Ko Tao Island – Thailand
The island is geared towards diving tourists more than backpackers on a budget and offers both basic through luxury accommodation. There are hardly any currents and a wide selection of dive sites and dive shops, schools and resorts. Koh Tao, or Turtle Island, is the diver’s paradise –a small island of approximately 21 km² and receives over a 100,000 visitors per year. To minimize your impact on the eco-system, notice that there are no garbage disposal facilities, so everything that can’t be burned has to be taken away. It is located between Suratthani and Chumpon provinces and only a 2 hour boat ride north of Koh Samui. It has been voted best diving site in the Gulf of Thailand. Here you will find plenty of lovely bays, white sandy beaches, beautiful coastal cliffs, and crystal clear water – Koh Tao is simply a heaven on earth with an abundance of sea related activities waiting to be discovered by you during your trip to Thailand (Ko Tao Vacation).
The island is consistently gaining popularity and going more upscale, but for now this jungle-topped cutie has the busy vibe of Samui mixed with the laid-back nature of Pha-Ngan. But Tao also has its wildcard, something the others don’t: easy-to-get-to, diverse diving right off its shores. Cavort with sharks and rays in a playground of tangled neon coral, toast the day with sunset cocktails on a white beach then get up and do it all over again the next day.
Peak seasons in Ko Tao are from December to March and July to August. July/August is actually high season due to Northern Hemisphere summer and rain dominating most of the rest of the country.
But even while the island may be synonymous with diving, there is much more to the place. Hikers and hermits can re-enact an episode from Lost in the dripping coastal jungles. And when you’re Robinson Crusoe-ed out, hit the pumpin’ bar scene that rages on until dawn.
1 Koh Nang Yuan
Koh Nang Yuan is a small island and located only at a distance of 2.8 kilometers or 15 minutes from Koh Tao. It is famous for its diving spots and its great snorkeling beach. It is a home of rare and beautiful sea species and corals. The water of the island is so transparent and clear blue that you can see the underwater fish, planktons and many more quite clearly. The atmosphere on the island is full of greenery, very calm and serene and one can have the sight of whole of the island by reaching to the summit of the small hilltop in a few minutes’ walking.
Many day trippers come from the islands of Ko Tao, Ko Phangan and Koh Samui. Koh Nang Yuan consist of two main pinnacles and a small deeper “little brother”. A prefect site for both training activities and fun drives with a depth rang of 18 m to 5 m surrounded by soft white sand dotted with the unusual symbiotic relationship of Goby fishes and their blind Shrimp house mates.
“Definitely visit this island for the hike and the view up top. The beach is nice, but often overcrowded and you have to pay to even sit on the beach chairs (on top of paying $300bht per person to get to the island by long tail and $100bht entrance fee). You are not allowed to bring your own water bottles, and all food/drink is double that on Koh Tao. However, still a must-see if you come to Koh Tao.” – courtesy by a traveler.
2 Taa Tho & Yaai Mae Spirit Rocks
This place is situated in the south of Ko Tao. Local in habitants here revere and worship two rock spirits called Hin Taa Tho and Hin Yaai Mae believing them to be gods who will protect them from natural disasters and bad luck espicially when travelling by sea. This spirit house is a place for people to show their respects and worship these rock spirits.
3 John – Suwan Mountain Viewpoint
It is a viewpoint that most tourists won’t miss when they have chance to visit Koh Tao as from here they can see the very impressive scenery of Chalok Baan Kao Bay and Thian Og Bay. John – Suwan Mountain Viewpoint is named after two avid travelers John and Suwan who discovered this marvellous point from where one can have the entire view of the island.
The viewpoint is located on a mountain ridge, at Chalok Baan Kao beach to the south of the island. It takes about 15 minutes of moderate trek over a distance of about 400 meters to reach the viewpoint. The spot offers a sweeping view of the bay. If the weather is clear, you may catch a glimpse of Phangan or Samui Island as well as the Ang Thong archipelago further away.
Chalok Baan Kao viewpoint is located at Southwest of Ko Tao, Paradise zone of Koh Tao Resort. There is a party every Saturday night. This place is one of the best viewpoints to observe a beautiful sunset on Koh Tao. This viewpoint has lots of hundred years old giant cycads which give spectacular view. At this viewpoint, you can see an amazing view of mountains embracing the ocean.
4 Sairee Viewpoint
Sairee Viewpoint is located in a beautiful hilltop in the north end of Koh Tao providing a panoramic view of the whole Ko Tao Island along with the nearby hills. It also has a beach which is the longest beach on the island and gives one of the most exciting night life experiences. The beach is suffused with number of night clubs, bars and restaurants serving multiple cuisines around the world. Night clubs are most popular for their free spirit music.
- Whale Skeleton
- Diamond caves
5 Mae Haad Bay
Mae Haad bay is the ferry port with a number of different ferry services available on and off Ko Tao. It is also a famous spot for people who want to enjoy the night life on the island and a popular place for going on cruise rides.
In the village you can find many restaurants and dive centers. Mae Haad has a wonderful village located directly behind it. It is actually quite expensive, so you have to spend wisely and fruitfully. Great place to take a stroll, get a massage, grab a bite or a beer and see some life bands. There are several restaurants which play movies during dinner. This is also the area for ATM’s, money exchange, 7 elevens, travel agencies and internet cafes. A very cool and young vibe. Worth your time to take several hours and stroll around.
6 Watkowtahm Yoga Retreat
WatKowTahm meditation center is situated 8 kilometers from KohPhangan port and is one of the most peaceful and serene retreats for meditation and spiritual experience. Surrounded by mountains and coconut jungles, this place is far from the crowd and offers a peaceful environment to mingle and transcend into divinity. The place is known for its week-long schedule of practicing Vipassana and silence observation, along with other forms of meditation.
No gadgets and electronic items are allowed to be taken inside the center.
7 Ko Tao Temple
The temple is situated in the town of Mae Haad and is surrounded by lush green trees. This island’s temple offers a shady, peaceful and tranquil atmosphere despite its location on the main road, 300 metres north of Mae Haad town. Set in quiet garden surrounds, it is here that people come here from all places for observing Buddhist culture and tradition closely as well as for meditation.
8 Ko Tao Nightlife
After a day of diving, snorkeling or other activities it is time to hit the nightlife of Koh Tao. There are plenty of venues to dance, watch live sports and play a game of pool or just to sip a cocktail in a relaxed atmosphere. Some of them offer live music, weekly or daily parties, pub grub or BBQ’s on the beach and even theme nights.
Sairee Beach is where most of the nightlife with lots of resorts. Sairee Beach is where it’s happening at night. Bars and clubs, some with live bands and others with some of the best DJ’s on the planet will make your rib cage vibrate. Some of the most popular spots include Touch Bar, The Deck, Dry Bar, Dragon Bar and Maya Bar. Just strolling up and down the beach at night is enough to keep you entertained. Fire throwers, jugglers, music and people are thrown together and make you wish you can stay forever. Most of the bars and dance spots are on the beach and some on the mountain tops.
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