Tao has only recently become a popular spot for
travellers and holiday makers.
just a few years ago, "Turtle Island"
was very, very different.
the 1930's, the Thai government finally realised
the strategic advantage of Koh Tao as a penal
colony and started to relocate a number of prisoners
from camps in the west to a new facility built
on the island.
From the island, surrounded by ocean, there was
little chance of escape.
1944 with a change of government, all prisoners
were freed and given an official pardon. The prison
camp was closed down.
people started to arrive, three main
settlements emerged on the island
and to this day, Haad Sairee, Ban
Mae Haad and Chalok Ban Kao remain
the only three villages on Koh Tao.
neighbouring Koh Samui and Koh Phangan,
Koh Tao remained untouched by tourism
for many years.
in the late 1980's the first Samui
based dive operators began running
overnight live-aboard trips and were
amazed by what they saw...
clear waters boasting a splendid array of colour
and coral reefs alive with an incredible diversity
of marine life.
dive operations began re-locating to Koh Tao realizing
they had uncovered a wealth of untouched beauty.