What to do on Koh Tao when you can’t dive

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What to do on Koh Tao when you can’t dive

Yes, they do exist: days when we can’t go diving. Whether you have to sit out for medical reasons, because you are waiting for a flight or simply because the weather is playing up, those dry days can become a little bit boring sometimes.

But fear not, we’ve lived on this tiny island for quite some time now and have tested out all the best non-diving activities for you and are happy to present you with an (updated) list of our favourite things to do when you want to (or have to) stay out of the water!

1. Catch up with your digital life

You’ll be impressed with the accessibility of internet hotspots all throughout Southeast Asia, and Koh Tao is no exception. You’ll find plenty of hip coffee shops and beachside cafes that offer free Wi-Fi for their guests and they are usually prepared to let you plug in your laptop.

One of our favourite spots for this is the ‘Coconut Monkey’. You can sip on delicious coffees & shakes while updating your Instagram profile or enjoy a hearty ‘diver’s wrap’ while writing some emails. Once you’re done staring at your screen there’s usually a nice crowd of local expats and travelers hanging out and maybe you can make some new friends over a drink by the beach?



2. Join a local beach clean up

On more than one occasion, the local expat community on the island has been the driving force for land and marine conservation – reducing single-use plastics by introducing alternatives for drinking bottles, straws or shopping bags are just a few examples.

The awareness for keeping our tiny island paradise clean (and plastic-free) is huge and it’s no big surprise that you’ll find regular weekly clean-up events along all the main beaches, usually organized by the Conservation departments of the local diving schools and everyone is invited to join in!

Can’t find a clean-up event? Send us a message and we’ll happily organize one for you! 



3. Explore one of Koh Tao’s stunning view points

Sure, Koh Tao is popular for its great diving conditions all-year round and the regular whaleshark sightings. But did you know that the island is not just stunning from below, but also worth exploring from above?

Pick up a map/local guidebook, put on your sneakers and refill your water bottle and you are ready for a day of exploring. Since the island is comparatively small (8 sq miles) you can explore the majority by foot (but be prepared for a bit of a hike) or you could rent out a scooter, e-bike or bicycle to cruise around and discover Koh Tao’s viewpoints – be sure to check out our DOs and DON’Ts for bike rental first!



4. Try out a new hobby

While on holiday most of us try to unwind from our hectic life at home and relax as much as possible. But now is the time to try out something new and the best thing it’s completely pressure free as most activities on the island are fitted for travelers who only spend a limited time on the island! Don’t like it? Great, at least you haven’t signed up for just another membership…

Feeling active on your holidays? Have a shot at rock climbing or visit the local boxing gym! Those are both great activities that will not only give you the chance to make some new friends, but also to try something rather unique that could turn into a great workout routine once you get back home. 



You’re in the mood for something more relaxed? Sign up for a cooking class and learn how to prepare a delicious Pad Thai or the secret to a comforting Massaman curry so that you can cook your favourite dishes any time at home. 


5. Pamper yourself

With all these suggestions so far, we hope that you are not too upset about not being able to dive. However, if you still need to lift your mood a little bit, we think that now time to pamper yourself!

You will find some bigger spas, but also many, many different little massage shops around the island. If you’ve never had a Thai massage in your life, now is the time to try one! Feeling tired from walking around all day? Have a relaxing foot massage!

Many of these massage places also offer beauty treatments and the value for your money is incredible. Treat yourself to a manicure and/or pedicure – and even if it’s something you’d never spend your time or money on back at home, it can be a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon…



6. Foodie tour

While Koh Tao doesn’t have a one central night market like you would have seen in many other locations throughout Thailand, the international food scene on the island is immense. From Italian to Mexican or Indian – you can find pretty much any cuisine on the island. Fancy a dessert? Whether you are a fan of healthy, vegan treats or prefer to indulge in sweet, decadent cakes – you can find whatever your tummy desires just within walking distance.

If you want to go out on a little foodie tour across the island we recommend doing a little research upfront as there are regularly now places opening or specials on offer. Facebook is your best friend and there are various groups (try this group, or this or even this) where local restaurants, eateries and cafes regularly post their updated menus. 



Feeling stuffed after all those delicious meals? Go & check out our ‘Ultimate guide for staying fit on Koh Tao‘ for some island-friendly exercise ideas!


Photo credits: Lauren Olorosky (Goodtime Adventures), Coconut Monkey, private, Unsplash.


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