraries. Alternatively, you can also approach a long-tail boat guy and personally negotiate about the tour price if you are in a large group.
  • Near the city center, there is also a reggae bar where you can watch Thai boxing. There are also bars and pub there offering drinks on offer prices.
  • Forget not to go to the Phi Phi view point from where you get a stunning view of the entire island and beaches.
  • You can also take a walk to the long beach from Tonsai pier. The walk takes around 30-40 minutes but worths it.
  • Take a boat tour to different beaches like monkey beach, long beach etc.
  • There is always a party point in the night on the island. You can go there in the night.
  • There are no transportations available on the island. So to go to another island from an island, you will have to take a boat or walk inland from one to another point. One can walk the entire island in around 75 minutes from one tip another.
  • Phi Phi island streets are full of cats. If you love cats, you have so much to play there.
  • Phi Phi island is also famous for the tattoo. There are two types of tattoos available at the Phi Phi island. One is machine tattoo and another is the bamboo tattoo. Bamboo tattoo pains less and is cheaper as well. Also, with the bamboo tattoo, you can go into the sea the next day itself. However, be careful with the prices. I would advise you to enquire at a few shops before making any decision.
  • Some of the good resorts help their customers carry their luggage in the trolley to/ from the resorts if already booked.

on-the-way-to-long-beach-on-phi-phi-island

Also Read: Ko Tao travel Guide

Death of the Thai King, Mourning, And impact on the Thai Tourism.

Update: until 14th of November, 2016

The effect of the king’s death can mostly be seen in the cities. Almost all the hotels have a big memorial picture of the king put in front decorated with the black and white clothes and black and white flowers. If you want to visit some of the royal places, you will have to dress up in black and white.

However, on the islands like Koh Phi phi, Koh Lanta, Koh Tao etc. the effect is surely lesser because they are far from the political center.

Shops chain like 7-11 (Seven Eleven) do not serve beer all the time. They follow a particular timing like after 5 PM in the evening only. The most hit area is Bangkok. Also, the sex tourism has been affected. Though hookers will be standing on the road side but dressed in black completely. There was not any kind of striptease dance. The bars were filled with people and hookers but no naked dances.

Thailand Mourning Coverage News:

On 13th of December, The king of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej died and since then the mourning period began. Thai tourism has seen a lot of turns and twists like the closing of bars and pubs, closing of the sex industry, no live concerts, no party, no loud music and a lot more.

Here I am going to explain you the current Thai Tourism update as on 25th October. About 150,000 Thai nationals also gathered outside the Grand Palace in Bangkok to sing the national anthem in the honor of the king.

Despite the announcement, Thai people are forbidden by law to discuss the succession. The Prince will have a formal coronation after the king’s cremation, following a year-long mourning period.

king-of-thailand

Source: http://www.traveldailynews.asia/

Death of the Thai King & the mourning period:

The first question most people ask is how long is the mourning? The mourning is for one year but the entertainment is banned for 30 days since the death of the king. But you should not dishearten your heart. Since a large share of the GDP growth of Thailand depends on the tourism, the Thai government must do things to retain the tourism because they do not want to get financially crippled. The life must go on.

Status of The Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kao (Temple of the Emerald Buddha):

The grand palace & the Wat Phra Kao will be closed until Nov. 1 because of the royal funeral rituals. So, mango people are not allowed to go inside. You just have to stop at the Golden gates or the main gate of the grand palace.

Besides these places, The Ratchadamnoen Boxing Stadium and Lumpinee Boxing Stadium Ramintra Bangkok will also be closed until Nov 1. In short, games, sports, and public gathering at the moment are not being allowed.

wat-phra-kao-bangkok

Wat Phra Kao, Bangkok in peak season

Party, Sex industry & fun status in Thailand during Mourning:

Any public gathering is not being recognized except the mourning of the Thai people for the king and gathering in a stadium. So, currently, no bars and pubs are allowing parties in open. That means loud music, open music, live

concerts etc. are not allowed there at the moment. However, Thailand’s notorious red light districts have burst back into life just 10 days after the nation’s king died – with raunchy sex workers paying tribute by wearing skimpy black MAID’S outfits. just over a week after the king died, hundreds of prostitutes lined the streets wearing black mini dresses, maids costumes, black boots, black suspenders and black garters in their own unique mark of respect.

