Koh Tao Overview
Whereas most people who arrive on Koh Tao head to either the party beach of Sairee or the quieter beach of Chalok Baan Kao there are a number of other great beaches on Koh Tao to enjoy. One such beach is Tanote Bay. It is located on the east coast of Koh Tao and is worth the extra effort required to get there.
Koh Tao has probably the least developed infrastructure of the three main islands that make up the Samui Archipelago – Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. There’s a main electricity supply to the beaches but some of the roads are in bad condition. The road from Mae Haad to Tanote Bay is only paved in parts. It goes up and down steep slopes. The final hill before descending down to the bay area offers a great view. Only the most experienced motorbike riders should attempt the road and only on a good bike.
About Tanote Bay
Once you arrive at Tanote Bay you are not going to be disappointed. It is a beautiful crescent shaped beach fringed with palm trees. It is a very picturesque spot that makes a perfect location for those who want to totally relax. Tanote Bay is not a noisy or party beach and it has beach front accommodation.
Bungalows range from basic fan and mosquito net affairs for just $10 a night to better rooms with A/C, hot water, cable TV and fridges for $80 a night. Montalay Beach Resort, which is also known as Black Tip Dive Resort, has some odd nautical architecture and a swimming pool near the beach. The bungalows at Montalay Beach Resort are the best (and most expensive) in Tanote Bay.
Not that you will want to be spending much time in the swimming pool when the sea offers such great diving and snorkeling opportunities. There’s a coral reef in the bay that you can easily swim out to. It has corals that are blue and green. Once over the corals you can see a number of fish. There are also rocks in the bay where fish gather. You can easily spot fusiliers, rabbit fish, sergeant fish and triple tail wrasse.
There are 2 dive shops on the beach offering similar rates. If you use their services to dive in Tanote Bay you can spot coral trout and snapper at about 8 to 11 meters. Tanote Bay offers a shallow bay dive that is good for beginners.
The beach on Tanote bay is divided by rocks at the northern end of the beach. The smaller northern beach is normally very quiet. The sand is slightly coarse and so flip flops are recommended for walking around.
If you go to Tanote Bay in the low season or when there aren’t many people around you can easily get a discount. There are enough restaurants, bars and small shops to make Tanote Bay a comfortable to stay. However, if you want to get the best rates on traveller’s checks or make any big purchases it is worth braving the road to go to Mae Haad. Unfortunately taxis from Mae Haad to Tanote Bay are not cheap. If there are just 2 people you pay 500 THB (minimum fee). If there are 4 or more people it becomes a much more reasonable 150 THB each. You can also get taxi boats around the island.
Verdict of Tanote Bay
Tanote Bay is a good choice for those people who have been to Thailand before and are looking for a beach that offers reasonable rates, peace and quiet and good snorkeling and diving.
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