What is it About Koh Tao, Thailand, which makes a Traveller Want to Return?

My husband, daughter and I have been sitting around the kitchen table this afternoon, chin wagging about the little island of Koh Tao, Thailand.  In previous posts I have spoken about my complicated relationship with this distant and exotic land, formerly known as Siam, but each time I have visited its little island of Koh Tao – a couple of hours away from the mainland, I have been bewitched by  island magic.

Koh Tao

I always think I will return to the UK, not wanting to visit there again. The train ride from Bangkok to Chumpon is a bit long and makes me weary now I’m knocking on a bit ( I think next time and I’ll bet there will be a next time. I’ll fly to the island of Koh Samui) and I’ve never been a person for going somewhere twice. Always preferring the experience of travelling to a new, fresh, location.

Yet, as I sit here drinking a cool refreshing San Miguel, smelling the warm aroma of garlic cooking in olive oil, as Chloe cooks up her tasty chicken, courgette and potato dish for dinner. My mind ponders on the fact, that I have travelled to this little island three times in the last seven years.


I know other travellers and bloggers have spent time on the island and most recently Hannah at hanwanderlast commented on my post 5 Tip Top Beaches Around the World, saying:

I used to live on Koh Tao, it makes my heart happy to see it on this list. :)”

So I’d like to ask you other travellers out there:

“What is it About Koh Tao, Thailand, which makes a Traveller Want to Return?”

Chloe my daughter says, “I don’t know. There’s just something about it.”

Vince commented, ” Its cheap, its sandy, warm and wet. A nice little island really.”

Kot Tao Thailand

On our first visit there in 2007, I can remember being overwhelmed by the touts on the dive boats, attempting to encourage us to commit to the resorts they were offering. Finally we listened to an Scottish guy who spoke about Bans Diving School. On our arrival there it was very busy and as we were with our children, who were 11 and 13 – the vibe of the place was something we felt was more suitable for young single people.

Koh Tao Accommodation

This was cool with the resort representative and he suggested we try Sunshine Divers – Bans sister resort in the little bay of Chalok Baan Kao. Jumping into the back of a pickup, we made our way down there and thought it was far more suitable for us as a family. The blue roofed bungalows nestling in the tropical garden had a gentle feel and from our family bungalow, we looked out over the sparkling warm tropical water. The accommodation here is definitely at the budget end of the market and on our first visit, when we asked for clean towels we received a surly response but since that time, we have gotten to know the staff more and have even been privileged to have Ny the restaurant manager share the story of how he came to live his life in Thailand after leaving his home country of Burma, with us. For that I feel a deep gratitude, as I do for having met Joe – who works for Sunshine Divers. To see his smiling face waiting for us at Ban Mae Haad, the last time we visited and the warm greeting we received from him and even the baguette lady who gave me a big hug in the high street of the little bay, meant it initially felt like I had returned to family.

Koh Tao

There are so many different kinds of accommodation on Koh Tao and when I visited the luxury resort of The Rocks, I learnt a little about how if you have a bit more money, the island can be enjoyed.

The Rocks Koh Tao

Here we learnt to dive and here Chloe became a Rescue Diver.

I also discovered a terror lurking deep within my belly, which has now disappeared due to the emotional understanding I have developed, as to why it persisted in the first place.

Our little family of four had a fun time learning together. This has taught me far more about the importance of our relationship and keeping the closeness of our family ties. It has shown me the differences between us and the similarities – our strength and weaknesses and our supportive nature. As Parents it has helped us show the children and others the importance of committing to doing what you want with your life and how by doing so – we can develop a life full of colour and joy de vivre, not matter whether or not we achieve failure or success.

If you’ve never visited this little island, then I’d love to suggest you go – read through my posts about our experiences on the island and if you want help with anything, or wish to know anymore – then drop me a line here or on my e-mail: travelwiththestrings@hotmail.co.uk

Koh Tao


as always

I’d love to know your thoughts…

Vince Stringer Thailand


5 thoughts on “What is it About Koh Tao, Thailand, which makes a Traveller Want to Return?

  1. Traveling with family is such a joy. I’ve never been to Koh Tao, probable because we have similar beaches here in the Philippines, but it looks like a place to feel at home in. Best of luck to you and your family, and happy travels!


    1. Thank you and I quite agree. I’ve loved travelling with my husband and children. I consider myself very lucky to have had them as my travel companions!


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