But just more than a week after his death, scores of prostitutes were photographed on the streets in revealing maid’s outfits, black mini dresses and skirts, black boots, and black garters out of respect for the king. More about the current situation of Sex industry can be read here.

thailand-sex-workers

Source: http://www.news.com.au/

Initially, the effect of the mourning could have been seen on the streets. The streets famous for sex workers and prostitutes like Soi Cowboy where sex workers are seen in eye-catching bikinis were seen wearing revealing maid’s outfits, black mini dresses and skirts, black boots and black garters out of respect for the king.

And just a kilometer away on Soi 4 near the city’s infamous Nana Plaza, hundreds of girls and transgender sex workers were standing on the street wearing “respectful” thigh-high black boots and dresses as they rushed to “make up for lost money”.

Although a number of bars and clubs have reopened, but their neon lights are dimmed, music is played uncharacteristically quietly, and revelers may only dance behind closed doors. Police and army patrols are also on hand to make sure venues close at midnight as opposed to 2 am or 3 am.

Also Read: Koh Tao, Thailand Travel Guide: For A Perfect Divers’ Paradise Island Vacation

Thailand Tourism Events and activities:

Although Thai people are in a period of remembrance of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand welcomes all tourists to the kingdom. It is business as usual with respect and appropriateness. The Department of Fine Arts, Ministry of Culture, would like to invite both Thai and foreign tourists to visit national museums and historical parks throughout Thailand with FREE ADMISSION from now until 31 January 2017.

A number of events and festivals will be going ahead as usual. Some celebrations will be scaled back as a mark of respect for the King. The TAT recommends visitors to check with booking and tour agents as well as monitor the local media and government announcements for updates. For the updated list of events and festivals in Thailand, please visit this source site.

ko phangan beach, shallow, thailand

Deserted beaches of Thailand

Current Thailand Tourism status:

Thailand is trying to minimize the impact of year-long national mourning for the passing away of King Bhumibol Adulyadej on tourism, which contributes directly and indirectly to almost a fifth of their annual GDP. Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) was busy communicating extensively to the tourists about certain restrictions that required to be followed during the period as in the festive holiday lot of Indians make outbound travel.

Major tourists attractions are operating normally except Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of Emerald Buddha) and the Grand Palace as they will be the venue for royal funeral rites,” TAT India director Isra Stapanaseth said on Saturday. The tourists are also advised to wear respectable attire in public.

Also Read: Thai visa on arrival application form guide for Tourist visa

The tourism department believes though the restrictions are for a brief period, the overall number of tourist inflow will continue to grow. For 2016, Thailand has a target of 33 million international tourists of which India accounts for 1.10 million.

The King passed away on October 13 and the country wants tourists to refrain from boisterous performance and outdoor entertainments at least for a month, till mid-November, before TAT reviews the situation and gives fresh guidelines. Many Indian wedding receptions take place in Thailand and they can continue if held indoor, the TAT India director said. For more details, visit the source site of this news.

How to behave in Thailand during the mourning period:

Here is a summary of the article published on Asiaone.

  • Tourists are expected to behave normally and do not make any hue and cry after getting drunk or disturb the normal civic code. Although no particular code has been issued for the tourists.
  • Dress respectfully as a tourist. Do not try to dress yourself in a provocative dress. Try to look sober not too much bright.
  • Do not expect too much from the nightlife, party and loud events like live concerts and etc. These loud public displays have been banned for the mourning.
  • Do not drink in public. Please go to a bar and stay low.

Also Read: How to fill Thai immigration form? Thai immigration card guide

Koh Tao, Thailand Travel Guide: For A Perfect Divers’ Paradise Island Vacation

I have already been to Koh Tao, Thailand in October 2015 and given another chance, I would still want to go there just because I fell in love with this island called diver’s paradise. The serenity, the clean beaches, the marine life and the peaceful ambiance are a few things which are not found on all the tourist places.

