Ko Tao, Thailand

Scuba virgins from all over flock to Ko Tao to learn how to dive. Not only is this lush, pistachio-coloured island blessed with crystal clear water and trippy coral reefs shallow enough for beginners to explore; it’s also is one of the world’s cheapest and most popular places to get your open-water dive certification – only Cairns in Australia issues more PADI diving certificates each year. Diving is definitely the island’s mainstay, and on its busiest areas you can’t walk 100m without tripping over a shop. Once you choose an outfitter, there are dozens of spectacular reefs with plentiful marine life to swim through. Experienced divers should note, however, that while Ko Tao may be advertised as Thailand’s diving Mecca, when it comes to truly awesome dive sites, the island can’t compete with the world-famous Similan Islands or even the fishy waters off of Ko Phi Phi.

Ko Tao is an island in Thailand and forms part of the Chumphon Archipelago on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand. It covers an area of about 21 km². Administratively it forms a district of Surat Thani Province

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