Published: February 7th 2011January 5th 2011
This Enchanting Land Has Hidden Surprises Around Every Corner!
Despite not having all our time consumed with diving activities, a couple or three days to kill here is a great taster but not quite long enough to really get to grips with how it all works these days. There seems to be a feel that main town of Sairee at least, has subtly changed since our last visit a little over two years ago. Looking outwardly the same to all intents & purposes but most, if not all of the establishments seem to have improved their facilities and at the same time increased their prices disproportionately. The day of the five pound a night gaff over here seems to be harder to find now. Even though prices had nearly doubled, we were still spending thirty pounds a night less than the freezing Travel Inn where we took shelter in Inverness almost exactly a year ago. Taking everything into consideration, this is still by far the better deal.
Took a wander up the steep and winding road over the jungle clad hills out of town to the northern tip of Koh Tao, taking just under an hour for the two mile hike. It did get a bit
In My Top Ten Of Beauty Hotspots.
of a sweat going on the old folks but was worth the effort. We stopped at Dusit Buncha, another Hidden Gem resort at a smashing view point overlooking the most commonly photographed part round here, Koh Nang Yuan. Three interlocking islands joined by a soft white sandbank when the tide is low, the smallest in between the other two having a basic bar & restaurant. A divine place to spend a lazy day but don't forget the sun cream, its quite easy to quickly toast your fur.
One absolute Must Do
experience at Dusit Buncha is to take a dip in the crystal clear warm waters with a mask & snorkel, hire them here if you don't have your own. But just bobbing about at the surface looking down reveals an incredible scene. The volume and variety of marine life is truly breathtaking, literally if you try to dive down too far as a snorkel is a pretty poor underwater breathing aid once submerged. Vast schools of fish swishing in a well choreographed fashion seeming to serve no purpose other than to entertain the voyeur. Stunning coral reefs in a rainbow of colours, the occasional sea
Blue & Green
Should Always Be Seen.
cucumber and scatty crabs scuttling about tidying up around the rocks like street cleaners on speed. Relaxed for a while in the infinity pool by the bar on the rocks above the small beach drinking in the views and of course the obligatory G&T. Compulsive viewing. Made a mental note to possibly stay here on any future visits.
Late afternoon with the Big Light beginning its final approach to another sunset meant it was time to make our way back. Being a little cautious after spotting a couple of snakes shuffling briskly over the concrete surface of the road. Probably harmless but best not to take too many unnecessary risks, 'specially when you're a three hour boat ride from the nearest hospital. The hike north to here had seemed to be 75% uphill so we'd expected an easier stroll back down to Sairee however it was no different, still a real slog. Foolish to think otherwise really with both departure and destination points being at sea level the climb has to be the same whichever way. The big fella had thought ahead & bought a take away large bottle of Singha beer to sup on whilst
trekking, its important to keep up the fluid levels in this heat.
We ate out at Choppers again in the evening where the same musical duo from the night before were performing but this time under the name of Meat & Two Veg. They seem to cover mostly classic Oasis/Coldplay/Beatles tunes but put their own comedy twist in every now & then. Good Times!. Its a decent bar, always lively with a reasonable menu featuring local stuff plus steaks, pizzas, spag bol etc. on offer and some sort of live music every night. Attentive staff, a myriad of large TV screens splattered about showing just about every broadcastable sport to an enthusiastic audience. We like Choppers.
Another lazy day followed starting with our buffet breakfast sitting at tables set out on the beach. For all the pluses that Sairee Hut has to offer, the breakfast is not one of them I'm afraid. A pretty shitty display of cold fried eggs, nasty looking cold pale sausages, hash browns & tomatoes (cold of course), some cold rice and a fifteen minute wait for two rashers of some kind of bacon substitute to be prepared.
Another Day At The Office
It Was My Turn On Sharkwatching Duties
To anyone thinking of staying here - Don't worry too much if you oversleep & miss your brekkie, you've only by-passed a disappointment. Not really surprised to bump into Dave & Alice from the Mai Pen Rai Gang Of Ten
posse, out on an early hunt for a cheap place to shack up for a few days whilst we were staring blankly at the manky offerings on our breakfast plates . We saw them not again. Trust all went well for our scrummy chums, feel free to get in touch if you made it to somewhere sensible, or even if you didn't, I'm sure it all worked out in the end - Thailand's like that.
The rest of the day was spent mooching about. Grabbing a couple of hours on the beach for me & the girls while the old man grabbed a haircut & had some strange treatment involving having a whole heap of skin scrubbed off his feet from some girls in a massage parlour - That's what he told us anyway . . . . Out to eat at Simple Life almost opposite Sairee Huts reception on the beach road in the evening
Ugliest Barmaid On The Island
stopping at a cash machine to get some dosh out next door. A rather large open air restaurant which had seemed to be fairly empty during our stay. We found out why after paying a 300 Baht bill with a 1000 note & getting 200 change, inducing a feisty argument with the waitress followed by some exchanges with management. A rare display of arrogance from the staff as they appeared almost threatening, standing their ground and insisting they were right. The only cash we had on us had been the three 1000 Baht notes from the cashpoint. Strangely, the CCTV camera directly above our table was down. Outnumbered, we had to take it on the chin. Not too fussed about it financially, being fleeced for a tenner is swallowable but as a matter of principle plans were made for a mild revenge. Finished off the night at another random bar nearby featuring cheap tequila slammers, a free pool table and sporting a small dog as a barmaid. Well after midnight we wobbled back to bed.
With this being our last day on Ko Tao, those thoughts that lurk in the back of your mind towards
A Gaggle Of Dive Boats
These Craft Seem To Hunt In Packs
the end of an expedition regarding arrangements to be made to start heading home begin to become actively depressing. We were ultimately flying home from Kuala Lumpur in three days time. To get that far needed another string of lucky connections and as our recent luck on that score had been somewhat bleak - The future path held a degree of trepidation.
There are more photos below