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Vol. 24 No.1
January - March 2007

ISSN 0125-0159

Editor's Note
Special Feature
Sufficiency Economy
Dr. Sumet Tantivejkul: The Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy for the World
Pattani Salt: The Fair Trade Culture of Buy Ten and Get One Free
The Mekong: The River of Life and Culture
Biodiesel Comes to Fuel Users’ Rescue
In Focus
Recycling for Art’s Sake, at Wat Suwannaram
Apae Amor, the Outstanding Akha Guide at Akha Hill House
Thai Touch
The Diving Paradise of Ko Tao
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The Diving Paradise of Ko Tao

Some visitors may have never heard of Ko Tao, in the Gulf of Thailand, and others may have learned about it only recently. To Thai people, it has just become known as a tourist attraction featuring beautiful dive sites off its shores. To foreigners, this island has for a long time been famous as a diving paradise. International divers know that the underwater world of Ko Tao is second to none.

Ko Tao is a subdistrict or a group of villages in Ko Pha-ngan district of Surat Thani province. Ko Tao Subdistrict consists of two islands: Ko Tao and Ko Nang Yuan. Ko Tao island is mainly hilly; flat land constitutes only 30 percent of the total area of the island, which covers 18 square kilometers. There are three villages on Ko Tao: Ban Hat Sairi, Ban Mae Hat, and Ban Chalok Bankao. Located 85 kilometers from the Chumphon estuary, 120 kilometers from Ban Don bay of Surat Thani province, and 45 kilometers from Pha-ngan island, which is its nearest neighbor, Ko Tao is relatively isolated. Therefore, it is not widely known among Thai tourists. Most of its visitors are foreigners on long holidays, who plan lengthy stays to appreciate the beauties of abundant sea fish and coral reefs. Many scuba divers intend to visit Ko Tao at least once in their life. The island features both snorkeling and scuba diving sites that guarantee unique experiences for underwater explorers.

Ko Tao is shaped like a bean. However, some people think it resembles a turtle and that Ko Nang Yuan is like its tail. That is why the main island is named Ko (island) Tao (turtle). From a birds-eye view, Ko Taos beautiful coastline has as many as 11 bays and 10 peninsulas along its 28.6 kilometers. What is more, the island is bounded by coral reefs, which are altogether eight kilometers long. Though facing the northeastern wind that blows between November and March, Ko Tao is suitable for visits all year long because adjacent islands cushion the blow. This advantage does not exist for islands in the Andaman Sea.

The natural beauties of Ko Tao, both above and below the water, are well preserved by its location, far from the mainland. The remoteness also means privacy. Are you ready to have a firsthand experience of the natural beauty and tranquility of this renowned island ?

Story: Suvalux Khenkum
Photos: Suvalux Khenkum

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