Koh Tao has quickly become one of Asia’s most popular dive destinations. With its beautiful nature and laid back atmosphere it is little wonder why the island was ranked as one of the top ten island destinations in the world by Tripadvisor in 2013. If you are heading the island soon, here are some tips and suggestions that can help ensure you have the best experience possible.
- Leave your busy life behind. Island life, and Thai culture in general, is relaxed and quite, don’t expect everything to happen on time or according to schedule. Instead of being upset about late buses, trains, or boats use the time to take in your surroundings, read a book, or chat with the locals and other tourists.
- Book accommodation early for peak season visits (December-February, and July – September). In the last few years the island has literally completely booked up during peak season, leaving some tourists sleeping in hammocks on the beach. Koh Tao is not as developed with large resorts as many other islands in the region, and hotel space can be limited. Contact us for more information about local resorts and accommodation options around the island. Or if you would like to book your own accommodation, we recommend you find a resort in Chalok Ban Kao, close to our dive center.
Join the Save Koh Tao Festival. Every June the island hosts the Save Koh Tao Festival, 2 days of music, dancing, food, and environmental activities that shouldn’t be missed. This is definitely the highlight of the year for travel to our island.
- Don’t rent a motorbike if you are not a confident driver. Many people think a quite island like Koh Tao is a good place to learn driving a motorbike, but the variable road conditions on the island make it actually a very dangerous place to drive. Although motorbikes can be rented for very cheap, they are the number one cause of injury on the island. Save your holiday and enjoy the island more, walk or rent a bicycle.
- Get involved. Instead of just spending all your time sunbathing or partying, get involved in other great activities on the island. There are tons of things you can do to enrich your holiday and your life such as yoga and meditation programs, Muay Thai courses, Cooking courses, Rock Climbing, Kayaking, and more. Free activities such as hiking to one of the island’s many view points or snorkeling are some of the most memorable times you will have from your trip. Or for a more rewarding experience try volunteering with the local Save Koh Tao Group or join on one of our marine conservation courses.
Find out the great local food spots. Not only is the Thai food delicious, it is much cheaper than western food on the island. Get to know some of the local spots like Yin Yangs, Pa’Pim, Tuk Ta, and other island favorites to take in the most of the local selection and save your budget.
- Party responsibly. Other than diving, one of the main attractions to visitors on the island is the nightlife. There are always great people around at the small relaxed beach bars, or head out for dancing at one of the island parties. Just keep in mind that a plate of food costs about as much as a beer, and that going out will quickly eat away at your holiday budget. It should go without saying, but please remember to watch out for your friends, drink responsibly, and never drive drunk. Lastly, don’t bring anything out at night that you don’t need, theft is rare on the island, but losing items while partying is quite common.
- Stay hydrated. The warm tropical air means you will lose more water sweating, but also the dry air used in tanks while diving can quickly deplete your body’s hydration levels. In fact, most illnesses that travelers get are either brought on by, or complicated by, dehydration. Keep a water bottle with you at all times, and remember to save plastic by either buying water in bulk or using the refill station at the dive center.
Save Water. Our small island experiences droughts and water shortages almost every year. Water is by far our most precious resource. Conserve every drop. Take short showers, reuse towels that are still clean, swim in the sea instead of a pool, and think about conserving fresh water anywhere else you use it.
- Don’t Overpack. These days the island has just about everything you need, don’t hinder yourself with bringing too many spare things. Items such as mosquito repellant, first aid creams, shampoo, clothes, flip-flops, etc. can easily be found in any of the island’s shops.
Whatever your travel plans are on Koh Tao, remember to completely let go and immerse yourself in the experience, you won’t regret it. Of course don’t forget to follow common sense and safety precautions to ensure that your holiday will be stress and worry free.