Koh Tao Maps and Facts, Thailand

This page contains outdoor Koh Tao maps and facts, photos and hiking details. It also includes a short history of the island, diving map and beach gear rental details.

A Short History of Koh Tao

Koh Tao (21 km2) is located 70 km of the east coast between Suratthani and Chumphon, in the Gulf of Thailand. Koh Tao means Turtle Island and was once teaming with turtles. Initially the island was not permanently inhabited. Fishermen from neighboring islands did visit occasionally, then on June 18, 1899, His Majesty the King Chulalongkorn (Rama V 1868-1910) visited the island and left his monogram on a huge boulder at Jor Por Ror Bay, next to Sairee Beach (an early adopter of graffiti).

In 1933 a political prison was established on the island. It remained as such until 1947 when Khun A-Paiwont, prime minister at the time, petitioned the royal family to pardon all the prisoners. After the Royal pardon the island was officially abandoned again. However, two brothers (Khun Ueam and Khun Oh) sailed to the island from neighboring Koh Phangan. Even though the island was under Royal Patronage, these two claimed a large part and squatted with their families. They began to cultivate (burn or cut down the forests) and exploit the land. They lived a simple life of harvesting coconuts, fishing, and growing vegetables that they traded with neighboring islands.

The island population grew slowly until in the 80’s when the first scruffy backpackers arrived. It quickly became a popular location for backpackers that wanted to get off the beaten track. Then after the 2004 boxing day tsunami, tourists deprived of the west coast started to arrive in droves. Prices escalated, business flourished, and budget accommodation and meals went the way of the original turtles.

Today it is a beautiful tourist island with plenty of commercial dive operations, bungalow resorts carving up the shoreline, and hordes of scooters zipping about. It is now a fun island that resembles the early stages of Indonesia’s Bali development, and definitely no longer off the beaten track.

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Koh Tao Area Map

Koh Tao

Two Views Hike Route

Koh Tao

GPS Waypoints for Two Views Hike

Wpt Lat Lon Description
1 N 10 05.454 E099 50.586 N Trailhead from Rd out of Sairee Village (7-11 shop)
2 N 10 05.519 E099 51.034 Collapsed hut
3 N 10 05.362 E099 50.336 Rd split
4 N 10 05.497 E099 50.391 Trailhead at end of Rd from Reservoir
5 N 10 05.408 E099 50.438 Summit 1
6 N 10 05.381 E099 50.466 Summit 2
7 N 10 05.203 E099 50.327 House above Rd – Alt Return
8 N 10 05.002 E099 50.522 Rd up to reservoir

Snorkeling Map

Koh Tao


Save Bungalows

I stayed at the Save Bungalows, Mae Head Bay (operated by the Save Shop a few buildings over). Bungalows start at 200Bt ($7/night), average 400Bt, and go up from there. From main pier, turn left at first alley/road, walk about 250m to shop, another 20m to bungalows. The shop acts as booking office, locker rental, used book shop, gear & scooter rental, and ticket sales (lowest commissions).

Video Services

Liquid Media, Marine Productions & Tuition

(UK guys living in Koh Tao)
16 Moo 2, Mae Head, Koh Tao, Surat Thani, 84360, Thailand
+66 (0) 77 457 005
+66 (0) 862 807 483
Alan Tansey, General Manager

Beach Gear Rentals

MV Watersports

Across from the Save Bungalows (UK guys living in Koh Tao)
Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao
077 456 065
087 264 2633

Beach Rental (Prices in Batt) 1hr 1/2 Day Full Day
Single Kayak 100 300 500
Double Kayak 150 500 800
Snorkelling Equipment 50 50 100
Laser (1-2 people) 600 2000 3000
Hobie Wave (1-2 people) 750 2500 4000
Windsurfing 600 1500 2500

They have many other options and services. I have just listed the few that are of interest to me. Visit their web site for more details.

Sail the World

No guarantee. I found this notice on a post on Koh Tao. Investigate at your own risk.
Join Sea Adventure Expedition, all points and places around the world exploring islands and coral reefs.

No experience required. Shared expenses and participation expedition.
Email baptifuli@hotmail.com for details. Include your names, ages, single, couple, your plans.

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