I'm living in paradise...

Koh Tao Travel Blog

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So after the clusterfuck bus and boat ride, we made it to Koh Tao. As it turns out, this place is heaven on earth. The island is tiny - it takes about 5 minutes to scooter over to the other side. We arrived the night of the Full Moon Party at nearby Koh Phangan, so the place was relatively empty. When the party was over, however, all the hungover partiers took the boat over to Koh Tao, and this place became a lot more crowded. We spent the first two nights at Big Blue, and got a nice 2-bed room on the water for 400 baht (about $12 US). Not too bad, eh? We got kicked out today though because they had reservations. Since the island is so much more crowded today, it was tough to find a cheap place to stay. We ended up with another beachfront bungalow with 2 king sized beds for 700 baht ($21 US). I wasn't too excited about paying that much - Thailand really warps your perception of a good deal - but we just met four girls tonight from Santa Barbara who are going to share the place with us.

We spent our first day chilling on the beach and walking around, and I found a dive shop that I liked. It's called New Way Dive Shop and all the people there are very chill. Yesterday I dove at Green Rock and at Twins Pinnacle. The water is crystal clear (visibility 20+ meters) and very warm. I got to see all kinds of cool stuff, including some huge jellyfish. I also used the underwater housing for my camera for the first time - this thing rocks. The pictures are all amazing, and all the other divers and instructors were impressed with the quality of the pictures coming out of my little point and shoot. I don't have my USB cable with me right now, but I'll upload pictures when I get the chance. Today I went diving at Shark Island and White Rock. Shark island wasn't anything special, and we didn't see any sharks. White Rock, however, was amazing. Lots of schools of fish, cool rock and coral formations, and neat sea life. I saw a few blue spotted rays, a 5 foot sea snake, and the resident giant turtle. Apparently it's rare to see the turtle, which is about a meter in length. He didn't seem to mind us hanging around watching him, and at one point I was probably less than a meter away from him. He started swimming right towards me and then went right up over me - I got some amazing pictures that you wouldn't believe.

After the first day of diving I met up with Dominic, a kid from Canada I met on the boat from the mainland, and we ended up renting scooters to go snorkle on the other side of the island. The road up is horribly rutted, and a flat front tire left me with a Koh Tao tattoo. The scooters and dirtbikes are only 150 baht ($4.50) but the rental places rape you for any damage incurred. But the snorkling was amazing, some of the best I've ever done. The moment you get into the water these schools of fish literally swarm you. It's weird, because usually schools part when you swim through them. Not so with this place... the schools will follow you around, constantly encircling you. Very cool.

Tomorrow I'm planning on getting my Adventure Deep certification so I can dive to 30 meters. Should be fun, and the place we're going is renowned for its countless sharks and occasional whale sharks (!). The adventure deep cert runs me 1500 baht, while normal fun dives are 700 baht ($21). Needless to say, I'm cramming as much in as I can.

Last night we went to a few bars (Lotus bar!) and watched the best fire dancing I've ever seen. The real shocker though was this two and a half year old thai kid who was rocking out, fire dancing like he'd been doing it for years. It really blew my mind how good he was at it, spinning behind the back and doing tricks. Two and a half years old. Damn. The bars are filled with all sorts of travellers in their 20's, and a fair number of lady-boys too.

I can't begin to express how amazing this place is. Truly heaven on earth. I wish I had time to spend a month or two on the island. For long term lodging, you can get a place for under 200 baht ($6) per night. Yeah, amazing. I think I'll spend 3-4 more nights here before heading north to northern Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. I'm still not sure if I'm going to have time for Vietnam, but we shall see - I really want to see Ha Long Bay. That's all for now...
zamano says:
Hi Zac,
We are really enjoying your blog. Your trip sounds absolutely amazing and Dad, Maddee, and I wish we were there with you. I sent your blog to a bunch of people ( mostly family). Is Mike also diving or he he just taking in the beach and the beer?
Love, Mom
Posted on: Jul 21, 2008
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Koh Tao
photo by: RyanCorrea