Turtle Island (Koh Tao)

This small island in the Gulf of Thailand was a 6 hr bus ride and a 2 hr ferry from Bangkok and supposedly the best diving the Gulf has to offer, attracting thousands of visitors who come to learn to scuba dive. Naturally, we wanted to check it out! We did 5 days of diving there, 10 dives in all. Sadly we were more than a little disappointed.  Our visibility was quite limited at 40-30 ft and there wasn’t very much to see . I suspect it’s due to the sheer volume of divers (and mostly inexperienced ones at that) in the water at every site at all times, but there wasn’t much variety and very little coral formations either, mostly just small patches growing on huge underwater boulders. We also discover quickly that we were that exception rather than the rule – experienced divers arriving with our own gear looking to do lots of dives… We got funny looks and some blank stares more than a few times. The dive shops there weren’t well set up for divers like us either, everything from gear storage to bottom times required some improvising. For example, our hotel (which was partnered with the shop we dove with) included breakfast but that was served beginning at 7:30am and the boat left at 7am… 7- Eleven croissants became our best friend. We did manage to see a few cool things though, no diving is ever a total loss! We especially loved the giant clams embedded into the coral heads and the seas of swaying anemones and their resident pink anemone fish darting in and out to investigate us. We also saw tons of nudibranchs.

Huge clams!

Huge clams!

lets play...name that nudi!

lets play…name that nudi!

beautiful anemone

the carnivorous crown of thorns starfish

the carnivorous crown of thorns starfish

blue spotted stingray

school of yellow tailed barracuda

school of yellow tailed barracuda

In the afternoons we spent our time relaxing, walking the beach, and taking water taxis out to nearby Koh Nang Yuan. I felt out of place there amongst all the backpackers, it was almost like high school – everyone seemed to have their “clique” and weren’t out to make new friends. Our time on Koh Tao was eye opening and not without its good times but we were also just as happy to pack up again and carry on to our next destination. After a brief stopover in Koh Samui we are off to Koh Phi Phi in the Andaman Sea to meet up with Alexandra of Blue View Divers and welcome our Ocean Sports group!

sunset on Turtle Island

sunset on Turtle Island

rewarded with a great view of Koh Nang Yuan after a sweaty jungle hike

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4 Comments on “Turtle Island (Koh Tao)

  1. Thanks so much for taking us on your journey. Absolutely stunning photos. And your writing is so descriptive of sites and your opinions of your journey and experience. Love it.

  2. Pingback: koh Tao travel guide, Scuba Diving in Koh Tao, Top 5 Diving school

  3. Pingback: A Beautiful Thailand Sunset | One Eyebrow Raised

  4. Pingback: Koh Tao (Turtle Island) | Warren McKay Photography

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