Tiny Koh Tao is a typically idyllic island haven in Thailand. It makes up the third and last island of an unofficial archipelago off Thailand’s eastern coast, alongside ever-busy Koh Samui and ever-partying Koh Phangan. Koh Tao Thailand is easily the most relaxed and easygoing of these islands; far fewer tourists make it here, and those who do are greeted not by a barrage of hotels and clubs, but by tranquil resorts and welcoming eateries. Diving in Koh Tao is the main tourist pull here, though there’s also plenty by way of other activities and natural attractions to keep you occupied for weeks on end.
Getting to Koh Tao Thailand is a matter of taking a boat from Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, or Surat Thani (on the mainland). As a result, a nice itinerary of your time here could include a night or two in one of Koh Tao’s more hedonistically inclined sister islands before finally reaching its relaxing environs.
Once you’ve arrived in Koh Tao Thailand, it doesn’t take long to get your bearings. This really is a tiny island; it covers an area of roughly fifteen square miles, which means much of it can be traversed easily enough on foot, though you’d be best served by not traipsing too far off the tracks provided around the island. Given the poor quality of the roads, bikes are a popular way for getting yourself from point A to point B; they can easily be rented, and quite often you don’t even need to show proof of a driver’s license. If you’re intent on skipping from one Koh Tao Beach to another, meanwhile, a boat can be rented to do the legwork for you.
In terms of attractions on the island, diving in Koh Tao rules the roost. With turtles, barracuda, sting rays, and even the odd shark (don’t worry: there aren’t many) calling the waters around the island home, you’re guaranteed to see some of nature's most incredible sea creatures in their natural habitat. Diving in Koh Tao has, over the years, become the stuff of legends among diving circles, and as a result there are now many operators and instructors who run trips in the area. This is a diving destination for all levels: Experienced divers can test their skills on the island’s tricky underwater rock formations, while complete beginners can do a certified PADI training course for a fraction of what it would cost elsewhere. If Koh Tao Thailand is one thing, it’s a diver’s haven, and it would be a shame to visit here without experiencing the joys of its underwater world.
Another activity that’s becoming increasingly popular on the island is game fishing. Again, it’s possible to charter a boat and fish some of the sea’s larger fishes for comparatively little amount of money, meaning Koh Tao is beginning to style itself as a budget game fishing destination as well as a diver’s hangout. As with diving excursions, such trips can normally be arranged from Sairee Beach, which is the main development on Koh Tao Thailand.