Koh Tao island. History, climate and interesting facts

Interesting facts about Ko Tao

Koh Tao or «Turtle Island» is a small volcanic island located in the South-West part of the Gulf of Thailand, in the South China Sea. Administratively it is belongs to the province of Suratthani. It is a part of a small group of islands (from north to south) which include the islands of Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui and 42 islands of the Angthong national marine park.
The popularity of this small group of exotic islands is in connection with Alex Garland’s novel «Beach» which was later turned into a movie. At the beginning of the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character is in one of the guesthouses on Khao San Road in Bangkok. He receives a map indicating the location of the «Beach». On this map is a group of islands: Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao. One of the islands of Angthong marine park was the author’s inspiration for the «Beach».
Koh Tao Island is located about 70 kilometers from the mainland between the cities of Chumphon and Suratthani. The nearest islands are Koh Phangan and Koh Samui and these are located 60 and 70 km respectively south of Koh Tao. Between the islands and the mainland there is regular sea traffic.
Koh Tao island is only 7 km in length and 3 km width and has a total area of approximately 21 square km. It might be small but will amaze you with it’s beautiful beaches and bays! Koh Tao is also called the «Mecca of diving and snorkeling in Thailand» due to a rich variety of coral reefs and marine fauna. Every day, the island is visited by several hundred tourists from the neighboring islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan who come to dive in the azure waters of Koh Tao or just to swim and snorkel.

In the Northwest of Koh Tao, literally a kilometer away, is the small island of Koh Nanguan which has the most beautiful view point. This overlooks the white sandy beach and often appears as a view on postcards.
The island has a large number of guesthouses, hotels, and bungalows with a very wide price range and service level. Everyone will find something interesting on this island. Thousands people every year comes to the island to dive, to get their scuba diving certification or simply to snorkel in the beautiful Koh Tao waters.

Topography of Koh Tao Island

Koh Tao Island stretches from the North to the South for 7 km and consists of 5 hills, which offer a magnificent view of the bays and beaches of Koh Tao, as well as the neighboring islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. The highest points of the island are 190, 313, 310, 210 and 379 meters above sea level from South to North, respectively.
Most of the island is covered with stunning jungle on the steep hillsides.
Only about 30% of the island is flat, creating excellent places for walking. According to the data of geological surveys, Koh Tao was a huge mountain hundreds of thousands years ago. With time the granite rock crumbled and fell into the sea under the influence of natural processes.
Two main beaches — Haad Sairee and Mae Haad, are located on the western side of the island. The most popular place for tourists is Sairee on the west coast, which has a white sandy beach of 1.7 km, interrupted only by a few huge boulders and a scattering of medium budget resorts and restaurants.
However, most people seeking peace choose quiet small beaches scattered throughout the rest of the coast.

Climate of Koh Tao

Koh Tao Island is known for its comfortable climate. Sunny days are much longer than on nearby Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.
The average annual air temperature on Koh Tao island is approximately 29–30 degrees. The water temperature very rarely falls below the 26 degree mark.
Hot season is from March to June.
November-December is usually monsoon season.
For almost 11 months of the year Koh Tao has excellent weather.

Diving on Koh Tao

The island is well known as the best place for scuba diving. The total length of coral reefs located in the coastal waters is more than 8 kilometers. Some lie in shallow depths, creating excellent locations for snorkeling. Others located further away are only accessible by a dive boat.
And Koh Tao has a lot more to offer…
As well as scuba diving and snorkeling, Koh Tao has great opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and bouldering. Maybe you’d like to explore the island by foot, scooter, bike or by traditional Thai long-tail boat. You will then be rewarded with stunning sea views from mountain tops and view points, untouched nature of thick jungle, clean beaches and local people who are always ready to help you.