Accommodation is mostly in small resort villages containing hotels, villas and bungalows and most are very close to the coast. Waking up to look out of the window and see the Gulf of Thailand just makes you feel good to be alive. All accommodation rooms are fitted with air conditioning and other basic facilities and most resort hotels have their own swimming pool and even rock climbing activities.
How to get to Koh Tao
There are three options available from Bangkok.
• A direct flight to the nearby island of Koh Sumui and then connect to a high speed ferry to Koh Tao. If you are planning on going directly to Koh Tao from your home country it may be possible to get a direct flight to Koh Samui so you miss out the Bangkok stop. Either of these will be by far the fastest option although will be a bit more expensive.
• Trains operate from Bangkok’s Hualamphong station where you can catch a connecting overnight train to Chumphon. Once you arrive in Chumphon you can catch a ferry to Koh Tao, normally in the morning shortly after you arrive. Combined train and boat tickets are available.
• The final option is by bus from Khao San Road in Bangkok, again you can get a combined bus and boat ticket and again it is an overnight bus journey. You are advised to look for a reputable travel agent and do not engage with street vendors. The bus will take you to Chumphon and you connect with the ferry straight to Koh Tao.
Nearly all resorts here are located on the west coast with a handful of resorts on the southern coastline, one on the north coast and one on the west coast. Away from the beeches the remainder of the island is largely jungle where you can go walking, hiking and mountain biking on a network of small paths all over the island. By taking one of these options you will discover a few vantage points to get some wonderful views and stumble on some places of interest including a huge rock formation that has an engraving of King Rama V.
Fishing trips are available as is fishing tackle for hire. Local operators will take you out to sea and offer better tackle. The alternative is to hire a “long tail’ boat and look after yourself, a decent option if you know where to look for the fish. Kayaks are also available and are a useful way to tour the coastline of the island and take your time to explore. The kayaks can be hired from most resorts or local operators at most of the beaches. You can hire a Kayak at an hourly or daily rate.
What to see and do..
The main focus for tourists on Koh Tao is the surrounding waters and the creatures that live in them. This also means most of the beaches are not over populated if you simply want to relax outdoors. Koh is essentially the home of Thailand’s Scuba diving scene with an impressively large variety of marine species such as the Barracuda, Grouper and Whale shark, not to mention the beautiful corals and all the smaller marine species that live among them. Diving schools are present at all resorts and offer trips and equipment for the novice and experienced diver.
If you are looking for a nightlife scene that may resemble something similar to most other tourist venues then you are going to be disappointed. There are bars and restaurants of course but this island cannot be compared to anywhere else in terms of the nightlife. It is incredibly relaxed, peaceful and what most holiday makers would consider ‘normal’. There is a small collection of “girly bars” but the reality is, if you are visiting Koh Tao to meet the girl of your dreams you are probably looking in the wrong place. Our advice would be to go to one of the larger cities or islands (Pattaya, Bangkok, Phuket etc.) and take one of those working girls for a holiday with you.