However, planning to go to Koh Tao needs a perfect itinerary and a perfect plan in advance. There could be many factors which can affect your plan like weather, availability of the International Flights, tourist peak time, your budget and finally, availability of the rooms or your choice of stay there. Well, these factors depend upon your choices as well after all.

In the following Koh Tao island travel guide, I am going to talk about the weather, ferries, airplanes, medical facilities, vehicle renting, money exchange points, ATMs etc.

Koh Tao weather Guide:

Well, Koh Tao weather is mostly affected by the monsoon which rises in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman sea. Below is a monsoon map just for your reference purpose.

Koh tao weather and monsoon

Koh Tao island geographical location on Map

So the monsoon starts mostly in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman sea and it rises up to the eastern part of India as well as towards Thailand as well.

Since Koh Tao island is situated in the Gulf of Thailand and a land mass lies in between the monsoon route and the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Tao is not so much disturbed by the monsoon for a longer time. However, on the Western Coasts of Thailand towards Andaman sea, monsoon plays a major role in deciding the weather of the islands on the western of Thailand.

[su_quote]One of the experiences that I would like to share with you. In October 2015, when I was in Thailand, we had taken our flight from Bangkok to Surat Thani but the weather was so bad in Surat Thani that the flight was diverted to Krabi. From Krabi, we had to take an overnight bus to Surat Thani again to reach Koh Tao island. When we came out of the airport, it was raining so heavily that even visibility was restricted to a few feet.[/su_quote]

The moral of this incident is that during monsoon or just after the monsoon, a bad weather may hit any part of the Thailand. For example, Surat Thani, in above case, lies on the east coast and while Krabi on the west coast but still, Surat Thani was hit by the bad weather while Krabi on the Eastern side was safe.

Thailand rain

Raining outside the Krabi airport Thailand

The ideal solution would be to check Google weather before planning. But still, I sum up the weather according to their months below:

January & February: Peak season, girls in bikini, a lot of diving, water temperature around 29-degree celsius.
March to May: Very hot, tropical thunderstorms, nice summer sunsets, the best water clarity
June to August: Frequent Bigger waves, Occasional afternoon storms, the diving shifts from the western side to the eastern side.
September & October: Quiet & beautiful season with lesser tourists, marked by a few thunderstorms in a month
November & December: Monsoon and low water temperature.

International flights to Koh Tao, Thailand:

Chumphon and Surat Thani are the two nearest airports for Koh Tao island. I will be talking about taking ferries to Koh Tao later.

To get a better shield from the monsoon, choose Chumphon airport over Surat Thani airport if your budget permits. As shared my experience earlier, heavy rain can change the course fo landing from one airport to another and then your entire plan might get jeopardized.

Also, expect to experience some in-flight turbulence during monsoon which might often scare you. In these critical cases, If you are traveling by the Thai airways, Thai Airways Web check-in can help you save time.

Also, at the famous terminals like the airport and railway station, there are counters which offer you ticket and information service to different islands including Koh Tao. You can also use those services.

[su_quote]On the last day of our trip, we were to catch the flight from Bangkok. One mistake we did was we took the taxi to the airport. It was so crowded that we were almost on the brink of losing our flight. So, please be careful in these things.[/su_quote]

Ferries to Koh Tao island Thailand:

 Most of the islands in Thailand are connected by the ferries. There are three famous ferries companies which operate to Koh Tao. There might be others as well, but I am not aware of that.

They have transfer service to Koh Tao from different places like Surat Thani, Chumphon etc. every day. Also, they offer pickup service from hotel (inside the town mostly), bus station, railway station and tour offices as well.

Koh Tao island ferry

Koh Tao island ferry

You often those options while booking the ticket. In the case, you do not want to take risk then, after you land there in Thailand, you can ask the hotel guy to arrange a ticket for you to Koh Tao and they should be able to book a ticket to Koh Tao island the very next day most probably, just that the ferry timing might not be as per your choice.

