Despite Koh Taostill being under Royal Patronage, plots of land were claimed, and cleared for coconut plantations. You will still see plenty of evidence of the large coconut plantations all over the island.
From the original 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.
In the early days getting to Koh Tao required a treacherous boat journey from the main land or near by islands, if and when the seas & weather permitted but the population continued to grow firmly all the same, even when simple life was hard without much reward.
In 1947, Khun A-Paiwong, Thailand's Prime Minister at that time, requested and received a royal pardon for the islands inmates and thanks to a gracious act by His Majesty the King. They were repatriated and conveyed to Suratthani on the mainland and the island was abandoned yet again. This was the same year that the first people started to claim a big segment of land on what is currently identified as Sai Ree Beach. These were the two brothers Khun Ueam and Khun Oh who came to Koh Toa by a small boat from the neighbouring island of Koh Phangan.
Suddenly the islandferries were disgorging people with suitcases, not backpacks, laptops not guitars, and what is this; trainers not flip flops?!, and some had children too.
Now a days, you can find everything from cheap simple bamboo bungalowswith thatched roofs to exotic up-market villas with their very own exclusive swimming pool.
In the late 1990's Ko Tao's very first, and until recently, only road was built, the road runs South to North from the far side of Sairee to the southern settlement of Chalok Baan Kao.
A new road is being developed towards Tanote Bay, and when finised it will open up the other side of the islandfor better development, it is accessable with care at the moment with 4x4.
Local farmers and fishermen realised that major business people from other places were developing their island to accommodate to the needs of all these new customers and they also, quickly began to open their own businesses to fulfill all the customers demands.
A enormous variety of marine life and some beautiful coral reefs offer diversa unique experience. Other activities now include kite surfing and Jungle Treks.