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Big Blue Freediving - Koh Tao - Thailand

The History of Koh Tao

The Story of Koh Tao or Turtle Island is one of relatively recent times. Once Fishermen used to come here to shelter from storms or take a break from their weary travels.
Just before the turn of the century the King of Thailand paid a visit to Koh Tao & laid his mark upon Jor Por Rock on the southern end of Sairee Beach.
From the early 1930’s Koh Tao became a prisoner colony used to house political prisoners, until 1947 when the then Thai Prime Minister pardoned all the prisoners on the island.
So the island became abandoned again but only for a short time as later that same year a couple of Fishermen set sail on their boat for Koh Tao from Koh Phangan. They claimed for themselves a healthy chunk of land, Sairee Beach, and after bringing their families over began to cultivate the soil. Koh Tao’s first family had arrived!


They harvested coconuts, grew veggies & fished & gradually began to trade with their nearest neighbour Koh Phangan, and by so doing brought over more workers & steadily the Koh Tao population grew.
By the 80’s backpackers were beginning to come to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan & as the boats became bigger faster & safer they started coming to Koh Tao.
One of the first pioneers at this time was an Italian man who would bring divers from Koh Samui for an overnight diving safari to Koh Tao. He founded Red Rock, White Rock & Green Rock named them after the colors of the Italian flag, & became the first dive shop on Koh Tao.
Then one day in 1990 a tall Swede started his Open Water Dive Course. He liked it & did some more courses, and within the year had opened for himself the second dive shop on Koh Tao- Big Blue Diving. Koh Tao was now truly open for business.
In recent years the islands reputation as one of a quiet tropical paradise has spread. Word of its diverse marine life, & coral reefs made Koh Tao quickly become one of Thailands major diving destinations attracting beginners & professionals alike. And the local businesses have done well to cater to the ever-changing needs of the new arrivals in Koh Tao, catering for all budgets.

Where we are

Big Blue Diving Resort - Koh Tao.Big-Blue-Diving-Resort

Situated half-way up Sairee Beach on the west facing side of the island is Big Blue Diving Resort. We are right on the beach & just behind Sairee Village, only a minutes walk away.

17/18 Moo 1, Koh Tao, Surat Thani 84280, Thailand
Tel: +66 77 456 415
Fax: +66 77 456 772
Mob: +66 0819205698
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Island Entertainments

In years past, it would be fair to say that there wasn't much to do on Koh Tao other than diving! Well years have past and now there are many of things to do and get involved with on Koh Tao:

Island Facilities

A few years ago Koh Tao had no ATMs.  Now, you cant walk 5 minutes without seeing several.  With most machines, you can use any major type of card, Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, Plus, etc.   There are Thai banks on Koh Tao where you could cash travelers cheques, as well as licenced money changers.

There are a number of clinics on the island staffed by medical professionals.  We have one doctor on the island for serious emergencies.  More importantly there are 2 diving medical facilities on the island with an international staff of highly trained professionals able to treat any diving injury.  There are dozens of pharmacies on the island able to fill out any prescription and offer you all of your western style hygiene products. 

There are about six 7-11 stores.  No Starbucks, McDonalds or Burger King, and we like it that way.  

We have one big department store with a fix-it section to get all the bits and bobs to make any backpacking repairs you might need.  Most of the local artisans still operate in the same tiny stalls they've had for years: they carve, braid, string, and twist up jewelry during the day and sell it at night.  There are clothing stores selling everything from cheap t-shirts to the latest fashions.   CDs and DVDs can be found in most trafficked areas.   Sunglasses can be bought on every street corner.   All sorts of diving equipment can be found at competitive prices.  You can buy any size backpack or bag you might need for your trip in one of the many bag shops.   There is a custom wetsuit shop who can make you a diving wetsuit designed like your favorite superhero. 

2 real estate agents on the island can help you find your own personal piece of paradise.  If you think this doesn't apply to you, wait until you get here.  90% of the full time residents came here for a 4-day stop, and just never left.


The island offers a wide range of nocturnal activities perfect to celebrate finishing your Open Water course.  Sairee beach is the heart of Koh Tao's nightlife.  There are about 5 beach bars along Sairee beach, including Big Blue's Beach Bar.  These 5 bars are all located right on the waters edge and are the perfect place to grab a cocktail or post-dive beer and watch the sun go down.  Sairee beach faces west and has magnificent sunsets year-round.  About 10pm most of these bars close up, and anyone looking to stay out later can head down the beach a bit further.  Theres a variety of late night clubs which stay open late, some even until the sun comes up.  Fortunately, they're far enough down the beach that you can come back and get a quiet night's sleep once you've had your fill.  

Once a month, a place a resort on Koh Tao hosts the hilltop party.  If you're in to a really long, steep hike, and then partying with a few hundred people in a clearing on the top of a mountain, then this is for you. 

Theres also several pool halls on the island with quality regulation pool and snooker tables. 

