Well the Christmas vacation started in Ko Tao - ok so I am already on a long holiday but the rest of the gang aren't. Accompanied by Ricardo, Ben, Karni and Jay we took a overnight bus and speed boat to the little southern island off the east coast of Thailand.
But before we set off there were a few last minute essentials to be done. For me this was finding that perfect Bikini to hit the beach with but not being of the petite asian build this meant making a purchase in Ko San Road where European sizes are available and you are not made to feel like a giant freek (don't ask - ok let me tell you do not shopping in a local shopping malls in Bangkok where I left blushing profusely and feeling like an outsized elephant and the assistant said I was too large for any of their clothes!). But sadly Ko San lacks changing rooms so I ended up modeling my new red bikini for size in the middle of the street.
I have to say my purchase was I think a better deal than Ricardo's who decided to get dread extension put
in on a spur of the moment decision. Much of his bus journey to the island was spent mumbling how uncomfortable they were and how his head hurt and with me trying not to laugh having gotten to know him with short hair.
For Ricardo and I the three days on this island were mainly spent underwater. Ricardo undertaking his Advanced Open Water and me as a self confessed scuba junkie just couldn't resist getting in the water in Thailand.
I have to admit to been slightly disappointed by the reefs off Ko Tao after hearing some rave reviews - not sure if it was the time of year, post Tsunami or what but the reefs were sadly lacking and the visibility was poor to say the least with the exception of one lovely dive site which boasted plenty of fish life, corals and the odd shark or two. And the night dive was one of the best I have done but there again I normally avoid them so that may not be saying much! But the turtle with a remora was really nice to come accross in the darkness.
The other three in the meantime went
off to explore the little sandy beaches and climb to the view point to get some awesome views of the pretty little island with its white sand and blue skies and strange rock formations of Buddha Point (of Happy Buddha as our dive boat nicknamed it - won't explain that one but take a look at the pictures and you will understand).
Karni, Ben and Jay also provided a great reconaissaince team for finding the best places to eat - either for being the cheapest in town ideal for those on a tight budget like myself or the one with the best stunning views of palm trees, beaches and sea. And on the night the Shiva Moon Party was happening on Ko Panang we sat on a terrace restaurant overlooking the bay below with the wierdest moon hanging like a lantern on black velvet. As mentioned they made a great reconaisance team to find places like this!
Another night we enjoyed a distinctly red light evening - no not of the naughty type but of the literal type. We visted a bar in the more popular tourist beach area, Sairee Beach which is a bit like the Ko
San Road area of Ko Tao with beach bar after beach bar and nightly parties. But when we arrived it was still quite early as far as the party scene is concerned so we had the bar to ourselves and messed around taking photos in the Red Light for much of the evening. Unfortunately Ricardo and I couldn't be the party animals because of getting up early to dive the next day but enjoyed some mellowing out time surrounded by the lighted fire torches surrounding the the bar's beach seating.
After 3 days it was time to move on and leave the quiet life behind and to head to the party island of Ko Panang for New Year.
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