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Some of Thailand’s most pristine islands have once again been acclaimed by international visitors who recently voted them among the world’s best.
In the latest international poll for TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travellers’ Choice Awards, Ko Tao in the southern coastal region of Thailand was named the 10th best island in the world.
Ko Tao was also voted the Number 1 island destination in Asia, along with Ko Phangan (No. 3), Ko Lanta (No. 4), Phuket (No. 7) and Ko Samui which came in at No. 9.
Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of TAT, said, “These votes in the TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards mean a great deal because they come from travellers who’ve enjoyed real experiences around the world.
“The high ratings of Ko Tao, and other islands in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea, show how people have come to not only appreciate the pristine state of these lovely places, but also the fact that they all offer a wide range of accommodation to suit a range of budgets. And all travellers get to experience the wonderful hospitality for which Thailand is famous.”
Located just off the mainland province of Surat Thani in southern Thailand, Ko Tao can be reached by speedboat or ferry from Samui and the mainland. Once there, travellers can enjoy powdery, white sandy beaches washed by the waves of crystal-clear sea water.
Ko Tao – which means Turtle Island – was given the name because its pristine beaches have long been breeding and egg-laying sites for green turtles. Today, the island is Thailand’s most popular scuba diving destination and there are many diving schools, shops, resorts and diving tour operators which cater for beginners and experienced divers alike.
There is also an ongoing drive by the local people and authorities to preserve the natural wonders of Ko Tao and keep it clean and pristine, while trying to cater for the many young people who go there, with a range of food and nightlife options.
Also found in Surat Thani, the island of Ko Phangan is well known across the world for its pristine beaches and breathtaking scenery, while nearby Ko Samui, which can offer holiday experiences to meet a range of tastes, has long been famous for its lush interior and lovely beaches.
The three islands are well served by direct flights to Samui from Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, as well as direct domestic flights from Bangkok to Surat Thani Airport.
On the western coast of the Thai Peninsula, Phuket continues to enjoy its reputation as the Pearl of the Andaman and one of the top travel destinations in Thailand. The island has its own airport which is currently being expanded to handle some 12.5 million passengers a year by 2015, and increasing numbers of international airlines are introducing direct flights to Phuket.
Also on the west coast of Andaman Sea is Ko Lanta, which lies between Krabi and the islands of Phi Phi. Though not long established on the tourist trail, Ko Lanta has won the hearts of travellers from all over the world with its stunning scenery, shady private beaches and surrounding emerald waters.