Koh Tao

A Colourful Underwater Ecosystem

Koh Tao literally translates as Turtle Island and received its name from the teeming masses of sea turtles that use to swim in the island's surrounding waters. They have moved on to new breeding grounds since then, but the name is still synonymous with an aquatic nature lover’s paradise.

The island was first colonised in the late 1800s and inhabited by small colonies of fishermen. In 1933, Koh Tao was used as a political prison because of its geographical isolation, and in 1947 a royal pardon was granted to the prisoners by the prime minister, leaving the 'Turtle' completely abandoned. After this, people slowly trickled back onto the island and about 20 years ago Koh Tao became a hot spot for adventurous backpackers. This is largely due to the pristine diving conditions and the startling diversity of the marine life.

Its reputation as one of South-East Asia's most esteemed dive spots remains undisputed to this day; it is a great place to learn how to dive, with hardly any currents and a wide selection of dive sites and dive shops, school and resorts.

Insiders' Tips

  • Sample the Superb Seafood: Feel the island vibe and indulge in mouth-watering seafood caught daily from in and around the island. Try the seared seafood on a stick, a perfect accompaniment to a sunset by the beach.
  • Panoramic Pleasure: With a view that spans over 180 degrees and a reputation for some if the best steaks in town, the Lung Pae Restaurant is probably not the easiest to find, but well worth a venture.

Holiday Search