Koh Tao * 11 - 17.04.19

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April 19th 2019
Published: April 28th 2019
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The train arrived at Chumphon early in the morning. I had to wait a few hours for the ferry. Luckily there was a stand nearby where they sold coffee and some fried dough that tasted like churros/oliebollen. a 65 year old man sat there in his bikers clothes, having his breakfast. He spoke very well english and told me how he traveled through different countries on his bike. When he isn't traveling, he rides his bike every morning through Chumphon and has his breakfast at the stand. It was very impressive.

The bus finally arrived to take us to the pier. On the ferry, I sat on the deck to feel the breeze. I was instantly happy to see the sea again! The ferry took about 2 hours to get to the island. My next host (Nico) picked me up from the pier. He had to work, but his roommate Nook took me to town to do some things. I went to the Pura Vida diving shop to book my dive for the next day and we went to the supermarket to buy things to make dinner tonight.
When we came home, Nico had brought another guest. Hernan is his name and he is traveling by bike, so he uses Warmshowers instead of Couchsurfing. It's more or less the same (stay with locals in the countries you travel to) but especially for bikers. It think this is also an amazing way to travel and I would consider it when I would have more time.

When he was settled and Nico went back to work, Hernan and I took the scooter to the beach to snorkel. It was so nice to be in the water and even though we didn't go far from the shore, we saw so many fish! The water is really clear and warm here, almost 30 degrees!
When we came back home, Nook had baked super delicious cookies. They were quickly finished. Nico's friend Verena came over for dinner as well and the best part was the desert! Nook made apple crumble with vanilla ice cream and passionfruit poured over it. It took us less than 2 minutes to finish this!

The next day, I woke up super early to get to the pier on time to go diving. The boat took us to Chumphon Pinnacle first, where we saw so many exotic fish that I've never seen before. We also swam through a huge school. The second dive was at Green Rock, where we went through holes and little caves. I was really fascinated by the clamps as well. There is something really beautiful inside and when you get closer it goes inside and the clamp closes. I was like a little kid, getting close to every clamp I saw, to see them do that. I really enjoyed the dives and the instructor was fun too.
When I came back home it was still early and I went with Hernan to a beach called Sai Nuan. We heard that most beaches have an entrance fee, but that there are ways to avoid it. To do so, we went through the jungle. It took us a while to reach the beach but it was worth it! It was beautiful and there were just a handful of people. We went snorkeling and stayed there until sunset, which was really amazing!
On our way back, we went along the coastline. To do so, you have to walk a path that goes through some resorts. It was really quiet everywhere and when we came across an empty swimming pool and didn't see anyone around, we decided to jump in to cool down. Our clothes were wet from sweating anyway so it didn't make any difference anymore.
Back at Nico's house, there was a party going on. The next day would be Songkran (Thai new year), so people wouldn't have to work. That meant ofcourse party tonight! There was music and pizza and beer and at a certain point we went to the bars in town.

The morning after, we went to a place where Nico's friends live. They had free breakfast and beer there. During Songkran, you are allowed to make anyone wet with water. People had water guns, buckets, water balloons and locals were holding hoses to spray passing people from their homes. All adults became children for a day. Also, most people were wearing colourful hawaiian-style shirts. Joice had told me that in Bangkok, so I got one when I was there. After we had breakfast, that ended up in a water fight ofcourse, we went down to the beach. All the way there we were shooting water and being shot at by anyone that passed. I realized that there's no way I would get dry again that day. It was so much fun though. We should start celebrating this in europe too!

The next day was a normal day again. Everyone and everything had dried up and it was almost as if nothing happened. I went for a hike with Hernan. We went up to a viewpoint and from there we went to Tanote bay. We went snorkeling and saw some blacktip sharks and other beautiful fish and coral. We didn't stay for too long because it was really hot and the hike to get there took us a few hours. On our way back we managed to get a ride to town, so we had some time to visit Nico at the shop. We sat outside and watched the sunset and when Nico was done, we went for dinner.
Back home Nico and I played some ukulele and started to learn the song "lava". It's a long, but cute song that's actually from a short movie from Disney Pixar. The chords aren't difficult, but for me it's difficult to keep the strumming pattern while singing, so Nico played and I sang.

When Nico went to work the next day, Hernan and I could take the scooter to go around the island. First we went to a viewpoint that was located inside a resort. From there you could see the Nang Yuan island, which might be even more famous than Koh Tao itself. Many people pay about 300-400 baht (+/- €10) just to go there to get a perfect Instagram picture. I usually try to avoid those places. Anyway I wouldn't pay so much money just for a picture. We had a nice and free view from the resort and even though there were signs everywhere that it was for guests only, I took a dip in the pool. When Hernan later tried to go in, he got send out immediately. It was so funny.
Anyway we had to go, because it was Hernan's last day and there was more to see. We went to Shark Bay from there. Nico had told us how to get to that beach without paying an entrance fee. It was actually a short and easy path. When we got there, Hernan took a little nap and I went snorkeling. He gave me his underwater camera in case I would see something cool. I did indeed! First I saw some blacktip sharks and later I saw a big turtle! Every now and and then the turtle would swim to the surface to get some air. I swam around for a while, watching this amazing animal, before going back to the beach. I told Hernan about what I saw and he wanted me to show him, but we couldn't find him anymore. He told me he wouldn't believe me until he would see the footage from the camera.
After this we went to another viewpoint and then to another beach to watch the sunset before going back. I dropped him at home and then went to Nico to give him back the snorkeling masks. When Nico was done, we went to the pier to say goodbye to Hernan and when the boat left we went for dinner and ice cream!

Nico didn't have to work the next morning, so we went snorkeling somewhere close by. We went to a shipwreck and later we swam to a part where it was a little deeper. He is a freediving instructor and I had told him I might be interested in trying that out. I went down 3, then 4, then 5 meters and I felt like doing it again every time I came back up. I was always a bit scared of this sport, but after meeting a few freedivers on the island it really caught my interest.
In the afternoon he had to go back to work, but before he did we had an amazing coconut ice cream inside a coconut with pieces of fresh coconut, mango and berries on top, yummy!
After getting back to the house, taking a shower and chilling out a bit, I met up with a couchsurfer (Pedro). I went with him and a few others to Freedom Beach and stayed there until sunset. It was a short meetup, but it was fun!
Later I went for dinner with Nico and Nook at a place where you get free thee or a scoop of ice cream after dinner. I wonder if anyone every chooses the first option..
When I asked Nook about the recipe for the cookies she made the first day, it reminded her of the cookies she had put in a box and hid away from us, so Nico could try them. She didn't hide them well enough though. Hernan and I had found them the day after and thought they were just left overs. They were so good that the box was empty within a few minutes.. Oops! I promised to make them banana pancakes the next morning before leaving.

As promised, the next day I made banana pancakes and also oreo milkshake. After that I packed my things and got ready for the boat trip. I was sad to leave! I had an amazing time with Nico and his friends and the island is really beautiful. I would have loved to spend some more time, but I have to keep moving in order to reach Bali.

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