Ok, so I’ve been here all of three days so I’d hardly say I am an expert on being on Koh Tao with a baby but I thought I’d put my thoughts down for anyone considering it.
Koh Tao with a Baby
– Chalok bay is baby friendly but best in the mornings!
There is a very useful sand bar which is around 20m from the shore line which makes it possible for babies to crawl about in the sea at their depth. In the mornings it’s like a small island and gradually it becomes submerged through the day so go early.
– Ask Koh Tao Childcare to baby sit
ex-pat Lara runs Koh Tao childcare and you can organise your childcare on Koh Tao via Facebook.com/KohTaoChildcare and (at time of writing) it was around 250bht an hour or 200bht if booking more than 2 days
– Bring an all-terrain pushchair
a lot of Koh Tao is dirt track, even the roads are pitted with potholes and covered with sand. A regular pushchair is a nightmare on these surfaces and worse still on sand! Buy or borrow an all-terrain pushchair (big tyres/three-wheels) if you can, it’ll make your life easier. We’ve got a Bugaboo Bee and it’s do-able but not ideal. Get a mosquito net for your buggy too.
– Leave the car seat at home.
most cars don’t even have seat belts to use it anyway.
– Ride a moped with caution
We have Thea strapped to Chuck in her ErgoBaby sling, me on the back and we ride very carefully. I actually think renting a ATV (quad bike) would be safer but again you have to drive very carefully! It sounds like a bad idea but it is very liberating once you have your own transport, and cheaper too. Taxi’s charge per person and they include your baby as a person!
– Try Pinnacle Bay
The route there is perilous so get a cab to drop you off (despite what i just said) if you are not confident. It’s a small cove, very quiet but reasonably good for babies. Also has rock pools to explore. The Pinnacle restaurant (just above the beach) has a selection of toys for babies to play with and colouring books etc for older kids.
– Stay away from Sairee Beach
It’s crowded and grubby. Lots of litter and too many teens on gap yahs to be particularly baby friendly. Better at night for drinks etc when you can’t see the grubbiness.
– Aow Leuk isn’t baby friendly 😦
Amazing for snorkelling and simply stunning but the beach “sand” is gravelly coral which isn’t good for the little ones and the sea is deep very quickly with plenty of live coral and fish. Go to the right for the best snorkelling but don’t take your baby.
– Stay somewhere with a pool, air con… and a living area.
I recommend Woodlawn Villas but be aware that there is a surcharge for a baby 200bht a day. That’s probably the case everywhere. The steps down to the pool are a little scary and there wasn’t a handrail when we were there. Still it’s a beautiful pool and it’s not chlorinated it has a special salt system which makes it the same PH as your eyes so they don’t sting! Amazing for babies but it is deep and there’s no shallow bit for them so bring a baby swim ring so they can fully enjoy it. (Good advice for Koh Tao anyway as I haven’t seen a single baby friendly pool since arriving)
Having our own living area and kitchen has been fab. Especially when you get a rainy day.
The other thing I’d mention is that Woodlawn is located up an anti-buggy dirt track and then a very steep hill drive so bring your all-terrain pushchair and a good sling.
– Bring food pouches and boil the bottled water
You just never know so worth bringing baby food with you (Ella’s and Plum pouches are the best!) and make sure you boil bottled water for formula milk. You can also bring pre-mixed formula which is great for travelling (even flying, there are no 15ml restrictions on baby food & drink but they make you taste one of each). We used SMA as they do a pre-mixed bottle with a teat attachment so you don’t even have to decant it.
You can buy great little travel kettles in the airports. Worth having in case your room doesn’t provide one.
– There’s plenty of baby nappies etc available to buy on the island.
The supermarkets have everything you need.
– Use Johnson & Johnson anti-mosquito baby oil.
On you and the baby! Koh Tao has it’s fair share of mozzies so go inside between 5pm and sundown with doors closed and soak yourself and your little one in anti-mozzie lotion. You can get it in the supermarkets.
That’s it for now! If I think of more I will let you know.