Here is an approximation of the ferry traveling time to Koh Tao from different places:

  • Surat Thani (4 hours day boat, 9 hours on overnight boat)
  • Chumphon (1.5–3 hours)
  • Koh Samui island (approximately 2.5 hours)
  • Koh PhaNgan island (approximately 1 hour)

So reaching Koh Tao from Chumphon is easier and cheaper than via Surat Thani.

Here is an approximation of the ferry cost to Koh Tao from different places:

  • Surat Thani 1300 THB
  • Chumphon 500 THB
  • Koh Samui island 700 THB
  • Koh Phangan island 500 THB

Also, note that ferries start from different departure locations called ‘Piers’ so be sure about which pier is closer to your place.

Koh Tao Guide on Diving & Snorkeling:

Also known as the divers’ paradise, Koh Tao is open for diving almost throughout the year. Moreover, it has most of the certified diving schools. You can also take courses, do snorkeling and other water activities. I would prefer you to read this section of Wikitravel about diving in Koh Tao.

Koh Tao island tour for snorkeling

Koh Tao five island snorkeling tour

Some of the personal snorkeling experiences I had are:

  • Snorkel in the morning. During the morning, the water is more silent than in the afternoon.
  • Keep yourself hydrated with snorkeling
  • Ask locals or the hotel guys about the low tide timings. Snorkeling in low tides can take your far and you can see more underwater.

Koh Tao island snorkeling tour

Forget not to take the snorkeling tour of the five islands on the Koh tao. On the snorkeling tour, they take you to different locations around the island off the shore and you can snorkel at each of these locations for around half an hour to one hour. You are provided with the lunch, tea, coffee, snacks and you can also drink beer.

  • Forget not to go to the Koh Nang Yuan island. If you are taking the snorkeling tour then they finally stop at this island. The snorkeling tour starts from the Mae Haad or the main ferry dock and the boat revolves around the island.
Koh Nang Yuan island

Koh Nang Yuan island

Vehicle renting Guide on Koh Tao:

There are many kinds of vehicle renting options are there including bikes and four by four. However, charges for the four by four vehicles are much higher than a bike. Looking at the area of the Koh Tao island, I think, renting a bike is a better option than renting a four wheeler.

Also, road conditions in the Koh Tao island are not so good. The slopes are steep and somewhere you find no road but just the gravels. So you need to be careful while driving bikes.

Here is another instance from my Koh Tao trip which will give you an idea of how tough is it to drive a bike on Koh Tao:

[su_quote]I and my friend, Sam from Germany, hired a bike and put our luggage (Just two small luggage) and began driving towards the hotel. At a few point of times, I had to get down on the slopes with luggage so that he could drive carefully. [/su_quote]

Owing to these situations, road accidents rate is very high on this island. Also, if you meet a severe accident, you will have to bear double expenses, hospital cost plus the bike cost.

Also, if you break a part of the rented bike, according to the bike renters, the damaged parts can only be replaced, NOT REPAIRED. And, serious medical facilities are miles away from this island. So, be careful while driving.

A vehicle renting shop in Koh tao

A vehicle renting shop in Koh tao just near the Main ferry dock

Another instance is:

[su_quote]When we were returning from our hotel to the ferry, we hired a Toyota Hilux to drop us at the ferry point. But believe me, the driver seemed quite experienced but at a few points, he struggled as well while going up on the slopes.[/su_quote]

Also, taking taxis to reach the hotel and pay 100 THB just for that does not make sense just for the one time. The better option would be to rent a scooter or a bike and have freedom of exploration on your own with around 200-300 THB per day.

Before renting a scooter, forget not to take pictures of the bike from all angles. If something happens with the bike, at least the renting guys would not be able to cheat you. Bikes can be hired near the main Pier at the Koh Tao island.

Here are more tips to stay safe on Koh Tao island which might be helpful to you in planning your perfect vacation.

Staying Guide on Koh Tao Island:

Well, different people have the different budget but you might have to search a bit more if you want to find a budget place for yourself (asking from a hotel to hotel and also doing different combinations of rooms if you are in a group).

