During the last 12 odd years the islandhas changed in many ways as it developed to become one of the major divedestinations in Thailand, bringing all levels of diversand water lovers alike.
In the early days getting to Ko Tao required a treacherous boat journey from near by islands or the main land, if and when the seas &weatherpermitted but the population of the islandcontinued to grow firmly all the same, even when simple life was hard without much reward.
And yes, you can still snorkel with sharks, and perhaps the odd turtle as well, just check out our web site for all the local dive centres available.
The island of Kho Tao is one of the country's amazing tropical gems. Blessed with postcard like beaches and hidden bays, visitors from many different countries come again every year to soak up the amazing feeling of the island.
The early 1980's brought to KoToa some of the very first travellers from KoPhangan who were searching for something new away from the crowds and masses who were going nuts for the Full Moon party on Koh Phangan. Here they located something more than just a new islandto explore and soon the backpackergroups were buzzing about the amazing newly found islandparadise. Mesmerised by the stunning pure white beaches, the back of beyond aura, and of course the cheap living, back packers soon arrived in droves. Arrivals and departures were on the local fishing boats, and even then hold-ups of several days were common. Back to the hammocks and a world of dreams; The boat comes another day . As a result, as its reputation for beautiful nature, excellent marine life and amazing landscapes grew, simple access was obtainable when improved and safer boats were brought in to cope with the number of visitors, being engrossed to the island.
It seems strange that such a tourist paradise should have been first constructed as a prison.
Around 1947, Khun A-Paiwong, Thailands Prime Minister at that time, asked for and received a royal pardon for the islands prisoners and thanks to a gracious act by His Majesty the King. They were released and conveyed to Suratthani on the mainland and the island was isolated once more. This was the same year that the initial people started to claim a big segment of terrain on what is nowadays known as Sairee Beach. These were the twin brothers Khun Ueam and Khun Oh who reached Ko Tao by a boat from the next island of Koh Phangan.
Strange, but true, from 1933-1947 KoTao housed political prisoners. Being located approximately 65 kilometres from Suratthani or Chumporn meant it was hard to escape from! Alcatraz...piece of cake.