The Ultimate Guide to John Suwan Viewpoint Koh Tao

Koh Tao is famous for being one of the cheapest places in the world to learn how to Scuba Dive. But, did you know it’s also filled with beautiful beaches and incredible viewpoints, and the John Suwan Viewpoint in Koh Tao is the most iconic of them all.

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

Everyday, many travelers take this hike to get their iconic instagram picture of Koh Tao.

After spending a week in Koh Tao, getting my open-water scuba certification and exploring the island, I can confidently say this is one of my favorite islands in Thailand! The laid-back vibes  mixed with adventurous attitude makes this island unique.

In this post, I will go into depth about everything you need to know about the iconic John Suwan Viewpoint in Koh Tao, including how to get there, what to expect, what to pack, and more!

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Ultimate Guide to John Suwan Viewpoint Koh Tao

John Suwan Viewpoint views

How To Get To John Suwan Viewpoint Koh Tao

John Suwan Viewpoint is located on the very southern tip of Koh Tao, right next to Freedom Beach. Actually, it shares a parking lot with Freedom Beach!

To get to John Suwan Viewpoint on Koh Tao you will need to head south, towards Chalok Baan Kao Bay. Then, you will continue past Shark Bay until you reach Freedom Beach.

You will see a posted sign saying “Viewpoint”. You’ll want to follow this. 

In the area, there is also the Sun Suwan Viewpoint 360 Bar, which may confuse you (like it did me). This viewpoint is also a paid viewpoint, but you miss the hike. If you are not interested in it, just continue straight to Freedom Beach.

The island of Koh Tao is actually really small. From one end to the other it is only about a 15-minute drive!

There are few islands on the road, which makes it easy to get around. Also, the cell service on the island is quite good too. 

motorbikes in Koh Tao

Parking at John Suwan Viewpoint Koh Tao

The parking lot at John Suwan Viewpoint is shared with the parking lot for Freedom Beach. It’s large and with plenty of space. You’ll have to pay to park your motorbike here after you park it.

As of 2024, the parking fee was 50 baht. Once you pay the fee, the hike and beach are included.

Don’t worry about parking, there will be plenty of spaces. From the parking lot, you’ll need to walk for about 2 minutes until you reach the start of the trail.

Parking area at John Suwan Viewpoing

Entrance fee to John Suwan Viewpoint Koh Tao

The entrance fee to John Suwan Viewpoint on Koh Tao is just the price to pay to park your car. It is 50 baht per person to park here.

After you pay the parking fee, your entrance to John Suwan Viewpoint is free.

If you visit before 9am, it is unlikely you will have to pay this fee, because technically it opens at 9am. 

Hike to John Suwan Viewpoint Koh Tao

The hike to the top of the viewpoint is quick but steep.

If you are in good health it should take about 10-15 minutes. However, if climbing and stairs are difficult for you, plan for 20 minutes.

The hike begins on a trail with a small include and then quickly picks up with a set of stairs.

Once you are up some stairs, you’ll then reach a point where there are large rocks you will need to climb up to get to the top. Don’t worry, there is a rope there to help you too.

Along the way, you will find beautiful views of Shark Bay. It’s really beautiful to see the beach between lines of palm trees.

hike up john suwan viewpoing with the ocean

After about 10-minutes of scrambling up steep rocks, you will finally make it to the top.

At the top of the viewpoint, there are lots of rocks to sit on and relax.

Honestly, plan to spend some time up here. I mean it is BEAUTIFUL at the top and worth soaking in!

hike up to Koh Suwan Viewpoint

I really wish I would have packed a book or something to do at the top, because it really is that lovely to sit and enjoy.

I hiked John Suwan Viewpoint in the afternoon, around 2pm. It definitely was hot but nice because it wasn’t so crowded.

However, I have heard it’s a really nice place for sunrise or sunset. If you are feeling crazy, I would definitely recommend sunrise!

rock scramble with rope and beaches

What To Do After John Suwan Viewpoint Koh Tao

After John Suwan Viewpoint, you definitely should check out Freedom Beach, which is right next door. 

