Exploring Koh Tao, Thailand: A Divers Paradise

Known as Turtle Island, this tiny island may be the smallest among its siblings, Koh Samui and Koh Pha-Ngan, but it is full of amazing experiences, both above and beneath the waves. Here's a small guide to exploring Koh Tao, a divers paradise and the best things is has to offer.

Exploring Koh Tao, Thailand: A Divers Paradise

When visiting Thailand and looking for an amazing place to go diving or to simply explore the culture and vibe of Thai Island live, you need to venture into the heart of the Gulf of Thailand and discover Koh Tao

Why Visit Koh Tao?

Koh Tao is renowned as the ideal place to learn scuba diving in Thailand. The island offers a plethora of diving opportunities that will make you question why anyone would ever choose to leave. As someone who has visited Koh Tao 5 times, I find myself drawn back by the island's charming vibe, spending months diving, indulging in local cuisines, hanging out with local Thai's and new friends that come and go from the island.

Whether it's a short visit or an extended stay, Koh Tao is an essential stop on any Thailand travel itinerary. After numerous visits, here are some of my best tips to enhance your time and the best Koh Tao adventure that you possible can.

When Is The Best Time to Visit Koh Tao?

Koh Tao's climate offers unique advantages throughout the year. The peak months between March and May are perfect for spotting Whale Sharks, the ocean's gentle giants. The island quiets down from June to September with pleasant weather, making it ideal for those seeking tranquility. Meanwhile, the festive vibe picks up from December through April (Songkran). However, it's wise to avoid November, when the monsoon season hits full swing.

How To Get To Koh Tao?

The most straightforward route to Koh Tao is flying to Koh Samui from Bangkok or Phuket, then catching a ferry. If you get travel anxiety easily, you should consider booking your ferry tickets in advance to streamline your journey from the airport to the pier. The ferry ride, a scenic two-hour journey, includes a brief stop at Koh Pha-Ngan to drop off and pickup other island hoppers.

How to get to Koh Tao | Black Turtle Dive
You can get to Koh Tao by high speed or slower ferry from 90 minutes with a daily timetable served from Koh Samui, Chumphon or Surat Thani by day and night

For a budget-friendly option, the bus/ferry combo from Bangkok or Phuket to Koh Tao is worth considering, though be prepared for a less comfortable ride. Adventurous travelers might explore the night ferry option, although it's a longer journey.

Getting Around Koh Tao

Upon arrival, you have several options for exploring the island:

  • Scooter: For the experienced rider only, as the roads can be challenging and safety is paramount—always wear a helmet.
  • Bicycle: An eco-friendly way to traverse the hilly landscape.
  • Taxi: most of the Taxi's in all of Thailand's islands are a truck with benches in the back and "Oh Shit handles" for everyone to grab on to, or motorbike. Regardless of what you do, ask the price and whatever they tell you offer them half and go from there. Never pay what they ask!

The island is really small, so most of the time you will not need anything but your feet to get around, assuming you choose to stay in a good place. Ban's is a great place that is close to everything, and they will pick you up at the pier when you arrive. They send a truck down to the pier for every ferry arrival and have a sign to make clear, "This is your ride".

Where to Stay

Koh Tao offers a variety of accommodations to suit any preference or budget:

  • Budget Divers: Many dive centers offer lodging at reduced rates, or check for package deals on courses and accommodations, and like I said above I recommend Bans.
  • Long-term Stays: Hotels often provide discounts for extended stays; it's best to book a short initial stay and then explore options upon arrival.

For those desiring a more upscale stay:

  • Jamahkiri Dive Resort & SPA: A 10 minutes drive from the harbor, offering a spectacular view over the gulf of Thailand.
Best Places To Stay In Koh Tao Thailand
Jamahkiri Dive Resort & SPA

Things To Do In Koh Tao

Activities are plentiful in Koh Tao:

  • Diving and Snorkeling: From beginner courses at Big Blue Diving to snorkeling in Shark Bay, the clear waters of Koh Tao are perfect for underwater adventures.
  • Beach Hopping: Rent a scooter or take a boat to explore secluded beaches like Mango Bay and Freedom Beach.
  • Hiking: The island offers stunning viewpoints and hiking trails, such as those on Nangyuan Island.
  • Fitness and Yoga: Engage in a Muay Thai class, or find inner peace at one of the many Yoga studios.

Food In Koh Tao

Best Places To Eat In Koh Tao
Sunset In Koh Tao

I feel nothing needs to be said, if you are coming to Koh Tao, I assume you have or will be spending time in Thailand before you arrive as there are no flights into Koh Tao - It's the same amazing food you get all over Thailand - the best in the world according to my taste buds. But here is a complete guide, on the best places to eat in Koh Tao. The best part about food in Koh Tao, is that most restaurants are located along the beach front, and the sunsets in Koh Tao - Like all of south east Asia, are to die for!

Medical Care In Koh Tao

Being a few hours by ferry to the closest airport, it's advised to not do anything stupid that requires an emergency specialist, as local clinics vary in quality. There are plenty of clinics on the Islands, and most things such as injuries can be handled on the island. If you have some type of rare medical condition or disease that normally requires a specialist in Bangkok or Phuket when things go south.

Koh Tao is a jewel in the Gulf of Thailand, offering an array of activities, a beautiful beach, amazing diving experiences, and a sunset that you will only find in the Gulf of Thailand. With careful planning and a sense of adventure, your visit to Koh Tao can be nothing short of magical. Dive into the vibrant life of Turtle Island and create memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you're exploring its terrestrial wonders or the depths of its blue waters, Koh Tao is every divers paradise.


What is the best time of year to go diving in Koh Tao?

What are some popular dive sites in Koh Tao?

Can beginners dive in Koh Tao?

What marine life can I expect to see while diving in Koh Tao?

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