TRAVELKoh Tao: the Divers’ Paradise

Koh Tao: the Divers’ Paradise

Koh Tao is not only a world-famous diving destination, but it’s also well known for reintroducing hundreds of juvenile turtles to the island’s ecosystem and for efforts to preserve and grow coral reefs.

Welcome to Koh Tao, one of the more remote and less visited islands in Thailand. If you are a diver, you already know of this place because it is a world-famous diving destination.

Between Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan, and surrounding both islands, there is abundant marine and coral life. Koh Tao may be one of the smaller islands in the Gulf of Thailand, but it is a giant when it comes to underwater ocean life. Below its coastline are stunning marine ecosystems for divers and snorkelers to see and explore.

Underwater World: Watching these aquatic creatures in their environment doing their own thing (this one seemed happy grazing on seagrass) is a dream come true.
Organic Architecture: Not everything in Koh Tao is perfect. Like other reefs in the world, it has experienced increased ocean temperatures resulting in coral bleaching. But there are still many corals fighting for their survival here.
Gardens by the Bay: Corals are like underwater gardens and flora of the sea. Not only are they beautiful but they also provide spaces for cohabitation – fish and coral working together to support each other.
Christmas comes early: Spirobranchus Giganteus attach themselves to coral and grow in a variety of colours and shapes, giving them the name “Christmas Tree” worms.
That Beach Over The Hill: Aow Leuk, Koh Tao Island
Early morning swim at Hin Ngam Bay, Koh Tao

Fast Facts:

  • The Island of Koh Tao, or “Turtle Island,” is 45 km north of Koh Phangan. It is part of the Chumphon Archipelago on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand.
  • Koh Tao is one of the top scuba diving destinations in Thailand. It has over 25 dive sites to explore.
  • The island is the site of important breeding grounds for Hawksbill and Green turtles. It is also a centre for environmentally friendly diving practices.
  • The breeding programme was organised in 2004 by the Royal Thai Navy and KT-DOC, a coalition of local scuba diving centres, has reintroduced hundreds of juvenile turtles to the island’s ecosystem.
  • In 2012, a Marine Zoning and Regulations Master Plan was developed for the island and subsequently became local law.
Fishing for oysters and clouds: Stilted huts over the water house oyster beds in estuarine areas off the coast of Surat Thani
Into The Blue: Evening falls at Sai Daeng Beach
Turquoise Waters and Rocky Shores: Koh Tao, Thailand
Here I am standing on one of the cliffs looking out towards Koh Pha Ngan – 45 kilometers away.

Originally from Hong Kong and Canada, Luke Yeung has spent most of his life based in Bangkok, Thailand, capturing the intensity and urban development of Asia and Southeast Asia. Having trained in architecture, he often captures buildings and spaces as main elements in his images as a means to reflect on the people and culture of the place. To see more of Luke’s travel photography see www.instagram.com/luke.outside. To learn more about Luke, visit https://simonostheimer.substack.com/p/bangkoks-new-faces

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