Koh Tao, previously known as Turtle Island, used to be the hangout of pirates in the olden days. Later on, it became a center for fishing activities, a prison and a haunt of backpacking crowd. Are you planning a trip to Koh Tao? As you begin to make a list of the “must see” sites and explore resort options, note that there are many of good Koh Tao Resort! You just need to know where to find them.
There are two theories about how the island got the name of Turtle Island – one is because of its turtle shape and the second due to the abundance of turtles in the sea surrounding it. Now, there are no more turtles here, as the sea is swarmed by thousands of divers from all over the world. The island is ranked two for issuing PADI diving certificates in the world.
Koh Tao is definitely a diver’s paradise, but it has lots of land-based activities as well. Yoga and hiking are the most popular among tourists. The island has some beautiful beaches and viewpoints. However, for a diver, a visit to Koh Tao is the most important part of the Thailand vacation.
The tourist flow to the island started in the early 80s, when westerners discovered its beauty by chance. Initially, to accommodate them, bamboo huts sprung up. In a decade, the island gained popularity as an excellent diving and snorkeling spot, with cheap accommodation. Its proximity to Koh Phangan and Koh Samui also helped, as they were already in the tourist map.
The last one decade has seen an explosion in the island tourism. The island is flooded with resorts and diving schools to meet the demands of the heavy influx of international crowd.
The 21sq.km island is transformed from sleepy laid-back villages to towns that can match the modern ones in Phuket and Pattaya. This exponential development has wiped out most of the early resorts. Rocky Resort on Ao Thian Ok and Char on Haad Sai Nual are among the few remaining.
The island receives the maximum number of visitors during the Christmas-New Year holiday season. During this period, it is difficult to find accommodation at short notice. However, during the other months of the year, it is neither too crowded nor too deserted. The tourist season of 2005 and 2006 were marred by unrest and violence and the tourism was affected by these. The recovery is slow but steady and the island is returning to normalcy now.
Koh Tao is a safe tourist destination with huge opportunities for water and land-based activities. The vast choice of Koh Tao Resort is also a definite plus-point. Take advantage of the situation and visit the island this summer.
Things You Must Do While Staying in Koh Tao Resort
For both land and water activities, Koh Tao is a perfect location. The activities range from high adrenaline rock climbing to comparatively easier and relaxing snorkeling.
While you are staying in Koh Tao Resort, It is ideal to try all the activities, if you are not familiar with them, to find out which one you will enjoy most. This is a chance to get acquainted with many sports and learn them properly from experienced instructors in safe locations.
You can cover most of the activities in a day. In the morning, start at Sai Ree Beach with kayaks. Move on to Mango Bay to snorkel in the pristine clear waters. After lunch at the beach, try rock climbing at Hin Wong Bay. Relax with a chilled drink at Rocky Resort. Later you can snorkel at Rocky Bay in the company of Black Tip Reef Sharks.
Proceed to Mae Haad Beach for snorkeling among the shipwreck. Relax on the beach for a while to regain energy. Return to Sai Ree Beach, which is close by to handover the kayaks. If you are hungry, you may pop in at El Toro Restaurant and try the sizzling fajitas accompanied by cold beer.
Koh Tao or Turtle Island is the best diving spot in the entire Gulf of Thailand. Chumphon Pinnacle, Southwest Pinnacle, Koh Nang Yuan and Shark Island are some of the most popular and well-known diving locations. International standard PADI or SSI recognized dive centers are scattered all over the island. They offer courses ranging from beginner to specialized ones.
If you are fond of fishing, Koh Tao offers a few options for you to consider. Renting a longtail, which comes with a local captain and equipments, is an option worth considering. Alternatively, you may join the organized fishing trips by one of the travel agencies. In this, you will be in the company of other tourists.
Kayaks are available for hire all over Koh Tao. Kayaks are of two types – single ocean kayak and double ocean kayak. They may be hired for hourly, half day or daily basis. Ban’s Diving Resort at Sai Ree Beach is the leading kayak rental in the island. They are open from 8am to 6pm. Their rental rates are given below.
Koh Tao is the dream destination for snorkeling enthusiasts. Koh Tao has many snorkeling spots close to the land, which do not need a boat at all. However, the best snorkeling locations can be reached only by boats.
here are many shops in the island that rent out the entire snorkeling gear including mask, snorkel and fins. It will be around 100 to 150 baht for a set. One of the easily accessible locations for snorkeling is off Ban’s Diving at Sai Ree Beach. Take care to avoid injuries during low tide, as the seabed is shallow here. Swimming along the narrow channel on the left of the resort is a better option.
Rocky Bay is the most popular snorkeling site in the island. Late afternoons are the best time to snorkel. Swim out into the sea for about 200 meters and the chances of spotting Black Tip Reef Sharks are high. Big Blue Diving on Sai Ree Beach is also quite good location for snorkeling.
The other snorkeling spots on the island like Mango Bay, Koh Nang Yuan, Ao Luek and Hin Wong can be reached only by taxi boats. You can hire them at 1000 baht per day from Sai Ree Beach.
As you plan your trip to Koh Tao, be sure to check out Koh Tao Resort. You’ll be amazed at the savings and perhaps you can extend your trip for an extra night or two. Enjoy your vacation in Koh Tao!