Snorkeling Koh Tao island thailand

Snorkeling in Koh Tao island thailand

We stayed at the Tanote beach in Koh Tao. Just search for Tanote beach, Thailand’ and you will see the beach. There was a reason behind why we chose to stay at the Tanote beach.

But before I explain the reason behind it, I would like you to take a look at the 360-degree panoramic photosphere of Tanote beach. Try to figure out the big rock off the beach.

Now the reason was, the rock that you see off the shore is around hundred feet off shore. And, it makes a perfect snorkeling spot. We used to snorkel from beach to the rock. Take a break there and snorkel to another rock from there and take a break there (Zoom in and try to find a small rock ahead of the big rock towards the left)

However, if you are not looking for something like that, you can choose some other staying option as well. But the Tanote beach is also serene, not so crowded. However, the road till Tanote beach is little bad and you need to know off-roading for that.

Other beaches where I would recommend staying is:

  • Tanote Beach
  • Ao Thian Og beach
  • Chalok Baan Kao beach and,
  • Aow Leuk Beach

I have marked these beaches in the image below and if you see carefully, the water is shallow near the beach and it makes a perfect snorkeling point for the visitors if you want to spend some leisure time there.

Koh Tao map

Koh Tao map

Packing for the Koh Tao tour:

I have another dedicated article on what to carry for Thailand trip. You can take some cues from this blog post to know what should you all pack for the trip.

Money exchange, Cards, and ATMs at Koh Tao island, Thailand:

Credit cards are accepted at almost all the points like diving schools, hotels etc. However, they might extra 3-4 percent surcharge on that. Near the main ferry dock at the Mae Haad, there are ATMs and 7/11 as well.

Here is an article on Thailand Traveling tips and I recommend you reading it before leaving for Thailand.

Medical facility on Koh Tao island:

It would be good if your traveler’s insurance also covers scuba diving. Once you reach on the Koh Tao island, a medical consultation might cost you around 300 THB. There are many medical clinics near the main ferry dock, Ma Haad and in Sairee. But remember that serious injuries have to be dealt on Koh Samui which is nearest from there.

More about Koh Tao island:

Koh Tao is also known as the “Diver’s paradise”. The main source of income for this island is the tourism which happens throughout the year. Because of being famous as the diver’s paradise, there are more than a hundred diving schools on the Koh Tao island.

If you are planning to stay for longer, you can also take a diving course and certification here. There are some famous viewpoints on Koh Tao island as well. Forget not to visit those viewpoints.

More helpful related links: 

Food and drinks Guide on Koh Tao Island:

Thailand has a lot to offer in terms of food and drinks. There are a variety of options like coconut shake, coconut water, Thai beer and much more. Most of these drinks and foods are available on the Koh Tao island. Besides authentic Thai dish, you can also get western foods like Pizza and burger.

The main market for these foods (cheap and best) is near the main town near main ferry dock. Also, know that foods in Thailand are spicy and might not suit your food habit and result in indigestion. To counter that you can increase the intake of coconut water and yoghurt to balance down the spicy effect. Here are top five Thai drinks.

If you feel that I have missed out some important information, then forget not to write down in the comments below. I hope I had been informative for you.

Thai visa on arrival application form guide for Tourist visa

Here is a complete guide for the tourists traveling to Thailand for Visa on Arrival procedure and all the required documents needed.

List of required documents for Visa on Arrival in Thailand:

  • A flight return ticket showing the departure from Thailand in 15 days or less than that.
  • A valid passport. A valid passport is a passport which is valid for the next six months. That means It should not expire in next six months. Every passport will have an expiry date at the back of it. Just make sure that the passport is not expiring within next six months.
  • One passport size color photographs against the white background of size 40 mm by 60 mm. This photograph has to be given at the visa on arrival counter along with the application form once you arrive in Thailand.
  •  1000 Thai Baht (Baht is Thai currency) as Visa fee.
  • Evidence of sufficient finance. 10000 Baht or 250 US dollars per person if traveling alone or 20000 baht or 500 US dollars per family
source-www.suvarnabhumiairport.com

source-www.suvarnabhumiairport.com

Thai Visa on arrival procedure:

Before I start explaining, there are two kinds of form that I would be explaining, one is Thai immigration form and another is the Visa on arrival form.

