Koh Tao Island
Koh Tao Facts
Koh Tao means "Turtle island"
In Thai language: เกาะเต่า
Island size: About 21 km²
Location: Gulf of Thailand
Geo URI: 10°5′44.2″N 99°55′14.4″E
Province: Changwat Suratthani
Distance from Bangkok: ≈ 700 km
Population: ≈ 1,400 (officially)
Main village: Mae Had
Most popular beach: Hat Sairee
Time zone: ICT - UTC+7
Country calling code: +66
It's a former political prison island
Police emergency: 191
Tourist Police - Emergency: 1155
Koh Tao info in Thai language is found here
Book your hotel or bungalow on Koh Tao here
CHILLIN' ON THE BEACH - Photo by Jens W - Kohsamui.org
Koh Tao is situated about 700 kilometers south of the capital city. There are several options to get to Koh Tao from Bangkok. The cheapest one is by bus or train to Chumphon and then ferry to Koh Tao. The most convenient and fastest way is a flight to Koh Samui, and then a ferry from there to Koh Tao. (See the Samui section for further information).
From Koh Samui
There are several transportation alternatives from the piers on northern Samui. You might take an express boat or a catamaran. There are two major operators:
Lomprayah - Catamarans from Maenam Pier.
Time of departure: 8:00 and 12:30.
Seatran Discovery - Ferries from Bangrak Pier.
Time of departure: 8:00 and 13:30.
Tickets can be bought at the pier or in any travel agency on the island. You'll arrive in Mae Haad, which nowadays has grown into a small town.
RELAXING ON THE CLIFF - Photo by Jens W - Kohsamui.org
What to do?
Diving, snorkeling and swimming! Or maybe just relax with a good book in a hammock. You can also rent a canoe or a kayak for a day trip around the island or go for a day or two to the beautiful island of Koh Nang Yuan.
If you are not interested in diving, snorkeling or other water sports, our suggestion would probably be to go to either Koh Samui or Koh Pha Ngan instead.
Map of Koh Tao
You will find a overview map of Koh Tao here including diving sites here
Background and Tips
Koh Tao is a very beautiful island. The first travelers came here in the early 80's, and soon the diving enthusiasts found the island as well. The rates for diving are still comparatively low on Koh Tao, but the shopping facilities are not as extensive as in Samui and the prices are normally a little higher. The best shopping destination in Thailand is definitely Bangkok.
If you are going to dive on the island, you will find many certified PADI schools in the diving section. It might be economically wise to compare prices before you join a course and we also recommend you to compare the services and skills of the schools and the instructors. Make sure that your instructor is certified by a diver training organization such as PADI, BSAC, NAUI, PDIC, SSI, SDI etc.
We recommend you to buy or borrow the book "Thailand's islands and beaches" by Lonely Planet. It provides inspiring reading and useful information. You'll find it here.
When to go?
Sometimes it can be rather windy and rainy in October, November and December so the visibility is not always as good for diving then. The best time to travel here is normally from late January until September, if sunshine and good visibility in the water is important factors for you.
Koh Tao Photos
Please, send us your best Koh Tao photos here
Take a look at various photos sent to us here