Situated 60 kilometres off the coast of Chumphon but falling under the jurisdiction of Surat Thani, Ko Tao lies 45 kilometres north of Ko Pha-ngan and is only 20 square kilometres in area but it is known as the best diving site in the Gulf of Thailand. The turquoise water of Ko Tao is crystalline, coconut plantations still cover much of the landscape, and concrete roads are built along only a few beaches. Getting around the island is either by pick-up taxi or by boat. Motorbikes and mountain bikes are also available for rent to explore the island.
Attractions in and around Ko Tao include:
Hat Cho Po Ro or Hat Sai Ri – This small powdery beach provides accommodation. The Giant Clam Park nearby breeds the near-extinct giant clam and exhibits many aquatic animals. It is open daily.
Ko Nang Yuan - A coral island with a high viewpoint and long white sandy beaches.
Kong Hin Khao and Kong Hin Khiao – These overlaying rocks have submarine alcoves, whereby many fish frequent.
Kong Hin Chumphon – Many fish frequent this area on the northwestern part of the island. During breeding season in March – April, this area is closed from any fishing activities.
Ban Mae Hat – Pier, transportation terminal, diving schools and shops renting diving gear, concentrate in this economic centre of the island.
Kong Sai Daeng – Rarely seen black-eared shark frequent the red sandstone by the mouth of Thian Nok Bay.
The best period is from December to April. It is possible to travel to Ko Tao during the rainy season (May to October), though obviously, you should be prepared to run into showers and rainstorms.
Travel to Ko Tao by Boat
Ko Pha-ngan - Ko Tao
Songserm Express Boat leaves Ko Pha-ngan’s Thong Sala pier at 12 noon daily. Travelling time is 2 hours. The fare is 250 baht. Speedboats leave Thong Sala pier on Ko Tao at 8.30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Travelling time is 1 hour. The fare is 350 baht
Ko Samui - Ko Tao
A boat departs from Ko Samui at 11 a.m. to Ko Tao via Ko Pha-ngan. The boat arrives Ko Tao at 1.30 p.m. The fare is 350 baht. Speedboats leave Maenam Pier on Ko Samui at 8 a.m. Travelling time is 1 ½ hours. The fare is 550 baht. Call Lomphrayah 0 7745 617 ot Songserm Travel 0 7742 0157 for details.
Surat Thani – Ko Tao
A night boat departs from Surat Thani at 8 p.m.and arrives Ko Tao at 8 a.m. The fare is 250 baht.
For travel from Chumphon to Ko Tao, please click www.tourismthailand.org/attraction/chumphon-86-4208-1.html