Koh Tao is called Turtle Island because of its shape reminiscent of that of the animal. It is an island in the Gulf of Thailand, famous for its diving spots.
A few days in Koh Tao?
Koh Tao is close to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Generally, the usual course of the tourist is to spend a few days in Koh Samui, then to go diving in Koh Tao, and finally to party in Koh Phangan
Unfortunately, mass tourism has degraded the coral reef of Koh Tao well, and experts will tell you that the spots are not as beautiful as 10 years ago. Nevertheless, this remains the main attraction of the island, so there are constantly new diving schools that are settling there.
Koh Tao can be reached easily by ferry or speed boat from Surathani, or from nearby islands.
Sairee beach, the tourist nightmare
Sairee beach represents what is horrible in mass tourism: the denaturalization of a space.
Indeed, when you arrive by boat to Koh Tao, Sairee beach is the long beach that runs along the east coast of the island, with all the necessary tourist facilities. And the beach is not even beautiful.
Freshly landed there at 6am after a night of vomiting on a boat, I took the last strength I had left to find a guesthouse. I walked the two miles, and did not find a decent guesthouse at a decent price. I was even willing to put the price down for a nice room, but the expensive things were disgusting. Fortunately, I ended up finding a great hotel, but on the other side of the island!
I went back to Sairee beach some nights to meet friends. If your hotel is somewhere else, it will take 300 baht per person pick-up to get there. Then the food is expensive and bad. The atmosphere is not at the rendezvous.
While you can rent a scooter but outside Sairee Beach, the roads are not really paved. They are even hilly, and because they are hills, the roads are extremely dangerous.
I did not fall in love with this island. Despite being able to dive there, I did not find the beaches amazing, nor the water as crystal clear as on other islands like Koh Lipe. Then the difficulty of the roads makes the displacements neither easy nor pleasant.
A day in Koh Nang Yuan
Koh Nang Yuan is the famous 3 small islands connected by a sandbar that you can see at the top of this article. The place is cool enough to snorkel, although it is one of the main attractions in the area. Count 300 baht per person to get to the islets by boat, and 100 baht of entrance fee.
Where to sleep in Koh Tao?
Obviously, I do not recommend taking a hotel in Sairee Beach, unless you want a shabby room for a high rate.
In Koh Tao, I stayed at the Montalay Resort which I recommend without hesitation. This hotel saved my stay on the island. It is new and clean, and offers rooms for all budgets. So you can sleep in the cabin without hot water, or in a modern room facing the sea. The hotel is located on a beach away from everything, with only 3 other hotels around, so this ensures a certain tranquility. All hotels at this beach offer diving courses. This can be the ideal place if you plan to spend your padi.
The only problem is to leave this area because the road is very rough. Otherwise, you will have a good time.
I have not explored the rest of the island, but I remain convinced that it offers other beauties to discover. It’s up to you to share with me a magical and uncrowded beach.