" Koh Tao Island Guide by KOH PHANGAN INFO: Hotel and Scuba Guide to Turtle Island, Thailand "


As boutique resorts become the new buzz in discerning travellers' guide books why not head to a boutique island; as Koh Tao (Turtle Island) is shaping up to be just that. Its small size and relative anonymity until the last ten years made it a well kept secret over the early nineties when most of the unscrupulous developing was carried out on Samui and to a lesser extent on Phangan. It had time (and the money - diving bought well needed cash to the island) to develop at a decent pace and the result is an ultra chic scene with a great independent vibe.

Resorts surrounded in jungle harmonise with boulder filled tropical landscapes whilst offering a surprisingly high level of accommodation, eating and nightlife options. The amazing diving that has made the island famous over the last decade raised the standards in resorts and restaurants, so much so that on a walk down Mae Haad main street, you could experience cuisine from over 10 nationalities at everything from a street vendor stall to a contemporary modern restaurant-come-dance music club!

Another great thing about the island's small size and remoteness is that it has kept away the hoards, appealing to a more independent type of traveller, thus there are still plenty of old skool bamboo bungalows to be found in amongst the A/C palaces and the Southern Thai island vibe is as strong as it ever was, making the place seem like time just stops there; unless there's a cock fight or beach BBQ going down! That said the nightlife on Tao is definitely some of the best in South Thailand, with excellent established venues, quality soundsystems and the cream of the Gulf's DJs, visiting or holding residencies.

So whether you want to dive at some of Asia's best sites, chill out on a deserted beach or wine, dine & party the night away in unique stylish venue the Turtle can provide it all; and if you stay there for a while you get to realise that Tao has had that boutique vibe long enough to have invented it!