Introducing Ko Tao
First there was Ko Samui, then Ko Pha-Ngan; now, the cult of Ko Tao (‘Ko Taoism’ perhaps?) has emerged along Thailand’s crystalline gulf coast. Today, thousands of visitors come to worship the turquoise waters offshore, and quite often they stay. The secret to Ko Tao’s undeniable appeal? Simple: although the island is only 21 sq km, tiny Tao sure knows how to pack it in – there’s something for everyone, and nothing is in moderation. Diving enthusiasts cavort with sharks and rays in a playground of tangled neon coral. Hikers and hermits can re-enact an episode from Lost in the dripping coastal jungles. And when you’re Robinson Crusoe-ed out, hit the pumpin’ bar scene that rages on until dawn.
Many years have passed since the first backpacker came to the scrubby island and planted a flag in the name of self-respecting shoestring travellers everywhere (hello pizza parlours and ladyboy shows), but fret not, there’s still plenty of time to join the tribe. Ko Tao has several years to go before corporate resort owners bulldoze the remaining rustic cottages, and visitors start discussing stockholdings rather than sea creatures spotted on their latest dive.
Best places to stay in Ko Tao
How to choose between Thailand’s classic islands
With hundreds of dreamy tropical islands scattered along Thailand’s extensive coastline, choosing your ideal island escape can be overwhelming.
Ko Tao destination guides
Thailand: which beach is right for you?
It isn’t fair, really – there are over 200 countries around the globe and Thailand has managed to snag a disproportionate amount of the world’s top beaches.
Southern Thailand Sojourn
From Bangkok nightclubs that never close to laid-back beachside drinks on Koh Tao, experience the energy of southern Thailand. Hike through the magnificent lowland rainforest of Khao Sok National Park, where tigers still roam, or laze in a riverside hammock. This is your trip—so tread your own path.
Thailand Beaches East Coast (May - Oct)
Clear blue waters, white sands, swaying palm trees and a bungalow on the beach… Thailand has the ideal ingredients for a holiday in paradise. Come and explore Thailand's beautiful southern islands, relax in the sun and try some of the special Thai food this region is famous for.
Thailand's best scenic journeys
Overnight ferry from Chumphon to Ko Tao It’s just a simple fishing boat with mats on the upper deck and winking stars overhead Mahachai Shortline train This day’s diversion from Bangkok trundles through forests, marshland and wet markets Mae Sa–Samoeng loop The mountain equivalent of a rollercoaster ride that climbs, dips and t.