Ko-Tao means “Turtle Island. Once upon a time, it was indeed home to countless numbers of these cute reptiles. But human activity has forced them to leave these places. Fortunately, not forever. Today, turtles are gradually returning to the island, and with the construction of tourist infrastructure is now adjusted to their way of life. The natural beauty of the island, rich marine life and clean warm water have turned Ko-Tao into one of the world’s largest diving centers. However, those who are indifferent to scuba diving will also enjoy their holidays on Turtle Island.
Ko-Tao has few sights, people come here for the tropical nature, beautiful beaches, snorkeling and diving. Especially the latter: according to the professionals, it is the best place to learn and practice scuba diving in Thailand (and in all of South-East Asia). Underwater visibility here reaches 40 meters, and the coastal reefs are home to turtles, stingrays, barracudas, reef and whale sharks. There are more than 50 schools on Ko-Tao offering courses for THB 8,000-25,000. Accommodation and breakfast are often included. All instructors speak English, but there are also a few Russian-speaking schools.
The island has more than 20 beaches, but the most popular are two of them. Both are located on the west coast: Mae Haad and Sayri. Next to Mae Haad is a village, which houses the government offices, police station, supermarket, market, post office, hospital, banks, stores with diving equipment. This is where all the ferries and boats arriving on Ko Tao are docked. It should be noted that there are almost no sun loungers on the beach, so it is worth bringing a towel. The beach is sandy and has a gentle entrance.
Beach Sairy, stretching for 1.85 kilometers, is the longest beach on Ko-Tao (GPS coordinates: 10.099260, 99.827970). It is framed by palm trees and conifers, creating a pleasant shade. The sea is very shallow here, an obvious advantage for families with children. This beach is more touristy than Mae Haad, so the prices for food and lodging are a bit higher, averaging 1500-1700 THB per room in a hostel. Along the beach there is a pedestrian road with stores, massage parlors, diving schools, rental agencies, bars, restaurants. By the way, the typical food on the island – grilled fish with rice, the average price for such a dish 300-450 THB. Since many foreigners live on the island, Koh Tao is full of French, Italian, American cuisine establishments.
- Tap water: No, not drinkable
- Religious government: Non-religious
- Population: 1,400 people
- GDP: $5,911 / year
- Power outlets: 230V50Hz
- Internet: 21 Mbps
- Best wireless: AIS
- Pay without cash: Yes, cards OK almost everywhere
- Tipping: Tipping is NOT customary in Thailand, there is absolutely NO mandatory requirement to tip anyone, but small gratuities for great service are very much appreciated.
- Apartment listings:
- Apartments: Airbnb
- Hotels: Booking.com
- More hotels: Hotels.com
- Best taxi: Grab
- Best coworking space: Tao Hub
- Online electronics shop: Lazada
- Best hospital: Koh Tao International Clinic
- Best short-haul air carrier: Air Asia
- Best intl air carrier: Air Asia
- Monthly costs for expat: $1100
- Monthly costs for family: $1800
- Monthly costs for local: $500
- Meal: $4
- Small Cola: $0.8
- Beer 1 Pint: $1.6
- Coffee: $2.5
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