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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Koh Tao

31 May, 2015

Guesthouse:
  • Sunsetburi: 7 nights
  • Big Fish: 2 nights
Highlights:
  • Cliff Jumping 
  • Learning to Motorbike
  • Watching the sunset from the beach every night
  • Eating curry from the same street cart over and over and learning Thai from the woman cooking
Sunset Sairee Beach

The best part of traveling is having no agenda. You can change your mind at any point, move on to another location, or stay somewhere you really love. It is here in Koh Tao, that we have learned there is no reason to have an agenda. We quickly fell in love with this island and already have stayed much longer than anticipated.

Diving is the main attraction on the small island. It has a laid back spirit and is splattered with diving schools. After taking a night ferry and landing in Koh Tao around 5:30 am, we decided to bypass the touts offering us a ride to the beach for "only 200 Baht" (about 7 USD). We've discovered that things are typically a lot closer than the taxi drivers let on and try to walk as often as possible. It turns out that Sairee beach was a quick 2 Kilometer walk and we stopped about half way at the only restaurant open to grab a coffee. We've also discovered that most beach towns here in Thailand don't wake up until around 9 or 10 am requiring us to find a way to get coffee in our bloodstreams before then (as we wake up around 6) - enter Nescafe; the gritty, bitter, instant coffee that we've grown to love only out of shear necessity.

After gulping down a lovely americano, we heave our bags onto our backs and take on the daunting task of finding a guest house. I know it doesn't sound like a hard thing to do, but when you're in a new place, on a budget, and internet-less, it's much harder than it seems. We walk about 25 minutes away from the beach to a hostel listed in our Lonely Planet guide book (first mistake) only to be told they were full. We then mosey around for the next hour or so trying to find something close to the beach and in our newly raised budget after realizing Koh Tao was a bit more expensive than anticipated. No luck with the first 5 or 6 hotels we looked at. They were either too expensive or a little iffy on whether or not they were actually clean. Finally, we stumble upon some cabanas right next to the beach and only go in for a look because we were getting so frustrated. I remember thinking to myself, these are wayyy to nice to be cheap. We look at a room, haggle a bit and end up getting a room cheaper than anywhere else we had looked. The slow season definitely has its perks! We threw our bags down, hit the bed and that's when we see it- something we hadn't seen in ages- a beautiful air conditioning unit on the wall. The bell boy must have made a mistake, or maybe it's broken. Air conditioned units are more than twice the amount we were paying. We step over to the unit, glancing at each other with skepticism but hope at the same time. We flip the switch, and it happens, the lovely hum of an air conditioner starts playing a tune and our room fills with cool, dry air. It was glorious.

By this time it was about 9am and the beach was calling our names. We grab our snorkel gear, rent a kayak and head out into the open water. The snorkeling was phenomenal with crystal clear water, and colorful coral all around us. There were beautiful fish everywhere and because we were ona kayak we were able to get away from the droves of tourists on the main part of the island. Our favorite snorkel spot thus far.




We pulled the kayak up to a nearby island and hiked barefoot to a viewpoint, where we were able to see 360 degrees. It was here, where we fell in love with this island.





The next afternoon we took a trail over to the other side of the island that is only accessible via boat (or foot of course). It was a short one hour hike up the steep side of the volcanic rock, which I assume is what keeps the tourists (and locals) away. We were the only ones on the small secluded beach, and it was again, a perfect day to snorkel and cliff jump. It was such a beautiful beach and hike that we ended up coming back the last day of our stay on Koh Tao.

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