An Incredible 3 Day Koh Tao Itinerary: Beach, Ocean, Hiking

Known for its scuba diving, white-sand beaches, and incredible viewpoints, Koh Tao is an island for people looking for adventure mixed with a laid-back atmosphere. This 3 day Koh Tao itinerary is here to help you experience it all.

I visited Koh Tao to get my Open Water Scuba Certification, however I ended up staying on the island for over a week, and really learned to love it! I spend my days beach hopping, hiking, and exploring everything the island has to offer.

After my visit to Koh Tao, I was left wanting more! Although 3 days is not nearly enough for this island, it’s a good amount of time to see the highlights and get a feel for the island, if you are short on time.

This 3 Day Koh Tao itinerary will help you make the most of your time in Koh Tao, giving you the best beaches, snorkeling spots, sunset viewpoints and more!

Ready for adventure? Let’s get started.

koh tao viewpoint with ocean and mountains
John Suwan Viewpoint on Koh Tao

Table of Contents

3 Day Koh Tao Itinerary

Day 1: Beaches

Your first day in Koh Tao will be spent exploring the beautiful white-sandy beaches. I’m sure after your long travel day to get here, you’ll be ready to soak in some beach time.

Although you can’t go wrong with any beach on Koh Tao, these are some of my favorites.

island views of the beach and ocean at sunset - koh tao 3 day itinerary

Morning: Breakfast at Coconut Monkey/ rent motorbike

Start your morning with breakfast at Coconut Monkey. This restaurant is right next to Mae Haad Pier, where you arrive in Koh Tao.

It’s funky, relaxing, and vegan friendly with a huge menu to choose from.

Situated right on the beach, if you can snag an outside table, they are the best! The sea breeze and views are a perfect start to your time in Koh Tao. However, inside is really nice too.

Also, they have free Wifi that I found worked really well, you’ll come to find out this is rare here.

After you are fueled up for a big day with breakfast, it’s time to get wheels!

restaurant in koh tao for 3 day koh tao itinerary
Coconut Monkey

Around this area there are lots of places to rent motorbikes. My suggestion is to walk farther away from the pier, because the shops closest to the water will be the most expensive.

Walk a bit farther, and ask around who has bikes for rent. You should expect to pay about 200 baht/day for the bike. They will also ask you for the deposit, usually a passport. I really don’t like giving my passport away, so I negotiated to give them a deposit in baht. If they say they only accept a passport, then move on. It’s not worth it.

Please note that riding a motorbike is really dangerous! If you don’t have experience, don’t worry and take it slow. Many travelers get hurt on motorbikes because they lack experience and want to go fast. The island is small, life is slow paced, please be careful and know your limits!

motorbike in chiang mai thailand

Afternoon: Tanote Bay/ Aw Leok Beach/ Sai Daeng Beach

Once you have wheels, it’s time to beach hop! With so many beaches to choose from, it’s really hard to narrow them down. After having visited most of the beaches on the island, here are some of my favorites!

Although, you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

Tanote Bay

Start with Tanote Bay. This beach is commonly referred to as one of the best beaches on the island. The beach is big and provides a lot of sun and shade. It’s size allows visitors to spread out a bit, so you are not on top of each other either.

The unique thing about Tanote Bay is there is actually cliff jumping! I mean, this cliff is really big… to me at least! So, if you are feeling adventurous, this is a great spot to get the adrenaline pumping.

If you are not so keen on jumping, it’s really fun watching people getting nervous to jump off LOL.

It’s a really nice beach vibe, so spend an hour or two relaxing here. But of course, don’t stay too long because we have a lot to do today!

Aow Leuk Beach

Next, head to Aow Leuk Beach. It’s about an 8 minute drive away from Tanote Bay.

Aow Leuk Beach has a 20 baht entrance fee, but comes with toilets and some facilities.

This beach is so beautiful! The white sand here in the ocean is some of my favorite.

Aow Leuk Beach is also known for snorkeling with sharks. Actually, I saw a shark here! It was swimming in the shallow water, you could see it from the beach.

But don’t worry, the sharks are small reef sharks and nothing to be scared of.

Also, I am not sure if this is a normal occurrence here, but during my visit the waves were huge, and made it quite fun to swim in. It mixed it up from the calm small waves. It really felt like a wave pool here.

Aow Leuk Bay koh tao 3 day itinerary
Aow Leuk Bay

Sai Daeng Beach

Wow, I can’t say enough good things about Sai Daeng Beach. This beach is free to enter and is shared with a few 4 star hotels, it’s so beautiful!

The beach is kept really clean, it has plenty of parking, and the drive here offers some of the best views on the island.

From Aow Leuk Beach to Sai Daeng Beach, it’s another 8 minute drive. Thats the best part of this island, everything is close to each other!

It’s your last beach of the day, so spend the rest of the day here. Actually, I purposely put this beach last in hopes you have some extra time to spend longer here! It really is one of the best.