Freedom beach is a small beach, that can easy get crowded. It has a lot of shade and soft sand. 

freedom beach at john suwan viewpoint
Freedom Beach

It’s really unique with mangrove tree’s lining the entrance to the water. It’s definitely a must-visit when on Koh Tao! It’s one of my favorite’s to swim in because of the privacy as well.

Next to the beach, on the left side there is a beach bar/restaurant with hammocks and lots of seating. It’s definitely more expensive, but a really nice atmosphere right on the beach!

Additionally, while you are in the area, also consider heading to Shark Bay. Shark Bay is another very small beach famous for snorkeling with turtles and reef sharks! It’s a close drive, and really worth a visit. Although, during my visit I was lucky enough to see a turtle, but apparently they are there every day!

koh tao island
View from John Suwan Viewpoint

What To Pack

When planning your trip to John Suwan Viewpoint in Koh Tao, there are a few things I highly recommend packing!

  • Water – water, water, water! Probably the most important thing on this list! The hike is short, but it’s also steep. Also, Thailand heat is no joke, you’ll need to stay hydrated on your way up. There are some places to buy water around, but they will be more expensive. It’s best to bring your own, and hopefully it’s reusable to limit the use of plastic.
  • Good shoes – A pair of good shoes or sandals is imperative for this hike. You’ll want something supportive and with a back. The hike has a lot of scrambling and the rocks can be rough. You’ll definitely want something that can support this type of hike. I hiked in my Chacos, which I highly recommend for this!
  • Swimsuit & Towel – After your hike, you are already close enough to the beach, might as well cool off with a dip in the ocean! Pack a towel and swimsuit so you are ready to swim at Freedom Beach, right next door!
  • Book/Something to do – As mentioned, the viewpoint is just beautiful. Easily you could spend an hour at the top enjoying the view and fresh sea breeze. I would really recommend bringing a book or headphones to enjoy the top for a while. Of course, you can do this without a book, but it does help pass the time. I can’t think of a better place to read a bit!
walkway to a beach
Walkway to Freedom Beach

Where to Stay Near John Suwan Viewpoint Koh Tao

If you are looking for something off the beaten-path and peaceful in Koh Tao, you can consider staying on the south side of the island. There are many beautiful resorts in the area.

If you are looking for a luxury accommodation on the beach, Jamahkiri Dive Resort & Spa is the spot for you!

The best hostel near the beach is The Dearly Koh Tao Hostel. This hostel is just the cutest in the jungle of Koh Tao! If you are looking for a slower paced trip, this is a great spot!

However, if you are looking for convenience and making friends, I definitely recommend booking your accommodation in Sairee Beach or Mae Haad Pier. These spots are much more social and provide more affordable accommodation.

Also, I think the viewpoint is better to just visit, than to stay.

beach accomodations on Koh Tao


  • Is there an entrance fee to John Suwan Viewpoint Koh Tao?

Yes, there is an entrance fee to John Suwam Viewpoint in Koh Tao. The entrance fee is 50 baht per person. It includes parking, access to the viewpoint, and access to Freedom Beach.

  • When is the best time to visit John Suwan Viewpoint Koh Tao?

The best time to visit John Suwan Viewpoint is anytime! Seriously, anytime is perfect, as it’s just THAT beautiful.

However, if you are up for the challenge, sunrise is the best time. Here you will see the sun rise above the island. What an awesome start to any day!

  • How Far is John Suwan Viewpoint Koh Tao from Sairee Beach?

John Suwan Viewpoint is 12-minutes by motorbike away from Sairee Beach. If you are up for the challenge, you could also take on the 5.2 km hike there as well. This will take you just over an hour.

Viewpoint in Koh Tao Thailand

Final Thoughts on John Suwan Viewpoint Koh Tao

John Suwan Viewpoint in Koh Tao is one of the best things to do on the island! It’s a perfect way to have a small hike to a beautiful viewpoint and be productive. Sitting on the beach is nice, but it’s also good to mix it up every now and then.

No trip to Koh Tao is complete without this iconic viewpoint!

koh tao viewpoint with ocean and mountains

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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