Is Koh Tao safe? I got this question a lot of times over the last weeks. Unfortunately recently another tragic accident occurred on the island with a British traveller found death in a hotel pool. There are a lot of rumors going around but so far no one really knows what happened. Fact is that they found another dead body and within 15 months that makes it a total of 3 British tourists that died on Koh Tao. In September 2014 a British couple was killed and found death on the beach the next morning.
Lately I posted a picture on a Facebook Page, stating that Koh Tao is still a paradise and that it’s a safe place for tourist. Obviously that started a big discussion which made me decide to write this blog about it.
Unfortunately the odds are against Koh Tao, although they say that the last casualty was a tragic accident. Recently hacker group Anonymous hacked the Thai police stating that they want justice for the murder on Koh Tao in September 2014. Horrible stories from an island that is well known for its laid-back vibe! But unfortunately there is a dark side of Koh Tao and some people call it the Wild Wild West Island. Some say this island is mafia run and that there are a couple very influential families don’t rule Koh Tao. Don’t get scared I have never seen anyone running around with a gun on the island or here stories that they knock on your door for a share of your business. It is nothing like that at all. Its just rumors and as a tourist you wont get involved with daily politics on the island anyway!
I don’t know anything about what happened last week and I won’t discuss that, but this is the second time I stay long term on the island and it’s the second time there has been a fatal accident. So should I be worried? No, definitely not! I have now been here 5 times and it’s my second time for longer than 1 month. I have never ever had any problem at all! The vast majority of the thousands of tourists that will visit the island wont ever have any issues or whatsoever. So do you need to be worried if Koh Tao is part of your itinerary? No! But there are a couple things you gotta keep in mind. Like during all your travels around the world the golden rule is: USE COMMON SENSE!
Big chance is that you will fall in love with this little paradise. Koh Tao is a small island with loads of hidden gems. Amazing viewpoints and completely deserted bays are here to discover, though most people come here to make their first steps in breathing underwater. Scuba diving is the main tourist drag and during your course you will learn everything about dive safety!
When the scuba lessons are over the partying starts. And with such amazing sunsets on the main party beach, the party starts early. Loads of beach bars to choose from and happy hours to get you started. Of course tourists get drunk and alcohol makes you do crazy things. But remember you are still in Thailand!
Respect the Thai people and never get into a fight with them. You are the tourist, you are visiting their country so you should adapt to their standards and not the other way around! Don’t argue with them for too long, don’t feel too cool to say sorry and walk away from the scene. You never know who you are up to! These Thai people might seem like little boys to you but they could be ferocious fighters, be careful! Besides that Koh Tao is a small community and they all know each other and will all help each other out whenever possible. It will always be you against Koh Tao!
Stay away from drugs! That sounds like an obvious thing, but on Koh Tao where the atmosphere is so extremely chilled it’s very a tempting thing to do. Your island life will mostly be in flip-flops, bathing suit and easy clothes. Life is at low pace and many tourists smoke weed. Yes, I have been there and yes I have done it multiple times as well. Though from what I have heard thing have changed the last year! The fatal accidents brought more police to the island and the stories of being caught with marijuana are getting more common. Apparently it is a 50,000 THB ($1,400) fine and they take your passport awaiting your trial. I don’t know if that is the law in Thailand but apparently it’s at least a law on the island nowadays.
Rule number 3: use common sense and stay out of trouble in the first place! Yes go partying, get drunk, play beerpong, drink buckets, get shitfaced but always make sure you are able to get home properly. Don’t walk along the beach on your own at night. There is a big change nothing will ever happen, but as a drunk tourist you are an easy victim. Always take a taxi if you live far out and don’t jump on the back of someone’s motorbike. Drinking and driving is totally accepted and a daily reality! Taxi drivers will rip you off as well, but at least then it’s only a couple dollars!
Koh Tao is an amazing place to enjoy your holiday and you all should be totally fine if you don’t do anything stupid! Almost everyone that leaves the island feels like they are not ready to leave yet and sail away with mixed feelings: happy to have experienced this little paradise, but sad they have to go already!