Sai Daeng Beach
Sai Daeng Beach

Evening: In Touch for Dinner/ Walk along the beach pathway

After a long day in the sun, you you’ll be hungry for dinner! I recommend visiting In Touch for dinner.

In Touch is located along a beautiful walkway that connects Mae Haad Pier and Sairee Beach. This walkway is full of bars and restaurants under twinkling lights. It really makes for a great atmosphere.

Your first day in Koh Tao is officially complete! It’s time to get some sleep for another big day tomorrow.

Day 2: Snorkeling

3 Day Koh Tao Itinerary

Day 2 of your 3 day Koh Tao itinerary it’s time to get out into the deep water! Koh Tao is world famous for it’s snorkeling and diving.

Ocean Overview

Morning and Afternoon: Snorkel Tour/ Dive Day

Many travelers visit Koh Tao in hopes to do some diving or snorkeling.

If you have your diver certification, today’s the day to take a dive! I got my PADI through Crystal Dive, which I really recommend. 

If you are not a diver, I would recommend taking a snorkel tour! On the island, I chose to get my Open Water Dive Certification, but it’s not for everyone! Actually, I know many people who did a snorkel tour and really loved it!

Snorkeling you are likely to see turtles, parrot fish, and lots of colorful coral. Plus, you’ll get different views of the island too. It’s really magical and a great way to spend the day.

Just be sure to apply sunscreen multiple times! You don’t want to end up like a lobster, the sun is so strong!

sunrise with scuba diving 3 day koh tao itinerary

Evening: Dinner at 995 Duck

Most snorkel tours run until around 4pm. So, after that you’ll want to freshen up and get ready for dinner.

One of the most famous restaurants on Koh Tao is 995 Duck. 995 Duck is located in Sairee Beach and is famous for it’s duck, of course!

It’s important to go early or else you will have a long wait. Try to go close to 6pm (or earlier) for the shortest wait.

Day 3: Viewpoints

3 Day Koh Tao Itinerary

The last day of your 3 day Koh Tao itinerary will be spent enjoying viewpoints, snorkeling, and a few more beaches. This is an adventurous day, and a lot of time! When in Koh Tao you want to make the most of your time, so get ready for another big day!

John Suwan Viewpoint views

Morning: John Suwan Viewpoint/ Freedom Beach

Start your morning with one of the most beautiful hikes on the island to the picture-perfect instagram location of John Suwan Viewpoint.

koh tao island
View from John Suwan Viewpoint

Located on the very south side of the island, John Suwan Viewpoint is one of the most gorgeous spots on the island!

The hike is relatively easy for most healthy easy. It only takes around 10-15 minutes to climb to the top. 

NOW, if you are feeling adventurous, it’s best to do this hike at sunrise! The sunrise view here is supposed to be incredible! But, if you value your sleep a little more (like me), it’s fine to go around 9 or 10am.

After you hike John Suwan Viewpoint, head to Freedom Beach. These spots are connected, so if you visit one, you might as well visit the other.

freedom beach at john suwan viewpoint
Freedom Beach

Freedom Beach is just a 2 minute walk from the Trailhead of John Suwan Viewpoint.

I’ll admit, Freedom Beach was not my favorite beach on Koh Tao, because of the crowds. It’s a small beach that gets crowded, quick.

However, if you visit in the morning you may be able to avoid some of the crowds and get a good spot.

The beach offers a lot of shade, and a really unique entrance into the water. Mangrove trees line the entrance to the water, making it hard to see the water if you are relaxing on the beach.

Afternoon: Shark Bay Beach Snorkeling

A quick drive from Freedom Beach is Shark Bay. Shark Bay is famous for being some of the best snorkeling on the island. Here visitors regularly find turtles and reef sharks! But, you will have to swim a bit to find them.

Here you can rent snorkeling gear for 100 baht/day too. You’re going to want to spend the money and rent it.

Although the beach isn’t the best here, the snorkeling is, so just come here to swim a bit and then move on.

shark bay snorkeling spot on 3 day koh tao itinerary
Shark Bay Snorkeling

Evening: Summit Viewpoint/ Mango Bay

Spend the evening heading to the north side of the island to Summit Viewpoint. Summit Viewpoint is the best spot on the island for sunset. It’s also the highest point on the island. Many visitors come here during this time of day.

To get here, the road is very steep, and if you are not experienced on your motorbike you’ll want to be extra careful, as the roads are not very good.

Final Thoughts on This 3 Day Koh Tao Itinerary

Koh Tao is one of the most beautiful islands in the world! With world-class diving, snorkeling, and beaches, it’s not to be missed. The laid-back atmosphere mixed with adventurous activities leave visitors always wanting more! Although it is small, this island really packs a punch.

I sincerely hope this 3 day Koh Tao itinerary helps you find inspiration for your trip to this beautiful island.

Ocean Overview Sai Baeng Beach - best beaches in koh tao

I’m Danika! A travel obsessed, Disney adult, with a knack for budgeting.

In 2020 I was furlough from my “dream” job at Disney and have pursued my first love of travel ever since. I have traveled to 33 states and 28 countries spanning 5 continents.

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