Koh Phangan Full Moon Party

Koh Tao gets very quiet around the full moon, as every party person in Thailand heads to the world famous Full Moon Party in Koh Pha-Ngan, the island right next to Koh Tao.  A popular option to avoid being room-less in Koh Pha-Ngan is to actually stay on Koh Tao and just take the FullMoon "party boat" over.   The boat leaves here at 6pm, gets you right to the party beach by 7:30, and lets you go all night and then brings you back at 6am.  No worrying about trying to find accommodation at one of the worlds biggest parties. 

So if you're in to chilled nights on the beach with friends, or all night parties, Koh Tao does offer it all.



So many destinations to go out and explore your own taste of Koh Tao. Make sure you take a snorkel mask & fins so you can jump in the water for a snorkel wherever you go. Most poular destination is to Koh Nang Yuan which shouldn't take you more than 20 minutes to get to. Also recommend Paddle Boards. They seem to be getting more & more popular by the year! A trip round the island is a full on mission. Could take you as long as 10 hours so think twice before attempting that kind of trek!



Muay Thai Kick Boxing

Kick a Friend Today.  Thai Kick Boxing (known as Muay Thai) is a sport that is quickly gaining popularity around the world.  The Island Muay Thai training center trains fighters from first-timers to pros.  Some of the staff have competed and won nationally.  They can show you some basic moves in a one-day training session, or get you fight ready in a month.  They have matches about every 3 weeks which usually draws a huge crowd of locals on fight night.




Thai Cooking Classes

There are many great restaurants here in Koh Tao, a number of which are owned by western entrepreneurs which gives authenticity to our western food!   Thai restaurants are also very popular, extremely tasty and very affordable.  Which has led to a demand in Koh Tao for authentic Thai cooking classes. There are several places on the island you can take a cooking class where you will do everything from going to the local market to buy the ingredients to cleaning, splicing & dicing, cooking & the real secret- spicing!



Koh Tao has some of the most amazingly tranquil spots for Yoga.  There are several Yoga centers on the island in a variety of settings from mountain retreats to deserted sandy beaches.  Some of our staff have been to these and we can tell you about them so you can decide which one might be right for you.





Wake Boarding

Being a tropical island you would expect a lot of activities to revolve round water sports.  Koh Tao can offer you aqua-based adrenalin in the form of wind surfing, water skiing, wake boarding, kayaking & everybody's favourite tubular activity- snorkeling. You can hire a private longtail boat to take you to any number of secluded bays and beaches scattered all around the island, or sign up for chartered trips which leave daily and hit all the popular spots!  We can help you with booking any watersports activity you're after.



Rock Climbing

Koh Tao has always has some amazing rock formations just right for climbing.  But not until 2008 has someone mapped out the best sites on the island and cleared some paths to make the sites accessible.  Our staff can point you to this company who can take you to the best climbing spots on the island, as well as rent you all the gear you need.  Climbing courses available for beginners to advanced.




Kite Surfing

Designed to help you learn in a safe way while your  Instructor takes you through all the steps from knowing safe wind directions and conditions for kiting, recognizing hazards from shore, set up a trainer kite, basic kite flying skills with trainer kite, twist and untwist the lines while flying the kite, walk and change directions while flying the kite, know the wind window & preflight check of equipment and settings. Everything you need to become a Kits Surfer.



Spa & Massage

Get your aches and pains manipulated away, leaving you with extra vitality and an overall feeling of calm and well-being. If you really want to indulge, why not go for a herbal steam sauna or a body wrap with papaya and carrot. Prices start at 100 baht for simple waxing up to 990 baht for the 3 hour 'Island Experience' which includes herbal steam sauna, skin treatment and foot massage. Relax. Unwind. Massage, meditation, sauna.. Treat yourself to a day of relaxation.




Mini Golf & 10-Pin Bowling

The most unique bowling alley in Thailand.  Games are played on hand-built lanes with regulation pins.  Your score is relayed by the friendly guy at the end of the lane who signals your score with one hand as he sets the pins back up with the other.  Maybe the only manual bowling alley in the country.  Too classic to miss.  Next to the bowling alley is an 18-hole miniature golf course. Featuring volcanoes, castles, tigers & monkeys this is perfect for the kids & kids at heart.

Rock Climbing

Koh Tao has always has some amazing rock formations just right for climbing.  But not until 2008 has someone mapped out the best sites on the island and cleared some paths to make the sites accessible.  Our staff can point you to this company who can take you to the best climbing spots on the island, as well as rent you all the gear you need.  Climbing  available for beginners to advanced.

Getting to Koh Tao...

From Bangkok...

you can get either a sleeper train & ferry or a bus & ferry combination ticket to Koh Tao (via Chumphon) with Lomprayah ( ) for around 850 Baht. Alternatively, if your schedule is tight and your budget is right, you can can fly to Koh Samui with Bangkok Airways ( ) and get the Lomprayah fast ferry across to Koh Tao.



