Koh Toa is a very small island, only twenty one square km with virtually half of that too rough to reach. At first the islandwas not occupied, frequented only by fisherman from nearby islands when looking for shelter during heavy storms or when in need of fresh water and food. It seems out of the ordinary that such a tourist paradise should have been in the beginning set up as a penal island. Bizarre, but true. From 1933 until 1947 the islandwas home to political prisoners. Being almost 70 kilometers from the nearby mainland meant it was comparatively escape proof! Alcatraz...piece of cake. Ko Toa is surrounded by loads of Whale sharks & Black Tip Sharks too.
From the original A-Frame coconut and bamboo huts next to the beach for 30 Baht for a day, to very simple thatched huts, the local island families reacted fast to this arrival of outsiders otherwise called Farangs, by adapting to it.
The prisoners were all repatriated and transported by boat to Suratthani on the mainland and the island was a desert island yet again.
Despite Koh Tao still being under Royal Patronage, plots of land were claimed, and cleared for coconut plantations. You can still see plenty of evidence of the large coconut plantations all over the island.
From the days of being a prison camp, through to its current development, Turtle islandhas retained it's sparkle, though it now caters for everyones needs and costs.
From the very first bamboo A-Frame bungalowson the beach for 25 Baht a night, to simple thatched bungalows, the local Thai families reacted quickly to this influx of backpackersother wise known as Ferangs.
A huge range of fishes and some amazing coral reefs offer diversa unique experience. Other activities now include trekking and Jungle Treks.
Attracted by the wonderful coral reefs surrounding Koh Tao, and the growth in sport scuba diving, a number of companies have established diving businesses on Koh Tao, these companies in turn developed exclusive resortsfor their clientele, and over the years several of these resortshave become quite plush.