Koh Tao (Turtle Island) a small isolated island situated 45
kilometers to the north of Koh Phangan. The island is famous for
its rich sea coral reefs and inhabitants and secluded beaches
set in a laid-back atmosphere. Ideal for snorkeling and diving,
there are numerous diving schools scattered around the island
that have always attracted diving students.
The Island is famous for the vibrant marine life and dive scene
that co-exist here; and with a great variety of dive sites to
choose from, all abilities are catered for. There are
snorkelling, fishing and boat trips that are inexpensive and
take in sights such as Shark Island and unique Koh Nangyuan; the
only three islands joined by one sandbar in the world! There are
also other water sports including waterskiing, wake-boarding and
Land based activities are plentiful with mountain biking, rock
climbing, para-gliding, trekking and lots of walks with
viewpoints. If you're experienced on a motorbike, it's also a
fantastic place to see from the saddle.
Koh Tao has a vibrant nightlife, with several big parties going
on every month and loads more clubs and beach bars. Had Sairee,
Mae Haad Village and Chalok Baan Kao are the main areas, so
Coral View Resort is never far from the action. Venus Park is
the biggest bash, off twice a month just out of hearing distance
from Haad Sai Daeng.
If you're looking for the quieter side of life, Koh Tao has a
variety of Spa's, herbal steam saunas and numerous traditional
Thai massage, Tai Chi, Yoga, Reiki and Reflexology practitioners
and schools. Or there's always great value shopping and a wealth
of restaurants in the main village of Mae Haad.
The most popular beaches on Koh Tao are Mae Haad, which is also
the main village, Sairee Beach on the west and Chalok Baan Kao
in the south.
Accommodation ranges from simple thatch roof cabana-style
bungalows to air-con bungalows, however living is still quite
basic and you should expect electricity to run only through the
night, even in the more luxurious rooms.
All the beaches have a variety of restaurants, supermarkets and
bars, Although nightlife relies on parties held on alternate
nights by the few beach bars. Life is much more low-key than
Samui, especially since most people are up early for diving!
Weather on Koh Tao is generally very, very agreeable with a
temperature of around 25 degrees C. in the cool season (from
November to February) to highs of 35 degrees plus in the hot dry
season (from March to June. Although humid at times, the heat is
never oppressive, cooled as Koh Tao is by the gentle sea breezes
from The Gulf of Thailand.
With exceptional underwater visibility, Koh Tao is one of
Thailand’s finest offshore diving spots with main attractions
such as White Rock, Shark Island, Chumphon Pinnacle, Green Rock,
Sail Rock and Southwest Pinnacles. The stunning viewing point is
a spot where visitors can see three connecting beaches
stretching beautifully to the horizon.
Scuba diving is by far the biggest attraction on Ko Tao. Diving
in Ko Tao is easy, fun, and you can see turtles, stingrays,
barracuda, lots of small fish, reef sharks, and there is a very
small chance of seeing a whale shark.
Nearly any time of the year except November is good diving
weather in Ko Tao, In November, the visibility is reduced and
the seas are choppy, but diving is good by the standards of many
other destinations. When diving is good, the visibility can be
40+ meters. Average visibility is around 15-20 meters.
To reach Koh Tao you can either buy a joint bus/boat or
train/boat ticket from any travel agent in Bangkok. Take the
bus/train to Chumporn and they will transfer you to the boat to
Koh Tao. Or you can fly to Koh Samui and take the boat from
there to Koh Tao. Please note that the last boat from Koh Samui
to Koh Tao leaves at 12:30 PM.
Songserm Travel provide a daily boat service which leaves from
Na Thorn Pier at 10:30. You can catch a minibus from Koh Samui
Airport to Na Thorn Pier. (If you catch the first Bangkok-Koh
Samui flight, you should be able to catch this boat)
Lompraya Catamaran high speed boat provide a daily boat service
which leaves from Wat Pra Lan pier at 08:00 and 12.30
From Tha Thong Pier, Surat Thani, Songserm Express Boat, Surat
Thani-Koh Tao, 8:00 - 14:30, 455 baht/trip. Koh Tao-Surat Thani,
10:30 - 16:30
Night boat from Ban Don Pier, Surat Thani, Surat Thani-Koh Tao,
23:00 - 6.00, 400 baht/trip. Koh Tao-Surat Thani, 21:00 - 5:00.
Songserm Travel provides a daily boat which leaves Ta Yang Pier
at 7:0. They also provide regular buses from Chumporn Train
Station to their office (about 1 km) and at 06:30, a bus from
their office to the pier in time to catch the 07:00 boat. The
journey takes 3 hours.
Lomlak high speed boat provides daily service from Tung Ma Kam
Noi Pier at 7:00 and 15:00. They also provide a bus service from
Kao San Road to Chumporn leaving daily at 21:00, telephone 02-
280-0887, 02-280-1035 . Boat agents are available at Chumporn
railway station. The journey takes 2 hours.
Ekawin high speed boat provides a daily boat which leaves Ta
Yang Pier at 7:00. The jour ney takes 3 hours.
At Bangkok's Hualamphong station you can purchase train tickets
that include a bus from the Surat Thani train station (Phun
Phin) to the Ban Don pier and then a ferry to Koh Phangan. These
generally cost around 30 to 50 Baht more than baying each ticket