From Koh Samui & Koh Phangan...

We recommend the Lomprayah ferry or Seatran Discovery Ferry service from Koh Samui (550-600 Baht) via Koh Phangan (150-250 Baht). The movie and air-conditioning help you cool and entertained and maybe even keep your mind off your post Full Moon party hangover!


From Chumphon...

There are several ferry companies that operate daily services direct to Koh Tao from Chumphon. We recommend the Lomprayah Catamaran ( ) or the Songserm Ferry ( )and Koh Tao Cruiser for around 550 Baht.



From Surat Thani...

The night boat leaves Surat Thani at 11pm, takes 7 hours and costs around 400 baht. A pretty basic means of travel! Always reminds me of one of those backpacker tales of how bad a trip was usually involving South American Drug Lords, Flying chickens & screammg babies!  Be warned.



From Overseas...

You can fly to Koh Samui from many airports, including Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Phuket, with Bangkok Airways ( and get the Lomprayah fast ferry ( ) or the Seatran Ferry ( ) across to Koh Tao.

You can also fly from Bangkok to SuratThani and then a ferry from there with Nok Air ( which is a lot cheaper but might not work so well if you are trying to get here in 1 day.

Whats the Weather like right now?

The great thing about Koh Tao is that because it is just a small island, we can travel around the whole place by boat in less than an hour. Which means then that whenever the weather is bad & blustery & there are big seas then we can always find a suitable, calm area, where the visibility hasn’t been too disturbed, to dive at throughout the year.

In addition, because Koh Tao is just a small landmass the growing rain clouds that form often don’t unleash their aquatic unpleasantness till they are over the larger landmasses of our neighbours Koh Samui & Koh Phangan. So when our friends there are getting soaked our friends here are soaking in sunshine.

January & February

The beginning of the year & some of the most perfect beautiful months of sunshine, flat seas & swimming off the beach the year has to offer. The water on the west coast of the island is completely flat calm but visibility can be a little temperamental with the knock on effects of monsoon seas especially in early Jan. February tends to be gorgeous! & heaps of sharks! Visibility is often as much as 30 meters. The East coast of Koh Tao is also beautiful with nice calm seas though the visibility might not be as clear as the west side of Koh Tao. Heaps of sunshine, pretty girls in bikinis, great diving, flat seas, average water temperature at 29 degrees not a bad time of year to be in Koh Tao at all!


March, April & May- Summertime!

Its hot! Real hot! Water temperature exceeds 30 degrees, guaranteed sunshine & gorgeous sunsets! Can get some good tropical style thunderstorms at this time of year especially at dusk but they’re usually on the mainland, which can make for quite a spectacle sitting on the beach in Koh Tao while looking at the thunderbolts of lightening on the mainland. Water clarity is best at this time of year & your chances of seeing Whalesharks are much higher than at any other time of year. Sea swell is minimal with a usual flat as a pancake like surface conditions. All you want to do at this time of year is spend as much time as possible in the water consequently it tends to be some of the busiest months of the year!

June, July & August

The wind turns & the west coast of the island experiences a fresh cooling breeze & occasional days of relatively big waves. Afternoon storms can be very typical especially in August but they don’t last long & weather is still generally pretty sunny throughout the day. Diving is best on the East side of the island where it is flat calm, crystal clear & teeming with marine life. This is actually what makes Koh Tao so unique in that we have 11 month seasons. As it only takes an hour to travel right round Koh Tao whenever its blowing on the west side & big waves you'll find the other side of the island completely cut off from all the wind & waves & in complete contrast. Though you might want to neck a seasickness pill especially on your way to Koh Tao.

September & October

Very beautiful long sunny days, calm flat seas beautiful semi clad bodies & superb diving. Water & Air temperature drops a little as we enter the ‘winter’ months but still tropical. Average daytime air & water temperature 30 degrees. Great sunsets, good diving all around KoH Tao & although there might be a few days of blustery conditions as this part of the worls gets hit with typhoons especially in the Phillipines & Vietnam we generally get a couple pf bad days over a spell of 3-4 weeks of good days! Heaps of fish, high potential of seeing whalesharks, & not so many divers- Quiet season!

November & December - Monsoon Season! 

Koh Tao doesn’t suffer from your usual movie monsoon madness, as it isn’t relentless rain for days on end.  A typical monsoon usually consists of a couple of weeks on & off of impressively hard rain & quite a lot of wind. The visibility gets stirred up & the swell can be rather unpleasant. We are quite limited for a choice of dive sites but generally the best diving is actually straight off from our resort with upto 10 meters maximum right here on our house reef here in Sairee. Water temperature reaches as low as a nipple erectile 26 degrees. The journey to Koh Tao at this time of the year is definitely going to be bouncy. Do please take seasickness pills! Not too many semi naked people strolling the beach at this time of year other than Russians!

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