First, there was Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan . Today is the era of the cult of Ko Tao. Thousands of visitors come to pay homage to its turquoise waters, and often many choose to stay. The secret of the attraction of Ko Tao? It’s very simple: despite its small size (21 km2), Ko Tao offers everything for everyone, never practice moderation. The crazy diving cavort with sharks and rays in the middle of tangles coral glow. Hikers and hermits can replay an episode of Lost in the heart of the jungles of the coast. And when loneliness starts to weigh towards animation noisy bars that stay open until dawn.
Many years have passed since the first backpacker came to plant its flag on the island scrub, on behalf of all passengers fleeing pizzerias and nightclubs lady boys. Do not worry, there is still time to join this tribe. It will take several years before some bungalows to make dislodge summary by major hotels. And conversations of tourists still running around marine creatures, not their stock prices.
This is your first time? Ko Tao is the best place for it. The island emits more patents than any other place in the world. Shallow bays of the island are ideal for beginners who start with scuba diving. On land, more than 40 dive centers expect you to equip and teach you the ropes of this sport in the Open Water certificate 3.5 days. Certainly, summer homework, it is not very exciting, but the fierce competition between diving schools means that prices are unbeatable certification, as well as quality. No wonder this aquatic playground has become exceptionally popular with beginners waters are transparent, shimmering coral and temperature close to that of the bath water. The best dive sites are around the broad peaks in a radius of 20 km around the island, but hardened divers almost always prefer the beautiful sights along the Andaman coast. Local marine fauna includes groupers, moray eels, coachmen, barracuda, triggerfish, angelfish, clownfish, manta rays, sharks and whale sharks are powerful frequent visits.
The armies of touts waiting at the pier on the pier in Mae Hat try to get you to stay in the center that commissioned by promising you a special rate. Since there are dozens of dive centers on the island, it is better to arrive with the addresses of some good schools in mind. If you have time, spend a day or two to relax on the island before you decide – you will probably meet crowds of instructors and divers who will advise you. Remember that the success of your experience (especially if it’s the first time) will largely depend on the confidence that you will give to your instructor. Consider also the group size, the condition of the equipment and the sites where you go, etc..
In general, rates are standardized diving around the island, there is no need to spend time hunting for the best price. The PADI Open Water certificate (www. padi.com) costs 9800 B, that of SSI (www. ssithailand.com) a little less, 9000 B, because you do not pay educational equipment. Advanced patent cost you 8500 B, a patent Rescue 9500 B divemaster program and a whopping 25,000 B. Recreational dives are lowering B 1000, B 7000 or 10. These rates include equipment, boat, instructors and snacks. Bring your own equipment often provides a reduction. Attention to diving centers offering discounts too – safety comes first, and centers offering attractive rates too often undue savings. The vast majority of centers are equipped with air-conditioned rooms for courses for beginners.
There are many people and accommodation is often booked in December, January, June, July and August. There is a peak attendance of all aspiring divers months after each full moon party in Ko Pha-Ngan, nearby. If you want to take a break after this great diving holiday, we advise you to book your ferry ticket at least two days before. Places go very quickly.
OVERVIEW OF DIVE SITES:
In general, divers do not choose their own sites to explore. Each school chooses a handful of sites for the day according to the weather and sea conditions. The exploration of the deeper sites, such Chumphon Pinnacle, is usually in the morning. Boats in the afternoon go to shallower as Japanese Gardens. Two large ships ran aground on the coast recently, offering divers diver new wrecks to explore. To see the whale sharks of Sail Rock, we advise you to embark on one of the boats leave Ko Pha-Ngan every day.
– Chumphon Pinnacle (maximum depth 36 m), 13 km west of Ko Tao, offers a variety of colorful anemones along its four peaks. Schools of trevally, giant tuna and big reef sharks frequent the area. We note sometimes the appearance of a whale shark.
– Green Rock (maximum depth 25 m) is a submarine equipped jungle caves, grottos and small passages frequented by stingrays. groupers and triggerfish. Fabulous for night diving.
-Japanese Gardens (maximum depth 12 m), between Ko Tao and Ko Nang Yuan is a quiet spot, ideal for beginners. Colorful corals abound, turtles, stingrays and puffer fish are often there.
