Last Updated on December 22, 2022 by Tina
One of the things you shouldn’t miss when you visit Koh Tao in Thailand is the John Suwan Viewpoint. Located on the island’s southern tip, it is the most stunning viewpoint on Koh Tao. John Suwan viewpoint offers a perfect panoramic view of the whole of Chalok Baan Kao and Thian Og Bay. The viewpoint got its name from the people who discovered it- Mr. Suwan, a local landowner, and his friend, Mr. John.
Getting to the viewpoint is not so easy, but I can assure you it’s worth all the effort. It is better to go there with a companion, especially if you would like to have a picture with a stunning view as your backdrop. But if you are traveling solo, or if your companion doesn’t think he/she is capable of hiking to the top, it can be done solo. I know because I did it on my own.
How to Get to John Suwan Viewpoint
To get to the viewpoint, you need to head south. The access to John Suwan Viewpoint is opposite Freedom Beach Resort. You can either rent a scooter and drive to Freedom Beach Resort. It will take you around 10 to 15 minutes from Sairee Beach.
Alternatively, you can walk and it will take you about an hour from the northern part of Sairee Beach to get to the starting point.
I didn’t have to walk to get there because luckily, I met a fellow Filipina during my flight to Phuket and we agreed to meet and stay at the same hostel in Koh Tao. On my last day in Koh Tao, we rented a scooter for 200 THB (around US$ 6) for a day and she drove. (I don’t know how to drive so I’m lucky I met her).
Related Post: How to Get from Phuket to Koh Tao, Thailand
Entrance Fee to John Suwan Viewpoint
There is an entrance fee of 50 THB (around US$ 1.50) per person and the fee gives you access to Freedom Beach, Taatoh Beach, and John Suwan Viewpoint. The fee also includes free use of parking, outdoor shower, sunbed, and toilet at Freedom Beach.
Hiking to the Viewpoint
I hiked alone to the John Suwan Viewpoint because my new friend said she was not physically fit to do it. You don’t need a guide to do it because there are signages and you just need to follow them. The first part of the hike is very easy. It’s just a walk on an unpaved path.
At some point, you’ll reach the part where you have to climb boulders. There are ropes that you can hold on to and it makes climbing a lot easier and safer. Just follow the ropes until your reach the top. The hike from the parking lot to the top is around 20 minutes.
At the top, you have to be very careful, especially when it gets too crowded. There are no railings so one wrong move and you might fall. The view is breathtaking though. Just be very careful.
As to the level of difficulty, it really depends. If you’re used to climbing then it must be pretty easy. As for my friends though, I don’t think they’ll make it to the top. (If you’re reading this, sorry hahaha. I just know you too well. This is a lot harder than the red lava in Taal. 😀 )
Below are some videos and photos from the John Suwan Viewpoint to give you an idea of what it looks like at the top.
When to Visit the Viewpoint
You can visit the viewpoint at any time of the day. But it may be best to go there close to sunset so you can watch the sunset from the viewpoint. Early in the morning is also a good time as it is not yet hot, and there may be fewer people climbing.
I don’t advise going there when it’s raining or just after it rained as it may be unsafe to do so. Take note that you have to climb on boulders. The trail may be very slippery when it’s wet.
Tips on Hiking to John Suwan Viewpoint
- Don’t forget to bring water.
- DO NOT wear heels. It is also not advisable to wear flip-flops. At the start of the hike, I was wearing flip-flops, but when I reached the part where I had to climb boulders, I met a girl already on her way down. She told me it would be easier for me if I climbed barefoot. Good thing I had in my bag my aqua shoes. I changed to it and it made climbing so much easier.
- Put all your things inside your bag. You’ll be using the ropes for climbing so it will be better if you have both hands free to hold on to the ropes. I had to wear the helmet while climbing because it was such a hassle carrying it with me while holding on to the ropes.
- Bring a face towel as you will be perspiring a lot.
- Do slather on sunblock lotion to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays, in case you go there midday.
- Put on some mosquito repellant too. There were so many mosquitoes along the trail. Glad I was ready and had one in my bag.
- Watch your steps. Don’t rush and be very careful especially when going down.
- Leave no trace. No one’s going to clean up your trash at the viewpoint so please don’t leave anything there.
- Don’t forget to enjoy the view. Sometimes we get so obsessed with taking good pictures that we forget to enjoy the beauty that’s in front of us.
Like this post? Subscribe to my blog to get notifications of my new posts. And please follow my Facebook page @iwentanyways and like my Instagram accounts @iwentanyways and @tnadeperalta for updates.