Strange, but true, from 1933 until 1947 Koh Taowas home to political prisoners. Being located about 65 km from Suratthani or Chumporn meant it was fairly escape proof! Alcatraz...piece of cake.
Attracted by the wonderful coral reefs surrounding Ko Tao, and the quick growth in sport scuba diving, quite a few companies have established divebusinesses on Koh Tao, these companies in turn developed exclusive resortsfor their customers, and over the years several of these resortshave become quite plush.
About 1947, Khun A-Paiwong, Thailands Prime Minister at that time, requested & got a royal pardon for the islands prisoners and thanks to a affable act by His Majesty the King. They were released and conveyed to Suratthani on the nearby mainland and the island was discarded once again. This was in the same year that the initial settlers laid claim to a large portion of terrain on what is at this time known as Sai Ree Beach. These were the twin brothers Khun Ueam and Khun Oh who reached KoToa by a small boat from the neighbouring island of KoPhangan.
Initially this little island was not inhabited, frequented only by fisherman from near by islands when seeking shelter during thunder storms or when in need of fresh water and supplies.
During the last 10 odd years the islandhas changed in many different ways as it developed to become one of the major diveoperation centres in Thailand, attracting all levels of diversand water lovers alike.
Ko Tao is a place of real beauty and charm, an island, where you can have a holiday far anyway, lazy and relaxed or active and fast paced.
A culture shock to many, but generally the islandreacted with a passion to these new visitors, over the following months much change has taken place, new resorts, with more facilities, a new array of restaurants offering different food from around the globe.
Here they found something more then just a new island to explore and soon the back packer network was buzzing about the wonderful newly found island paradise of Koh Tao.
Captivated by the tropical beaches, the back of beyond aura, and of course the cheap living, back packers soon arrived in droves.