Koh Tao

05 Jul 2011

Turtle Island

The Pictures


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The Story

Map for reference

We had decided a while ago that we were finally going to go on another island adventure. A get-away-from-it-all type of adventure. We had planned on going to the island of Samed that we have been to already, but quickly changed our minds to Tao. Tao is located a bit further away from Bankok down the Malaysian peninsula side near Chumpon Thailand.

We booked overnight train tickets there and back that had a bus + boat package to get us to and from the island.

We left Bankok at 7:30pm Thursday night(6/30) and arrived in Chumpon at 5am. Then took the bus at 6am to the pier. The boat left shortly after and we arrived on Tao at about 8:45ish. Pushing our way through people trying to shove flyers for diving companies into our chest and wading through the people trying to sell taxi rides we finally made it to the main street in Mae Haad. There we found a very awesome place to have breakfast called Cappuccino. Pretty sure they have the best eggs/breakfast we have found in Thailand yet. The lady that was working there at the time was super nice and helped us figure out where to go.

We decided that it was about 3km(~2 mi) to our beach(Aow Luek) and decided to walk around the town a bit and then to our resort. Turns out that mixing out of shape people with a 3km walk up quite steep hills with baggage isn’t really the recommended thing to do. 1 sweated through shirt later and a few encounters with the local soi dogs we made it to the resort. Too worked up from the hiking adventure to notice the beautiful bay.

We went straight to our room which was up about 50 steep steps. Ohh boy! We quickly were amazed at the view that our room had off of the balcony and changed into our swimming gear and trotted back down the steps and straight to the ocean. PLAY TIME…..early to bed that night for these campers.

The next morning we pondered our options for the day

  • Sea Kayaking
  • Snorkeling off a long-tail boat
  • Do nothing

We picked option 2. So after breakfast we had them drive us back into town. We decided that we were also going to invest in some snorkeling equipment(flippers, goggles, snorkel). OOOPPPSSS! Somebody stupidly took their credit cards and debit card out of their wallet this morning to keep it safe. Massive Fail! Drama ensues. Mel finally calms me down and convinces me that I’m not an idiot…ok sure :)Into another taxi. Resort. + Credit Cards/Debit Card. Back to town. Snorkeling equipment purchased. Lunch eaten. Down to the beach to find us a long-tail boat to take us out. Go Go very poor Thai speaking ability!

Off we go out to Aow Hin Wong, Koh Nang Yuan and then back. I thought the snorkeling was pretty awesome. Mel thought it was so-so and too cloudy. Miss Hawaii expert snorkeler :)The bottom was very clear to see and there was about 15-25 meters of visibility horizontally. Didn’t see anything too exciting. The silver/green with black stripped fish you see in almost all the pictures were pretty funny. If you stopped moving they would swarm all over you and then just hang out around you. Pretty neat.

The next stop was just near the private part of Koh Nang Yuan. We had intended on going to Aow Muong, but our driver said it was “Mai Suaay” or not pretty/beautiful so we took his word on it. He said the next spot would be the best of Koh Tao. I’d say it might have been, or very close to Aow Luek. The water was quite a bit clearer there and I got a few cool pictures of sea urchins. After that stop he took us to the private part of Koh Nang Yuan. The entrance fee was 100 baht per person. The snorkeling areas are dividid into 3 parts by natural isthmuses which was interesting. We only had time to snorkel around one of the areas, which was ok since the other two didn’t look to be that great with the low tide at the time. The water was abnormally warm. Much warmer than most swimming pools.

When we went back to the boat our driver had apparently talked two other people into giving them a ride back to Mae Haad, ok whatever. Once we dropped them off he said he could just take us back to Aow Luek instead of paying for a taxi separately. Sounds good to us. MISTAKE!

Once we got there the waves were about 1-2 feet coming into the beach and he wouldn’t take us all the way to shore. He parked the boat about 3-5 hundred feet off of shore and said we had to swim. I’m still not exactly sure why I went along with this and still paid him the amount he wanted for the taxi portion of the trip. Needless to say I was quite flustered after swimming 3 – 3 liter jugs of water + towels and other items to shore and then back out to help mel with the snorkeling equipment.

Nap time!

We were awaken by a dusk rain storm. We sat out on the patio and watched the storm roll through and it was really calming and very cool to watch as we had such a good overview of the bay.

We came back down from the room at about 7pm that night and were the only ones at the restaurant. One of the guys that works there, maybe owns the place, came over and told us that his brother had gone out fishing today and had caught a Barracuda. It was tonights special and he could make it however we wanted and however big. So we opted for a 200 baht piece cooked in garlic pepper and deep fried. Amazing! Some of the best fish I’ve ever had.

The next day we decided to keep it simple and just snorkel in the bay and do whatever just around there. The snorkeling area was pretty cool and we got to see a pretty large school of some sort of bigger type fish that were all eating something off of the coral. Mel “saw” a turtle, haha, that I didn’t see and some other things. We spent another 2 hours after that just playing around in the ocean. We went back to the room to change and then have dinner and went to back to the room. Again we got to watch a storm roll through the bay.

The next day was pretty simple getting back to Bangkok

Trip Details

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