Discover Ko Tao, Thailand
Ko Tao, also known as Koh Tao, is located in the Gulf of Thailand and is world renowned for its magnificent diving. However, even if you prefer to stay on dry land, this beautiful island still has plenty to offer. Here we take a look at some of the island's top sights and attractions...
Literally meaning Turtle Island, Ko Tao is perched north of Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan. It has a laid back atmosphere and is popular with people who want to escape the parties of Ko Pha Ngan and the hustle and bustle of Ko Samui.
Despite their relative proximity, the contrast between the three islands is extreme. The scenery may be similar (think white beaches, turquoise waters and lush vegetation), but the vibe is totally different.
Ko Tao tends to attract fewer package holiday makers - you'll often find that tourists spend a month or longer on the island, often enrolled in one of the PADI dive courses.
The island is one of the best places in the world to learn how to dive. There are are a wide variety of dive shops, schools and instructors. You can see turtles, stingrays, barracudas, lots of small fish and reef sharks.
Shark Bay is a great place for snorkelling (don't let the name scare you away - they're only small reef sharks!). Non divers can explore secluded bays and lush mountains, and partake in sailing, rock climbing, abseiling, cliff jumping, wake boarding, paint balling, mini golf, bowling, massage and yoga courses and cooking courses.
Ko Tao can only be reached by boat. You can take the ferry from Surat Thani on the mainland (3 hours), from Ko Samui (1.5 hours) or Ko Pha Ngan (1 hour). The nearest airport is on Ko Samui. You can also take an overnight train from Bangkok to Surat Thani.