Reviews • 5
A paradise for snorkelers and divers, Koh Tao has innumerable bays and beaches for you to fall in love. Famously known as the Turtle Island, you can also volunteer for elephants and visit the turtle conservation as well as hatching centers that are here. Sairee Beach, Aow Leuk Bay, Chalok Bay are among the most popular chilling places where you can see the turquoise water and the golden beaches. And don't forget to take a ride on a long-tail boat!
Koh Tao: In a Word, Wow!We arrived in Koh Tao a few days ago, and I already aknow it’s going to be really, really hard to leave.Koh Tao is a small island north of Koh Phangan, situated in the gulf of Thailand. Its nickname is “turtle island” – both because its shape resembles the sea creature, and also because of its past significance as a breeding ground. Sadly that’s a trend that seems to have died since the arrival of mass tourism in the 80s and 90s, but there are efforts in place to encourage turtles back the island that they previously inhabited for thousands of years.On exiting the boat at the pier, our hotel is situated 700m to the left, on Sai Ree beach- the most developed on Koh Tao. Don’t get the wrong idea when I say the most developed, I’m not taking high rises and a-roads; Koh Tao seems to be a strictly two storey island, with our beach lined with swaying palm trees and relaxed wooden restaurants and beach bars.We’re staying at In Touch Resort, a collection of Flintstones-style curved concrete huts with open, thatched roof bathrooms attached all set within jungle-esque grounds filled with noisy toads. We’ve got a pair of absolutely enormous geckos living in our bathroom ceiling, and Pete did have to deal with a particularly massive spider on the first day, but all in all, it’s really lovely feeling so close to nature.The night we arrived it was cloudy, so after some food on our restaurant terrace, we headed off to a bar further down the beach to watch a fire show. A few hours (and beers) later, we walked back along the beach in the dark. Most of the bars and resorts were closed by this point, and I got massively over excited and decided that we just had to go skinny dipping. After 5 minutes of swimming in the warm, calm sea, we wriggled back in to our swimwear, picked up our clothes and ran back to our hut!Our first full day in Koh Tao was spent in a bit of a stupor. The clouds had all but disappeared and we were confronted with the most beautiful ocean which lapped the shore below our feet as we ate breakfast on the decking. We didn’t move for the rest of the day.As it gets dark so early here, and we have no Wi-Fi or TV in our room, we found a bar that was showing Skyfall (James Bond) on a projector screen, and settled in for the evening with two cups of tea. Bliss!Today we’ve been ever so slightly more active. We have been staring at the ocean for two days and only just realized that the change in color that can be seen about 50 m out must be a reef. So, we bought a snorkel mask and swam out in front of our little bit of the beach, and soon we could see so many fish! We saw sea cucumbers, leopard bush fish, some zebra striped beauties, lots of flat black ones, and a couple of beautiful electric blue and orange striped ones (they looked like larger, duller, clownfish). Pete’s been diving in Egypt before and whilst what we saw was nothing compared to that, it was still awesome for a crappy swimmer like me – and just a short swim from the shore. I wish I had an underwater camera to have taken some pictures!For the rest of our time on Koh Tao, we are planning on exploring further up the beach again and perhaps renting a kayak to get further out to sea and down the coast, or heading off to snorkel on a shipwreck at the main pier. For now, I’ll leave you with this picture of tonight’s sunset
View of Koh Tao – The Turtle IslandWe reached the resort dropped our bags and headed to Sairee Beach right opposite our resort. It was a beautiful coast truly. We had a sumptuous breakfast (read bread for vegetarians) and headed out to find a taxi to take us to the next beach spot. For commute in Koh Tao, you can either rent bikes as cheap as 150-200 Baht per bike for a day or you can hire a cab at 1000-1500 Baht depending on the places you want to cover. Since we were a large group, we preferred going together in a jeep and took a taxi to Tanote Bay.
A journey of around two hours went past in a haze with the beautiful sun rising atop glistening the blue waters with a shimmer like no other. Soon we spotted Koh Tao, rightfully named Tao which means “Turtle” in Thai as the tiny 21 km2 island actually looked like a giant turtle. As we spotted the turtle island and praying to the rain gods for some kindness we rushed to our resort.
Effortless and fuss-free, Thailand is everyone's favourite destination to dive and Koh Tao is the place to go if you are looking for a good deal. The stiff competition amongst dive-centres means excellent rates for dive-packages, although the instructor-student ratio is usually not brilliant.