The worst start to an Island visit
From Penang we were once again on a coach riding up through Thailand! Crossing the land border was different, we felt like refugees. The officer who stamped our passports shouted at the man infront of us which started to get my blood pumping... luckily when it came to us 'well behaved westerners' he was v.smiley :) With 15 days to explore Thailand let the fun begin!!
Our coach journey took us to, 'Hat Yai' South of Thailand. This was just going to be a 1 night stop over to break up the journey and ready ourselves for the 8 hour coach to Chumphon. Most tourists go to southern Thailand to go to the many idillic islands such as, 'Ko Samui, Ko Pha-Ngan, Ko Phi Phi' and so on... We could not come to Thailand and NOT go to an Island. However, picky as me and Daniel are we didn't want a raving island like Ibiza, we wanted a bit a peace and fun! (I told you we were picky!) So Ko Toa the tinniest Island of them all, on the east coast of southern Thailand was our pick! One side was apparently lively, the other a haven, well, that's what we had read anyway.
Obviously to get there we'd need a boat. Because Ko Toa is the less touristy out of the islands, it is the most expensive to get to. So to save our pennies we decided to take a night boat, thinking in 'theory' we would save money because the boat would be transport and accomodation! Well let me just tell you in 'Theory' it was an ingenious idea, in 'practice' it was the worst idea we could of come up with! The night boat took 6 hours... 6hours of ROckINg bACk aND foRWarDS, up ANd dOWn!! I for one could not get one milli-second of sleep and the vibration of the engine (that must of been 100 years old) felt like I was on a fat burning wiggle machine! Daniel on the other hand, who by this point had taken 2 Valiums (a drug that is illegal in England because it is so strong) was out like a baby, snoring and all. After I'd flicked the dozenth bug off my ripped up mat thing, I sat rocking BAckWArdS anD ForWArdS like I was in a mental asylum for the rest of the journey!
As the boat finally stopped making me feel like i was going to be violently sick, we had arrived at the island... Yay!! It was pitch black and as we fumbled for our torch a Finnish guy asked "where would we stay?" Having not a clue and it being 4am in the morning we just started to walk around the island. Even in the dark we realised that the west coast of Ko Toa was incredibly built up with modern bars, resturants, shops etc. As the sun started to rise we thought we should head over the east coast for more rustic, less built up places. Thinking it would take 30 mins (so we had read) we made our way to the east coast...
15 mins in we came to a small vertical hill, an old Thai lady ran up to dan and tried to explain desperately in inconprehensible English that "up and over hill was finish!"... Finished? we were very confused and tried to get a better explanation but failed. Thinking that the lady was telling us either the, 'road wasn't finished' (which is very common in Asia) or, 'the resorts were finished'. We also thought it might have been a ploy to get us to stay at her recommended, 'budjet' accomodation trick (which also happens a lot in Asia) we thanked her but confidently at 4.15am started up the hill.
45 mins later and that, 'small vertical hill' I told you about never ended! Having not had any food, water, sleep and carrying our bags this was the most extreme exercise I had ever done in my life...
2 hours later we finally saw what looked like a resort, elated to finally sit down, have water and food we quickly hopped down the steps. Only to find an abandoned resort on a tiny rocky beach! Absolutely exhausted and about 7am we had no idea what to do. The road we had come off didn't go any further and there was only this one abandoned resort. We were lost, confused, and stranded.
The Thai lady had been right and we both had the, 'I wish i'd listened' moment. This Finnish guy had an idea to climb over the coastal rock/boulders to get to the beach we were SUPPOSED to be at, which was in sight a kilometer away! Frustrated as we were so near but too far to swim the Finnish guy started climbing and Dan had found a home-made raft, had this happend before?? The raft was so bad and broken dan didn't risk it. So instead in an SOS attempt to be saved started waving his arms and a luminous orange life jacket that he found!
Amazingly after 15 mins of desperate waving a Thai man with a little boat made it out to us... Thank goodness! The Finnish guy by this point was a tiny dot on the boulders, whistling at him he climbed down to be also rescued by the boat. After an eventful morning, it was now 8am and we booked our room. Finally a small bit of luxury for 400Baht (8 pound). To relax and unwind we decided to have a traditional Thai massage as the sun was setting, on the beach, well I had oils and Daniel had Thai. I loved mine however Daniel felt the Thai one was more a work out than a massage!!
We were right, after all of the effort it was worth it. Less built up, quiet but still people around, it was perfect. We went snorkelling and sunbathing and after 2 days enjoyed the calm. After splashing out on luxury we decided to cave in and find cheaper places on the south west of the island. The cheapest we found was 350Baht (6pound) not a huge difference but it all adds up! 4 days on the island was great, everything was a bit more expensive, the weather was a bit cloudy but we didn't care, we enjoyed our company and had another holiday within a holiday :)