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Published: September 23rd 2009
Koh Tao at night
Nice little sunset we had from the beach and seashell divers
Sooo, we may have lied a little to you guys in that last blog. See, it's Max and me we're talking about, we said we'ld plan for months before this trip. We got together, got distracted by this, that and everything and didn't really plan this trip. But that is almost the beauty of a trip like this, you see, we decided right after I posted the blog to wait on Cambodia and go down south in Thailand to find the beaches, and boy did we. We're on a little island called Ko Tao (turtle island) since it's an island resting on some reefs so it looks like a turtles shell. It's beautiful! It is a divers paradise and a beach goers dream come true. There are 40 dive shops here competing for the cheapest deals combining rooms with lessons which we have taken full advantage of but it was a hell of a trip to get here which I must entertain you with.
So back in Bangkok we decided to take the bus down here and catch one of the ferries over to the island, easy enough yes? Well we needed to hit up Pantip Plaza, the giant electronic
Broken down bus
This was the first bus that broke down on our trip
super store to pick up a charger for our newly bought ipod speakers so we hopped in the cab and headed over, bright and early. The buses went in the morning but we didn't really know when so we left at about 8:30 am, got a ride to the electronic store to find that it was going to be open till 10:30. Crap. Oh well off to the bus station, which we had to drive back across town past our guesthouse and 20 mins further. The cabbie laughed at us. But we got to the bus station and hoped there would be a bus there other wise we figured we'ld actually go to Cambodia (see, no plans leaves so many options). Luckily there was one and we hopped on and off we went. We were treated to a hilarious but confusing Thai movie about a big bully who ate radio active mushrooms as a baby and now beats up little kids when ever he has the chance while trying to win over his dream girl or something. Well that's what we got out of it anyways. Sadly half way through our 7 hour trip our bus breaks down. After 2
Island off of Koh Tao
Some see beach and luxurious resort. We see the three wicked dives sites around it; Japanese Gardens, Twins, and White Rock.
hours and 5 Thai guys trying to fix it later, there is no luck, it's done, so they take the passengers from our fully seated bus and cram it on to another bus that's also fully seated. We spend the next 2 hrs standing in the aisle with 40 other Thai's waiting for our stop. It wasn't too bad though, we had fun, it was a tight squeeze but at least we got there and the bus had A/C.
It's dark and we don't really know where we're going but at one stop a motorcycle taxi driver comes on the bus and tells us it's our stop and so we get off the bus, grab our stuff, hop on to bikes and jet off to the ferry. It was a pretty awesome situation whizzing by on a motorcycle 8pm at night on our way to the ferry. The ferry was more like a barge with space for travelers to sleep. Don't get me wrong, it was more than ideal, we got a mattress, blanket, and pillow so the 6 hr ferry ride flew by as we slept. When we arrive (at 5am) we hop on the back of a
Well he can't be a street vendor! He walked up and down the beach selling food.
pickup truck to get to the guest houses. Since it was pretty early we only saw some people staggering home drunk from the night before as we took a seat on the beach and waited for sun rise. As we're sitting there this old Thai woman asks us: "Guest house?"
Sweet! So we check in at like 6:30-7am in this sweet little bungalow close to the beach and crash for a couple hours. After the crashing we go searching for a dive shop to get some dives on the go. After some searching and comparing shops we decided on Sea Shell Diving. Great little shop with a wicked staff, they even have a couple of people training to become dive masters, anyways, Max decides to go for his advanced license and kif goes for the 10 dive package (aww yeah). With these purchases we scored 2 nights free at a better bungalow and discounts on it every day we dive, sooo, to put that into context. We're living basically off of $45/day living in paradise and going diving twice a day. We also managed to find the best restaurant in town. It's named Pi Pan after the owner, a super
nice thai woman. She makes incredible food for <$2 a meal, hefty portions too. Needless to say, Max and I eat there 2-3 times a day.
