On the 18th of june 1899, the then king of Thailand King Chulalongkorn visited the islandand left his monogram as evidence on a huge boulder at Jor Por Ror Bay near Sairee Beach.
On Ko Tao you can see typical picture-postcard views of shady palm trees , crystal clear bays and amazing sunrises
Their lives consisted mainly of collecting coconuts, growing vegetables and fruit and of course sustaining with fishing.
Suddenly the island ferries were disgorging people with suitcases, not backpacks, portable computers not guitars, and what is this; trainers not flip flops?!, and some had children too.
KoTao is a very little island, only twenty square kilometres and all but half of that too rough to get to. In the begining the islandwas not occupied, frequented only by fishermen from nearby islands when seeking a safe haven during heavy storms or when in need of fresh water and supplies. It seems strange that such a tourist paradise should have been in earlier times earmarked as a top-security prison. Strange, but true. From about 1933 until 1947 the islandwas home to political prisoners. Being just about 70 kilometers from the mainland meant it was somewhat escape proof! Alcatraz...piece of cake. KoToa is surrounded by loads of Black Tip ans Whale sharks too.
Straight after the horrible events of the December 2004 Tsunami, the caliber of visitors visiting the island have changed, before it had been a Mecca for backpackers, young travellers along their way south to Malaysia and beyond.
In the early days getting to Koh Taorequired a treacherous boat trip from near by islands or the main land, if and when the seas &weatherpermitted but the population of the island continued to grow steadily all the same, even when simple life was hard without much reward.
About 1947, Khun A-Paiwong, Thailands Prime Minister at that time, asked for and received a royal pardon for the islands political prisoners and thanks to a affable act by His Majesty the King. They were repatriated and conveyed to Suratthani on the nearby mainland and the island was isolated once more. This was the same year that the first settlers laid claim to a big portion of land on what is currently known as Sairee Beach. These were the two brothers Khun Ueam and Khun Oh who came to Koh Taoby a small boat from the neighbouring island of Ko Phangan.