Having done some island hopping on the Andaman sea we decided to head up north and have a closer look at what the other coastal side of Thailand – the Gulf of Thailand – had to offer. Some of the most important tourist destinations of the country can be found here, which include the 3-island-group of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao. Koh Samui is the largest and busiest island, even offering an airport with flights to the mainland. Koh Pha Ngan is well known for its famous full-moon beach parties and is the second largest island of the group. Koh Tao is a rather small island and apparently one of the best places for diving and snorkeling in Asia!Feeling like having a relaxed time and my desire to do some nice snorkeling we eventually chose to go straight to Koh Tao Island.
How to get to Koh Tao Island
There are many ways to get tot Koh Tao, depending on where you come from. Koh Tao Island is served by most of the ferries that cross the island group and can only be reached by this way. Ferries depart from either Chumphon (coming from Bangkok) or from Surat Thani, which was the one we took coming from Krabi Town. Lomprayah is the biggest provider of tickets and offers speed boat services between the island group. All-inclusive transfers can be booked with all the tourist agencies and hotels.
Alternatively you can fly directly to Koh Samui and continue with a ferry to Koh Tao Island.
What there is to see on Koh Tao Island
Koh Tao is less developed than its two bigger brother islands and offers a somewhat more local atmosphere, despite its increasing popularity as a major diving and snorkeling destination. The island as such only offers a view attractions, but these are very beautiful and highly recommendable to discover.
Not directly on the island itself but a short boat-ride away this magnificent piece of land is definitely worth a visit. The island is made up of three small parts which are all connected by shallow sandbanks that can be used to go from one side to another. The perfect, white beach is beautiful, stretching across the entire island. The water is very shallow and perfect for a nice swim.
More amazingly than the beach is actually the viewpoint!Walk across to the island on the left and go up all the way until you reach some larger boulders on top of the hill – one of the nicest viewpoints in Thailand so far!
Snorkeling / Diving
Since we do not do dive we decided to book a snorkeling tour that takes you all around the island. Within the tour you visit various snorkeling spots and get to see a lot of fishes and some nice reefs. Rocio was even lucky enough to see a small shark and we had a chance to see thousands of fishes in all shapes and colors swimming by – a very nice experience!This is the best way to discover the island.
Most of the areas we stopped were nice, even though we expected a bit more after all the reviews you read about this being THE best place for snorkeling around Asia.But it still is a great place to snorkel and I would for sure recommend to do this.
And yes, the island obviously also offers some nice beaches to hang out on. We stayed at a more secluded resort on the eastern part of the island and had a small, more or less private beach named Tanote Beach. A nice place to relax and even offers some small areas for snorkeling. The sand is more of a pebble and a bit rough but nevertheless nice. Getting to this part of the island is quite a challenge as the roads are beyond bad.
The other more popular beaches of the island are called Sairee Beach (roughly two kilometers long, most of the island’s restaurants and bars can be found here), Mae Haat Beach (main tourist area) and Chalok Baan Kao (further down south, bit more secluded).
I believe there are also a few bars and clubs on the western and main part of the island but Koh Tao is more of a place to relax, snorkel and dive and to just enjoy the peaceful island life!