Ko Tao has to offer a lot of popular activities one being diving at most of Kho Tao beaches. KohTaois a small island, only 22 square km with practically half of that too rough to reach. Initially the islandwas not colonized, frequented only by fisherman from nearby islands while seeking cover during heavy storms or when in need of clean water and supplies. It seems bizarre that such a tourist paradise should have been in the beginning earmarked as a prison. Strange, but true. From 1933 until 1947 the islandwas home to political prisoners. Being virtually seventy kilometers from the nearby mainland meant it was fairly escape proof! Alcatraz...piece of cake. Koh Taois surrounded by lots of Whale sharks and Black Tip Sharks as well.
Suddenly the island ferries were disgorging people with suitcases, not backpacks, portable computers not guitars, and what is this; trainers not flip flops?!, and some had children as well.
Now a days, you can find everything from cheap simple bamboo bungalows with thatched roofs to elegant up-market villas with their own exclusive swimming pool.
In the late 1990's Ko Tao's first, and until recently, only road was laid, it runs South to North from the far side of Sairee beach to the southern settlement of Chalok Baan Kao.
A new road is under construction towards Tanote Bay, and when finised it will open up the other side of the island for better development, it is accessable with care at the moment with 4x4.
During the last 11 odd years the islandhas changed in many different ways as it developed to become one of the largest divedestinations in Thailand, attracting all levels of diversand water lovers alike.
Koh Tao's reputation spread and quickly increased as it widely became known all over world through international travellers and adventurous visitors.
Around 1947, Khun A-Paiwong, Thailand's Prime Minister at that time, requested & got a royal pardon for the islands inmates and thanks to a affable act by His Majesty the King. They were repatriated and moved to Suratthani on the nearby mainland and the islandwas discarded once more. This was in the same year that the first settlers laid claim to a large segment of land on what is now known as Sai Ree Beach. These were the twin brothers Khun Ueam and Khun Oh who came to Koh Toa by a boat from the next island of Ko Phangan. Koh Taois full of undeveloped remote beaches and waterfalls.