It seems strange that such a tourist paradise should have been first setup as a prison.
Around 1947, Khun A-Paiwong, Thailand's Prime Minister at that time, requested & received a royal pardon for the islands political prisoners and thanks to a gracious act by His Majesty the King. They were repatriated and conveyed to Suratthani on the mainland and the islandwas isolated yet again. This was in the same year that the initial people started to claim a large portion of terrain on what is at this time known as Sairee Beach. These were the two brothers Khun Ueam and Khun Oh who reached KoTao by a small boat from the neighbouring islandof Ko Phangan.
KoTao is small; 21 sq kilometer and 50% of that too steep to access.
Attracted by the beautiful coral reefs surrounding Koh Tao, and the growth in recreational scuba diving, a number of companies have setup divebusinesses on the island, these companies in turn designed exclusive resortsfor their customers, and over the years several of these resortshave become quite plush.
Without question, Koh Taohas some of the best beaches anywhere in SE Asia.
Native fishermen and farmers recognised that people from other places were developing their islandto provide the needs of all these new customers and they too instantly opened a businesses to satisfy the customers demands.
Ko Tao's reputation spread and quickly increased as it widely became known all over world through international travellers and adventurous visitors.