Set in the warm, clear azure waters of The Gulf of Thailand, Koh Tao, or Turtle Island, has over the years gained the reputation of being a scuba diving paradise. With its relatively easy diving and the close proximity of the dive sites to the island, budding divers from around the world would have difficulty finding a more perfect location to take their first steps into the amazing underwater world.
Koh Tao also has a lot to offer the more experienced divers among you too. Whether its an opportunity to switch careers and become an underwater film-maker, the island's growing reputation as a stepping off point for the world class wreck diving a little further out, a whale shark experience to rival that of anywhere in the world, the monthly IDC's or an emerging market for cave diving expeditions, Koh Tao really has something for every scuba junkie.
And for the non-divers among you, do not despair. Koh Tao has, in more recent times, begun to offer much more in the way of "dry" activities. You can enrol in a Thai cooking class, a massage course, yoga classes, the more brave among you might like to join a Muay Thai boxing camp and train toward fighting in a real bout against a local opponent for a real trophy and cash prizes, you can even try your hand at flying through the air on a full-scale circus trapeze. Rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, snorkelling, kayaking, wake-boarding and even volunteer environmental projects are also among a fast growing list of activities should diving not be your thing.
The above film, Submerged in Koh Tao was created in 1997, its timeless footage laid the foundations of ACE Marine Images, started our underwater video training in Thailand, and helped put Koh Tao on the map! The underwater footage was shot by Chris Clark, Nadia Muggeridge and Tobias Melunsky with music by Mickey Maselli of the legendary Venus Bar! Please note that this version of the Submerged in Koh Tao is not commercially available.
In the Evenings
Evening time on Koh Tao offers up the chance to sample an amazing selection of world class cuisine from around the globe. Whether you have a taste for the delicious local Thai dishes, a craving for a succulent New Zealand steak, a beach BBQ, Korean BBQ, exquisite Mediterranean fare might be your thing, woof down a burger and a pint while watching your favourite sport events live or you may decide to retire to the hammock and order a pizza delivery. For the vegetarians among you, do not despair, the choice available to you is as extensive and flavoursome, if not more so, than for the meat lovers. Got a sweet tooth? Then you have to try a pancake from the now world famous Ali's Pancake cart. A Koh Tao fixture and featured on Youtube, Ali has been serving up his treats as only he can for as long as we all can remember. It's not just about the pancake with Ali, it's more about the "performance" as he makes your dessert with a little pizzazz.
Once you have satisfied your hunger and as the evening grows older, Koh Tao really starts to liven up. The choice of nightly activities ranges from the Queens Cabaret for the adults, to mini golf and island style ten-pin bowling and a cinema is in the works for mid to late 2009. It's never too late to shop on Koh Tao either, with many shops staying open late into the night with their offers of unbeatable bargains. If this all sounds like too much then why not just relax with a cocktail at one of the many beach bars, sitting staring up at the Milky Way while listening to chilled beats and preparing to do it all again tomorrow. For the revellers among you, this small isolated island has an incredibly lively late night party scene that makes us all wonder why anybody still goes to Koh Phanghan. Dance into the wee hours, and beyond, at one of the nightly parties hosted by an eclectic mix of beach venues, showcasing some incredible local Dj's. Look out for flyers advertising where tonight's party is and you should also keep your eyes peeled for special "one night only" appearances by internationally renowned Dj's from Bangkok and beyond.