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Boats in the village of Thong Sala, Koh Tao, Coasts, Thailand
Boats in the village of Thong Sala

Mae Haad Bay is a hotspot for snorkeling and diving

© Patrice Hauser / EASYVOYAGE
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Koh Tao Thailand
By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Discover Koh Tao

Koh Tao is also known as "Turtle Island", even though you're not likely to see any sign of one here! Despite being the smallest and most rustic island in the archipelago, it still features in tourist guides around the world, particularly for its diving.

The island is surrounded by the Gulf of Thailand and although you'll find the waters here are neither deep nor of particular interest, the fact remains that it is very popular for 2 reasons: first, there are various approved PADI diving centres here offering unbeatable prices for initiations, classes, and other activities; second, it may be a sports-designated destination but it also offers peaceful surroundings.

Catamarans are a quick way of getting between the ports of Samui and Phangan and also sail into Mae Haad port, where a small village of tourist shops, all selling the same things (primarily T-shirts and crÍpes), has been built. The island isn't very big and can easily be explored on foot or by taking one of the many available taxis. Scooters are another pleasant way of getting around, as the roads are all tarmaced and traffic runs smoothly, so with a little care you can easily drive to Koh Tao.

The island's main attractions are located on the west coast and notably include Sairee Beach, said to be the most beautiful on the island. The beaches on the east coast, such as Hin Wong Bay, Laem Thian, and Tanote Bay, are less touristy and more difficult to access. Thian Og Bay beach on the south tip of the island, however, is rather renowned.

How to get there: there are 2 catamaran companies offering quick transfers to and from Koh Samui (via Koh Phangan) and Bangkok (via Chumporn, by bus) Lompraya: Koh Tao-Koh Phangan-Koh Samui, departs 8:45am. Koh Samui-Koh Tao departs 7:45am (2 hour journey). Seatran: Koh Tao-Koh Phangan-Koh Samui, departs 9:30am and 3:00pm. Koh Samui-Koh Tao, departs 8:00am and 1:00pm.

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Koh Tao

Thai longboats, Koh Tao, Koh Tao, Coasts, Thailand
Thai longboats, Koh Tao

Locals have long used longboats as taxis to the various beaches.

© ltdedigos / 123RF
Nangyuan Terrace, Koh Tao, Coasts, Thailand
Nangyuan Terrace

From the panoramic viewpoint in Nangyuan, in the north west of the island, you can see the island of Nuang Yuan.

© lkunl / 123RF
The village of Mae Haad, Koh Tao., Koh Tao, Coasts, Thailand
The village of Mae Haad, Koh Tao.

The village of Mae Haad, the port of the island, has many rather touristy restaurants and shops.

© Patrice Hauser / EASYVOYAGE
Scuba diving in Koh Tao, Koh Tao, Coasts, Thailand
Scuba diving in Koh Tao

Koh Tao is reputed for its attractive diving rates.

© Themorningglory / 123RF
Sairee Beach, Koh Tao, Koh Tao, Coasts, Thailand
Sairee Beach, Koh Tao

Sairee Beach is considered the most beautiful beach on Koh Tao.

© Serditova / 123RF
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