The string of islands in the Gulf of Thailand feel a little more remote each time you jump further from Surat Thani on the mainland.
Koh Samui, the closest to the mainland, is the biggest, the busiest, and the most developed.
Koh Phangan has a relatively big city around its main port, although the beaches around the edges are like little sanctuaries.
And then there’s Koh Tao, the smallest of the three, and the furthest from the mainland. Part of the joy of visiting Koh Tao is the sense that you’re far away from things – no big cities, no planes landing nearby, no worries.
Only about six kilometres north-south and three kilometres east-west, the island is not large – yet there are plenty of things to do on Koh Tao.
The steep mountains through the interior mean it can still take a bit of time to get from one side to the other, and it creates pockets of adventure and isolation, with beaches at the bottom of such steep hills that it feels like an expedition to reach them by road.
How do you get to Koh Tao?
Wherever you’re coming from, you’ll need to get to Koh Tao by boat. For many visitors, the easiest way is to fly to Koh Samui and get the ferry from there, usually via Koh Phangan. It also means you can combine your trip with some time on one of the other islands.
Especially in high season (but anytime really), I recommend you buy your ticket in advance for the ferry.
If you’re coming from the mainland, you can get a ferry from Surat Thani (convenient from Phuket and other southern destinations), or a ferry from Chumphon (quicker and more convenient if you’re heading down from Bangkok).
How long should you spend on Koh Tao?
After the effort to get to Koh Tao, you’ll want to stay for a little while to make it worthwhile. My suggestion would be a minimum of three nights – that gives you one full day to do a boat trip and one full day to explore the island.
However, that’s the minimum! You could easily do a week here and not be bored. Part of the fun is relaxing and getting to know the place.
When is the best time to visit Koh Tao?
The best time to visit Koh Tao is generally between January to April, when the days are dry and warm.
The worst time to visit tends to be in October and November, when the monsoons are at their worst. The months before that, June to September, can also be quiet wet but rarely for the whole day.
Is Koh Tao safe?
The simple answer is that, yes, Koh Tao is safe. It’s a small island that relies on…
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