With more than 60 million reviews and opinions posted by travellers around the world, TripAdvisor® is the world’s largest travel site and its Readers' Choice Awards are therefore considered a valuable guide as to what's hot in the world of travel and holidays.
As well as reviewing accommodation, restaurants and other tourist services, travellers also use TripAdvisor® to describe their favourite beaches and islands, offering fellow aficionados of sun, sea and sand their tips and recommendations for the perfect oceanside experience.
The Travellers' Choice Top 10 islands list includes some of the most appealing ocean framed locations on the planet and last year saw famous destinations like Bali and Galapagos selected alongside less legendary islands like Ischia in Italy and Anguilla in the Caribbean.
It also came as no surprise that Thailand featured in the list, with Koh Phi Phi Don making the Top 10 in 2012..
This year's island favourites include another Thai hotspot — Koh Tao — known the world over as a dive mecca, and second only to the Great Barrier Reef when it comes to training and certifying those that want to explore the underwater world.
The diverse and colourful marine life that inhabits the many coral reefs that surround Koh Tao includes Green and Hawksbill turtles, the amphibious reptile from which the island takes its name, as well as a whole host of other unique species including huge, majestic (and vegetarian) whale sharks, colourful blue spotted stingrays, great barracuda and diminutive, delicate seahorses.
The island's pristine beaches are also a major draw for visitors from around the world with soft white sands drifting into the azure waters that lap the shores of quiet charming coves like Aow Luek and Jansom bay.
There's even a lively party scene on Koh Tao along the island's main tourist stretch at Sairee, where beach clubs, international eateries and a range of adventure sports operators keep visitors busy and entertained when they aren't jumping off boats into the big blue beyond.
The choice of land based adrenaline kicks is now almost as vast as the marine options on offer around Koh Tao and includes rock climbing, abseiling, hiking, cliff jumping and bouldering. Those looking to learn the ancient art of Thai boxing can also take courses at a professional Muay Thai gym, while more sedate and relaxing pursuits include mini golf or bowling, taking a massage course or yoga class, even learning to cook Thai food.
One of the reasons Koh Tao appears on many a traveller's radar is its proximity to Koh Samui. Regular fast ferries make it possible to visit the island on a day or weekend trip from its larger, easily accessible sister, and a good number of snorkelling and dive excursions leave from Samui daily to take people to Koh Tao's legendary reefs.
With its Top 10 rating on TripAdvisor® this year, there's little doubt that this tiny jewel in the Gulf of Thailand will continue to attract visitors in search of that special holiday experience that only a remote tropical island can provide.