Koh Tao, despite being a veritable diving colony also has some mean road and tracks.
Koh Tao Areas
There are roughly three main settlements on the west and south side of Koh Tao and two smaller ones on the east side. Generally the main bulk of the tourists tend to be at the port town and Sairee beach with the rest spread all over the island.
Mae Haad (which is the main port town) and home to most of the dive and fishing boats boats on Koh Tao. This is one of the places you can get your bike looked at.
Haad Sairee village, which is also known as Sairee beach.
Chalok Baan Kao is a small hamlet on the south face of the island in a sheltered bay. Here there are diving centers with a few resorts. Fat Mechanic is considered one of the best, if expensive, mechy's for working on bigger bikes.
Koh Nang Yuan - The tri-pronged islet that is accesible by longtail only.
Road Lore: Here on Koh Tao though, the local police will turn a blind-eye to unlicensed bikes, but periodically the police from Surat Thani will show up and often 'take-over' sections of the road and impound bikes that are not road-legal. Their prime hunting ground is the main north-south island road into and out of Mae Haad, but they sometimes focus on Sairee.
They will threaten to impound and confiscate and remove them from the island if you do not pay a fine.
Koh Tao Facts
Population: 5600+ (variable due to tourism)
Size: 21 Sq. Miles
Distance from Capital by Air: 250 miles (no airport on Koh Tao)
Distance to Mainland Port by Sea: 50 miles
Distance from Capital by Road and Sea : 340 miles
Seasons and Weather.
Koh Tao is one of the more exposed Islands out of the three and during the rainy season can get flooded with rain. It also gets a rougher sea-state during bad weather because of its isolated position. On a positive note this means that the fresh sea breezes usually bring a cooler touch to the island.
Cool Season - October to February. Avg Temp - 24 C
Hot Season - March to May. Avg Temp - 32 C
Wet Season - June to late September. Avg Temp - 27 C.
Getting to Koh Tao
By Train: The State Railway of Thailand has daily departures to Chumphon. The best train to take is the 2nd or 1st class sleeper trains which travel through the night.
The express (EXP SP 85) train leaves at 19:15 from Bangkok and arrives in Chumphon around 5:00 am. In Chumphon there is a Koh Tao Cruiser office just outside the station where tickets can be purchased to Koh Tao. Prices depend on classes, train reservations can also be booked at our office on Khao San Rd.
By Airplane: With no airport on Koh Tao the closest one is on Koh Samui. You can take a boat from there. Tickets can be purchased on-line from Bangkok Airways www.bkkair.com. There are daily departures from 6:00 to 19:40. If you want to make the journey all in one day make sure your flight leaves Bangkok no later than 10:00. The price of a one-way trip from Bangkok to Koh Samui is around 4000 baht. At Samui airport tickets can be purchased for the Lomphraya Catamaran which then arrives on Koh Tao around 14:00. Tickets for the catamaran are 550 baht and they provide pick-up from the airport.
Lomphraya Catamaran: Has two departure times 8:00 and 12:30. Each trip takes approximately 1 hours, tickets are 550 baht and includes pick-up at hotel or airport.
From Surat Thani:
UPDATE: There are plans afoot to operate flights out of Bangkok directly to Chumpon. More on this as and when...
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