Ko Tao Owww!

Trip Start Nov 03, 2009
Trip End Jul 15, 2010

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Monday, December 21, 2009

So we reluctantly left some good friends in Ko Lipe and headed to our next dive destination, Ko Tao located in the Gulf of Thailand. Quite an arduous journey from the southern Andaman coast and it involved 3 modes of transport and 21+ hours travel time. Still, it was nice to see some different parts of the Andaman sea from the top of the ferry even if you did get a tad wet at points, Trang is indeed a very beautiful part of Thailand.

Next up was a 4 or 5 hour mini-bus ride to Surat, not much to say on that other than it was a bit cramped at points but the 8 hour overnight ferry to Tao was the real ball breaker (sorry mum!) - check pics for an idea..Anyways, it was full of shit-faced South Africans & Swedish obviously on mini-breaks for Xmas and quite jubilant with it therefore allowing no-one else any proper kip. Words were said at 3am when one of them decided it would be funny to take a stream of pictures on his SLR with monster flash. Cheeky git.

So 7am came and we literally rolled into the harbour, cue Swedish piss-heads feeling rather queasy. Justice is sweet heh?

Our resort for 6 days was Black Tip Diving, on paper a great choice as they were an eco dive centre and their bungalows looked ace but sadly what we didn't know was that they were located at a bay in the middle of nowhere (which is a good and bad thing) on the East side. Only really reachable with a serious 4X4 or a suicidal bike/quad drive. The "road" or track even was pretty nuts basically especially after the Monsoon rains and cabs knew this so charged a hefty premium to get too and from town for their trouble. We must've forked out at least 15 a day on this which cuts into your budget somewhat when out for 9.5 months.

I completed my PADI advanced divers course after doing a Deep Dive to 30 metres, A Navigation Dive, Wreck Dive, Fish ID and Buoyancy Control - Sofie didn't fancy going that deep so held off diving on this part of the trip. Wasn't that impressed with the Dive School in the end as i didn't visit either Sail Rock nor Chumphon Pinnacle two of the best places to dive off Ko Tao, they couldn't accommodate a night dive and insisted i did Buoyancy Control (i was pretty good already at that may I add) so felt a tad annoyed at how it played out and if you left the place early you got hit with 20% of the bill and lost your deposit so we were kinda stuck somewhat. The diving itself was so so especially as i thought it would be better than diving in and around Koh Lipe (it wasn't in the slightest btw), saw lots of Triggerfish, Wrasse, Jellyfish, Moray Eels, Groupers, Stingrays etc, again check the pics on those. Coral wasn't that impressive though, damaged island i guess and the visibility average considering but these are mild gripes and at least I can fun dive to 30m now in other countries.

Xmas kinda came and went for us, it isn't so much of a big deal out here even for the tourists. We missed our family and mates over this time so just spent it beaching it, snorkelling/diving & eating in town in the evenings. Most of you were knee deep snow and ice, we were knee deep in tropical waters for the first time ever over the festive period, so it felt pretty weird we thought so because of this and the fact we felt a bit isolated at Tanote Bay during our 6 days there we thought sod it, lets stay another 2 days.

After getting lucky on a really beachside Family bungalow and splitting it with our new friends Tomas & Caroline we got our last cab from Tanote (and he tried to charge us an extra 200 baht the cheeky git) to Jansom Bay which was close enough to walk over to centrally located Mae Had or Chalok Baan Kao in the South. Great bungalow, rustic but it was bang on the sea and quiet so all good, not bad snorkelling either.

Other notable things we did in Ko Tao included walking from Freedom Beach (more great snorkelling!) all the way back to our 2nd home on the island Jansom Bay. Lots of jungle trekking, boulder climbing, way finding and seclusion, well lush! 

I guess that's about it, we arrived at our boutique resort Sunset Cove (treat for New Year as 2009 has been haaaard) in party central Ko Pha Ngan yesterday, two days before it all royally kicks off for the Full Moon on New Years Eve.

More soon...x
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