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Overview

A walk around this small island – it’s only eight square miles – still yields steep rutted dirt paths, modest and weathered wooden homes and lush rolling green hills. Time moves at a less frantic pace here than at nearby Ko Pha-Ngan and Ko Samui, and although more and more tourists are showing up each year, Ko Tao still lacks the blatant commercialism found on other islands. And if you look for it, you can even catch a glimpse of rural island life. Diving is the island’s major industry because of the surrounding water’s particularly good visibility and abundance of marine wildlife and coral. Although once almost exclusively a diver’s ...

A walk around this small island – it’s only eight square miles – still yields steep rutted dirt paths, modest and weathered wooden homes and lush rolling green hills. Time moves at a less frantic pace here than at nearby Ko Pha-Ngan and Ko Samui, and although more and more tourists are showing up each year, Ko Tao still lacks the blatant commercialism found on other islands. And if you look for it, you can even catch a glimpse of rural island life. Diving is the island’s major industry because of the surrounding water’s particularly good visibility and abundance of marine wildlife and coral. Although once almost exclusively a diver’s destination (you had to dive to stay), today many resorts welcome everyone – although during the high season some close their doors to non-divers. Although it’s probably the best place in Thailand to get your PADI certification (and many, many folks do), if you’re not interested in scuba there are plenty of opportunities for sea-kayaking, snorkeling or just relaxing.

Joe Cummings
About the Expert

Joe Cummings has contributed to more than 35 guidebooks, maps, atlases, phrasebooks and photographic works, including his bestselling Lonely Planet Thailand and Buddhist Stupas of Asia: The Shape of Perfection.

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Joe Cummings for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December to May