Week in Koh Tao

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Asia » Thailand
October 29th 2011
Published: November 1st 2011
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Hello everyone! Sorry it’s taken some days to write, but internet connection hasn’t been great. From Beijing we caught a plane to Bangkok, then another to Koh Samui and finally the boat to Koh Tao (Koh means ‘island’and Tao means ‘Turtle’, so we are in the Turtle Island now!!). In Beijing, at the airport, I read an article about Bill Gates’ The Giving Pledge, I’m sure you’ve heard about it. Apparently, Mr Gates and Warren Buffett (one of the richest men alive) travelled to China to talk about their project, which consists of super-rich people leaving almost all of their fortune to the Gates Foundation as a way to help human kind in some unselfish way. I guess they were trying to sign up some Chinese millionaires, but people went ballistic. In the newspaper, it said Chinese were gob smacked at the thought of someone actually leaving money for human kind. Mainly, because they believe in leaving what you own to your family, first and foremost. They think it may not be unthinkable in the next generation, but for now, Mr Gates should really try somewhere else!

The ferry to Koh Tao takes approximately 1h45mins. Lots of back-packers and young people are heading the same way and once on the island one understands the reason: this is paradise!! It’s green beyond words, giant palm-trees everywhere, hilly; looking like it will rain any moment, and several clean and beautiful beaches. People are mostly on bikes, riding from one place to the next, dogs run free (there are many, and most look healthy!!), endless massage shops (check it out, a one hour massage is around 7 pounds!), bars where people of all walks of life are chilling out having a drink and of course, diving centres. We haven’t dived yet, mainly because of the weather, but people everywhere are learning and enjoying diving. We’ve enjoyed the beach, sipped on coconuts, done some shooting (it is pretty cool), ridden a nice little bike and watched our favourite series: yes! Now that we can access internet, no one is stopping us from watching Walking Dead, Downton Abbey and Grey’s Anatomy! I love technology!!

Our friend Tim came here in 2003. Apparently back then, this was a desert island, scarcely anyone around. Tim had to live in a hut for a while until he got his diving business up and running. Now, DAVY JONES LOCKER (on Facebook you’ll find it) is one of the most successful clubs on Koh Tao, comprising the Dive School, a swimming pool next to a cool bar (drinks and food) and even accommodation! Tim is doing up some villas to rent (still being built) which is a great idea as most are already taken or are too expensive. We stay in a place at Sairee Beach, a sandy beautiful beach with coconut trees (beware of the coconuts, they have been known for dropping on peoples’ heads and killing them!) and unfortunately, not very clear waters. Tim’s Dive Centre is located in Sairee village, where everything interesting takes place! Lots of restaurants (we loved ‘Barracuda’, great fish!), cheap massages (in love with these), shops of all kinds, 7 Eleven (very handy), ATMs, basically... all you need. Koh Tao is pretty cool for any travellers wanting to take a break in a cheap, paradise-looking place, even if it takes a bit longer to get to than Samui. But it’s worth it.

These days it’s been raining, but relax!! It’s nothing like what they show on TV (i.e. Bangkok). Koh Tao is located on the south-east of the Thai peninsula, and the rains we’re getting here are not the ones flooding the north and capital but just the typical monsoon rains: it starts, rains hard and an hour later, it’s gone. One of the days, we climb up to one of the highest ‘peaks’ on the island, to enjoy the views. The 4x4 struggles a bit (cars here have no number plates, wheels in a bad state and probably wouldn’t pass the MOT – although amazingly, they work just fine!) up the very steep hill and slowly-but-surely, we get there. We have to walk and later climb, part of the way. At this moment I surely feel like someone in a LOST episode (Where is Jacob?!??) and as free as a bird. It feels wonderful up there and we only leave because it’s starting to rain.

Our last day in Koh Tao it’s drinks at DJL again and witnessing Arsenal’s victory against Chelsea (5-3) which most people cheer! We head now to Hua Hin (journey was supposed to be 5 hours in a ferry, which turns out to be 1.5 hours in the ferry and 4 hours in a bus!!) where a member of WILDLIFE FOUNDATION is picking us up. We are now starting a 2 week volunteer project with this great organisation, which takes care of mistreated or disabled animals in Thailand. We’ll tell you more about it next week (I promise!).

Thanks for reading,

B & M



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