Ko Tao is small; 21 square kilometer and half of that too steep to get to.
Attracted by the stunning coral reefs surrounding Koh Toa, and the development in recreational scuba diving, a number of enterprises established a scuba diving businesses on Koh Tao. These companies in turn developed accommodationfor their customers, and over the years a lot of these places transformed into quite developed places.
It seems wierd that such a tourist paradise should have been originally setup as a prison.
Around 1947, Khun A-Paiwong, Thailands Prime Minister at that time, asked for & got a royal pardon for the islands political prisoners and thanks to a gracious act by His Majesty the King. They were released and conveyed to Suratthani on the mainland and the island was discarded yet again. This was in the same year that the original people laid claim to a large portion of terrain on what is currently recognized as Sairee Beach. These were the two brothers Khun Ueam and Khun Oh who came to KoToa by a small boat from the neighbouring island of KoPhangan.
Kho Tao is in the middle of a tropical paradise infringed with swaying palms and bright turquoise waters.
This was the same year that the first settlers laid claim to a large portion of land on which is now known as Sairee Beach.
These days, you can find everything from cheap simple wooden huts with palm leaf roofs to exotic up-market villas with their own private swimming pool.
In the late 1990's the islands very first, and until recently, only road was laid, the road runs South to North from the far side of Sairee to the southern settlement of Chalok Baan Kao.
A new road is being developed towards Tanote Bay, and when completed it will open up the other side of the islandfor greater development, it is accessable with care at the moment by 4x4.
Their lives consisted of cultivating coconuts, growing vegetables & fruit and of course nourishing themselves with fishing. In those days getting to KoTao required a treacherous boat ride from the nearby islands or the mainland, if and when the seas &weatherpermitted, but the inhabitants continued to enlarge little by little all the same, even when the easy life was hard and without a large amount return.