Our last full day in Koh Tao was an amazing adventure. We didn’t have any particular plans but we wanted to beach hop, hike, and see what happened. My parents went to dinner at the beautiful hotel restaurant, while I slept in a bit and adventured on a beautiful rustic trail that goes past our bungalow. There was a sign saying “Sai Nuan” beach, so I decided to go and try to find it while my parents ate. I went around 8 AM and the sights along the way were spectacular.
I was very excited about the sunshine and empty beach, so I immediately texted my parents. I ran back to our bungalow and packed hiking gear for the day, snorkel equipment, and snacks, then returned to the beach. There were already a few more people by the time we returned but it was still wonderful. I threw my snorkel on with low-expectations (the shore snorkeling around Koh Tao is a bit depressing, lots of dead coral) but ended up being pretty please cause I saw a baby black tip shark! I was so excited that I called my mom to come in to come see. She saw the baby, and then we went a bit deeper to check out some giant clams, Christmas tree worms, and more dead coral. While we were out deeper my mom looked back at the beach and was talking to me while a larger black tipped reef shark swam on past in between us an out towards deeper water. Lynda missed it! And I was yelling through my snorkel with excitement, but unfortunately didn’t get the shark on film. I returned to the beach to convince my dad to join us and try to find a shark. He came in and while he and Lynda were in the deeper area I was in the shallows and found another tiny baby shark!! I looked up to get my parents attention and at the same time they were following a shark as well. So I raced over to take a peak and before I knew it we were all swimming peacefully with this little shark, which was a very special moment.
After our snorkel session we dried off, had a nice photoshoot on the swing, and then continued on with our hike.
The next beach we made it to was where “Banana Rock Bar”, we weren’t hungry when we passed but it definitely looked like a cozy/chill place to hangout for an afternoon. It is little shack-like bar right on the beach, Kylie had gone on a previous trip and suggested it. This is what the area looked like, it was super cute!
After this beach we took a wrong turn. Ideally we would have followed along the coastline to check out the beaches, but we followed someone’s directions and followed a road to the top of the mountain. It was pretty hot out so it was a bit of a struggle to make it to the top, but we made it. We used Maps.Me to find our way, and eventually came to a hotel with an amazing view, I believe it was called the Pinnacle Hotel. Check out the view of the sea!
We ended up coming across a small local grocery store that sold water and fresh juices. We were all still dripping sweat from the trek up the road. So we were super happy to sit down and sip on our cold drinks. I got a mango shake,Keith got coconut, and Lynda got pineapple. They were all pretty amazing. After we had our refreshment, we headed back down the mountain by cutting through the ViewPoint Hotel towards what was on my map as the “secret beach”. It was a lovely path and we followed the signs for the beach and eventually made our way down to this spot.
As you can see, the weather was beautiful, with clear skies and sunshine. But we decided to walk onto the main beach for a while and about 30 minutes later the wind picked up, the clouds came in, and then the rain started pouring. So we ran to this over-the-water restaurant to eat lunch while waiting out the storm. It ended up being a delicious vegetarian Thai meal, and fortunately for us the weather cleared up while we ate and before we knew it the sun was shining again and we headed to a little sandbar off the beach to frolic in the sea.
The beaches in this area are way less crowded than Sai Ree beach, but still had dive resorts, restaurants, massage places, and was more beautiful. It is a lot more out of the way but it was worth the hike out here. This is also near where a famous lookout/hike on the island is, called John Suwan Lookout. We had to pay a local girl about $3 each to use the trail, which was not expected but also not the end of the world. Check out these views!!
After the beach, we decided to cool off at Freedom beach, very close to this. It had pretty horrible snorkeling but the views were nice. We took a quick 30 minute break before continuing on our way. We followed a cool little trail that went over the water to find the other half of freedom beach. There was an in-water hammock which was super beautiful!
By the time we were done with the beach, we headed towards the main town where we opted for a taxi instead of walking home. This was mainly to try to catch sunset from our bungalow. After sunset we headed on the 30 minute trail towards the pier where there are tons of restaurants and we enjoyed our last meal on Koh Tao at a lovely beachside restaurant. This was one of my favorite days, because I got to spend the whole day with my parents just adventuring and exploring! It was an epic day.