Koh Tao is an absolute must if you are into beaches, the ocean, good food, or relaxation. Who isn’t into these things? The only catch is that Koh Tao is pretty hard to reach. It took us a half a day of traveling, and if you have a tight budget and opt for a ferry instead of plane, the commute is even longer. My parents flew into Bangkok the night that I was exploring temples. By the time I took the subway back to the hotel and showered, I received a call that they had arrived at the hotel! I was super excited to see them and catch up, so I gave them a little tour of the hotel, and then we went back to the room and none of us could sleep the whole night due to excitement and jetlag. We probably woke up at like 5:00 AM to take a look at the hotel in the daytime and see the pool. We packed up our things and went to breakfast (included in our fancy hotel room). The breakfast was AMAZING with fresh juices- I fell in love with guava juice. We also had fried rice, fresh breads, and soo many beautiful/colorful fruits. It was heaven.
At 7:00 we headed to the airport where we caught a plane to Koh Samui. Also- guys Bangkok Air has a super nice lounge with snacks, wifi, coffee, and couches so we were happy that we got there early. We hopped on our flight to Koh Samui, which is an island near Koh Tao. After we landed we gathered our luggage and got a shuttle to a nearby pier (my mom had arranged this transportation ahead of time) where we waited about an hour and a half for the ferry to Koh Tao. We got some fresh smoothies and enjoyed the beach views. I took a walk on the beach and took a look at the heaps of plastic strewn everywhere. It was mostly straws, bottle caps, fish nets, and cups. UGH such a shame. Guys seriously its 2018 lets cut the single use plastic crap and on with life. (I say this although my smoothie came in plastic- but luckily I had my travel straw that collapses and can be used anywhere. Get your own on amazon here.
We took the SeaTran ferry, which after taking both this and Lomprayah, we preferred Lomprayah. SeaTran had more comfortable seats but you are stuck inside and don’t necessarily have a seat where you can see outside well, and if there was an emergency the windows don’t open or anything so that would be a disaster. But it was about 3 hours ride or so, so not terrible. I got antsy towards the end and could not wait to arrive. When we got off the ferry it was utter chaos at the ferry terminal. With so many people swarming around trying to get you in their taxi, it was a bit confusing. But I saw a dive shop that I had read a lot about online- Roctopus, so I quickly ran over to talk to one of the employees. She was super sweet and I asked her which dive sites they were going to that weekend and how to sign up, so she told me to go sign up that evening at the show in Sai Ree. I thanked her and then we found a taxi to bring us to our hotel- called Kao Tao Bamboo Huts. It was a bit away from the hustle and bustle, which ended up being good for us. And it was still in walking distance from most places. It was way fancier than the hostel-type places I am used to, so I was loving every second of it. We had to take an intimidating staircase down to our bungalow, that was literally right next to the sea. It was INCREDIBLE. Check out these photos:
We had a little photoshoot outside and then returned inside to unpack a bit. We decided to head to the more lively town of Sai Ree Beach for the evening to sign up for dives and eat dinner. It started to rain so we donned our ponchos, and walked ~20 minutes to the ferry terminal. This walk is spectacular. Despite the steps and incline, the views along the sea are amazing. Even if you don’t stay at this hotel you can have access to this walk and I encourage it because it is so beautiful. In town, we found the man who had driven us earlier, and he took us to Roctopus Dive Shop. The staff here were incredibly kind, and I found out they had Northwest Pinnacle planned for the next day, a dive spot I was very keen to do. So I signed up, and my parents signed up for a refresher course for the next afternoon. I was soo excited, and the dive was $50 I believe, for 2 dives and a long boat ride to get there. This is way cheaper than anything in the US. After we signed up we walked along the seaside trail that had adorable restaurants, shops, massage parlors, and it was all along the sea. We went on a mission to find a good vegan restaurant, and had read about “Vegetabowls” online. It was quite a walk, but we found it using Maps.Me. PS this app is an absolute lifesaver, I use it literally all the time when I travel. You can download offline maps and help you navigate unfamiliar cities, and when I am in a taxi I always use it to make sure I am not getting scammed and ensure they are going the right way. Sometimes I just give it to my taxi driver so they know the best way to go. Anyways, we found the restaurant, and the vibes there were so good, and it had an amazing underwater mural. The menu was incredible, I would be so happy if I could eat here every night for the rest of my life. Highly recommend Vegetibowls guys, go here.
After dinner, we were tired but I convinced my parents that we NEEDED to get a massage. My highlight of Bali was that I got a massage basically every single day. And fortunately for us, in Thailand there were massage places like everywhere. The cost is $9 for an hour, and you can find them for as cheap as $6 for an hour. So guys if you are reading this, I am serious when I say, it is ok to be a diva and get a massage every day. When else can you get pampered for so cheap! We found an adorable sea-side massage parlor that was huge. it has little massage booths in one room, which seems weird but it was totally fine. I found it hilarious that my mom, my dad, and I were all laying next eachother and getting massaged at the same time. This was my first experience with a “Thai massage” which involved them assisting you getting into strange yoga positions. My back was cracking with every new position and I was giggling like the small child I am. The woman massaging me would also go into a fit of giggles, I was having the time of my life. They also use this amazing ointment called “Tiger Balm” which smells minty and heavenly and makes your skin tingle. It was great. The massage didn’t hurt at all and I loved it. It felt SO good after a long day of travel. After the massage they give you hot lemongrass tea to relax. We were all quite happy that we made this stop. After the massage we headed into town to find a taxi. Also we found you can get nearly anywhere for 300 Batt ($9) so you just need to ask a few times and smile and they’ll go with it eventually. The next day was a 5 AM wake up for my first dive day! Stay tuned to hear more!