– Mango Bay (maximum depth 16 m) could be your first site if this is your first time. Reef fish swim lazily while beginners train on the sandy soil.
– Sail Rock (maximum depth 34 m), close to Ko Pha-Ngan, is characterized by a large stone fireplace with a vertical passage. It crosses barracuda and kingfish. This is one of the best places in Southeast Asia to spot whale sharks.
– Southwest Pinnacle (maximum depth 33 m) offers divers a small collection of peaks providing habitat for giant groupers and barracudas. Whale sharks and leopard sharks sometimes occur.
– White Rock (maximum depth 29 m) features colorful corals, scalars, clown fish and triggerfish. Another popular spot for night diving.
Snorkeling is a popular alternative to diving, although scorned by purists. You can easily find a way to organize your own adventure because the bays along the coast have all bungalows renting equipment between 100 and 200 B per day.
Most members choose to dive alone and head off to the bays of Ko Tao to swim or long-silent boat to reach the most remote areas. You can also participate in a guided tour by booking a local travel agency. Prices vary between 500 and 700 B (which usually includes equipment, meals and a guide / boat captain) with stops in several good sites. Laem Thian is popular,
him for his small sharks in the Shark Island
fish swarm (but curiously not the sharks), Hin Wong is known for the transparency of its waters and Light House Point in the north, home to a multitude of brightly colored anemones. Diving schools are willing to embark practitioners snorkeling for a similar price, but it’s worth it if the site is suitable for this activity, as Japanese Gardens. The boats travel to sites shallower afternoon
Technical Diving and Cave Diving:
if want to conduct their underwater explorations to the next level and try a technical dive. According to PADI, it is “other than diving commercial diving or leisure conventional, which takes the diver beyond the limits of diving entertainment.” Technical diving often exceeds 40 m depth, requires decompression, and a mixture of gases is often used for a single dive.
In recent years, the boat belonging to tech Thailand, the Trident has made a name in the diving community after locating dozens of shipwrecks lost in the Gulf of Thailand. His most famous discovery is that of Lagarto, American ship that sank during the Second World War. The Gulf have long been a commercial sea route and wrecks are constantly being discovered, old remains of Chinese pottery to niants Japanese.
In 2011, the Trident was deliberately run aground on the coast of Ko Tao to create an artificial reef. But, due to a calculation error in the explosion, the wreck is still too immersed for beginners.
Recently, cave diving has become very trendy. Devotees flock to Ko Tao to spend half a day at Khao Sok National Park. Funds the main lake are home to a breathtaking underwater world: secret caves, limestone cliffs and peas ¬ sound-stealthy cats. Divers can explore areas where villages lie submerged in the flood caused to create a reservoir and dam. Most tours start in the afternoon with a boat ride from Koh Tao and end the next afternoon. The sleeping accommodation is in or near the park.
The Buddha View offers a free introduction to technical diving on Saturday. Team Tech Thailand go explore the seas during the “shipwrecks Wednesday.”
If you have already received your certificate PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), you can rent a camera underwater or sign up for a course in videography. Many diving schools employ specialists to film Open Water certifications. If you are interested, you can learn things by doing an internship. The divemasters can put you in touch with one of the teams of the island.
If you want to dive during your stay, instructors will offer probably hosts ¬ free or at reduced prices. Some schools allow you to stay on site, others have concluded agreements with the neighboring bungalows. Note that you will benefit from this reduction on days when you dive. If you pay a formula of 10 runs and you pause in the middle, the reduction will not be valid for the evening. Look closely at these “great bargains” before signing, some do not make sense. A good night’s sleep is essential before going diving.
Hotels unrelated with diving also abound on the island. The bays of Ko Tao is punctuated by retreats are remarkable still offer a real quiet, but sometimes difficult given the poor state of the road network of the island. It is often possible to call before we pick you up at the pier in Mae Hat.
Namely: Ko Tao is not like Ko Samui, it is not here that you will find impeccable service or perfect 5 star hotels. For the moment.
The vast Sairee Beach, the longest beach on the island and most developed, in moult diving centers, bungalows, travel agencies, supermarkets and cafes. The narrow paved road with yellow stretches along the beach (watch out for motorcycles).