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How To Reach Ko Tao
A small island in the vast tropical paradise that is Thailand, Ko Tao is an amalgamation of the usual fare - beaches, nightspots, party haunts, night markets and restaurants. So what differentiates this little island moored in the Gulf of Thailand from the rest of its siblings? Well, it is the fact that you can learn, get certified and practise diving here.
Lately Ko Tao has become synonymous with the PADI diving certificate and even though most tourists and adventure enthusiasts prefer to live on other islands like Koh Samui or Krabi, they make sure to travel down to Ko Tao to obtain this certificate if they are so inclined. Here’s a rundown on how you can easily reach Ko Tao.
The two nearest airports to Ko Tao are Koh Samaui international airport and Chumphon international airport. You get regular catamarans and ferries from both these island ports to Ko Tao, that reach in variations of 1.5 to 3 hours. The best way for tourists from India to reach Ko Tao is to take a flight to Bangkok, from where you get connecting flights to Koh Samui as well as buses to Chumphon, from where you can take one of the regular catamarans or high speed ferries.
As stated above, regular buses ply between Bangkok and Chumpon, which makes it easy for you to travel the major part of your journey on road. But since Ko Tao is a remote island, there is no other way to reach it than by waterways from nearby islands or mainland.
Now since water is the only link to travel to Ko Tao, you have various options here. Boats and ferries leave Paralan Pier at Maenam in Koh Samui and arrive at the Mae Haad Pier of Koh Tao in 1.5-2 hours. Similarly, Songserm Ferry service operates from Chumpon to Ko Tao everyday, and takes 2.5 hours to reach. You can also catch a catamaran or ferry from other nearby islands like Ko Pha Ngnan and Surat Thani mainland to Ko Tao.
Ko Tao is all of 21 sq. km in size. So you can imagine how easily navigable it will be, especially by foot or on hired bikes and bicycles. Taxis though are still available, as are rental cars. But the hilly terrain of the island prevents easy commute by larger vehicles so the humble two limbs are better to get across town rather than having your car go all the way around to reach a particular spot.