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Hike to Koh Tao lighthouse including map

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Koh Tao lighthouse

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Koh Tao is truly a paradise island. With its stunning coral reefs that make it the perfect scuba diving destination, this small gem in the Gulf of Thailand also features beautiful jungle and tropical hikes. One of them is the renowned lighthouse hike, leading you to a hidden lighthouse at the northeast tip of the island. The Koh Tao lighthouse including lighthouse bay can only be seen when passing by boat or you can get there by doing the Koh Tao lighthouse hike. The lighthouse itself is not being used anymore and therefore one of the few abandoned places on the island. This makes this hike even more adventurous.

I love the lighthouse hike as it features stunning tropical forest, a beautiful bay with crystal clear water and the Koh Tao lighthouse itself. This part of the island is really quiet and feels like its own little world. If you are looking for some tranquillity and nature, the lighthouse hike is the perfect match. The last time I did the hike was in March 2024 – you can find the latest updates in the blogpost.

Read this blogpost to find out how to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao!

Difficulty and what to bring

The lighthouse hike is an intermediate hike with steep climbs. To get to the lighthouse you need to climb over some rocks so make sure you bring proper footwear like sneakers as well as plenty of water. Mosquito spray can also be helpful especially if you make stops on the way. I would recommend to only stop when you get to the ocean though as the mosquitos are very hungry.

If you like snorkelling there’s also the chance to do that at lighthouse bay. Rent some snorkelling gear or bring your own to explore the coral reefs of lighthouse bay and to take a refreshing ocean dip. Morning hours and around noon are probably the best times to do this hike. As there are no lights or houses at lighthouse bay I wouldn’t recommend going there for sunset, otherwise you might get lost in the dark.

Read more about how Koh Tao became my home during the pandemic.

How to get there

Coming to the most challenging part: Finding the trail to Koh Tao lighthouse. Google Maps won’t be very helpful on this journey as the way to the hiking trail still doesn’t exist and there is no reception in this part of the island. If you feel safer having an offline map with you I can recommend Guru Maps. This app shows the whole trail and works offline. If you want to be more adventurous and not use Guru Maps give it a try with the map I created below.

Update 2024: It’s much easier to find the trail now as a Thai lady is selling drinks right where it starts, she put up signs and little flags which you will definitely see walking past.

To get to the starting point of the hike it’s best to take a scooter. A great place to rent a powerful bike is Island Travel Koh Tao. Their shop is my go to when it comes to booking travel tickets and before buying my own bike I had rented scooters with them as well. Say hi if you go there!

The road to Koh Tao lighthouse is not paved and has some steep parts, therefore I recommend to go on one scooter each. Make sure to get a bike with at least 125cc, otherwise you probably won’t make it up the hills. The map above shows three yellow points: (1) the crossroads in Sairee, (2) the point where the path parts into two ways – take the right one here – and (3) the starting point of the trail. On the way to the starting point will be a rock which says “best hike trail”, follow that road. The beginning of the hike looks like the photo below. If you got to this point you won’t really need a map anymore! The hike itself is well signed. If you find my map confusing download Guru Maps. The lighthouse trail is marked there and it works offline as well!

Lighthouse trail Koh Tao entrance
Follow the road leading to the right with the big rock saying “the best trekking”

Update March 2024: I recently went to do the hike again. 70 % of the road leading to the trail is now paved and much nicer to drive on. Also the rock saying “best trekking” still exists and will show you the road leading to the trail. There will be a turning on your left side with signs and country flags – this is the paid entrance leading to the trail. A Thai lady lives there and made a path through her garden which brings you to the lighthouse hike. She also offers cool drinks as well as fresh coconuts and you can sit on the rocks enjoying a beautiful view over the ocean. To enter the hiking path, you will have to pay 100 THB / person (or buy a drink). A bit further down the road used to be the free entrance which is now unfortunately blocked. Therefore you can only enter via the bar for little cost.

After around 5 minutes walking you can see the way to the paid entrance & drink stop on your left
Start of the hike to Koh Tao lighthouse
If you walk a bit further there will be the free entrance on your left (Update 2024: NOW BLOCKED!)

Hiking to Koh Tao lighthouse

Hiking to Koh Tao lighthouse takes around 1 – 1.5 hours each way. Add some extra time to take breaks, to go snorkelling and to enjoy the views. The elevation of the hike is around 250-300 metres.

Along the way you won’t get lost. There are many trees with ropes to keep you on the right path. The steeper bits also have some rope along the side to hold on to. From the deep forest you will pass huge rocks and soon hear the ocean! The hike goes all the way from the mountain down to lighthouse bay.

Looking for a nice breakfast spot? Here are my top 5 breakfast cafes on Koh Tao!

ropes around the trees mark the way
ropes around the trees mark the way
steep but safe going down towards the ocean
steep but safe going down towards the ocean
stunning lush forest
stunning lush forest
where the path supposedly ends
where the path supposedly ends

When reaching the beach it seems like the path ends here. But it doesn’t! Now the fun part begins: climbing over the rocks. Basically you want to get to the little bay on your left. The rocks are huge so it’s doable to get there. Keep your eyes open as some of the rocks have markings on them to show you the way. Once you arrive in the next bay you will see a wooden swing, an empty hut and some coral decoration on a tree. If you reached this bit, continue a bit further over the rocks until you see a big white arrow pointing to the left. This is where you continue to get to Koh Tao lighthouse. I included all these points in the map above with pictures and a short description. If you are feeling hot and need some rest, then this would be the perfect opportunity for a swim in the ocean.

Update March 2024: Unfortunately the bay was full of ocean trash. Please don’t leave any of your trash behind. If you have space maybe bring a plastic bag to take some of the trash with you. Every little helps!

climb over the rocks to get to the next bay
climb over the rocks to get to the next bay
follow the white arrow to get to the lighthouse
follow the white arrow to get to the lighthouse

The path past the big rock with the white arrow leads uphill again, but only for maybe 5-10 minutes. Then, suddenly and totally unexpected, a white lighthouse appears in front of your eyes. You made it! Just a few more steps up the ladders and you will be rewarded with fantastic views and ocean breeze.

Here are five amazing things to do on Koh Tao!

All in all the hike to Koh Tao lighthouse is very rewarding. Both the hike itself and the destination are absolutely stunning. It’s one of my favourite hikes on the island. Even only finding the entrance feels like a little adventure itself. After the hike you can have a refreshing drink at the Thai lady’s little viewpoint. On the way back to Sairee area you can also visit some other viewpoints or check out Hin Wong Bay which is great for snorkelling as well!

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