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Koh Tao & Koh Nang Yuan
Amphoe Ko Pha-ngan, Surat Thani - Samui ( Koh Tao )
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Koh Tao & Koh Nang Yuan

Koh Tao, which means Turtle Island in Thai, is a small island located about 55 km north of Koh Samui. The island covers an area of only 21 square kilometres characterized by stunning coasts dotted by pristine secluded bays, Ao in Thai, where lie amazing beaches, Haad or Hat in Thai, with fine white sand and polished granite boulders scattered along the shores and at their edges. Less developed of Koh Samui, in the early ‘80s the small island became a tourist destination for backpackers moved here from the nearby Koh Phangan, turning the quiet Koh Tao in the current tourist resort. In the present days the economy of the island is almost exclusively focused on Diving and Snorkelling tourism, this because the small island is amazing both above and below the sea surface. The island is real paradise for diving and snorkeling, as it is home to some of the best dive and snorkelling sites in the Gulf of Thailand. Its limpid waters have made it one of diving centers world's most active. The marine life in the sea around Koh Tao is remarkable. Here you can see a multitude of grouper, parrot fish, angel fish, stingrays, barracuda, manta rays and even whale sharks. The quiet waters around the island are also suitable for beginners. Since the main attraction of island is to dive its pristine beaches are often quiet and uncrowned, a great place to spend a day in truly paradise. Ao Mae Haad is the most popular and crowded bay in Koh Tao. Located in the middle of island's western coast, it houses the jetty where all ferries and boats dock, so its beach is often chaotic during the departure and the arrival of numerous ferries, diving and day-trip boats, while in the rest of the day is a quiet beach. This is highest developed area of Koh Tao, with lots of resorts, guest houses, shops, bars, restaurants, banks, internet cafe' and diving shops. The accommodations suit every budget. The village is also home to the Mae Haad Walking Street, a colored traditional Thai market packed with plenty of stalls selling all kinds of merchandise. There are lots of small paths around the island, such as the pathway that leads to Two View the Koh Tao's highest peak, from which you have a wonderful view all around. Most of day tour includes some stops in Koh Tao's bays for snorkeling and swimming, like Mango Bay, one of most popular snorkeling sites around the island. Koh Nang Yuan is one of the jewels of Koh Tao, although it is actually a nearby island. Considered one of the most beautiful and spectacular locations in the world, it consists in three small private islands united by a stunning white sandbank emerging from the sea at low tide. The charm of Koh Nang Yuan is also in the semi-shallow coral reef surrounding the sandbar and the islets themselves. Accessible directly from the emerging beach without the use of boats and full of colourful corals and plentiful marine life, it is one of Koh Tao's best snorkelling and diving spots. Koh Nang Yuan is a private island so visitors have to pay a 100 Baht fee to access. Plastic bottles and cans are banned from the island; drinks and foods can be bought in the only resort and restaurant set near the sandbank, which clearly belongs to the island's owner.
Getting there - The day trips from Koh Samui to Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan depart from Bo Phut Pier, at the north-eastern tip of island, close to the International Airport. Usually the trips include a visit of both islands in one day, in the morning Koh Tao and afternoon Koh Nang Yuan. Most of these tours include the transfer by minivan from your hotel, the roundtrip by speedboat, lunch buffet, snorkelling equipment, tour guide and insurance. Prices of tours range from 2,000 to 2,500 THB depending on the company and on the type of boat you choose. If you just want to visit only Koh Nang Yuan there are day tours from Koh Samui for about 1,200 THB. The faster boats take about 90 minutes to get to Koh Tao, the larger boats employ more time, but it are most comfortable on board, with air conditioning, and are more suitable for snorkeling, thanks to large rear deck above the water. In alternatively, to reach Koh Tao from Koh Samui individually you can use the ferry services. The Seatran Discovery ferry departs from Bang Rak Pier, 300 meters before the Big Buddha; first stops in Koh Pha Ngan, and then get to Koh Tao. It departs daily at 8:00 and 13:30, a trip about 90 minutes. The Lomprayah high speed catamaran ferry leaves from its pier in Mae Nam, and do the same route as the Seatran Discovery. It departs daily at 8:00 and 12:30, a trip about 1 hour 45 minutes. The one way trip to Koh Tao by ferry costs around 600 THB.
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