Now with all this incredible awesomeness that currently surrounds us, we have decided to yet again alter our plans a bit. See we were planning on continuing to Koh Pha-Ngan for 4 days buuut, we decided to stay here. We've also tinkered with our agenda to include more dive time in the Philippines, but as our planning goes we may or may not change those.
Nothing too out of the ordinary has happened these last days, our daily schedule would be as follows: wake up
breakfast at Pi Pan or the bakery if we got the morning dive
go diving 2 dives
lunch at Pi Pan
go to the beach
hang around the dive shop with the wicked staff
eat dinner at Pi Pan
We're very productive people you see. I mean Max is a brand-new certified advanced scuba diver! Yay! He was lucky enough to get 1 on 1 lessons with an instructor named Mark. Now you see Mark likes to do fun and
The Dive Shop
Our favourite and only hang out spot on Koh Tao
dumb things on his dives and Max and I gladly obliged. I joined them for his 3 final dives. They were the night, deep, and naturalist dives. The night dive took place at a site called white rock due to its large pinnacle rock that goes from 2 m below the surface to 20+ m. The highlight of that dive had to be chasing a 1.2 m long barracuda as he was out on the hunt and getting rewarded by seeing it destroy, and we mean destroy a fish. The barracuda first cut the little fish in half in one quick, snapping bite, then he came back for the scraps. The deep dive and naturalist dives we got to screw around a bit. We attempted to walk on the bottom of the boat, cracked an egg at 30 m underwater and played with the yolk, took a nap on the sea floor, and learned how to blow bubble rings. All in a hard days work we think.
Some of the marine life we did see whilst diving included: mooray eels, tuna, chevron barracuda, hermit crabs, scorpion fish, angel fish, a marlin, puffer fish, a sea snake, and some annoying cleaner fish that tried to eat kif's cuts
But yeah, what else have we done on this beautiful island? Well, we tried snorkeling in Shark Bay, since according to the people at the dive shop, there would be 20+ sharks. We found 0, but we did find a sunk car. We also played a round of minigolf on Koh Tao's premier (and only) mini golf course. The heated battle ended with Kif winning the free beer by 2 strokes.
Now we were planning on going on to Cambodia after this adventure down here; however, sure enough we have changed our plans ... again. Our plan is now to gun it up to Laos for about a week and then down to Cambodia, maybe, Laos we're sure about at least!
So sadly we only have a couple more dives here, but with those 2 dives each we have done 18 each here. Not bad eh? Max is now at 24 and Kif is at the big 50. One reason we did so many was because Sea Shell Divers had some wicked staff who we've been hanging around these past few days. They probably think we're a bit crazy but they like diving with good divers rather than new ones. Koh Tao is probably the #1 place in the world to go learn how to dive. But there's Rachel and Eric, two dive masters in training, who are racking up the dives. There's also Mark, as previously mentioned, but now he's gone to take a new dive job in the Cook Islands. Finally there's Collin, the nervous dive master from Ireland who had to babysit us while we wanted to to stupid things while diving. All amazing fun people who we got to dive with here.
We finally said goodbye yesterday (after 10 days there; original plan was 4). It was a bit tough to get away from the island life that left you wondering what day of the week it was but as we were told: "You have to keep moving." So we hopped on a speedy afternoon ferry over to the mainland and then on to a night bus up to Bangkok. As fate would have it, this bus also broke down (well it got a flat tire) and was delayed 2.5 hrs. But since we got to sleep on the bus and come in to Bangkok at 7:30am instead of 5 am, we were ok with it. Now we're killing time till our night train to Nong Khai where we'll hop the border over to Laos and check that place out for a bit.
Until next blog, stay safe and have fun!
What I've learned on Koh Tao:
- No plans are the best plans
- 2 bus rides, a motor cycle ride, ferry ride, and back of pick up truck ride to paradise is an ideal way of travel
- Pi Pan restaurant has the best chow on Koh Tao
- Sea Shell Dive Shop is the place to dive with on Koh Tao
- 2/2 for broken down buses lets see how long this perfect streak can go
Tot: 0.202s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 12; qc: 51; dbt: 0.0118s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb