9 Can't Miss Things in Chumphon & Koh Tao - 6 Days 5 Nights Itinerary
Updated: Apr 6
So far our favorite island in Thailand is mostly known for scuba diving and it is not our main reason to love it! This time it has also another place in our heart since we engaged in this paradise!
Here are the other 9 reasons to fall in love with Koh Tao!
That paradise island is surrounded by crystal clear water which allows you to see the bottom of the sea from the meters up like this above picture. The shades of blue will give a visual feast to your eyes and the sun with a breeze will leave a stunning tan on your skin!
Koh Tao means Turtle Island in Thai and the name comes from guess what? Yeah, turtles of course! The two reasons behind this naming are its turtle-looking shape if approached by the southern side, and secondly, its shores used to be an abundance of turtles.
We have already been 2 times in Koh Tao and said why not combine with Chumphon that we have not been before! Chumphon is mostly for local tourists and definitely not a foreign tourist place which people generally stay overnight for Koh Tao boat but it worths giving a chance! End of the trip, we loved our time not only in Koh Tao but also in Chumphon.
If you set ready your paper and pen, here we are giving the tips of dreamy trip to Koh Tao and Chumphon!
5 Nights 6 Days Itinerary:
1st Day Koh Tao Renting Bike and Scoot Around
2nd Day Koh Tao Saire Beach and Shark Bay for Snorkeling
3rd Day Koh Tao Freedom Beach and Mango Bay for Snorkeling
4th Day Koh Tao Visitng Koh Nang Yuan
5th & 6th Days Chumphon National Park
1) Rent Bike and Scoot Around
Once you arrive at Koh Tao Haad Tien Pier, you will step into a street full of scooter rental stores. We went to the first scooter store just beside 7/11 which is opposite Ban's Cafe. Ban's Cafe has delicious panini which is a great start to the day after the early morning boat to Koh Tao.
What we love about Koh Tao is its compact small size which also has many hills full of ups and downs. The daily rental motorbike fee is around 200 THB and you need to leave your passport till you bring back the scooter. We recommend the store we used that you can trust against any possible passport scam.
Not all the roads are asphalted which gives an adventurous experience and another reason to love Koh Tao if you are also adrenalin lovers like us. Even though if you are a junior rider with no experience, the main roads are not bumpy but be careful on natural roads especially when it is raining! You are at your own risk in remote areas when you scoot around the island.
2) Visit Spectacular Beaches
Every couple of hundreds of meters on the shoreline, you will bump to another fascinating bay or beach of Koh Tao. Therefore, it is not so hard to find less crowded bays with turquoise-colored water whereas more famous ones might be occupied with hundreds of people. Here are some of the bays and beaches that we have visited and worth recommending.
- Sairee Beach
If we say Sairee is a main happening place, it won't be exaggerated withholding all 3 main nightlife places and Trip Advisor recommended restaurants/bars. It never leaves its charm from morning till night since it also faces to the west and is a great point for sunset.
Tips: Move ahead to Sairee for sunset, sip your happy hour cocktail, and move to Fish Bar to dine and party!
- Shark Bay
Located on the south of the island, it is a more calm and family-friendly area. One of the perfect spots for snorkeling, do not forget your google and if you be a nice kid, one day you might see the smurfs, I mean baby sharks.
Tips: Keep going towards ramp up after the bay and you will end below viewpoint cafe with a good Thai food menu and below speechless view.
- Freedom Beach
Here is our favorite beach on the island! Even though there is 100 THB per person entrance fee, it worths entering the gate of heaven! The fee also includes one bottle of water and free use of a kayak all day. You will directly step into Taa Toh Beach which might be a bit disappointing after paying the fee but this not your final destination. Follow that below path which will be on your left-hand side and below paradise is waiting to welcome you!
- Mango Bay
Generally, this bay is visited by boat but it is also possible to reach by bike though. If you are adventurous like us, highly recommend taking your bike which is amid nature and gives a real off-road experience. The snorkeling is here spectacular and you will be amazed by dozens of fish schools wandering around you. If you follow the bike path you will end up at private land which belongs to Mango View Hotel. They ask for 100 THB entrance fee but there are free water and sunbeds to use. This road by bike might be dangerous for non-experienced riders, better to park the bike and hike a bit towards the bay.
Tips: Go to Mango Bay afternoon to spend 1-2 hours and move to Mango Bay Viewpoint for a stunning sunset. The bay road is just after the viewpoint, so easy to find it out.
3) Visit Koh Nang Yuan
Let's spice your adventure up with an incredible postcard view.
Yes, Koh Nang Yuan is another island out of Koh Tao which consists of 3 little land pieces with a strip of white sand in the middle! The left side of this little island has steep hiking and its mesmerizing scenery with a unique viewpoint, and on the right-hand side, there is a snorkeling bay called Japanese Garden. The entrance fee went up from 100 to 200 THB per person and drinks inside are a bit more expensive than Koh Tao.
Tips: The viewpoint has been a picture on many postcards and hiking is not so hard, but 15 min of steep stairs climbing. Better to hike before the afternoon when it is still not so crowded for view photo shooting.
4) Take a Hike to Viewpoint and Get Amazed by Sunset or even Sunrise
There are dozens of viewpoints in this small paradise with a couple of popular ones. Some of them are also private property which might require a small entrance fee. Mango Bay viewpoint fee also includes 1 drink. Please do not throw your bottles away when you are done! Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, some viewpoints require climbing and moderate hiking. If you have monkey skills, go for flip-flops :D
We recommend John Suwan and Mango Bay Viewpoints for sunset and Love @ Koh Tao viewpoint for sunrise if you can wake up before 6 am :)
Tips: Check the map and combine your sunset with the bay or beach around it. If you are visiting Freedom Beach you can end your day at John Suwan Viewpoint, same plan works for Mango Bay and Mango Bay Viewpoint.
I have mentioned main snorkeling places already but just in case if you need a summary in one place, here it is. Kindly reminder on not to stand on lovely corals since they are quite fragile. Let's respect Mother Nature while having fun :)
Give a try for Mango Bay, Japanese Garden and Shark Bay for snorkeling
So far Mango Bay was the most magnificent with fish schools and its colorful corals but as said the transportation to here is either bumpy road riding which combined with small hiking or boat. So, you need to give a bit of effort to reach out.
Japanese Garden will come with a bonus of an extravagant view (please check the first photo of this article). Here the water starts with a shallow sandy beach and you can go further to explore the underwater world.
6) Scuba Diving - Get Your Padi Certificate
On our first trip, we gave a try to scuba diving with French Kiss Divers on Saire beach. Unfortunately, the visibility was no well but still worth giving a try to see turtles. The best diving months in Koh Tao are between Feb and May with really warm water around 30 degrees. April and May also have a higher possibility to see some whale sharks which we had a chance to see in Similans in the Andaman Sea which is the west side of Thailand.
If you do not have your PADI license yet, no worry! Give 2-4 days to get your open water or advance license here where is one the most beautiful place for diving in the Gulf of Thailand.
7) What About Flying Trapeze?
Have you ever have a chance to learn how to fly trapeze?
All ages from +6 can now feel how the feeling of flying. That school has few packages even for beginners with zero experience. Give a try for either an exciting activity which you can't find easily anywhere or learn to fly like a professional. Prices are starting from 750 THB and go up.
8) Party on the Beach and Pub Crawl
Ah, here is my favorite! I love the easy crawling in between so many fun places in Koh Tao! You got bored? Then move 100 meters and bump into another rave place! #1 thing you will see is the buckets. Yes, a bucket full of your fav drink. Amazing, right?
There are also pub crawl tours with dozens of foreigners which can be your choice if you like to meet people and see the places like a tour :D Apart from that do not worry to miss any place in case you do not join that chaotic tours cuz literally everything is nearby.
9) Visit Chumphon National Park
The national park is a bit outskirt of Chumphon city, the capital of Chumphon province. Chumphon is the gateway to Thailand Gulf Islands and southern provinces. It is generally used as a stop by destination to go to Koh Tao but it worth giving at least 2 days to see around. Do not expect a happening place since it is a great destination for relaxing in nature and sunbathing in peace. We stayed 1 night days at De Sea Almond Hotel which is quite clean and has cheerful & helpful employees. Our hotel is based in Sai Ree Beach which is south of the city center and close to the National Park and pier to go to Koh Tao. While you are there, do not miss out Le Betole Italian and Thai restaurant. Everything from pizza to tom yum was DELICIOUS!
On our first day, we went to visit Mu Ko Chumphon National Park by land with our rented motorbike. It is not even 15 min by bike from the hotel, you just need to follow Google Maps. Chumphon National park normally covers more than 40 islands but there is also the museum where you visit and learn more in details of mangrove, habitat and nest hunters. There is man-made nature trails where you can walk on the mangrove forest which is still abundant.
The second day we wake up with sunrise to watch fascinating scenic view from our room. After an early breakfast, our long-tail captain picked us up and we head to the best islands of the park.
Your captain will be helping you for the best route depends on current and the weather. We stop at Koh Ngam Yai, Koh Ngam Noi, Koh Maphrao and Koh Mattra. Koh Mahrao is bird nest island where they are collected for Chinese delicacy. Koh Ngam Yai and Noi are which are best dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand. If you are luck enough you can find whale sharks in the park where is a famous having them.
If you have any questions or feedback, pls leave a comment below:)