Previous Trips: Koh Tao, Thailand

16 May

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I always describe the Bangkok vibe as that almost unbearable moment when you get to the end of an underground tunnel with the car windows down. In Bangkok, the greatest relief to your lungs comes the moment you plonk yourself in an air-conditioned taxi, so you can imagine that one day was more than enough for me to get a mouthful of street food and get the heck outta there. We flew into Koh Samui, which has the most amazing airport I’ve even been to – complete with fishtanks as windows in the toilets – and had a moment of calm before the storm on the local pier,

which you couldn’t have paid me to walk on. When I looked out over the ocean and saw all those typical Thai fishing boats I was a little concerned about the 2 hour boat ride to Koh Tao, but relief came in the form of an impressive modern Catamaran.

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It didn’t take long for panic to set in when just a few minutes into the boat ride we were getting air from our seats, and our stomachs turned themselves out as we both experience the worst the sea has to offer. I had flashes from the movie A Perfect Storm as the horizon disappeared into a wall of crystal blue water. Sure the sun was shining, but my stomach was empty and we were just 30 minutes into the 2 hour ride from hell – what a way to start a honeymoon hey? We grit our teeth and Josh and I launched off the boat not soon enough to a packed dock, complete with oodles of tourists, rickety piers and few to many farm animals. We were herded with the rest of the menagerie and were relieved to find that our accommodation had understood us when we called to say we were a few hours away at Koh Samui airport. A lovely man with our names on a sign picked up our bags and put them into the back of his truck. I did find it strange that all the cars waiting there were trucks, even the so called “taxis” and it did strike me as odd that I didn’t see any other style of car.

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Well this is what you get for not thoroughly researching a place before you go – you see Koh Tao is pretty much a 22km around mountain in the sea – mostly insanely steep jungle, with a small stretch of beach, rocks and a flat area covered with bars and restaurants, and of course we had booked accommodation a little out of town. All was fine until we stopped at the foot of this mountain of dirt, far more than a comfortable degree of inclination, and the drive turned on the air conditioning, the 4 wheel drive and put Didot on his CD player (must of thought it to be calming music), before heading straight up. Well didn’t I just think we had entered the honeymoon from hell and we trundled over rocks and nearly toppled off cliffs. I believe I even said out loud “what have we gotten ourselves into Josh?” Just when I thought I might loose my stomach again, mostly because of the drivers speed, we suddenly caught sight of our accommodation – the most beautiful and private villa tucked away in a slice of jungle paradise.

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We stayed at ViewPoint Resort in a private villa, complete with extravagant breakfasts and a private infinity pool. Turns out, the killer ride was worth it. We spent the next 10 days eating, soaking in the sun, relaxing and swimming all in total serenity and peace – not another honeymoon from hell moment. Koh Tao still has so much rustic charm to it, and because of how ou- of-the-way it is, it’s far less touristy than some of the other islands in Thailand. It has the perfect amount of restaurants, night life and culture and has a chilled out vibe. It’s also very rocky, so while there aren’t many beaches, there is an incredible amount of sea life. You could easily spend the day snorkelling or taking a scuba diving course (for a fraction of the Australian price) and never see the same fish twice – even renting a kayak for the day is cheap entertainment. I’m told that Koh Tao has some of the cheapest scuba courses in the world and you can become PADI qualified there for 8,800 THB ($300 AUD) , and with no less quality. I felt completely safe and well looked after on our course, and it’s quite easy to walk around and get the best price for the day, so no pre-booking was required.

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We also rented a scooter for the last few days and went racing around the island, which was never really around, more back and forth, and as the island is pretty small, we saw all the flat parts you could hope to see within a day or two. We had no problems renting or buying anything, were never hassled or hustled and despite having to hand over my passport as insurance, never felt uncomfortable on the island. The people were happy, friendly and so polite – a welcome change from the ferocious bustle of Bangkok.

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We ended our stay in Koh Tao with Josh having a nasty slip on the rocks and me panicking about the local doctor fixing him up (in true Thai irony, named Dr. Payne), but this did not stop our good time and a candlelit dinner in the treetops at Dusit Buncha Resort was the perfect end to a perfect holiday. We were even prepared with Qwells for the boat ride home, which was pleasantly calm and vomit free.

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  • http://www.samuiislandvillas.com/ luxury villas samui

    Sounds like you had a great time. The Thai islands really are a great place for a holiday, once you get past the initial impression of chaos, they are incredibly peaceful and relaxing.

    Best wishes, Kate