Koh Tao – or Turtle Island as it’s affectionately referred to – is the northernmost and smallest in the chain of the three ‘inhabited’ islands in the Samui Archipelago, with an area of 21 sq km. The south and west coastlines are dotted with white sandy beaches: the north and east coasts have a couple of small sandy bays but are predominantly formed by large granite boulders stacked high above the water and rising to fringe the island’s forests.
The island’s single town, Mae Haad, is located on the western coast. There’s a bold selection of restaurants with international and local menus, and a post office, internet services, general provisions shops and a handful of diving centres and credible retail outlets purveying diving equipment and accessories.
The diving around Koh Tao is amongst the best in the Gulf of Thailand with enough variety to satisfy all levels of divers. There are deep shipwrecks, (some only suitable for technical divers) and towering submerged pinnacles, with their craggy rock faces seemingly alive with various hard and soft corals.
These sites are constantly visited by large pelagics. In contrast are dives along gentle sloping coral reefs. These are good places to see many different species of laminate and foliaceous corals and a rich diversity of marine life.
There’s a few good snorkelling sites which can be reached off the beach of Nang Yuan island.