Getting to Koh Tao
Travelling in Thailand is a piece of cake nowadays. To escape Bangkok to the Samui islands you buy a joint ticket for a bus and a ferry. Everything is organized for you and it costs 1100THB. This service is run twice a day, we chose a night option. The bus at 21:00 took us from Bangkok. We arrived Chumphon at 5:00 AM and waited for a ferry till 7:30 AM. Finally, at 9:00AM on Thursday 18th June, we could see this
This island is 3km wide and 7km long with only few beaches around which makes it less popular compared to the rest of Samui islands.
A ferry dropped us off on the west coast of the island. The first you notice getting off a pier are the big ads of diving schools and hostels. The second - TAXI service everywhere.
Where you go? Taxi? Taxi?
Few dozen of taxi drivers asking you the same question, everybody is trying to utilize you to cover a part of their daily wage.
A boy followed us through the village until we hide into a retail market to buy something for breakfast.
Crossing the island
Being on the west part of the island we had to get to the east part of it where a booked cottage was waiting for us. I didn't want to take a taxi so we decided to walk across the island, about 5 km by roads.
We had a chance to experience this island better than other motorized tourists.
In Thailand all the electricity is transmitted over hanging wires. This island is not an exception. You can even hear the electricity buzzing from the wires above the road.
The next thing which is like a stamp on the humanity - rubbish everywhere.
It was 30 degrees and we walked the majority of the route when a big Toyota pick up from our hotel appeared and we finally landed in a very quiet area of Tanote Bay.
I've never tried it but now I see what I had missed. This place is great for snorkelling and free diving. The reef starts on the beach basically and there are few rocks 100m away from it.
Underwater life is so rich, you can just float on the warm water all day and watch it everything in deep blue. So I did so. Sleeping and swimming long hours with breaks for the great food.
Koh Tao is ideal for scuba diving course which is very cheap. We will definitely do this next time.
After Bangkok I didn't expect it will be better. The prices in the hotel are about 30% higher but anyway.. I would never get something like that in Bangkok for the same price. This tastes fantastic.
Koh Tao village
After very relaxing two days it was time to move. We booked one night on the west side of the island to easily catch a morning ferry to Koh Samui.
This time we took a taxi from our resort for 100BHT/person.
The city wasn't very interesting, except of a regular sandy beach (Sairee Beach) there's nothing to do. So I set off to climb a mountain in the middle of the island.
Hiking to a viewpoint
I left 2 hours before the sunset with a tourist map in my hand. The road looked appealing...
...until it transformed into a jungle path
I even spotted some locals' artistic creativity
and their tendency to typos
I followed a runner
Who pointed these two rocks and recommended to go inside them
It was worth it. There was a hidden platform formed of a big rock with a plenty of space on it to sit and admire the landscape of the west island bay.
The view was outstanding but this place was called 'Two views viewpoint' so there had to be other nice view to discover. And it was - the east side of the island:
I came back to the two rocks for the sunset show. There were already other travellers with a guitar. So I put my camera on the rock and sit down to chill. Here is a small timelapse from this magic moment
To sum up, Koh Tao is great for diving. If you want to relax by a beach with a spouse or a family, then east side of the island is perfect.
I will definitely come back here some day to do an open water diving course.