Koh Tao is a beautiful thai island on the east coast of Thailand, less popular than its neighbours Koh Samui & Koh Phangan. Koh Tao means turtle island and was named after its turtle shape.
The island is very popular with divers, I met a lot of people who were there doing the PADI certification. For me it was a relaxing 8 days I needed after 5 months travelling through Asia.
I arrived in Bangkok from Myanmar in the morning and got a taxi straight over to the southern bus terminal (known locally as Sai Tai Mai), I then booked a joint bus & ferry ticket. The bus was overnight and left at 9.30pm. We arrived in Chumpon around 5am and were left on the street outside a petrol station where we were told we would be picked up and taken to the train station for the bus to the port. We had a few taxi’s come along and try and take us but luckily we were quickly picked up and transported to the train station. Here we met up with the hundreds of people who had decided to take the overnight train (I think in the future I would go with that option) and then were taken to the port and got on the Songserm Express boat to Koh Tao.
We arrived at Koh Tao and what a beautiful island, there are lots of taxi’s on arrival waiting to transport you to your accommodation but as I was booked in a hostel for me it was walking (they were charging a fortune). Luckily on the boat I had met a guy who was staying at the same place so off we went.
I arrived at my hostel Spicytao, it’s a 10 minute walk from the sea, maybe 45 mins from the Songserm terminal, but in a beautiful area. It has an outdoor common area with kitchen, they also had cider imported in, which I had missed in the last 5 months. The rooms were spread out on the land and so were nice and quiet even when it was busy in the common area. The rooms were nice & clean too, though the cats did like to come in and sleep with you on a night!!
I spent my days exploring the island, I walked down to Chalok Baan Kao a beach on the southern coast about a 1 hour walk from my hostel. It was one of my favourite beaches and I spent a few of my days there.
I also visited Freedom Beach & Thian Og Bay, a little further east on the south coast.
I also went on a booze cruise organised by the hostel, though this may not have been the best idea for someone who easily gets seasick. I had a fun time, despite the rough seas and spent a lot of time snorkelling to keep off the boat. We ended the day watching the sunset from the boat.
A highlight was visiting Nangyuan Island, it is just off the main beach in Koh Tao, you can get a water taxi there or as I did hire a kayak and paddle across, it took me about 45 minutes, the sea was quite rough, but it was great to do a bit of exercise after a lazy few days. I kayaked across, parked up and then went to explore the island, it is split by a sand bar and is well known for amazing snorkelling and diving. Luckily I had taken my snorkel gear that I had been carrying for 5 months and so I went to look for fish.
After snorkelling, I walked to the top of the island as there is a beautiful viewpoint. This island is amazing and well worth a visit for the day if you are in the area. It can be quite full with visitors but it’s still worth it.
The evenings I spent on Sairee Beach, watching the sunsets, having a few drinks, something to eat, there are lots of restaurants on the island that are cheap, with great local food.
It was then time to leave after having an amazing trip, meeting some great people, having so much fun. Back to the ferry for the journey to Chumphon and this time the train back to Bangkok. It was my first train in Thailand and it was amazing. I got a bed and for the first time on a night train actually slept through until we arrived in Bangkok.
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