You get Thai immigration form in the flight which has two parts, arrival card, and the departure card. However, visa on arrival form can be obtained from the visa on arrival office at any of airports in Thailand.

You submit the arrival card of the Thai immigration form along with the visa on arrival form. Departure card is submitted when you are going to leave Thailand.

Thai Visa on arrival procedure:

  • Once you board the flight to Thailand, you will be given Thai immigration form in the flight. Just fill it and keep that safe. This form has two parts, arrival part, and departure part. So fill out the arrival part. It’s an easy form. If you do not know what to fill or how to fill in the immigration form, ask someone or may be your Indian co-passenger.
  • Arrival part of the Thai immigration form is submitted along with the visa on arrival form and the departure part is submitted when you are about to leave Thailand.
  • Once you land, you will see big boards on the terminal which read out Visa on Arrival counter direction.
  • Once you reach to the Visa on arrival counter, you will see a white form there. These forms are the visa on arrival form. There are some entries in that form. You will need to fill out that form. It had fields like a surname, full name, an address in Thailand, passport number, passport expiry date, flight number, the purpose of your visit etc.
  • Do not paste the photograph on it even if it has got a photo place.
  • About the address in Thailand. An address will need a name of the person and an address where you plan to stay. You can also write the name of the hotel where you have planned to stay even if you have not booked that.
  • Once you fill out the form, along with 1000 baht visa fee, a photograph, return flight ticket print out and passport, you give them these to the counter.
  • They will then send you to the immigration officer. Immigration officer sits just next there.
  • They check out the details and if everything is fine, they let you in.
  • About Evidence of sufficient funding. You can exchange currency in India also. Check for the currency exchange rate and buy Thai baht. Take the receipt of the exchange with you. You might need to show at the Visa on arrival counter in Thailand. They did not ask me to show them but they might ask you. Most often, they don’t ask.
  • You can also bring money in dollars. They are easy to carry. Just a few notes of dollars. Don’t worry about the exchange. At the airport in Thailand/ Bangkok, just opposite to the Visa on arrival office, there are 4-5 legal currency exchange stalls. You can exchange your currency as many as you want. They give at a good rate and there are no chances of getting ripped off.

Thailand visa on arrival form

Photograph 4 cm by 6 cm:

The Photograph should be of a light background. I think Thai visa on arrival office sometimes makes an exception on this. When I arrived in Thailand, my photograph was although a passport photograph but was of different size. In fact, many people had smaller photographs and visa on arrival office accepted all of them. However, it’s good to bring the photograph in required size.

Family Name:

A Family name is similar to your last name or surname, given in the passport. For example, if your name is Vaibhav Singh Rajpoot. Rajpoot will be your last name or family name. Vaibhav Singh will be your first name and middle name respectively.

Passport details:

fields like nationality, passport number, date and place of issue, expiry date, date of birth could be found from the passport.

Permanent address:

With time addresses change. Permanent address need not be the same as mentioned on your passport. You can give any address where you are currently living.

Name of address of person for reference in Thailand:

If you have any friend or relative, well and good. However, if you know no one and you are going on your own then you can fill “self” or even “none”. In the address, just put the address of the hotel where you are going to stay first. It might happen that you might change your location but you just need to put in the hotel address. If you have not even booked a hotel, put the address of the hotel where you intend to stay.
In case you are going to live privately with your friend, then you can give your friend’s name and address.

Signature:

The Signature should be same as your signature on the passport.

Visa fee:

Visa fee is 1000 Baht. visa fee needs to be given along with the visa on arrival application form and Thai immigration form which you get in the flight. If you do not have Thai currency or Thai baht, there are many registered currency exchange counter at the airport. From there you can convert and exchange your money into Thai baht and pay the visa application fee. There is no credit card or any other currency acceptance system.