The settlers lives mainly consisted of harvesting coconuts, developing vegetables & fruit and of course sustaining themselves with fishing. In those days reaching KoTao required a dangerous boat trip from nearby islands or the main land, if and when the weather& seas permitted, but the inhabitants continued to increase steadily all the same, even when the easy life was hard and without a great deal of return.
These days, you can find everything from basic simple wooden bungalowswith palm leaf roofs to elegant high class villas with their own private swimming pool.
In the late 1990's the islands very first, and until recently, only road was constructed, it runs South to North from the far side of Sairee to the southern settlement of Chalok Baan Kao.
A new road is under construction towards Tanote Bay, and when completed it will open up the other side of Koh Taofor greater development, it is accessable with care at the moment with 4x4.
From the very first bamboo A-Frame huts on the beach for 15 Baht a night, to simple thatched bungalows, the local Thai families reacted quickly to this influx of back packers other wise known as farangs.
These were the twin brothers Khun Oh & Khun Ueam who got to KohTao by boat from the neighboring island of Koh Phangan, KoTao was still under Royal Patronage in those days but it didn't stop these fortune seekers from claiming their stake of land.
On the 18th of june 1899, the then king of Thailand King Chulalongkorn (Rama V 1868-1910) visited Koh Taoand left his monogram as evidence on a huge boulder at Jor Por Ror Bay near Sairee Beach.
Not like before 2000, visitors can find today everything from low-priced plain wooden bungalowswith thatched roofs to stylish high-class places with a private swimming pool and facilities.
The name Ko Tao means Turtle Island; some say that the name is due to the islands shape which is meant to appear to be an inverted turtle whilst many others state it's from the day's when the sea near the islandwas full of turtles and the islandwas their breeding spot.
In 1947, then Khun A-Paiwong, Thailand's Prime Minister at the time, requested and got a Royal Pardon for Ko Tao's prisoners and with thanks to a gracious act by His Majesty the King.