KOH TAO ON A BUDGET – REAL TRAVELER SECRETS

In this post, we gonna share with you all the TIPS we learned from living one month on this BEAUTIFUL island: How to get around the island, where to shop, where to enjoy a beer with an amazing view, where to get a good massage and much more!

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Au port de Koh Tao

HOW TO GET TO KOH TAO FROM BANGKOK

You can buy the bus and ferry tickets in many shops in Bangkok, especially if you are in Khao San Road area, you can not miss the shops.

You can also book your tickets online, as we sometimes do. The company Lomprayah is the biggest and most reliable. We paid 1100 THB (29€) each for the trip from Bangkok to Koh Tao. Find tickets here.

Lomprayah’s office is located in 154 Soi Rambuttri. If you booked your trip with them you need to be there 30 minutes before departure to register yourself and your luggage(s).

We left Bangkok at 9pm and arrived at Chumpon at 5am. On the way to Chumpon, the bus is taking a 30 minutes break, so if you need to go to the toilet or buy something to drink or eat, you can! Take your belongings with you when you leave the bus for the break!

Good to Know: Take a jacket with you, the AC is pretty strong and it gets kinda cold inside! The busses and ferries are equipped with toilets.

So around 5am, you gonna arrive at Chumpon’s port. You need to wait until 7am for to get into the ferry.

In Chumpon, there is a restaurant which serves Thai Food and continental Breakfast – it’s not really cheap and not really good (almost double price compared to Bangkok), but yeah what can we do?! If you can take some snacks or food with you from Bangkok.

It takes 1h45 to reach Koh Tao. Then, the boat is going to Koh Phangan and to Koh Samui.

HOW TO GET AROUND KOH TAO

≻ Rent a scooter

When you arrive at the pier on Koh Tao, walk on the left and stop at Oli’s place to rent a scooter. See Oli’s Motorbike Rental here on Google Maps, and his Facebook page here.

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Street of Oli’s Motorbike Rental

For a 110cc scooter, it’s 250 THB/day (6,60€). For a long stay, the price can always be negotiated 😉 Oli is a reliable and really honest guy!

Really soon, you will be able to rent electric bikes at Oli’s Motorbike Rental! See his Facebook Page here.

≻ Walk & Take The Taxi Boat

If you don’t feel driving a scooter, you can still explore the island by walk. I would suggest staying around Sairee Beach, bars, shops, and restaurants are mainly located in this area.

Check here our blog post “Where To Eat On Koh Tao On A (SUPER) Low Budget”. You gonna find some secret spots!

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Taxi Boat on Sairee Beach

From Sairee beach, you always can take a taxi boat to the most beautiful beaches of Koh Tao. Read here our article about the wonderful beaches of Koh Tao.

SHOP GROCERIES LIKE A LOCAL

If you are traveling on a budget, avoid shopping in the big supermarkets in the main street of Koh Tao, like the 7 Eleven and Co. Head to the Smile Mart. You gonna find everything you need for the cheapest price.

An example?

The 7 Eleven is selling a big Chang for 70 THB (1,90€) while Smile Mart sells it for 58 THB (1,50€).

And if your thinking of drinking a couple of beers in a few days (and if you have a fridge), just get a cartoon of the big Chang. 12 bottles of 620ml for 600 THB (16€) which means 50 THB (1,30€) each. Easy!

Find Smile Mart here:

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YOU STAY 1 WEEK OR LONGER? – GOOD TIP FOR WATER

In the supermarkets, they sell PLASTIC bottles of water (1,5liter) between 20 THB and 30 THB (0,50€ – 0,80€), which is A LOT after a while. Good news – this shop (see picture below) is selling 20 liters of drinking water (not mineral water though) for 120 THB (3,20€). After that, you can refill it as much as you want for JUST 20 THB (0,50€). EASY MATH and no plastic waste!

SO how to add minerals to your water? We simply use a bottle Black + Blum which contains a piece of active charcoal. The charcoal releases minerals (calcium, iron, and magnesium) back into the water, which improves the taste of the water and enhances health benefits. One stick of charcoal lasts six months. EASY!

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The shop is located on the opposite of the restaurant Blue Chair. Find the location here.

INTERNET

≻ AIS

The first month we stayed in Thailand (Bangkok and Koh Tao), we used AIS. We bought a Sim Card from AIS with unlimited data for 1 month, and we paid about 600 THB (16€)

AIS was working perfectly – reliable internet connection all the time. We could use our mobile router (the Netgear Air Card 810) to connect our computers and phones without any struggle. Perfect!

≻ True Move

Two months later, back in Thailand. We bought a Sim Card from True Move – the offer was less expensive than AIS. We paid for the Sim Card and one-month unlimited data 300 THB (8€). So far, True Move is working as good as AIS.

MOSQUITO SPRAY

Is your blood as sweet as ours? We found THE best working Mosquito Spray here in Thailand! You can find this spray in every shop on the island. In Smile Markt, we paid 95 THB (2,50€) for 80ml.

The stick you can see on the picture is a GAME CHANGER to relief the itchiness of already existing mosquito bites, it costs about 30 THB (0,80€) in the pharmacies.

These products solve big problems and make my life much better in Asia 😃

WHERE TO STAY

After renting a nice house for 3 weeks on Koh Tao, we extended our stay for 2 days at a different place.

Black Wood Hostel is offering private bungalows (with Fan and/or AC) and dormitory. The hostel is surrounded by plenty of trees, it’s like sleeping in the jungle 🌴

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Bungalow
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Bungalow
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Room with AC
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Bar
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Bar, chill area

The staff is just AMAZING! If you want, they guide you exploring the island (for free), you also can borrow their snorkeling gear.

AND THEY even offer free cooking classes! We cooked the famous PadThai – such a great time! Thanks, see you soon! 😃

The hostel has also their own (kinda) bar, you can enjoy a Chang for 60 THB, and spirits like whiskey if you feel like it!

From Black Wood Hostel, you can reach the beach by foot in 2 minutes!

You also don’t need to walk far to find cheap and good local Thaï Food!

Bam Bam and Yang are just “next door”. Read here our post: Where To Eat In Koh Tao On a (Super) Low Budget.

➾ ➾ FREE drinking water available for guests 😃

See their Booking Profile HERE and the location HERE.

Get 13€ off your next Booking back!

WHERE TO GO OUT

So we are not the kind of people who like pub crawls kinda things – but we do like having beers while listening to techno or reggae music in beach bars!

High Bar

High Bar is a big tree house, all build with wood. It’s a really nice bar to chill, have a beer, enjoy the sunset, listen to reggae music (and smoke some funny ciggies)!

See their Facebook Page HERE and the location HERE.

Maya Beach Club

International DJs are coming to play techno music at Maya Beach Club, no commercial music, never! The bar is located on Sairee Beach. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy a drink and watch the sunset!

Maya Beach Club generally closes around 23pm, so if you want to get another drink(s) without going into nightclubs, head to WTF Bar!

See the Maya Beach Club Facebook Page here and the location HERE.

WTF Bar

As long as there are people at WTF Bar, it stays open! Too easy!

See the location HERE.

DO YOU LIKE A GOOD MASSAGE

In many massage salons on Koh Tao, you don’t have real privacy, I mean everybody is getting a massage in one common room, they do not have curtains between the beds.

So we chose these following salons because you can have your privacy (and it’s cheap – come on you know us!).

Sukon Massage

We had a great massage at Sukon, especially Adrian who really enjoyed his. Mine was also good but not memorable.

For 1-hour oil massage, we paid 300 THB each (7,5€). 

Sukon Massage is open daily from 11 am to 12pm.

See their TripAdvisor Profile HERE.

Majestic Spa

We also tried the Majestic Spa. This time, I really enjoyed my massage (except the quick breast massage which I don’t find necessary and pretty awkward), but overall just amazing. The spa is nicely decorated too. On the other hand, for Adrian, it was not the best massage he got.

So whatever spa you choose, it always gonna depends on the person who is giving you a massage.

For 1-hour oil massage, we paid for 450 THB each (12,5€),

Majestic Spa is open daily from 10 am to 10 pm.

See their TripAdvisor Profile HERE and the location HERE.

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Have a nice trip!

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to write us!

Which viewpoints are the most beautiful on Koh Tao? Find all the answers in our latest post here.

Lots of Love, Amandine


Contact us! We know we all are busy, but hopefully, we can connect to the platform that’s most convenient to you:

Here Are Our Pages: Facebook or Instagram or Youtube


 Amandine & Adrian @whynotabroad

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