About amazing Koh Tao

Learn more about amazing koh tao island

Learn more about what Koh Tao island have to offer after your scuba diving course.  You can sit at one of the many beach bars or restaurants and enjoy a Happy Hour cocktail and as Sairee beach faces west you can sit and watch amazing sunsets. We have a wonderful choice of food here to suit all tastes and budgets. From street stalls to mamma and pappa restaurants up to Aussie steaks and awesome Thai food. What else does Koh Tao have once you have finished diving? Obviously, you need money to spend first, how easy is it to get your cash?

Do you want to know more about Koh Tao?  Then read on to find out about it’s early history.

Koh Tao Island, great for scuba diving
A view of Koh Nangyuan

Initially, the island was uninhabited, with only the occasional fisherman from the neighboring islands looking for shelter in a storm or just taking a break on their journey.

On June 18, 1899, King Chulalongkorn visited Koh Tao and left as evidence his monogram on a huge boulder at Jor Por Ror Bay next to the south end of Sairee Beach. Which you can still see today. In 1933 the island was used as a political prison until 1947 when prime minister Khuang Abhaiwongse pleaded and received a royal pardon for all prisoners on the island. Everybody was taken to the shore of Surat Thani and Koh Tao was left to the coconuts and turtles again.

Diving in Tanote Bay Koh Tao
Tanote Bay Koh Tao

In the same year, Khun Uaem and his brother Khun Oh reached Koh Tao from the neighboring island Koh Phangan on their traditional sailboat and claimed parts of Sairee Beach. Even though the island still belonged to the king. 

They went about Koh Tao turning it into coconut farms. They brought their families over and lived a simple and tough life harvesting coconuts, fishing, and growing vegetables. Despite the difficulties in reaching the island, the population grew steadily.

Koh Tao is world famous for diving
Sairee Beach today

By the 1980s backpackers were beginning to come to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.  As access became faster and safer more people started hearing about Koh Tao, and they started coming here. 

One of the first diving pioneers was an Italian man who would bring divers from Koh Samui. He named the popular dive sites Red Rock, White Rock, and Green Rock after the colors of the Italian flag.

Ever since more and more people are visiting Koh Tao, having heard about it from fellow travelers. And now we are getting families here who first came to the island 20 ish years ago.

Now we have many independent coffee shops and restaurants and accommodations for all budgets. With regular ferries night and day getting here is much easier and quicker than before.

It is still well known for its scuba diving as it is one of the cheapest and easiest places to learn. And most people know about Koh Tao because of its diving.

Koh Tao has amazing sunsets to watch after your diving certification
A beautiful Koh Tao sunset

Have you heard about Koh Tao?  

Why not come and see for yourself. 

Do you want to know more about Koh Tao?  Some of these articles might help you.

Shopping on Koh Tao. There are some really cool local shops on Koh Tao, from locally made handicrafts, to boutique clothes shops.

How to get to Koh Tao. There are 2 ferry companies that operate 2 to 3 scheduled trips per day plus slower night boats.

How to get around Koh Tao. The most popular choice is to rent a scooter but there are other ways to get around the island

Find out more about the SSI diver training agency here: Dive SSI


Sairee is the main and longest best beach, it is here you will find many places to stay, eat and drink. And facing west it has many of the Koh Tao diving shops, not forgetting you get to watch amazing sunsets. Other beaches to visit should include Tanote Bay, Aow Leuk, Freedom Beach, Hin Wong, and Sai Nuan. All except Tanote Bay have started charging a fee though, Sairee is free for everyone to enjoy and won't leave you bored.


For a small island, Koh Tao has a great variety of food. From basic Thai restaurants that are popular with tourists and locals alike to more extravagant beachside places with western food. When I say western, I mean pretty much all types of food can be found here. English, Italian, French, and Japanese as well as northern and southern-style Thai meals. Some are high quality and others are for those on a budget.


Koh Tao has several 7-11 convenience stores plus small local stores, which can often be cheaper, where you can buy all your essentials. There are many small shops selling souvenirs and clothes shops selling basic clothes and a few more expensive unique designs. Do you need to buy a new dress or t-shirt for a night out? You can find something here. But no big-name stores or chains here, well, apart from 7-11 and let’s hope it stays that way. Should you have forgotten something or need to buy something new you can always find it here.

Coffee Shops And
Local Bars

Koh Tao has many unique coffee shops and bakeries to keep you in cappuccinos, iced lattes, croissants, cakes, sandwiches, and salads. All provide different atmospheres, coffee, and food choices for all budgets, from basic chicken and salad baguettes to healthy vegan rice bowls. Along the beach, you will find a few bars to watch the sunsets plus many more, generally cheaper bars, away from the beach so you can enjoy a cold one after your diving certification.

Hospital And
Medical Clinics

There are several medical clinics and a government hospital staffed by doctors and local staff who can handle most problems associated with living in Koh Tao. Plus several pharmacies should you need a prescription or toiletries. And there is a scuba diving medical team here that is always on call. There is Koh Tao Rescue, which is a group of volunteers who can help with any emergency around the island. As well as the local police and tourist police. There are three “big” shops on the island should you not find what you need at the small, local stores.

Banks, ATMs &
Western Union

With so many ATMs taking major credit and bank cards you do not have to worry about taking out cash before you get here. Many of the shops and resorts will also take payment by card, most charge an extra 3% or more plus there are Western Union and currency exchanges in Sairee. The main Thailand banks are located in Mae Haad where the ferry terminal is located. So there’s no excuse not to do your open water course.