18 hours on a train, 1 nights stay in Chumphon (a small town that used as a hub to get to the island), a 7 hour over night boat, and we are here! Paradise!
We arrived on the island at 5am a little groggy. We had been drinking and celebrating a friend we met on the boats birthday and when we were woken up at that hour... obviously unimpressed. We stepped off the boat and it was dark out and as usual the vultures (as we have come to call everyone hounding you to choose their hotel or taxi) were there to greet us. I'm sure everyone reading this knows we are not morning people and it took no time for us to scare them off. We just walked... for hours.
The sun came up while we sat on the beach tryng to figure out where to stay. In this time we played with local dogs that were out enjoying the cool breeze. We finally got to a hotel, that we later found out was the cheapest on the island, and fell asleep for a few more hours. When we woke up it was literally a dash to the beach (a minutes walk away). The beach we stayed on was gorgeous. There were alot of people but it didnt matter. Everyone kept to them selves and had a great time engoying the sun.
The sand on Koh Tao is unlike anything we have ever experienced. we have been on a lot of beaches in asia, and a few in other places around the world and yet this was bizare and new. The sand was white, and not really sand at all. The best way to describe it is that it was perfect white clay. The kind of clay that never hardens, never dries, and is as soft as cream to the touch. We spent every night on the island watching the sun set from the water. And the water is another story.
When you spend all of your time in a climate this hot, your only chance to cool off is stepping into a 7-11 due to their great air con systems. So being as close to the ocean as possible is a great thing... you would think. We were dripping with sweat on our first swim, and ran into the water. Words can not explain the excitment, and dissapointment, we felt when the water was hotter than a bath tub should be. At home the ocean is cold, and we made an assumption that it would be here... never assume. It was great, and we swam everyday as much as we could, but man was it hot.
On the third day we rented a kayak to explore other parts of the island, as a few parts are only reachable by boat (and the water taxis are quite expensive). We first went to and area that is unique in the world as the only 3 islands that are all connected by a central beach. It was beautiful. There is a long and very white snadbar connecting the islands that they charge a un necessary sum to walk around on, so we simply rowed the kayak too it and saw all that we needed to from there. From the islands we rowed back to ours and around to the other side.
On that side we found a tiny secluded beach (Mango Bay) not reachable by roads, and decided to relax with nobody around. Neither of us could sit still just lying there, so we found a place to rent snorkels. I (Sam) have only just gotten over my fear of swimming in the ocean, and won't even stick my arm in the aquarium at home. Koh tao is one of the top snorkelling islands in southeast asia, which only means there are alot of fish, and sharks! I was scared. Needless to say I didn't go very far out, but saw beautiful colorful fish I never thought I would. Dean however is a little braver than me and went quite alot further, where the fish were larger and more impressive I'm told. Next time we will go together and see all that there is to see.
When the sun started setting we realised it was over an hour to get back to our side and left the bay. It seemed like it was very easy to get there but leaving was quite a challenge. Turns out the current brought us there and did not want us to leave. Quite some time, and alot of sore muscles later we were back, and just in time to watch the sky turn all shades of orange, red, and purple. The following day was spent recuperating and lying on the beach doing nothing.
The next day we got a 2 hour ferry ride to Koh Phanang, an island a little south of Koh Tao. We did not want to leave, but were ready to see another part of the Gulf of Thailand.