About Koh Tao
Ko Tao or Koh Tao is a small island spanning a meager 21 km2 and is based in the Chumphon Archipelago on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand. Her name literally translates to Turtle Island, named after the Hawksbill and Green turtles that reside there. The island is host to over 130 species of hard corals, and over 223 species of reef fishes belonging to 53 families.
The island was for many years uninhabited. It once served as a haven for fishermen in poor weather. In 1933 the island started to be used as a political prison. In 1947 Khuang Abhaiwongse, prime minister at that time, pleaded and received a royal pardon for all prisoners on the island. Everybody was taken to the shore of Surat Thani and Koh Tao was abandoned again.
In the 1980s overseas travellers began to visit Koh Tao and it quickly became a popular destination for all types of travellers. . In the 1990s the island became famous as a serious diving destination.
Getting to Koh Tao
Ko Tao does not have an airport or connection to the mainland so the only way to get to the island is via ferry/boat.
Ferries depart from mainland towns of Chumphon (1.5 hours) and Surat Thani (4 hours) and the nearby islands of Koh Samui (2 hours) and Koh Pha-ngan (1.5 hours). For Bangkok residents, there is a relatively easy drive to the charismatic port town of Chumphon. Lomprayah offers daily ferries from all the above destinations to Koh Tao.
Ko Tao has a fast range of food options. There is a great blend of local Thai street food and budget restaurants. There is great selection of high quality western restaurants. For better or worse (the writer is in the better camp), you will not find the golden arches here nor will you find any finger licking special herbs and spices chicken.
Given that the island is basically only 6 km long, there are not many cars on the island. The island has one main connecting road and the it a very easy island to navigate. The easiest way to get around if to rent one of the many motor scooters available and they will cost you between 100 – 200 baht a day to rent.