Koh Tao


The History of Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a small tropical island about 21 sq km. and is located about 70 km. east of the Thai mainland between Suratthani and Chumphon. For many years it was uninhabited except for a few passing fishermen, who came here looking for shelter from storms or just taking a break from their travels. It became a political prison from 1933 until 1947, where by the prisoners received a royal pardon and were returned to the mainland. Soon after, the families in the neighboring island Koh Phangan started coming to Koh Tao to cultivate the land by harvesting coconuts and growing vegetables and so the population on the island started steadily increasing. It wasn’t until the end of the 1980’s that news spread throughout the backpacking world of a tropical island paradise full of diverse marine life, and beautiful coral reefs. Koh Tao has today become one of Thailand’s major diving destinations and is attracting beginners & professional scuba divers alike.


Koh Tao Today

During the past 10 years, Koh Tao has become the number one scuba diving island in Thailand. The island’s natural beauty, the colorful coral reefs and the abundant marine life are attracting more divers to Koh Tao every year. You will find more than 30 great dive sites around our beautiful island and, Koh Tao now caters for all levels of diving experience and budgets.

Koh Tao offers the visitor a great diversity of accommodation, restaurants, bars, internet-cafes and shops. Most are located on the main beaches of Sairee, Mae Haad and Chalok Baan Kao. You can also find ATM’s scattered throughout the island as well as a couple of Bank Branches in Mae Haad and licensed money exchangers.

You can also attend to plenty of other activities than scuba diving on Koh Tao, such as Snorkeling, Free Diving, Thai Cooking Lessons, Rock Climbing, Bouldering, Wake Boarding, Muay Thai Boxing, Yoga, Mini-Golf and Ten Pin Bowling.

Chalok Baan Kao
This is the third largest beach, located on the southern coast facing Phangan and Samui. Much quieter than Sairee, Chalok offers a similar variety of accommodation, eateries and nightlife. Along with its many viewpoints, it is beautifully framed by Taa Toh lagoon on the east and Saan Jao Beach on the west. A rock formation at cape Taa Toh resembles a sitting Buddha, best to be seem from the opposite beach, where Alvaro Diving Centre is located.

How to get to Koh Tao

From Bangkok

From Bangkok, the cheapest option is to get a bus & ferry combination ticket to Koh Tao (via Chumphon). You can do this with various ferry companies; We recommend the Lomprayah Catamaran, the Seatran Ferry or the Songserm Ferry You can also get train & ferry combination tickets which gives you the chance to enjoy the beautiful Thai landscape as well as having a good night sleep in the aircon sleeping car… Alternatively, if your schedule is tight and your budget is right, you can fly to Koh Samui with Bangkok Airways and get the Lomprayah Catamaran, the Seatran Ferry or the Songserm Ferry across to Koh Tao.

From Koh Samui & Koh Phangan

We recommend the Lomprayah Catamaran, the Seatran Ferry or the Songserm Ferry from Koh Samui via Koh Phangan.

From Surat Thani

Songserm Ferry leaves Surat Thani at 8:00 am and arrives in Koh Tao at 2:30 pm The night boat leaves Surat Thani at 11pm, takes 9 hours and costs around 550 baht. A pretty basic means of travel! Be warned.

From Overseas

You can fly to Koh Samui from many airports, including Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Phuket, with Bangkok Airways and get the Lomprayah Catamaran, the Seatran Ferry or the Songserm Ferry across to Koh Tao.

How to get to Alvaro Diving

From Mae Haad Pier to Alvaro Diving

The best option is to arrange a pick up with us and we will ensure one of our friendly staff will be waiting for you as you disembark from your ferry with your name on our sign. Click the button at the bottom of this page to contact us and arrange a pick up.


If you didn’t contact us and are making the journey by yourself, take a pick up truck taxi, to Chalok Baan Kao bay and ask the driver to drop you off at Sunshine 2 Bungalows. Walk trough the bungalow complex till you reach the beach, where you will find a concrete footbridge. Use this foot bridge which will lead you to Taraporn Family Restaurant . Walk through the restaurant and continue along the footbridge till you come to a small beach called Saan Jao Beach. We are located on the middle of this beach just past The Pirate Beach Bar.

Contact us about our location and how to find us

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