Sailing Thailand INFO Koh Tao

Sailing Thailand INFO Koh Tao

Sailing Thailand Info Forum Koh Tao

Sailing Thailand INFO Koh Tao

is an island in Thailand located near the eastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand. It covers an area of about 21 kmĀ². Administratively it forms a tambon within the district Ko Pha Ngan of Surat Thani Province. As of 2006 it’s official population number in 1382. The main settlement is Ban Mae Hat.

The economy of the island is almost exclusively centered around tourism.

Ko Tao was named by its first settlers for the island’s turtle-like geographic shape. Coincidentally, the island is an important breeding ground for Hawksbill turtles and Green turtles. Development of tourism has negatively impacted the health of these grounds but a breeding program organized in 2004 by the Royal Thai Navy and KT-DOC, a coalition of local scuba diving centers has reintroduced hundreds of juvenile turtles to the island’s ecosystem.


Sailing Thailand Info Forum Koh TaoInitially the island was not inhabited, there was only the occasional fisherman from the neighboring islands, looking for shelter in a storm or just taking a break before continuing his tiresome journey.

On June 18, 1899 King Chulalongkorn visited Ko Tao and left as evidences his monogram on a huge boulder at Jor Por Ror bay next to Sairee Beach. This place is still worshiped today.

In 1933 the island was started to be used as a political prison. In 1947 Khuang Abhaiwongse, prime minister at that time, pleaded and received a royal pardon for all prisoners on the island. Everybody was taken to the shore of Surat Thani and Ko Tao was abandoned again.

Sailing Thailand Info Forum Gulf MapIn the same year Khun Uaem and his brother Khun Oh reached Ko Tao from the neighboring Ko Phangan by trying out their traditional sail boat, for that time a quite long and dangerous journey. Even thought the island was still under royal patronage, it did not stop these pioneers claiming themselves a good part of the land on today’s Sairee Beach. Having brought their families over, they began to cultivate and harvest the excellent soil, forming the first generation of the present-day community. They lived a simple and tough life harvesting coconuts, fishing and growing vegetables, which were also traded with Koh Phangan. Despite the difficulties in reaching the island, the population grew steadily.

In the 1980s the first travelers discovered Koh Tao and their special backpacker network quickly made it widely known and a popular destination. As a consequence, bigger, faster and safer boats were used to allow easier access to Koh Tao.

Koh Tao today

Sailing Thailand Info Forum Koh TaoThe island is well known for scuba diving and snorkeling, and offers also some hiking. The most popular place for tourists is Sairee on the West coast, which has a white sandy beach of 1.7 km interrupted only by a few huge boulders. Resorts are scattered with varying density, however, along the many small bays of the island.
Koh Tao is less developed than Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan, but has become increasingly popular. As of December 2005, Ko Tao had about 150 Resorts offering Accommodation and approximately 50 bars/clubs. Most of the resorts are still bungalow-style, not hotel/resort style. Accommodation prices are lower than nearby Ko Samui. As of 2007 there is a trend to more upmarket resorts which don’t concentrate singularly on diving. Free WIFI is provided in increasing numbers and even the first sailing charter company, Island Cruises Co,. Ltd. on Koh Tao has opened.

More Info’s on Koh Tao

Koh Tao Community Site

Sailing on Koh Tao: MV Watersports , Island Cruises

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