Thailand (Chumphon and Koh Tao)
Chumphon and Koh Tao day 16 (06 September 2017)
After Cambodia, it was time to go back to Thailand and finally enjoy the islands! We flew to Chumphon and arranged pick up with Lomprayah bus directly to the pier, where we would wait for their boat to Koh Tao.
We were the first ones to arrive and the beach was completely empty. Thanks to that, we had enough time to enjoy this amazing location and experience its little delights: the crabs jumping in the blue sea, swimming in the calm waters and walk in the nature. Being alone in that desert beach made us feel like the most recent inhabitants of an abandoned island, with the company of dogs and an immense natural landscape to discover.
Even though we were not on the island yet, it was a great introduction to what was expecting us after the boat ride.
Arriving at the busy pier of Koh Tao we noticed that the solitude was left behind. There, we were picked up by someone sent by our Hotel.
While planning the trip, it was hard to choose a place to stay. Online you can read that due to being dependent on transportation, where you stay determines what you do on the island. Eventually, we ended up in an area outside the central streets and beaches and still felt that we managed to see a lot, without many restraints. Considering that the end of the trip was close, we also increased our budget for this hotel. Enjoyment and relaxation were the words of order! The “View Point Resort Ko Tao” was absolutely fantastic; its connection with the natural surroundings, the quality of the food and the rooms were beyond any of our dreams.
After getting ourselves settled and resting for a while, we walked through Chalok Baan Kao bay until a restaurant nearby. We were happy to finally eat some fresh fish while seeing the moonlight illuminating the island. Thailand gave me a peaceful feeling and an opportunity to interact with a new world; I discover a wide range of animals, plants, colours, smells and flavours that I have never seen/experienced before. Needless to say that the memories from this trip will stay forever in my mind. After dinner, we walked a bit further until the Pirate Bar, where we listened to some good music, enjoyed some beers and even found someone to take us to do snorkelling on the next day!
Koh Tao day 17 (07 September 2017)
I am not a breakfast enthusiast. However, when I am on vacations, it is probably one of my favourite routines. The breakfast in this hotel was probably top of my list, earning the title of memorable. The magic was in the diversity of food and taste, complemented with a fantastic view!
For some years now, I have been living in a place that doesn’t match my natural environment. Portugal is part of the list of the 21 sunniest places in the world. For this reason, most of my memories are from sunny days and the warmth of the sun on my skin. The Netherlands, instead, is not particularly famous for its sunny or warm days, but instead the crazy wind and constant rain. Being in a place where I don’t need to worry about being cold or covered in layers of clothes makes me feel free. Koh Tao has a laid back environment that characterises the island life. There, the feeling of freedom was real! Suddenly, I forgot about my duties, insecurities or even what was expected from me back home. Surrendering to the island life, I focused on sharing such a special place with the few people that were around me. No matter what, we knew this was a time to cherish and enjoy.
We started the day by walking towards Freedom Beach. Once there, I was amazed by the colour of the water. It had a blue tonality that I have never seen before and it was surreally beautiful.
The main activity of the day was snorkelling and I had to start to confront my own fears. I love swimming and being in the water, but, I was scared of discovering life underwater. It may sound a bit silly but the immensity of the sea and the fact that I didn't know much about it, was scary. Slowly, I started to get more comfortable in putting my snorkelling equipment and jumping from the boat into the water and discovering what was underneath. Each time I looked down, found a different landscape, fishes, corals or depth. My fear made me realise that I lacked contact with nature, the world I live in and especially the sea. I hope through my life I have more opportunities to fight this. In Turtle Bay I saw a black tip shark for the first time. I saw a bigger fish and went right after him, discovering later on it was a shark. It was unexpected and made me a bit frightened, but, at the same time, it was a really funny moment. We also stopped in Shark Bay, Tanote Beach, Ao Hin Wong Beach, Mango Bay and Japanese Gardens. Another memorable moment was when our guide told us to jump from the boat in a specific location and look down. There we found a large school of fish gather in the same place and we got a surreal glimpse into the complexity of sea life.
We finished our boat tour in Sairee Beach and were received by the beautiful green colour of the natural landscape with the interesting contrast of the colourful boats.
We sat facing the sea with some drinks and snacks enjoying the last moments of sun. Not too later, we were gifted with one of the most beautiful sunsets that I have ever seen, which started with a golden colour and finished in various shades of pink and blue.
For dinner, we went to Marina Restaurant and ate fresh fish on the BBQ. Before entering the restaurant there is a stand with all the catch of the day, where we could pick our fish and wait for it to be cooked in the moment. It was delicious!
Koh Tao Day 18 (08 September 2017)
3 days in Koh Tao definitely were not enough. At this point of the journey, we were seriously considering canceling the rest of our plans and just stay. However, we didn’t know what we would miss and we faced the “tough choice” of continuing to the next destination. Before that, we still had another day in beautiful Koh Tao. This day was dedicated to enjoy our hotel, the beach and a last tour to the mind blowing Nangyuan/ Ko Nang Yuan Island. Taking a moment to visit this small island nearby Sairee Beach is a must! There are various places to swim, relax and do snorkelling, and the view, well it is simply stunning.
After spending the rest of the day in the island, we came back to Sairee Beach for a last goodbye and have another dinner at Marina Restaurant. Afterwords, we went to have some drinks at The Leo Beach Bar, watching the typical fire shows made for the tourists. I can’t deny it was fun and entertaining. September was a quiet season and the island was not overloaded with tourists. This allowed us to enjoy the island on our on terms, pace and freedom. After few beers we decided to head back, we enjoyed a walk in between the pubs and the shops and got ourselves some souvenirs. Next day we were off to another island and the last destination of our trip.
Hello Koh Phangan!