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MAE HAAD PIER
The Mae Haad Pier is the place where everyone arrives at Koh Tao by ferry. That is why the area around the pier is very lively. There are plenty of souvenir shops, travel agencies, restaurants, hotels, hostels and bars. There is also a post office, bank, Big C Supermarket, 7-Eleven and a hospital. When you arrive at the pier you will be met by several taxi drivers. These are eager to transport you to anywhere on the island, for a fee of course. If your hotel gives you a free transfer, this is also the place where a nameplate will be waiting for you.
The beach in the immediate vicinity of the Mae Haad Pier is not really inviting for swimming. There are many longtail boats in the water and the beach is not the most beautiful of Koh Tao. It can also be dangerous to swim between longtail boats because you are not always clearly visible. If you want to swim anyway, go to the southern part of Mae Haad as much as possible. Or the other way in the direction of Sairee Beach. Another beach you should visit is the beautiful small bay of Jansom Bay at 15 minutes walking distance.
Negotiate with the taxi drivers! In most cases, with a little talking, you can get 100 baht off the original asking price by default.
Locals and Longtail boats watching
The area around the pier of Koh Tao is a place to have a visibility on the life of the local Thai on Koh Tao. For example, you can see the inhabitants of Koh Tao fishing and/or maintaining their longtail boat. But also the organized chaos that arises when a ferry arrives is fun to watch. From a number of restaurants and bars you also have a view on the pier. In the vicinity of the pier are also quite a few budget accommodations. Sleeping here and renting a scooter to explore the rest of the island can save you money!
Sleeping at Koh Tao Pier
In the vicinity of the pier the hotels are often slightly cheaper than on the rest of the island. There are also more hostels in the pier area than on most other beaches of Koh Tao. Around the pier is a lot of liveliness, there are cozy bars that stay open until late. Near the Mae Haad Pier you can also easily book snorkel tours at one of the many travel agencies. Even if you leave very early or arrive late it can be useful to stay near the pier.
(Update 2022 = Closed because of Covid-19)
The Neptune Hostel is located almost directly on the pier. In addition to a bed in a dormitory, there are also a number of double rooms to book. On the roof of the hotel there is a nice pizzeria with a nice view. Guests of the hotel get a discount here. The rooms are clean and the staff is friendly and helpful.
Image: Neptune Hostel
Image: Bro & Sis Place
How to get to the Mae Haad Pier
By boat: All ferries to Koh Tao arrive here from the mainland or the islands of Koh Phangan or Koh Samui.
By scooter: The roads in the vicinity of Mae Haad Pier are easily accessible by scooter.
By taxi: From Mae Haad to Sairee Beach the taxi costs 100 baht per person, minimum 3 persons, one way.