Koh Tao Digital Nomad Guide 2024

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Welcome to my Koh Tao Digital Nomad Guide for 2024. In the last 2 years, I’ve spent around 9 months in Thailand and over 4 months in Koh Tao. There’s a lot to do in Koh Tao, from diving to nightly parties, but today we’re going to cover working remotely on this paradise island. 

Koh Tao is the smallest of three islands in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s usually known as the ‘diving hub’ with more people getting diving certified here than almost anywhere else in the world. But it’s also quickly becoming a party island, boasting the largest pub crawl in Asia and ‘secret’ parties happening almost every night.

I’ll be honest, in all my time in Koh Tao I’ve never done the infamous pub crawl or been to a single ‘jungle’ or ‘secret’ party. But I have done over 100 dives and spent months using Koh Tao as a base to work remotely. 

I’ve always loved Koh Tao for its beautiful beaches, easy living and diving culture. As a digital nomad who’s done a lot of diving on Koh Tao, this guide is going to be focused on the island as a base for remote workers. I’ll be sharing my favorite places to work from, advice on accommodation and tips for working around power outages (which have been happening more frequently as the island becomes more popular).

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for supporting my blog! 

Koh Tao Digital Nomad Guide

Know Before You Go

Koh Tao translated into English means ‘Turtle Island’. It’s shaped a bit like a turtle, and you can see both Green and Hawksbill Turtles around Shark Bay and (if you’re lucky) on various shallow dive sites. 

Koh Tao is only 7 km long and 3 km wide (about 21km2 or 8 sq mi). It’s a small island with 3 general ‘neighborhoods’. You have Mae Head, Sairee and Chalok. Sairee is where most people coming to Koh Tao stay and hangout. It’s where the beach clubs and nightlife are located. 

Chalok is the furthest from the nightlife and Mae Head is the pier where you’ll start your journey. All of these neighborhoods are on the West side of the island. The east side is much less developed and dotted with more beaches and dirt roads. 


Thailand uses the Thai Baht. It’s around 35฿ to $1. You can take baht out of any ATM and you’ll usually have to pay 220฿ (about $6) for the ATM fee. If you want to get ALL of your ATMs fees refunded to you – open a Charles Shwabb checking account like yesterday! 


In Thailand they speak Thai! Thai is a tonal language that doesn’t use past or present tense, outside of two words and they have 5 tones. 

If you’re just getting started, make sure that you know these phrases. It’s important to note that when speaking Thai you’ll end all of your phrases/sentences with ‘Kà’ (if you’re a woman) and ‘Krap’ (if you’re a man). You’ll also quickly notice that Thai people use those endings even when they’re speaking English. It makes everything more polite. 

Here are some basic phrases:  

  • Hello: Sa Wat Dee (Kà/Krup)
  • Thank you: Kawp Koon (Kà/Krup)
  • Yes/No: Chai / Mai Chai
  • Excuse Me: Kor Tot 
  • Goodbye: Lah Gorn
  • Delicious: Aroi – pronounced ‘a-roy’  

I recommend making an effort with Thai phrases! It’s a really fun language to learn and Thai people will always give you the biggest smile when you try to speak in Thai as much as you can. If you want to take a trial Thai lesson, you can use my tutor (and friend Petra) here. 


Koh Tao feels extremely safe to me. It’s a small island where everyone knows everyone. 

I would say the biggest danger on this island is scooter accidents from people drunk driving. Please, please be responsible when partying and drinking here. There are plenty of taxis that can take you around the island safely. We hear of scooter accidents way too often on this island.  

Where to Stay in Koh Tao

Where you choose to stay in Koh Tao will also depend on whether or not you want to rent a scooter while you are here. Even though Koh Tao is only 7 km long, it’s not a very walkable island. If you plan on renting a scooter, you’ll be able to explore the island with ease and could stay anywhere. 

When I know people don’t want to rent a scooter, I typically suggest that they stay in Sairee because it is the most walkable part of the island. 

Some hotels we’ve stayed at include: 

  • Save Bungalows – good for a couple of nights if you’re on a budget. Walkable from the pier but very basic.
  • Life Koh Tao Resort – a good all around hotel at a great price point. Breakfast is included, the staff are amazingly kind and the hotel is close to Sairee without dealing with the nightlife noise from Sairee. 
  • Big Tree Boutique Hotel – a perfect hotel for digital nomads, but you’ll probably want a scooter. They have a great cafe downstairs where you get a discount if you’re a guest. 
  • Tarna Align – a beautiful hotel with a gorgeous pool that’s perfect for a staycation on the island. 

How to Find Long Term Accommodation in Koh Tao

If you want to call this island home for a few months, you’ll likely want to find long term accommodation. I always recommend that people book the first 3-4 nights at a hotel so you can relax when you first arrive, before starting your search for somewhere long term. 

