Haad Sairee is located on the west coast of Koh Tao and consists of 1.7km of white sandy beach with views over to the mainland on a clear day. The beach is flanked by palm trees, funky beach bars, dive shops and restaurants. It is a protected bay and, therefore, doesn’t suffer from the strong winds and rough seas that affects other beaches during the monsoon season. There can be waves of up to two metres during the May-Oct southwest winds season when a storm hits, however. As it is the island’s longest beach, even when it gets crowded you will find a space to lay your towel down.
The sea here is renowned for being the clearest on the island, and a coral reef, only 10m from the shore, provides great snorkelling straight off the beach for a distance of 400m. It can be a little tricky to navigate your way into the water at low tide, so bring some jelly shoes or wet suit socks if you’re worried about your feet. Once out snorkelling, you will be able to see many juvenile species as well as the ever-popular clown fish. Keep on ear out for motors, however, as there is a fair amount of longtail traffic coming in and out of the bay.
Haad Sairee Guide – Snorkelling, Diving and Hospitality
As it is only 10 minutes from the main port town of Mae Haad, Haad Sairee has become one of the most popular beaches on Koh Tao, catering to backpackers, families, couples and groups of friends alike. Although a couple of hawkers do walk the beach selling sarongs, jewellery, fruit and massages, they generally offer fair prices without too much haggling and are not too bothersome compared to Koh Samui.
Sairee Beach is the best spot to enjoy a sundown cocktail, with the bars at the northern end tending to have the most laidback vibe throughout the night. The majority of bars are situated around the middle of the beach while towards the south is where the late night clubs get raucous from 23:00 – 06:00.
Peace seekers or light sleepers should avoid staying in this part of town. A paved path, known locally as ‘the yellow brick road’, runs along the beachfront offering a host of amenities, such as clinics, ATMs, convenience stores, and massage and tattoo parlours.
Sairee village has a range of accommodation, dive and tour operators, internet cafes, restaurants, clothes stores and bars set back from the beach. Generally, the atmosphere on Sairee is very laidback, but it does get quite busy during the high season.
Daytime tends to be more peaceful as the divers are all out under the water but, come sun down, things begin to liven up as the bars open, the drinks flow and the DJs get on the decks. The village spreads in 200m in every direction from the four-way intersection on the main road, and contains everything you could need for the entirety of your trip.
There is a great range of accommodation on this part of the island, with everything from budget backpacker choices to some of the swankiest resorts around. There are a few bungalows perched on the rocky headland in the north, but most are found stretching back from the beach. Bargains can be haggled for if you plan to stay for a few days or more, but it is advisable to book ahead in the busy season if you don’t fancy traipsing around with your luggage.