Thursday, 23 June 2016

The remainder of Koh Tao

Okay okay, so the rest of Koh Tao? What did I get up to? Well, lots of drinking and getting burnt. I’m honestly the biggest idiot ever and I really really messed up. When I first arrived I didn’t have sun tan lotion on while I sat in the sun for 30 minutes, and burnt my back really badly – however, to make things worse, once it had peeled I then burnt it AGAIN and my back turned into an ugly mess. Along with an infection that had spread to my face, I felt like the marvel character deadpool – help.  I honestly wanted to cry looking in the mirror – my back is now a patchwork piece, and I can’t see it returning to normal in the near future. Lesson learnt! My back is hard to reach though…

While diving I couldn’t drink alcohol, as I often had to start the next morning at 7am, so, though I contemplated doing my advanced open water, I decided it’d be most fun to spend the rest of my vacation chilling near Sairee beach and renting a scooter to see the island.

One morning while diving I couldn’t sleep, I awoke at 4:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep I was so restless so I decided to go for a walk. My god it was petrifying, it was pitch black and I couldn’t see a thing, I was sure I was going to get murdered – but thankfully I didn’t. I ended up just watching the sunrise and chilling on the beach. I wanted to go to a viewpoint but it required a scooter, which I didn’t yet have so had to skip out on.

One evening while diving though, I had those travel moments I live for. Those moments that take your breath away, get etched in your mind forever and regardless of how hard you may try you can never explain the beauty of to a person that wasn't there. These are the moments that I seek every time I long for travel, and they are the ones that make the hard-times in life seem worth it.

While studying with Adam, it began to chuck it down, and I mean REAL rain. Running in it hurt as it felt like mini pellets hitting your skin. The water levels were rising rapidly and thunder/ lightening gained momentum, setting fire to the sky above as it danced in intricate patterns alive with energy. I decided watching it was not enough; I wanted to be a part of it. Placing the books in a bag wrapped in my clothes, I ran into the rain and the unsurprising coldness struck me frozen. Debating whether to turn back, I decided forward was the only option as I could deal with a little cold for a once in a lifetime experience. We ended up wading into the water since it was warmer than the outside temperature, and just lay there in the sea watching the sky dance above us. Eventually, after returning our stuff to our cabins, we climbed some rocks and sat above them, discussing what was happening with the eerie green lights distant in the ocean. The sky started to settle a bit and the coldness really started to kick in so we decided to call it a night. It was truly breathtakingly beautiful. Tropic storms are one of my favorite things in life, just beautiful! That said, it did ruin the visibility the next day though for diving, but it was worth it.

Lotus Bar during the day, rare site!
Adam and I decided to drive up north, and got a room at Good Dream Hostel. From the window you could just see coconut and banana trees, which was pretty cool. We ended up going on the Koh Tao bar crawl – it was 400 baht (£8) for a free bucket at the start, a t-shirt and a shot at one of the bars as well as entrance to a lady-boy show. It was a great night as it started out at a pool party, which was pretty wild, and then moved onto the lady-boy show (amazing), then to a fire show at Lotus bar, eventually back to Choppers bar (where it starts) for some awesome live music then finally ending in a club and– On that note, Lotus bar is my favorite bar on the island as their fire-shows are just amazing fun. I strongly recommend the place to anyone who is going to Koh Tao!

One evening we went to Ao Nang viewpoint restaurant, sadly it was too dark to get photos/ really see how beautiful it was, but it was a great spot for a bite to eat overlooking the ocean. We also went to Godfathers pizza joint one night; the pizza was pretty decent if you’re looking for a western bite to eat on the island.

Adam and I on a bike.
When Adam left, I tried to venture back to Koh Tao central hostel, where I stayed the first night, but unfortunately they were fully booked so I had to go to the hostel above the restaurant next door, which was pretty crap honestly – but only 200 baht (£4) a night. I ended up just zooming round on my scooter all day (how I got more burnt). I went down to Tanote Bay where you can cliff jump and had a go – it’s actually really difficult to get up as it’s just a rope you have to climb up. Also the coral swimming to it was so sharp I cut my hand open and it wouldn’t stop bleeding. It’s a perfect place to go snorkeling though! I felt like I had heat stroke and so just had to go back to the hostel eventually to lie down.

I lost my room key and money-belt so ended up being super late to the bar crawl, but because I already had the t-shirt it was easy to get in without paying as I just attached myself to the crowd. The route was slightly different this time, which was good but also a shame because they missed off the pool party! There was an awesome bar with a shit ton of beer pong though which was good fun. I ended up spending £20 somehow though which kind of bummed.

That’s something I definitely did notice from the last time I was on Koh Tao 3 years a go – it’s getting more and more expensive! Everyone thinks Thailand is the cheapest place in the world, but honestly, island prices aren’t that different to home when it comes to alcohol – especially if you want the alcohol to be real! For example it’s about 160 baht for a cocktail (£3.20), and at our local club Kasbah in Coventry we get them for £4 anyway. It’s about 100 baht (£2) for a shot, and at the same Coventry club we pay 80p on Mondays! It can be up to 500 baht (£10) for a bucket of alcohol, something you could actually find cheaper in Zante for example. So yes it’s dirt-cheap if you live in London, but for the rest of the UK I think you’ll be surprised at how much more it costs you than you think.

The following day I trekked back to my hostel after a late night party and ended up  being so fed up with the heat and my sunburn that I hopped onto the ferry and headed back to Bangkok. It cost me 1200 baht again (£24) but you could definitely get it way cheaper – for example it was 700 baht with Seatran boat but you had to depart at 2pm and you arrived a stupid time in the morning in Bangkok, and I couldn’t be bothered for that!

Overall, I love Koh Tao and it’s a beautiful island – it was the driest summer they had on record so was super intense heat-wise, a little too hot if I may say! One thing I’d caution against though, if you’re renting a scooter/ moped, be sure to take photos/ make a video of the bike before you take it away – Koh Tao has real issues with scamming tourists, making them pay for scratches they didn’t do – make sure you get around the bottom of the bike too as that’s a common area for them to pick up on. Also, don’t drive drunk – it’s stupid and everyone injured on Koh Tao has some story about an accident involving a bike. Don’t be one of them! But do go visit the beautiful island, learn to dive, party and enjoy yourself.

Over and out xxx

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