As the island’s gotten busier, it’s harder to find somewhere to rent long term. You can join these Facebook Groups (Koh Tao Bungalows & Rooms or Koh Tao Rooms for Rent), but you also need to be proactive. 

What I recommend is spending a day or two driving around the island, stopping to speak to everyone who has a sign posted for accommodation. You’ll see a lot of places (restaurants, shops and bungalows) that offer long-term rentals, but oftentimes they won’t be posting on Facebook so it’s better to go speak to them! 

Where to Work from in Koh Tao

I want to preface this section with this: please be respectful of seating when coworking from cafes on the island. Many of the cafes are small and do not have a lot of seating. We’ve seen places have to post signs asking digital nomads to keep their coworking to an hour maximum to allow for other customers to eat and use the space. 

For example, while Factory Cafe has always been a working hub for digital nomads, the last few times I went they were so busy there wasn’t a place to sit down. You can still enjoy their space, but plan your visit around peak times (i.e. don’t set up shop during the breakfast/brunch rush). 

Coworking Spaces in Koh Tao

There are a few dedicated coworking spaces in Koh Tao. 

TaoHub Coworking (Mae Head) – I’ve personally never worked from TaoHub. I visited once to explore a long term option on Koh Tao and didn’t love the atmosphere and space. I thought they had dedicated meeting rooms you could rent but was told they actually don’t. They do have A/C and they are open 24/7. 

TaoHub’s prices are currently (updated May 2024):

  • Daily: 400 THB ($10.89) 
  • Weekly: 1500 THB ($40.84) 
  • Monthly: 5000 THB ($136.13) 

They include free wifi, coffee, water and free homemade hibiscus iced tea. 

BlackTip Cafe and Workspace (Mae Head) – I’ve worked from BlackTip multiple times on various trips to Koh Tao. They have a beautiful and quiet space, located out of the way (I recommend it if you have a scooter!). Alongside the coworking space they have a cafe, sauna and ice bath. 

The restaurant is open from 09:00-21:00 and the coworking space is open until midnight, 7 days a week. 

BlackTip’s prices are currently (updated May 2024):

  • Daily: 200 THB ($5.45) 
  • Weekly: 1000 THB ($27.23) 
  • Monthly: 2500 THB ($68.07) 

This gives you access to their A/C working space, outdoor garden area and 10% off restaurant items and ice baths/saunas. 

For 2000 THB (weekly) or 3500 THB (monthly) you can also have a package which includes Coworking and Sauna + Ice Bath.

Taoni Restaurant and Coworking (Chalok) – I personally haven’t visited Taoni but it looks like they have a beautiful space, A/C and meeting rooms that you can book. 

Taoni’s prices are currently (updated May 2024):  

  • Daily: 500 THB ($13.61) 
  • Weekly (including weekends): 2500 THB ($68.07) 
  • Monthly: 6000 THB ($163.36) 

Coworking Cafes in Koh Tao

I’m sharing my favorite cafes to work from in Koh Tao, but remember, please don’t give Koh Tao digital nomads a bad rap! Make sure to respect their time, order plenty if you’re staying a long time and leave if they are very busy. 

Nui Bakery (Sairee) – a lovely spot in Sairee that’s walking distance to the beach. They do a great coffee, loads of veggies options and great sandwiches. They have indoor seating with A/C and outdoor seating. 

Factory Cafe (Sairee) – a vegetarian cafe in Sairee with fast wifi and a backup generator. They have lots of seating, but get very busy and have asked nomads to spend max 1 hour working there when they are busy. 

Koppee Cafe (Chalok) – lots of outdoor seating, fast wi-fi and a pool overlooking Chalok Beach. They make great coffee and do a good happy hour each day. 

Summer Cafe (Sairee) – just up the road from Sairee beach, this cafe has tons of vegetarian options, lots of seating and several fans to help keep the area cool. I love that each table has plugs, they give you free water and the staff are always so sweet. 

Big Tree Cafe (Mae Head) – this cafe is covered in greenery that protects you from the noise and heat. They have a fun menu with great breakfast and brunch items, tasty coffee and good wifi.  

Pippins (Sairee) – an adorable coffee and ice cream shop in Sairee. Run by two amazing Thai women who make a great coffee. They have wifi but not much seating and no plugs. I asked politely and they said I could work for a while there.

Blue Water Cafe (Sairee) – this restaurant is right on Sairee beach! It’s open late and is a great place to catch the sunset. They have an upstairs room with A/C that’s always busy with nomads working for the day. 

Tips for Working Around Power Outages

Unfortunately power outages have become more frequent as Koh Tao has gotten busier. This can make working from home difficult (especially when your laptop is broken and has to be connected to power at all times.) 

The power outages frequently cause our phone data and internet to stop working so it’s important to have a backup plan when these outages happen. 

Know Where the Generators are

The first thing to help you stay sane as a digital nomad in Koh Tao is to know where the generators are. I know that Blue Water Cafe and Factory Cafe have generators. I believe that Breeze Cafe in Mae Head also has a generator backup. 

