Popular Hiking Routes on Koh Tao
Koh Tao is well known for the beauty of its underwater marine life and the rugged, jungle landscape above ground is just as stunning.
With only 30% of the island considered to be flat, the island has a mostly mountainous terrain with many kilometres of trails that offer visitors who enjoy hiking, the opportunity to explore.
Explore the Hiking Trails of Koh Tao
If you have time for adventure, the jungle trails are ideal for hiking and give you the chance to find the less inhabited areas of the island.
Many of the trails pass through the jungle covered areas of Koh Tao and are essentially overgrown muddy paths or rain run offs, so they are best tackled with sensible footwear, drinking water and insect repellant.
Whilst some do have signposts along the way, for others you may be better asking the locals who know the routes to draw you a map.
Plan A Route
Our estimated times depend on your level of fitness, having a plan and route and how much time you want to spend trekking.
1. Hiking Route from Sairee to Tanote Bay – 3 hours
The initial part of the road is a good concrete road that twists and turns uphill through the jungle with various sign posts along the way, including for The Gallery restaurant.
Keep following the viewpoint signs past various bungalows and villa’s, until you reach the end of the concrete road, at which point you can park your scooter.
You now have to hike along the jungle path uphill until you reach Two View Crossroads at which point you want to turn right towards the restaurant.
Two Views is a popular location to grab some refreshments at the restaurant and take some amazing photos of the west coast views.
Hiking to the Best Viewpoints on Koh Tao
To continue on your route to Tanote Bay you need to turn right and hike in the direction of the Koh Tao Reservoir downhill past Two Views restaurant.
Once you pass the reservoir, you arrive at Love Koh Tao Viewpoint, which is another fantastic location to take pictures of the east coast.
At Love Koh Tao Viewpoint, you follow the steep road downhill for about 600metres until you reach Tanote Road, where you need to turn left. This road leads directly to Tanote Bay which is around 1km from the turn.
2. Hiking Sairee beach to Laem Thian & Mao Bay – 2 Hours
The hike to Laem Thian from Sairee beach is a popular hiking route on Koh Tao. You can start at Fizz beach lounge in Sairee and walk to the Sairee crossroads, then walk east up the hill towards Koh Tao Gym and Fitness.
After you pass Gym & Fitness on your right, continue up the hill until you reach Tarna Align Resort.
At the resort, turn right and continue on with the resort on your left-hand side. After you pass the resort the road changes from concrete to a mud path that heads off into the jungle.
Around 700metres before you get to Laem Thian you will find a small trail on the left, near a large mango tree, which leads to Mao Bay.
The hiking trail further down to Mao Bay is approximately 300metres long and as you get closer to the bay, it becomes narrower and more overgrown.
Mao Bay on the East Coast of Koh Tao
Once you have visited Mao Bay, you can retrace your steps back along the path, turning left when you reach the original pathway and carry on to Liam Thian.
The bay is rarely busy providing an ideal place to take a swim or to relax once you have completed the hike.
There is an abandoned resort in the bay that offers great photo opportunities.
3. Hiking Mae Haad to Chalok Baan Kao Bay – 2 hours
If you plan to spend time at each beach taking photos, swimming or snorkeling, you need to allow a bit longer than the 2 – 3 hours and some of the beaches may apply a charge or you can buy a refreshment in lieu of an entrance fee.
The path begins at Charm Churee Villa that is near the Songserm Pier in Mae Haad.
To get to Charm Churee from the Songserm pier, you can walk 50metres up the Songserm road and turn right when you see the sign for Sensi Paradise Resort.
Follow the road to the end where you will find the resort. There is a free car park here so you can drive your scooter as far as this point.
The first beach you will get to is Jansom Bay, which is a short walk from the resort.
You are allowed to walk across the beach and through the resort, but if you want to stay you have to pay 200baht as it is privately owned by Charm Churee.
If you continue hiking through the resort you will reach the steps that go through Bamboo Huts Resort, then you carry on down the path to the end of the resort.
Hiking to Sainuan Beach Koh Tao
Once you have taken some time to enjoy the view, carry on along the coast for 500 metres to reach Sainuan Beach 1.
This beach is rarely busy so it can be a great place to relax for a while, but there may be a charge if stopping or you can move on to Sainuan Beach 2 and find Banana Rock Bar and a couple of restaurants for refreshments.
When you leave Sainuan Beach, pass through Siam Cookie Bungalows to rejoin the concrete road up the steep hill for approximately 200metres and make your way towards Cape Je Ta Kang.
At the top of the hill turn right where the path becomes relatively overgrown but is still easy to follow.
Approximately 50metres before you reach the steps down to the cape you will see a turning on the left.
This path is around 600m and passes Tao Thong Villa 2 before reaching Sunset Bungalows.
Tao Thong Villas Koh Tao
At Sunset Bungalows, follow the path until it meets a concrete road and you can walk down to look at June Juea Bay or follow the road to View Point Resort.
The resort has a small area that offers a beautiful view over Chalok Baan Kao Bay, providing another great photo opportunity.
From here, you then hike across Saan Jao Beach, pass through Pirate Bay and a small restaurant and walk along the wooden platform to reach Chalok Baan Kao Bay.
4. Hiking from Sairee to Fraggle Rock Viewpoint – 1 hour
Fraggle Rock is located high above Sairee Beach and is one of the most popular hikes on Koh Tao.
Whilst the route is relatively easy to follow, it can be a medium difficulty trek as the path is quite steep and you have to scramble over a number of boulders when you get near to the top.
You can begin at the 7/11 at the main road junction in Sairee, then walk up the road and pass Koh Tao Gym and Fitness.
After the viewpoint turn off on the left, you need to look out for a right turn off the main road that leads up, then follow this up through the jungle.
Along the way you will pass a turnaround circle for motorbikes, an abandoned building and then reach a large rock that has a ladder attached.
This isn’t Fraggle Rock, however, if you choose to climb up this ladder you will discover a viewpoint showing Hin Wong Bay.
Best Trail Hikes from Sairee Beach Koh Tao
Carry on along the path and you will find another split off to the right that heads up to an area containing a number of large boulders, one of which is Fraggle Rock Viewpoint.
To get to the top you have to scramble up the boulders but once you do, you will be rewarded with an amazing view over Sairee and the west coast of Koh Tao.
5. Hiking Sairee to Lighthouse Bay Koh Tao – 2 hours
The hiking trail from Sairee to the Lighthouse takes you from the west coast to the east coast, over hills and through the jungle and passes other viewpoints that you can stop at along the way.
Beginning at the main crossroads road in Sairee, you follow the Hin Wong bay road as though you are heading to Fraggle Rock viewpoint.
Mango Bay Viewpoint
Continue passed Tarna Align Resort and follow the steep winding road to the top until you reach a left turn and signpost to Mango Bay Viewpoint.
Follow the road until you reach Jim’s Bar at which point you can get some refreshments before making the jungle trek to Lighthouse bay.
You can turn left at Jim’s Bar to the Mango bay viewpoints or go straight on to the right and follow the jungle path down through the overgrowth.
This trek is well used, although you will not find many markers except the odd handkerchief tied to a tree branch, so you can look out for these.
Hiking Trail to Lighthouse Bay Koh Tao
The jungle path can get quite dense and this area of the island is remote, so you need to make sure you have supplies with you before setting off.
You keep following down the mountain through the jungle and to reach the Lighthouse, you need to get onto the small beach and approach the Lighthouse from this way.
Once you reach the Lighthouse, you can climb the internal ladders to get to the top and discover a stunning panorama around the bay and across the north east coastline of Koh Tao.