The first time I heard about Ko Tao Thailand (translated in turtle island in English) was from a Dutch friend of mine, while I on Holiday in The Netherlands. We were chatting about Island destinations and she said she was going to let me in on a little secret.
In her exact words, she said: “What if I told you about an island in Thailand where if you were to visit, you would most likely never want to return to civilization?” Her bold statement left me wondering what in heck she was talking about.
Our conversation drifted away from the topic shortly after and as soon as I got home I googled the destination only to retrieve from google’s vast database, images of aqua blue water and lush green vegetation. I added it to my bucket list and vowed to visit as soon as the opportunity presented itself.
How I Ended Up In Ko Tao Thailand.
An engineering assignment ended up getting me transferred to work in Thailand for a month and after much haggling with my Boss, I was allowed to stay for a couple of days to finally get to see paradise. I hopped on a ferry from Ko Samui (another popular island in Thailand) and headed to Ko Tao. Prior to me leaving for Ko Tao Thailand, I perused booking.com and was able to get a place at my now beloved AC2 Resort. It seemed like most of the accommodation in Ko Tao Thailand were bungalows, I settled in and went exploring.
How To Get Around Ko Tao Thailand.
I would quickly find out that Ko Tao was a massive island, about 8.5 square miles and that the best way to get around is to rent a scooter from one of the rental shops on the island. This will, however, require you surrendering your passport and leaving a small deposit. It is worth it in my opinion especially if you had previous riding experience. However, if you are new to riding a scooter, just hire a taxi instead as that will save you your passport and a hefty fine in the unfortunate event that you crash your scooter.
Things To Do In Ko Tao Thailand
My Dutch friend was right, a trip done right to Ko Tao can make it difficult to return to your former life. I personally know a few people who decided to just overstay their visas because they were having such a good time. As much as I love this patch of heaven on earth I certainly do not advocate this. Thai immigration authorities have begun cracking down on offenders hauling them off to detention centers where they have to pay a hefty fine to secure their release. Now back to things to do in Ko Tao.
1. Visit As Many Of The Island’s Beaches As Possible
Ko Tao’s main allure comes from the fact that there are so many amazing beaches all around the island. The main beach, Sairee beach is home to a decent amount of restaurants, hotels, hostels and nightlife spots. While there is plenty to do on Sairee beach, my advice is visit as many of the other beaches in Ko Tao as possible. I have created a reference list for some of the best beaches below:
- 1. Hin Wong Bay
- 2. Aow Leuk Bay
- 3. Tanote Bay
- 4. Koh Nangyuan Island
- 5. Sai Nuan Beach
- 6. Koh Nang Yuan
- 7. Freedom Beach
- 8. Jansom Bay
- 9. Sai Deng Beach
- 10. Mango Bay
For visuals of what some of these beaches look like please use the provided resource: KohTao.Asia
2. Become Certified At Deep Sea Diving.
While I am not a certified diver, I have heard Ko Tao Thailand has some of the most affordable and best diving schools in the world. Since Ko Tao forms part of the Champion Archipelago, the area is rife with marine life. This makes for some of the best waters for you to go underwater exploring.
3. Indulge In Ko Tao’s Amazing Nightlife
Ko Tao Thailand has an amazing dose of nightlife, with everything from restaurants, bars, open air nightclubs and much. An evening on the island is never ever boring. Insider Tip: Start off your night at Lotus beach bar and work your way to the other end of Sairee beach.
4. Whet Your Appetite With Amazing Thai Food
Thailand is a great place to travel especially if you are a foodie and Ko Tao is no exception. On Sairee beach especially, there are several restaurants where you can get your choice of both Thai and Western dishes. Tip: If you want an amazing view of the sunset, stop by one of the restaurants on Sairee beach where you can get a beach front view.
What Kind Of People Will You Meet On Ko Tao Thailand
Ko Tao is very popular amongst avid travelers and backpackers and is only going to get more popular. Every part of Thailand seems to have one or two nationalities dominating that part of Thailand. I found this to be also true in Ko Tao. This island seems to attract a ton of Scandinavians, Brits, and French tourists either looking to dive, party or spend a few a days before they move onto another destination on their backpacking trip through Asia. The age demographic ranges from the very young to the old but you will find that the largest group of travelers in Ko Tao are people between the age range of 18 and 26.
My Dutch Friend Was Right
I did not stay back in Ko Tao to escape “western civilization” but I did consider it (joke). In all seriousness, Ko Tao now holds a special place in my heart and even though I reside in Los Angeles and have a hectic schedule, I have so far returned three times and intend to return the next time I get a chance. Till the next time…..Sincerely Dante.