With Backpack

One World in One Lifetime

Thailand Travel Tips: Koh Tao in particular

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 25, 2018


You have to bring:

  • Make sure to bring your prescription medication and a doctor’s note.
  • Everything else can be bought here if you are staying in or starting out in a highly touristed area.

If you’re going to Koh Tao:

  • Deodorant/ Antiperspirant
    • On Koh Tao you will only find Nivea brand roll-on deodorant.
  • Bring everything you can, either from your home country or from mainland Thailand.
    • Things are more expensive on Koh Tao.
  • But, don’t bring the things that will make your journey to Koh Tao too inconvenient.
    • You can still get everything you need on Koh Tao, even if it’s at a higher price.
    • The price difference isn’t worth over packing.
    • Bring what you can, buy the rest.

Things you can buy here or bring with you (to Koh Tao):

  1. Luggage:
    • You can use a suitcase or a backpack.
    • If you use a suitcase, you might want to hire a taxi to take you to or from your hotel.
  2. Clothes:
    • You can buy tourist clothes here.
      • You can find things like sarongs, Tiger Beer t-shirts, long drapey dresses, swim suits, and the like; basically, anything that makes you look like you’re on vacation in south east Asia.
      • If you want running shoes or clothes that look unique, you will have to, at the very least, visit Koh Samui.
  3. Towel:
    • Travel towels (Nabaiji brand to be exact) can be purchased here, for a not very high price.
      • But, maybe travel towels are cheaper on mainland Thailand.
    • Bring your towel if you are staying in a hostel or going to the beach.
    • Or, you could just buy a beach towel here if your hotel doesn’t lend you one.
  4. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion:
    • You can buy all of these at any store.
      • It’s mostly Nivea brand products and some other brands I’ve never heard of before.
  5. Deodorant/ Antiperspirant:
    • On Koh Tao you will only find Nivea brand roll-on deodorant. So if that’s what you’re into, you’re set.
  6. Sunscreen:
    • You can find some of the major brands here like, Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic.
    • And, of course Nivea.
  7. Over the counter medicine:
    • No problem.
    • It’s best if you know the generic or chemical name of the drugs you need.
      • Instead of asking for Bufferine, ask for ibuprofen.
    • I would still bring some medications for basic illnesses like diarrhea, fever, and constipation.
      • Don’t run out of these.
      • It’s tough to look for medication when you’re already sick.
      • It’s easy to find what you want if you have a label of the drug you are looking for.
  8. Other things you should bring:
    • Sunglasses
    • Flip-flops
    • Swim-suit
    • Sun Hat
    • Dry bag
    • bug spray
  9. If you need to buy groceries:
    • Visit Pod.
      • They sell the best brownies I’ve ever bought outside the US and for only ฿50.

General Tips:


  • You can hire taxis to take you around the island
    • but, it’s cheaper to rent a scooter for a day than to pay for a one-way taxi ride.
  • Rent a scooter.
    • If you’re going to stay here for a few weeks or more, it’s cheaper to buy a scooter then sell it before you leave.
    • Many sell their scooter for the same price they bought it.
  • Walk
    • Most things are within walking distance from Mae Haad and Saree Beach.
    • There are some interesting things and nice beaches that are about a 90 minute walk from the main area, but the blazing hot sun and lack of sidewalks make it a very unpleasant walk.


  • Most people speak enough English to do their job.
  • It is easy to learn a few basic Thai pleasantries and polite words.


  • Try:
    • papaya salad
    • green mango salad
    • Panang curry
    • Pad Thai
    • Tom Yum
    • Cashew Chicken
    • All the shakes
    • No Name Chicken and No Name Vegetable are popular dishes here.
      • They are essentially fritters make with chicken and/or vegetables
  • When you get tired of Thai food, try:


  • Get money from the bank or ATM
  • Just about every shop has an ATM nearby.

Scams :

  • Not many scams on Koh Tao.
    • Just be careful when going out drinking. This is when you’ll most likely to be taken advantage of.
    • Don’t rely on people you’ve just met to take care of you when you’re drunk.
    • Drink responsibly.

(Ratcha Anachak Thai)

How to get there:

  • You can enter by plane, boat, bus, or train.
  • Most citizens from many countries do not need to get a visa before going to Thailand. But, you will need a visa to stay longer than 1 month or if you been to Thailand for at least 3 months already in the past 12 months.
  • People of most nationalities will get a 30-day visa at the port of entry.
  • To be completely sure, check with the Thai embassy in your country.
  • Visa laws change frequently.







Scams & Dangers:


  • Do not say anything negative about the king or anyone in the Royal family. And definitely do not write anything bad about the king or royal family. This offence could land you in jail. You don’t want to go to Thai jail.
  • Don’t use the city ferries in Bangkok during the peak hours. They fill those things past capacity and sometimes they sink. Use them during non-peak hours when they are not crowded.
  • Never eat female horseshoe crabs in Thailand. The roe of the horseshoe crab has tetrodotoxin (TTX) which is toxic to humans. It makes people very sick and some people have even died as a result.


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