Koh Tao is a small island and it’s possible to walk about and explore most of it in 3–4 days. The roads here are about 80% concrete, and the remainder is dirt track. The main roads are fairly new and wide and there are continuing roadworks around the island. Random sand patches are common, so care and awareness is needed.Care and awareness is needed when getting around Koh Tao using the roads. There are no proper footpaths, and, whether you are walking or driving, you need to be careful. Large open drainage ditches are on each side of the roads. People and animals share the roads, so all this combined with the interesting driving techniques often seen here, can make riding a bike particularly precarious, especially if you have no previous experience. As a result, Koh Tao has its fair share of accidents which can do huge damage not only to your body, but to your wallet as well for medical bills and damages to the bike.
Taxis on Koh Tao are pick up trucks with the word ‘Taxi’ and an identity number on them. Taxis charge on a per person basis so they will often rather wait until they have a few more people before they go. If you are on your own or a couple, you will probably have to pay double the cost if you want to go anywhere immediately. Some destinations on Koh Tao require a 4 wheel drive truck to get there. Taxis can be found easily at the three main bays of Mae Haad; at the pier, Sairee; at the junction and at Chalok Baan Kao; at the 7-Eleven there. Almost all resorts offer transfers between the pier and resort if you have a reservation.
Taxi boats are ‘longtail’ boats that can easily be found along the beaches, at the pier and at some of the larger resorts. All taxi boats also offer trips around the island.
Motorbike rental rates start at 150 Baht per day (24 hours) for a manual, and 150 – 250 Baht for an automatic. All the rental shops on Koh Tao work the same way, the rule being that if the bike is damaged in any way, any parts must be replaced new, not just repaired, by the person who rented it. Therefore, before renting, check carefully the condition of the bike for any scratches and broken parts already there so you don’t get charged. Make sure all parties concerned are aware of anything amiss before you drive off. It is normal practice to be asked to leave your passport or an amount of money as a deposit.
Lately using a bicycle has become more popular due to Koh Tao’s ever developing roads. Some resorts and few small shops have them available. At the moment there is only one bicycle shop and service located in Chalok Baan Kao. A mountain bike with efficient gears and reliable brakes is ideally the best type to use on this island.