Koh Tao is a small island in the Gulf of Thailand, and one of the few tourist destinations in this part of the country. Its popularity is primarily due to excellent clean waters, perfect for exploring the underwater life.
It is here where diving enthusiasts from all over the world come to gain dream open water certificate. However, advantages of Koh Tao include much more than just a crystal clear sea water. It’s beautiful nature, wild and mostly undeveloped yet areas and their diversity – sandy coasts contrast here with the tropical jungle, and long, flat promenades around the main resorts are interspersed with high hills.
On the other hand, this, what has already been developed by the human, as tourist infrastructure – cafes, restaurants, yoga or diving centers – these all elements have a natural, unforced and relaxed atmosphere that seems to complement the unique character of Koh Tao adequately.
■ Open up yourself to the new authentic experiences
Despite the wide range of advantages that Koh Tao has to offer, the island is still relatively little known to the most of the tourists. That is a significant benefit especially for those who are looking for an authentic destination, without the ubiquitous noise, exaggerated promotional offers and just kitsch.
To the many places on the island don’t lead paved roads, a few sidewalks can be found only in the central parts of the island, and during the night walk, you won’t recognize the proper direction without a flashlight. At the same time, it is here where you can quickly forget about the hustle and bustle city; you can feel a fresh air in the lungs (though extremely humid) and explore the underwater world swimming right next to the colorful fish and large sea turtles.
You will have friends in geckos – they eagerly come to your room without waiting for an invitation. You will be surprised by the view of the monkeys on your balcony in the morning. Or during a trip through the hills, you will suddenly realize that you are lost not for the first time today as you have followed the butterflies again – one of the most beautiful and the largest which you have seen so far – rather than your map.
■ Visit the paradise beach, Koh Nang Yuan
On Koh Tao, there are many beautiful beaches and dive spots. However, while tapping the edge of Ko Nang Yuan, you will suddenly realize that you’ve just found yourself in an entirely different spacetime, even though the shore of the main island is only a few kilometers away. This is a place where the sand becomes entirely white, and the water has many shades of blue, at the same time remaining crystal clear and clean. The landscape of Ko Nang Yuan is charming without any doubt – you realize it while walking along the main beach, exploring the underwater depths or watching the view from the top of one of the hills.
On the other hand, even the most beautiful surroundings can lose its charm when it turns out that at a few square meters of space everyday boats and ferries bring hundreds of tourists, most of the beach is occupied by sunbeds, and the whole island is private – the entrance is paid, you can’t also bring there your food or drinks.
■ Stay in one of the hotels or bungalows in the middle of the tropical forest
It could be a discomfort for many to rent the apartment that is located far away from the center, due to the long distance from bars, cafes, restaurants or beach. However, it’s worth to remember, that the real face of the island could be discovered only when you go a little bit further outside the main road.
In Koh Tao, you can find quite a lot apartments in the middle of the forest area. These are the places without paved roads and where the only sounds coming from behind the windows are sounds of crickets and frogs. What this kind of places offer to their guests? Some of the most beautiful views of the sunrise and breathtaking sunsets over the forest, the smell of fresh vegetation everywhere around and just a bit of relax. In the end, a return from the beach bar in the middle of the night on the back of a shared taxi is a great experience and another opportunity to make new friendships.
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■ Take a tour by the long wooden boat with a local guide
It won’t be a comfortable and pleasant boat tour where you enter the boat by the concrete pier. You will have rather wet foot and legs as you will enter the boat in a place where the longboat was moored – usually to a few meters from the shore. First, you will need to spend several minutes on bargain the price at the beach, but you will quickly realize the tour results in a great dose of wonderful experiences like original views on the island, best places for diving and new underwater discoveries.
In the next post, I will share with you the second part of inspiration and advice on how to spend your time in Koh Tao – it will be, among others, about the local cuisine, the best diving spots and off the beaten track paths. Have you ever been to Koh Tao? If so, which place is your favorite one on the island? If you have any additional questions related to Koh Tao, don’t hesitate to drop me a message!