Ko Tao (เกาะเต่า)
Situated 60 kilometres off the coast of Chumphon but falling under the jurisdiction of Surat Thani, Ko Tao lies 45 kilometres north of Ko Pha-ngan and is only 20 square kilometres in area but it is known as the best diving site in the Gulf of Thailand. The turquoise water of Ko Tao is crystalline, coconut plantations still cover much of the landscape, and concrete roads are built along only a few beaches. Getting around the island is either by pick-up taxi or by boat. Motorbikes and mountain bikes are also available for rent to explore the island.
Attractions in and around Ko Tao include:
Hat Cho Po Ro or Hat Sai Ri – This small powdery beach provides accommodation. The Giant Clam Park nearby breeds the near-extinct giant clam and exhibits many aquatic animals. It is open daily.
Ko Nang Yuan - A coral island with a high viewpoint and long white sandy beaches.
Kong Hin Khao and Kong Hin Khiao – These overlaying rocks have submarine alcoves, whereby many fish frequent.
Kong Hin Chumphon – Many fish frequent this area on the northwestern part of the island. During breeding season in March – April, this area is closed from any fishing activities.
Ban Mae Hat – Pier, transportation terminal, diving schools and shops renting diving gear, concentrate in this economic centre of the island.
Kong Sai Daeng – Rarely seen black-eared shark frequent the red sandstone by the mouth of Thian Nok Bay.
The best period is from December to April. It is possible to travel to Ko Tao during the rainy season (May to October), though obviously, you should be prepared to run into showers and rainstorms.