Ko Tao (เกาะเต่า), literally "Turtle Island", is an island on the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand.
Ko Tao was once a detention place for political prisoners. Today it's a great place for divers or persons who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Ko Samui or the chaos of the Full Moon Party on Ko Pha Ngan. The island is geared more towards relatively affluent divers than backpackers on a budget. Thus, you won't find cheap food stalls here. There are hardly any ocean currents and there is a wide selection of dive sites and dive shops, dive schools, and resorts. Activities other than diving are on the increase and the food and nightlife options are some of the best in the Gulf of Thailand.
Ko Tao is a small island of approximately 21 km² and receives over 100,000 visitors per year. This is a heavy tourist load for a small island with rudimentary sanitation infrastructure. Everything that can't be burned has to be taken away to the mainland. There is no sanitation department to clean the roads or other public areas, so don't dump your waste thoughtlessly. Avoid the unnecessary plastic bags that are given out mindlessly for virtually every purchase. Water is scarce and electricity expensive, so don't waste them.
Peak seasons in Ko Tao are from Dec-Mar and Jul-Aug. It is a quite popular destination among Thais also, so it can be nearly fully booked on Thai holidays.