In 1947, Khun A-Paiwong, Thailands Prime Minister at that time, requested & received a royal pardon for the islands political prisoners and thanks to a affable act by His Majesty the King. They were repatriated and moved to Suratthani on the mainland and the islandwas deserted once again. This was in the same year that the initial settlers started to claim a big portion of land on what is at this time 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 islandof Ko Phangan.
From the original bamboo and coconut bungalowsnext to the beach for 30 Thai Baht for a day, to very simple thatched bungalows, the native island clans reacted quickly to this arrival of strangers otherwise named Farangs, by adapting to it.
At first this small island had no one living on it, visited only by local fishermen from near by islands when looking for shelter during storms or when in need of fresh water and supplies.
Now a days, you can get everything from basic simple bamboo bungalows with palm leaf roofs to elegant high class villas with their very own private swimming pool.
In the late 1990's the islands first, and until recently, only road was built, the road runs North to South from the far side of Sairee to the southern settlement of Chalok Baan Kao.
A new road is being developed on the way to Tanote Bay, and once completed it will open up the other side of the island for greater development, it is accessable with care at the moment with 4x4.
All the prisoners were all repatriated and transported by boat to Suratthani on the mainland and KoTao was a desert islandyet again.
The early 80's brought to Ko Tao some of the very first backpackersfrom Kho Phangan who were looking for some thing different away from the crowds and masses who were going mad for the full moonparties on Ko Phangan.
It seems strange that such a tourist tropical paradise should have been first constructed as a prison.
Surrounded by crystal clear waters, Kho Tao changed in the last years to a scuba diversfavorite destination in Thailand.