Another random spot that has a generator backup is Wind Beach Resort. They have a beach front restaurant and bar in Sairee with plenty of plugs, fans and responsible prices (for being beachfront). Wind Beach also has a generator and decent wifi speeds. 

Take a Break 

You can also use the power outages as forced breaks throughout the week. Visit a beach, go snorkeling or get a massage. Or maybe just use the power outage to grab some lunch and read a book. These power outages usually last under an hour (this was the case when I was in Koh Tao from Jan-May 2024).

Staying Long-Term as a Digital Nomad in Koh Tao

You can travel to Thailand visa free as an American or European traveler. You get 30-days for free on arrival and you can extend that 30-day visa for another 30 days for 1900 THB ($51.73). After that, you will need to leave Thailand. 

You can also get a 60-day visa from home, before coming to Thailand – which you can also extend for another 30-days! There are people here who do ‘visa runs’ where you leave Thailand just for one day, but we’ve never done this and instead used the breaks as a chance to travel to neighboring countries. 

When I spent months in Bali, I used the ‘visa-runs’ as a chance to explore Malaysia, Singapore, East Timor, Sri Lanka and India, so it’s always my recommendation that you make the most of these trips by turning them into trips! 

Overall Koh Tao is a beautiful island that offers lots to do! As a digital nomad, I definitely think that diving and working here helps you have an interesting and exciting life. But you can also take Muay Thai classes, learn Thai, go to pub quizzes and so much more. 

Koh Tao is somewhere that will always keep calling me back. An island that I’ll visit for years to come. If you’re interested in trying out the digital nomad lifestyle in Koh Tao, I highly recommend joining the Digital Nomads of Koh Tao Facebook Group. They host meetups each week and can answer any questions you have about the island! 

Win a Remote Workation

If you want to test out working remotely, but you aren’t sure where you want to start – why not beautiful Mexico City?! My favorite digital nomad company (SafetyWing) is giving YOU the chance to win a remote workation in Mexico City. 

What could you win? 

✈️Round-trip flights to Mexico City (up to USD$2000 fare coverage)

🏠 A month-long stay at Selina CoLive, a dream co-living and co-working space

🏖️Nomad Insurance for the duration of your trip

All you have to do to enter is sign up for (or sign into) your SafetyWing account! Click here to enter the giveaway.

Winner announced on May 17th (via email!) 

Read Next: Island Hopping in the Gulf of Thailand

Koh Tao Digital Nomad Essentials

I’ve spent over 4 months living and exploring in Koh Tao! Here are some of the essentials that you’ll need when planning your trip to Thailand. You can also explore my blog for more tips and travel hacks! 

Flights: Find affordable flights to Bangkok on Kiwi. You can then travel overland to Koh Tao. Book your transport with ease on 12GoAsia.

Visas: If you’re traveling from the US or Europe, you don’t need a visa to enter Thailand! You can stay for 30-days visa free, and you’re also able to extend for an additional 30-days. The cost of the extension is 1,900 THB or $52. 

Travel Insurance: I never travel without travel insurance! As a full-time digital nomad, I highly recommend SafetyWing. Learn more and get insured here

Accommodation: Find the best Koh Tao hotel deals on Booking.

Thailand Guidebook: Get your copy of the new Lonely Planet Thailand travel book. I love how these books detail the various regions to inspire you to get off the beaten track. 

5 Things to Pack for Thailand 

Walking shoes. If you’re on the islands, you probably won’t ever wear your walking shoes! But Thailand is home to many incredible national parks, hikes and temples – so it’s important to have a comfortable pair of shoes for exploring. 

Modest, lightweight clothing and a scarf for visiting the temples and memorials. It’s very important to dress modestly when you’re visiting any palaces or temples in Thailand. You are going to want flowy, lightweight pants, lightweight tops with sleeves, and a scarf that you can use to cover your shoulders. Keep in mind that for some temples, simply covering your shoulders with a scarf won’t be enough. You’ll need to wear modest clothing. 

A reusable water bottle. Thailand definitely suffers from plastic pollution, but more and more places are offering filtered water refills for around 5 THB a bottle. Make sure that you bring a reusable water bottle. I love this water bottle because it comes with a lid for coffee or a smoothie, which means you can get smoothies without the excessive plastic cup, straw and bag! 

Entertainment for long travel days. It’s usually 50/50 if I’m going to get motion sick on a long bus or ferry ride. Luckily, I always travel with motion sickness drops and tablets so that I can spend long journeys reading. My Kindle has explored more countries than most American adults! I love using the Libby App to borrow Kindle books even while I’m abroad. 

Wet wipes and tissues. Bathrooms across South East Asia don’t usually have toilet paper, so I like to keep wet wipes and tissues in my purse. It also doesn’t hurt to carry hand sanitizer. 

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