Stationed in the crystal blue waters off the western shore of Thailand and previously uninhabited, the tiny island of Koh Tao—measuring just eight square miles—today offers travelers a taste of a true tropical getaway.
The island, which is named after the now endangered sea turtles that inhabit the area, has gained enormous popularity in recent years for offering some of the most beautiful beaches and best diving opportunities in the gulf. Whale sharks, stingrays, reef sharks, turtles, colorful coral gardens, and a few shipwrecks promise unforgettable adventures underwater, and on land, several beautiful stretches of fine, bright white sand as well as hills covered in rain forest give off that typical island paradise vibe.
With an array of resorts, bungalows, shops, restaurants, and dive shops on the island, visitors looking to relax can do so on palm-lined beaches with 300 days of sunshine every year, and the adventurous set can scuba dive with sharks and explore underwater coral reefs. A raging bar scene, complete with loud music and strong drinks, rounds out the experience, ensuring there's something for every type of traveler in Koh Tao.