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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



Important Numbers

  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




Beachchillin
CHILLIN' ON THE BEACH - Photo by Jens W - Kohsamui.org



Getting There



From Bangkok



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.




Enjoying the view
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


Koh Tao beach



Beaches in Koh Tao



Sairee Beach



The longest beach on Koh Tao by far the most popular. It is about three kilometers in length and located north of Mae Had, on the west coast of the island. Here you will find numerous diving centers and diving schools as well as 7-Eleven stores and many restaurants.




A colorful boat
COLORFUL BOAT - Photo by Jens W - Kohsamui.org



Chalok Beach



Chalok Baan Kao is a rather shallow and popular beach situated in a bay. It is located in the southern part of Koh Tao, about two kilometers south of Mae Had.


Tanote Bay



Located in the eastern part of the island. It might be a little hard to get here, but it is a beautiful bay and it is great place for snorkeling.


Other Beaches



Koh Tao has a few other interesting beaches and bays such as Aow Leuk, Sai Tong, Hin Wong and Rocky Bay. Koh Tao is a rather small island so we would like to recommend you to rent a bike and travel around the island. Be careful in the traffic and use a crash helmet.




Babies swiming
BOYS ENJOYING THE SEA - Photo by Jens W - Kohsamui.org



Protecting Nature



Please keep Koh Tao clean. Throw bottles and other waste in a garbage can so it don't hurt or kill any animals. Corals grows very slow, so please leave them in the sea where they belong. The tourist industry is growing fast here, so all of us have to be gentle with the environment so future generations can be able to experience the true beauty of the turtle island.

Please keep Koh Tao clean. Let the island live and be a home for the future generations of humans and animals.

  Further diving information is found here
  Koh Tao accommodation is found here
  Koh Nang Yuan information is found here




Dog sniffing on a coconut
A CURIOUS DOG - Photo by Jens W - Kohsamui.org




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