Koh Tao: A Diving Paradise

koh Tao

Koh Tao is one ofpopular diving spots among tourists. Situated north of Koh Pangan and Koh Samui, Koh Tao has gained muchpopularity as one of the most spectacular places for scuba and skindiving.  Koh Tao claims to host the mostbeautiful coral reef in the Gulf of Thailand Sea after Koh Lipe. 

A Scuba Diving Paradise

The whole island consists of 11 bays 10 capes with 28.6 km long of coastline and finally 7 km long of coral reef. Additionally, you can find white sand palm beaches lining down the coastline of the island. The most beautiful beach is Sairee beach which is also the longest beach on Koh Tao.  BesidesSairee beach, you can enjoy stunning scenes of this tropical island fromPakarang(coral reef) beach, Lantian cape, and Mae Had beach.

As mentioned earlier, Koh Tao has been praised by tourists as a mecca of scuba diving spot on the Gulf of Thailand side. Tourists can enjoy a skin diving at many locations such as Muong bay (Purple bay), Tien Nok bay, Tanodebay, and Ao Luk (Deep Bay). More experienced divers may challenge themselves on scuba diving at a Japanese garden, Chalam Island (Shark Island), Chumponsubmerged rocks, and Tungku submerged rocks.

A John & Suwan Viewpoint

The landmark viewpoint of Koh Tao is named after 2 buddies who discovered this viewing summit.  This viewpoint situated at Tato cape on the southernmost part of the island and only be accessible by foot.  Despite the stiff road to the summit, hundreds of tourists pay a visit to a John & Suwanviewpoint to admire the full panorama view of the island.


Koh Nang Yuan

Koh Nang Yaun of Koh Tao

If you look at the map of Koh Tao, you probably notice a group of small islands situating on the top left corner of Koh Tao.  This group of three small islands connects together with piles of white sand beach forming into a shape of a triangle. Koh Nang Yuan rises into fame because of its spectacular coral reef for both skinand scuba diving.

Please be advised that plastic materials are strictly prohibited to Koh Nang Yuan area.  A fine may be applied for a violation and visitors must pay an entrance fee of 30 Baht per person.  Visitors must leave Koh Nang Yuan before 5 pm.  For those who want to stay overnight may contact Nang Yuan Dive Resort for more information.

There is a daily long-tailed boat service from Mae Had beach to Koh Nang Yuan.  The departure time from MaeHad beach is 10.30 and the boat departs Koh Nang Yuan at 16.30.  A single trip costs 20 Baht and cruising timeis approximately 20 minutes.        

Resorts and restaurants

Like other popular islands in Thailand, Koh Tao provides many classes of hotel accommodations ranging from hundreds Baht room to almost ten thousand Baht per night.  Budget travelers may opt to stay at Tipvimarn resort, Koh Tao bamboo hut while honeymooners who prefer a better hospitality are likely to book a reservation at Jamakiri resort and spa or Jamjuree villa boutique resort.  For more information about hotel accommodation in Koh Tao, check out the following website www.agoda.comfor the best deal.

*** Koh Tao is an isolated island and there is no underwater electric cable connecting from the mainland by the time this article is being written.  Therefore, most power consumption including electricity relies on a diesel power generator.  Expect occasional shortage of power supply and possibly fresh water during the high season.

Seafood is the most favorite type of restaurant in Koh Tao.  Taking advantage of its location, Koh has offered a dozen of seafood restaurants. For more information, check out www.wongnai.com

For those who enjoy nightlife party, the fish beach lounge bar may catch your attention.  You can sit back and relax on a large couch while sipping a draft beer and witness a sunset atSairee beach.  Hippo Bar and Grilled restaurant is another fusion food restaurant in Koh Tao. The restaurant is decorated with Scandinavian style types of furniture.  The pop-dance music band is talented and able to play different types of music.  The restaurant’s signature dish, a grilled steak, is the best steak on KohTao.  Don’t miss this place if you are a meat lover.

Trantsportation

Koh Tao is easily accessible from both Suratthani and Chumpon province but I really recommend tourists board the ferry at Chumpon province because it takes less travel time than that of Suratthani.

There are many local buses running point to point service on Koh Tao but most tourists prefer renting bike or ATV car as their main vehicle. 

*** Rental Motorcycle Scam

Don’t fall to the trap laid by rental motorcycle scammers in KohTao.  Only 30% of roads network on the island is paved.  Therefore the rest are merely dirt and stiff roads.  It is almost impossible to ride a bike without getting scratch.  Although a daily rental price may be as low as 100 – 300 Baht, the penalty charge for a tiny scratch can go up to 10,000 Bath when you return the bike to a vendor. The vendor will force you to pay a penalty charge otherwise he will not allow you to leave the island.  Forget about police, they can do nothing about this. Agree upon the rental contract with the vendor before renting.  Please keep in mind that none of these rentalbikes is insured.

Danger and Annoyance          

Koh Tao is notoriously known as the Sicily of Thailand.  There are at least 5 families taking control of this island just like Italian mafia families do in Sicily.  Three of them rule over Sairee beach area while the other two dominate the western part of the island.  These families benefit from almost everybusiness on the island either as an owner or an equipment supplier. 

Narcotic drugs are very common and easy to acquire on the island.  All you need is a little introduction from current clients (Maybe your new friend on the island) to the agent.  After that, you can do it alone next time.  On Koh Tao, you can buy marihuana, LSD, Amphetamine, or even Cocaine.  One-third of tourists are reportedly coming to Koh Tao looking for a drug safe haven.  It is not true.  Once you are up, you will be an easy target of local polices when they are short of cash. 

The police usually set up a “temporary checking point” on the way to AoLuk (Deep Bay) or at the entrance of Sairee beach.  New tourists with some weed in their possession are likely to be arrested.  Of course, the police don’t want to file a lawsuit against tourists for possession of drugs.  They just want to squeeze some money out of tourists’ wallet.

If you come to Koh Tao for sightseeing, the general rule of thumb is to stay away from drug dealers or their clients (probably your new friends on the island) and you would be fine. Recently, you may have heard about severe crimes with foreigners in KohTao. The crime rate is surprisingly low comparing to Pattaya or Phuket.  Ironically, five mafia families run the whole business on Koh Tao and the last thing they really want is a trouble.  As long as you stay on course, it will be just fine.

Take your time and enjoy the island!     
                     


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