Overall, Ko Tao is more of a party place than we expected. The guidebooks definitely painted Ko Tao as the most laid back out of the 3 island chain with Ko Samui and Ko Phangan. Ko Phangan is supposed to be the party island, known for its crazy full moon parties. We arrived on Ko Tao two nights after the full moon, and apparently Ko Tao is where all the Ko Phangan partiers go to “detox” after the full moon party. There are a bunch of groups of all guys or all girls walking around and it’s a like a meat market! Hilarious. It’s like we landed in Spring Break.
Every Mon, Wed, and Fri, one of the bars here organizes a pub crawl where everyone carries around buckets filled with mixed drinks and wears the same tank top. We saw the crowd pass us by one night and there must have been 50 pub crawlers! Haha.
Sairee Beach, where we are staying, is definitely the middle of the action. The plus side is that there are a ton of restaurants to choose from and very convenient. It’s got a cute vibe with open air restaurants jamming the Bob Marley and Jack Johnson.
But I think were we to come back again (and maybe with more to spend), we would stay at one of the smaller beaches like Tanote Bay or Jansom Bay. Sairee Beach was a good spot for our first time here and the beach has great, soft sand.
The low tide during the day makes it so you can’t really swim though, mostly you can only go as deep as your knee and then you just sit in the bath-warm water. =) No relief from the heat! One major plus is the sunsets here are really nice and usually we just sit in our hotel’s open-air restaurant with a beer, watching the sun slip into the ocean.