Same same, but different: Koh Tao & Tao Festival

Is saving the environment with a party possible? They are doing their best on Koh Tao. The Save Koh Tao festival has been organized for years. Problems are brought to the attention and on the other hand donations are collected for solving those specific problems.

A commercial Tao Festival will be held for the first time this year. According to the website, part of the proceeds also go to a charity. These are the similarities, but what are the differences?

The Save Koh Tao Festival is mainly organized by Thai. For them, tradition are important. At the end of last year the Thai King sadly passed away, and therefore we are in a period of mourning for one year. It is not appropriate to give big parties this year. The Koh Tao festival therefore has been put in another (royal) jacket. It is dedicated to the former King. He was a jazz lover and also played music instruments. There are many local but also national artists who perform and give tribute to him. One of the singers could not hold her tears back.

Een kaarsjes branden voor de overleden koning.
Lighting a candle for the King.
Een van de vele lokale artiesten die optraden.
One of the many performing artists.

In addition to music, food is important in Thai culture and it is abundant. Tip for the real Dutchmen, but also for other nationalities: the food is free! With all kinds of stalls you can enjoy a variety of small dishes. These are catered by the many restaurants on Koh Tao. With delicious coconut ice for desert!

Het food court op het Koh Tao Festival
The food court on the Koh Tao Festival
Er was van alles te eten op het festival. Van kleine hapjes tot hele maaltijden.
With so many incredible dishes.


Here’s a short impression of the two-day Koh Tao Festival.

Thanks to Save Koh Tao for organizing this festival.

The Tao Festival is a short 2 weeks later. It has a different set up. It is set up in nature and recycled and natural materials have been used as much as possible. Drinking cups are made from bamboo, plates from banana leaves and there is free drinking water, either bring your own stainless steel bottle or buy one on the spot. At the entrance, your bag is even checked for your plastic! The toilet is also a sight. It is dry-toilet: use a deep hole in the ground and “flush” with shredded coconut. The festival clearly produces much less waste. Next year, the plastic straws will also be replaced by the bamboo variant and then the waste production will be almost zero.

Decorations are as sustainable as possible.
Geen single-use plastic, maar duurzame alternatieve.
No single-use plastic, only sustainables


For the music fans: the lineup was good too. Many famous Thai artists and numerous international bands and DJs such as Arrested Development. The various VJ’s made a visual spectacle. In short, the festival swings out of the coconut plantation.

Goede muziek van vele Thaise en internationale artiesten.
Good music made by Thai and international artists.
Gratis drinkwater, wel je eigen fles of mok meenemen.
Free water, just bring your own cup.
Ook aan een duurzaam toilet is gedacht.
Sustainable toilet.

What’s also interesting to mention is that Freediver Guillaume Néry was present. He is a former world champion with a depth of up to 125m. His wife Julie Gautier made a film about how he mentally experiences this kind of deep diving. He experiences it like some kind of psychological trip. Julie showed this in the short and engaging film: Narcose. The movie was shown on the beach. Let’s just stick to coconuts and coffee.

A short impression of Tao festival 2017.