16th - 20th May 2009
Following the stint with the girls in Ko Samui we headed back to Ko Phangan for one night. We got a room for 300 baht (we actually shared the room with another girl as there was a spare bed making for a cheap night) at the famed 'Crystal Bungalows' where we'd actually been the week before for an awesome pool party. They had another pool party on the night we stayed there although it didn't amount to nearly as much of a crowd as the one we'd been too during full moon week where I spent some time standing on Sammys shoulders in the pool!
Ko Phangan was reasonably quiet and we were pretty keen to try somewhere new so we booked a PADI open water diving course for Sammy to do at Ko Tao. The cost was 9800 baht (just under 400 AUD) for the full course, boat ride over and 4 nights' accommodation - a really good deal and a very qualified resort. I tagged along of course - no complaints from me if it meant a new diving buddy J He took to it really well and practically aced his exam with 98%. He held himself well underwater and was pretty comfortable with the practical tasks. He keeps talking about a big wall of fish which he swam through on his first dive which was amazing! I'm jealous I wasn't there! I did get to tag along for the 3rd and 4th dives on his last day which was really cool too. They still had a few practical activities to do for qualification but once that was over it was into the fun stuff such as underwater barrel rolls, human pyramids and kisses. So happy he is qualified now so we can go together in different countries as we travel around.
Whilst Sam spent the 4 days in his course I took the time out to work on my tan, listen to music and read my book (The bronze horseman, thanks Mischa!). A hard life indeed! After about 2 days on the island we ventured to what we thought was the 'quieter' section only to discover an amazing and definite favourite part of Ko Tao. There was another beach, Sairee, just down from where we were at at Mae Haad. It was a lot nicer than the one we were at and was full of awesome beach bars and restaurants. Some of which had bean bags on the beach that we could sit and watch the sunset on. On our last night in Ko Tao we went out with Sam's diving team and had a nice dinner at 'Choppers' which is actually an Australian bar in Sairee Village. Was a fun night and the 2'4'1 daquiris for ladies night definitely encouraged me to get up and dance. Sammy wasn't too far behind on the Changs. We walked home, feeling worse for wear the next morning.
After checking out at 10am and taking some much needed nurofen we decided to take the opportunity to rent a motorbike and explore the island. We rented a highly rated by Sam 'Suzuki, scooter/trail bike, raider R150' for 200 baht. I was really enjoying it until I learnt the hard lesson of getting off on the wrong side means a burnt right leg - was very careful after that to get off on the left side. After icing the leg at a nearby restaurant with beautiful views and a pool we headed to shark bay for some snorkeling. We were hoping to see some reef sharks but only saw some amazing coral and fish. Was still really nice. We were kneeling on some sand towards the end of our snorkel adventure when I accidently kicked some coral with my left foot, slicing through the skin on the top of my foot. It bled out a fair bit and I managed it up the hill and back onto the bike to the closest medic. Sammy didn't want to wipe up the blood cos it looked cool!
When we got to the medical centre I ended up with quite a few needles (very painful) and three stitches. The most disappointing part was finding out I couldn't do a whole lot i.e. walking or swimming. We rode back to the dive resort and I got set up with the computer and my book whilst Sammy went off for a ride on his own.
I had a look on the map and saw some dotted lines heading towards the other side of the island which is very steep which I saw from the diving boat. I decided to give it a crack and had a ball riding the dirt trails. The trails were often really steep and slippery, With a foot out and the throttle pinned was back into the enjoyment of riding off road. I saw some pretty amazing views and took a few shots. I was surprised at how much fun could be had with 150cc's. Up north I'll definitely get a bigger trail bike and explore the region up near Chang Mai. Really looking forward to going riding with Bri in Cambodia or Vietnam too!
Whilst I was riding I came across an awesome bar with some amazing views perched on the edge of the mountain so I rode back and collected Nikki and we went up there to watch the sunset and have some dinner. Except for the mosquito's it was really nice. The road was really steep up to sunset bar and I had to give the bike heaps in first gear to make it up. Nikki freaked out a little when the front wheel kept coming off the ground on the way up. After dinner, we took the bike back and went down to the pier to catch the night ferry back to the mainland to head to Krabi.
We had an awesome time at Ko Tao and both the other islands. Really is a beautiful part of Thailand, all islands have something different to offer.