Ko Tao, situated 60km north of Ko Pha-Ngan and 80km off the mainland is Thailand’s quintessential diving island. The island is beautiful & charming, with palm-fringed beaches & an interesting landscape.
Dive facilities on the island are excellent. There are many dive shops and even some dive resorts, offering accommodation as well as diving. All of the sites around Ko Tao, including Chumpon Pinnacle, are visited daily, with some sites just 15 minutes away. It is a very popular place to learn to dive.
There is plenty of accommodation options on the island. If you are doing a course or a diving package of a few days, the best option may be to stay and dive with one of the dive resorts on the island. Relatively simple, but comfortable bungalows are the norm here, with many budget options costing just a few dollars per night.
The easiest way to reach Ko Tao is via Ko Samui, which has its own airport. Samui connects with many spots in Thailand, most noteably Bangkok, the capital. There are also international connections to Malaysia, Singapore & Hong Kong.
From Samui, you can take a boat to Ko Tao via Ko Pha Ngan, either by speedboat or slowboat. Ferries also leave from Surat Thani and Chumpon on the mainland to the west.
Away from the reefs, there are plenty of beautiful beaches to visit and the nightlife is good, with many nice restaurants and bars.
Ko Samui is the largest & most southerly of the three Gulf islands. It is the furthest island from the area's best dive sites, but is the most convenient to reach and has the best facilities for tourists.
There are many well-established dive centres on Samui, offering a wide range of courses plus fun-diving trips to the Gulf's best dive spots. Most trips are done by speedboat.
The island has a wide range of accommodation, from simple bamboo huts on the beach to international class hotels. Most accommodation is on or near the island's many white sand beaches.
Ko Samui has its own airport with connections to many spots in Thailand, most noteably Bangkok, the capital. There are international connections to Malaysia, Singapore & Hong Kong.
It is also possible to reach the island by boat from Surat Thani or Chumpon on the mainland and the island is well connected to Ko Phangan & Ko Tao to the north.
Ko Samui is one of Thailand's premier tourist destinations with a wealth of activities on offer including sailing, kayaking, golf, thai-boxing, shopping, bungy-jumping & even a zoo. The lovely beaches are where many visitors spend a lot of their time, while the nightlife can be very lively.
Ko Pha Ngan lies between Ka Samui & Ko Tao in the Gulf of Thailand. It is larger then Ko Tao and much less developed than Ko Samui. It has incredible beaches and is the home of the original Full Moon Party.
There are quite a few dive centres on the island, mainly around Haad Rin, the island's main town. Dive courses are popular and daily trips are made to nearby dive sites, including those around Ko Tao a little to the north.
There is a good amount of accommodation on the island, although without the range on offer in Ko Samui. Most of the accommodation is small bungalows by the beach. Around the Full Moon Party each month, accommodation tends to be hard to come by so it is best to book in advance.
Ko Pha Ngan is usually reached from Ko Samui by boat, with at least three boats each day. Ko Samui has an airport with numerous domestic flights, plus international connections to Malaysia, Singapore & Hong Kong.
The island can also be reached by ferry from Surat Thani on the mainland and Ko Tao to the north.
Most visitors spend their time either relaxing on the beach or exploring the island. Haad Rin, the island's main town has lively nightlife. Day trips to Angthong Marine Park are also popular.