The islands of Thailand are a tropical wonderland offering a large variety of accommodations and entertaining options for travelers seeking a relaxing vacation in an island atmosphere. The possibilities abound and one of the many islands to choose from is known for its particularly enjoyable eco-tourism and diving locations. The island is called Ko Tao, which is a name that is said to essentially translate to "Turtle Island." While some say this is because the island's geographic shape resembles a turtle, it is more likely due to the island previously being a popular breeding ground for a variety of sea turtles, some of which were recently repopulated in the local ecosystem as part of an effort to revitalize the island's natural wonders.
The island of Ko Tao supposedly only became settled by a resident community in the 1930`s when some relatively adventurous people from a neighboring island decided to make the jump. The island remained relatively unheard of for decades and reportedly only started to become known as a destination for non-Thai tourists beginning in the 1980's. From then the word about the newfound gem began to spread through backpacker grapevines internationally. The island was a relatively popular destination by the mid-90's, but is still considered to be a relatively quiet choice when compared to the nearby islands of Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui.
If you are interested in finding a good place to enjoy some fun and safe diving while in Thailand, and possibly even obtain a PADI dive certification in the process, then Ko Tao is likely your best choice. The island features numerous diving schools and also many diving resorts. Some of the schools and resorts have their own piers and other conveniences to make the introductory diving experience easier for beginning divers to better enjoy. There are also many pleasant diving locations to explore around the island during your stay on Ko Tao. Another fun island favorite is snorkeling and Shark Bay is a popular location to snorkel for the day.
Like most of the resort islands of Thailand, there are multiple ways to get around to the many beaches and bays on Ko Tao. The roads are still mostly dirt, as the island is relatively undeveloped, so it is a little more of an adventure to navigate. While there are ATV's available for rent, it is generally considered much safer to ride by taxi or by optionally renting a bicycle or Honda Dream scooter commonly available from either your resort or a shop. Just make sure to note any scratches or dents prior to renting, so that you may better protect from any occasionally unscrupulous shop practices.
Sairee Beach is the classic Ko Tao location where the island's modern community first reportedly began, and apparently for good reason. It is the island's largest beach and today is home to several restaurants, bars, and also some of the island's many diving schools. A visitor will likely find that there is something to enjoy on one of Ko Tao's many beaches day or night.
Have a wonderful adventure on the island of Ko Tao, should its natural wonders be your particular cup of tea.