One of the smallest yet most popular island in Thailand, Koh Tao is home to the biggest pub crawl in South East Asia and it’s not to be missed. Ideal for meeting new people and more often than not youll probably bump into old friends you’ve made on the South East Asia backpacker trail. My friend Paddy couldn’t sell the Koh Tao Pub Crawl enough and it sure lived up to its expectations. In essence its the usual, go to a few bars and get drunk. But there are a few subtle differences in this pub crawl. Sometimes you go to a pool party, others you go to a beach bar to watch a fire show and if you are really lucky you’ll end up at a Ladyboy Cabaret Show! but we were taken to a ladyboy cabaret show.


I’ve now lost count of how many times ive taken part, and its now got to the stage where to owner of the bar and pub crawl recognises me, probably due to the fact I haven’t missed one over the past 2 weeks. He was happy to offer me a job

Koh Tao Pub Crawl banner in Koh Tao, Thailand. All you need to know about South East Asia's biggest pub crawl

The pub crawl happens 3 times a week and costs a few hundred Bhat, a small price to pay for what you get! You will visit 4 bars which isn’t a lot by pub crawl standards but this isn’t any old pub crawl. Myself, the 3 Americans and the Swedes all went together and looked our usual 1 Million Bhat! Depending which night you go depends on which bars you’ll visit as they like to mix it up day to day. Everytime it starts upstairs in Choppers Bar. After signing in, getting your free t shirt, bucket and your name on your arm its off to the Ladyboy caberate show to ‘loosen you up’.


If you used you use your wildest imagination as to what happens in this club you probably wouldn’t come close! After the “show” a girl and a guy are chosen from the crowd and given a lapdance from a ladyboy. Asa wasn’t so much chosen but more chose herself to get the lap dance and loved every second of it.

Girl given a lap dance in Koh Tao, Thailand. All you need to know about South East Asia's biggest pub crawlAsa loving it

Its all a good laugh and a great way to set the tone for the rest of the night. There is only so many of these you can watch without it becoming a repeat so a few of us stood outside with anyone else who couldn’t get in (there was quite a few of us). Drinks inside are limited, so its better to get yourself a bucket of sangsom outside.

David Simpson with two ladyboys in Koh Tao, Thailand. All you need to know about South East Asia's biggest pub crawlThe locals


After any photos wth the Ladyboys its onto the pool party as everyone is well lubed up with the alcohol. Come prepared and wear swimmers if you plan to jump in but most of us are straight in regardless, getting  a free shot in the process so you can imagine the carnage. Here you might come across a little fella with a connect 4 board. Connect 4 is big business around Koh Tao as hustlers trying to make a few bhat by beating you. I won but left it at that, the boys were telling me the guy let me win to draw me into a false sense of security, which wasn’t true. His face said it all but I wasn’t willing to go for round 2.

David Simpson and the gang in Koh Tao, Thailand. All you need to know about South East Asia's biggest pub crawl


At this stage everyone is a little worse for wear but now its off to the FIsh Bowl, one of my favourite bars in Koh Tao. If you fancy a quiet drink and a bite in the evening or would prepare to go all out unitl the early hours of the morning, The Fish Bowl offers both. The bar has beer pong tables galore (and official rules for any disputes), the only game you get better at the more you drink.

I don’t even smoke but who wouldn’t enjoy lighting a cig this way

This is where I meet Jason with his little man bag ready to start his night with a couple of sake bombs for me. These things are the bane of my life and he knows it! It’s a tumbler full of Chang (thai beer) with 2 chopsticks lying ontop and a shot of sake (jap shot) onto of the sticks. A hard thump on the table spreads the chopsticks and down drops the shot of sake into the chang. The result is absolute rocket fuel and no matter how many times I experience the outcome, I never learn!

Sake Bomb

The fire performers are always happy to let you have a go!

After beer pong, dancing on tables, throwing a few firesticks and some more sake bombs its back to choppers to finish the night with a live band. I more often than not finish in the fish bowl as it’s a better vibe and choppers is a 10minute walk, which is a challenge at this stage of the night.

Never play with fire kids. Rose’s effort to stop the burning will always crack me up


The pub crawl is famous around this part of asia and def worthwhile to experience whether in a group or on your own, it’s a great way to meet new like minded people (people who like to party).


Taking a few Kayaks out to Nangyuan Island the most photographed place of Koh Tao. Click here to read it.


This post is part of The South East Asia Series, for the next article click here.

Question Time

  • Have you been to Koh Tao, did you try the pub crawl?
  • Have you ever tried a sake bomb?
  • What was your favourite bar on Koh Tao?

Let me know in the comments below . . .

Send this to someone who might like it

About the Author


Related Articles:

Got a question, some advice or want to tell me about your experience?

I’d love to hear it . . .

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed