Tropical Fantasy: Koh Tao Thailand

“The dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

To go to a tropical island has been on the top of my to do list for way too long. I was looking for azure waters, sparkling white sand beaches and lush vegetation like the ones I had pictured on my pc desktop, mobile phone and in the numerous travel magazines I had at home.

There was a big indecision between Phuket, Koh Samui and Koh Tao. The choice fell on the latter as it seemed to have enough attractions for the tourists but not enough to have lost its local spirit and culture.

The only inconvenience was that there is no direct flight, so a 2 hours trip with the ferry was inevitable. We took the bus from Khao San Road (with Lomprayah), which we thought we had booked for 9.30 am but turned out it was actually 9:30 pm (Yikes!!!). After all the horrifying stories I had previously read about car accidents in Thailand and how important is to avoid transfers by night, we were about to experience one. Striking – if you ask me to describe it with one word, this would be the right one. Our driver arrived one hour and a half later but nevertheless we arrived on time for the ferry (I leave to you all the conclusions).

Once out of the bus, I quickly bought a package of Italian cookies, completely forgetting that I suffer from sea sickness. The next two hours were a nightmare for me and for at least another 50% of the passangers as the sea was particularly rough. (*for the way back I studied many natural remedies and they worked! I put a piece of lime under my tongue, I was taking deep breaths accordingly to the motion of the boat and I was staring at a fixed point in the horizon. Of course I was the first one to put feet on the terra firma but at least I did it as boss! :)).

After I couple of hours we arrived safe and sound (some more than others) at Koh Tao. I was very impatient to find out whether the pictures on google images or the opinions on Trip advisor were more truthful. The latter were describing it as “not the right place if you are looking for paradisiac beaches”, “no clean water” “don’t expect white sands”, etc. Now that I have been to other places in Thailand as well, I can tell that for sure it is incomparable to Koh Poda or the Similan islands. But lets not forget that Koh Tao is an inhabited island that boasts plenty of hotels, resorts, restaurants, banks, discos, diving and yoga centers, supermarkets and so on.

Our hotel was on Sairee beach which is the liveliest area of the island but we also spent two days exploring the nearby Freedom beach and the island of Nang Yuan – famous for its peaks connected by a tiny strip of sand. In total we saw 5 different beaches with 5 completely different landscapes. Could I ask for more? No!

Here are a few photos with more details. *taken in 2013

Have you ever been there? Did you like it? Or would you add it to your bucket list?

  • Beautiful.

  • I find that the true “tropical island” that we see in travel brochures (azure water, white sand beaches etc) tend to be more on the Andaman sea part of Thailand, while the islands in the Gulf of Thailand tend to have a slightly more murky texture… I still love island life in general though and am just as happy at any of the islands. Did the backpacker murders and mafia issues on Ko Tao have any impact on your decision whether or not to stay there? I think the number one rule in that regard is be respectful and don’t piss off the locals, and you don’t become a target.

    • Hi Peter, actually this trip was made in 2013. I think I would still go after what happened last year. I agree with you that if you behave respectfullyy it is unlikely to get in trouble. Nevertheless, I was about to go on a solo trip to Chiang Mai some months ago, but I changed my mind when I accidentally read an article about a girl being killed there back in 2000.

      • I remember the 2000 incident. It was quite a big thing in Thailand at the time. However, notwithstanding all the issues, when you look at the total number of tourists that visit each of those locations, the statistics for murders etc of tourists are still pretty low. The incidents do act as a reminder though.

        • True! I have checked the statistics as well. The number is really small. It’s just the fact the the murders make it to the news, while no one mentions the tourists or expat that are safe and secure

  • so beautiful O_O i never have been in such a tropical place – of course, the common holiday traveling places but this looks much better! (ok, admitting i will have to stick to simply look at these pictures since i prefer to spend my time off in rotten, abandoned places instead of paradise but these are nice to look at!)

    • I’m sure you can find avandoned places even on a beautiful tropical island. Not so sure about the rotten element but you can make a compromise 🙂

  • This island looks so beautiful!

  • Oh, it really is!

  • Such a great post.Lovely.Holiday blues ahhhhh

    • Hi Coleen, “ahhhhh” indeed. Everyone deserves more palms and azzure waters in their life!

  • Thailand is at the top of my list for visiting, in fact, my husband and I are planning to travel there this November. We plan to fly into Bangkok, then after a few days of touring around the city, we’ll take the night train to Chiang Mai and check out the Northern area of Thailand. So excited!!! Any tips and tricks for visiting Those two areas? Cheers!

    • Hi Fiona,
      happy to hear that you are planning to visit Thailand! November is a very good period, not overcrowded and with the rainy season (hopefully) over. Actually there are also two major events that occur in November – the first is the mass sky lantern release in Chiang mai and the other you can also see it in Bangkok – Loy Krathong festival. You have to check the web for the exact dates as they have not been decided yet. In Bangkok don’t miss China Town and the weekend market (Chatuchak). Don’t ever listen to any kind old man who approaches you and wants to help you.
      If you need more specific tips just let me know.
      I’m always happy to help when I can.