The most famous southern province in the Gulf of Thailand, Surat Thani has several world famous islands under its territory; namely Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Ang Thong archipelagos, Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan. The last two are best known among intrepid travellers as the best dive site in the gulf of Thailand.
Located around 120 kilometres from the Surat Thani coast, Koh Tao and neighbouring Koh Nang Yuan, occupy an area of almost 18 square kilometers. With mountains and rocky cliffs accounting for 70% of its land area, the island has eight kilometers of coral reefs around its coast. The island's half-moon-shaped western coast is where most of the beaches are found.
Dotted in and around Koh Tao's 11 bays and 10 rocky headlands are many, picturesque beaches: some long and sandy like Had Sai Ree, Had Mai Had, Chaloke Ban Kao Bay; others with smaller, rockier beaches.
Acclaimed to be the best dive location in the Gulf of Thailand, tourists tend to make diving their first priority as soon as they arrive on Koh Tao. It's not surprising therefore that each year Koh Tao's dive school turns out a number of proficient divers from around the world.
If you are looking for an alternative to diving, you might enjoy exploring the island, and swimming from its many beaches, or kayaking, or climbing hills to check out the vistas from numerous viewpoints. Alternatively, you can take a tour to its nearby islands of Nang Yuan, which is only 15 minute away by local boats.
Getting to Koh Tao
Despite being part of Surat Thani Province, it's more convenient and faster to go to Koh Tao from Chumphon Province. The island is only one hour ride on a high-speed catamaran from Ao Makham Noi Pier in Chumphon - a speed boat from Koh Samui takes you around 3 hours to get to Koh Tao. Nowadays, more travelers choose Chumphon as their starting-off point.