Tuesday, 27 December 2011

R & R in Koh Tao

The ferry from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao was rough! We missed most of the post full moon exiles who went to Samui but the boat was still packed (although in my comatosed status I didn't know this). I was awoken by a kick to my leg, it was the women who had spent most of the journey moaning about everything and anything she could clambering over me to spew out of the window. I don't get sea sick, regardless of how hung over I was, but I can't do the smell of sick and she made the cabin stink. So I set off down the boat during a ridiculous swell and soon found myself tripping over the people littering the floor, bouncing off the walls and falling into seats whether they be vacant or not. I found a place to sit for the last part of the trip and hurriedly vacated the boat seconds after she moored up. Koh Tao has the natural charm of a Thai Island but with some of the best reefs and marine life it has become a mecca for diving, and as such all accommodation is pretty much a dive centre as well. We stayed in Sai Rei Cottages,  a shady and outrageously good value complex just off the beach and just out of ear shot of the night life but a five minute walk away...not that post full moon we cared about 'getting on it'. Our main aim here was to rest up and transition from full on to normal again (or as normal as a traveller can be). I showered and then slept until early evening where I met Penny in a cozy cafe style bar/restaurant. I had dinner and then went on a walk and discovered a much more laid back and chilled out vibe, exactly what we were looking for. It did still cater for the boozing party tourists but it was on a smaller scale and way more relaxed. The beach however had the bars and night life I craved with fire acts, beach BBQ's and good music. Penny and I shared a bungalow for B350 which is £7 and up the way we saw stunning air conditioned bungalows for B1600 (£32) a luxury which makes you wonder why we pay so much for crappy hotels with great car park views in the UK. This inspired me to return when I have made so money and this 'luxury' could actually become the normality. Not to say that I would go to 5* hotels, I would follow the tourist route but instead of budget rooms and dorms I would stay in a nicer room for a week for the same price as one night in a Premier Inn in Hull on a Tuesday in October.....breakfast not included. The change in attitude and mentality on this island made me feel like Richard and reinvented my search for paradise amongst the 'parasites' who go to and ruin these locations.

That night I couldn't sleep, not really a surprise considering I slept for the entire four hour boat trip and also all afternoon. I went for a walk and took my time to think through a decision. I had a chat with Penny and then after being awake most of the night making considerations I eventually slept on it.

We checked out of the bungalows the next morning as they had been booked out by the dive centre. We walked up Sai Rai beach and had breakfast overlooking the water which was rather pleasant and I was very confident of my decision to return home for Christmas and surprise my friends and family.  We checked into the Blue Wind and booked our forthcoming travel to Phi Phi. It was a relaxing day, we swam and exchanged travel anecdotes, we played cards on our porch and watched the sun drop into the Gulf of Thailand in a stunning orange and pink glow. We had dinner and a few drinks and checked out the beach activity before setting up the mosquito nets.....which turned out to be a waste of time. With the fan on the room was cool enough but the beds were so worn they would alert you to any minor movement even with my earplugs in, which disrupted any form of extended sleep.

We had breakfast, checked out and had the usually 200 person queue for the boat tickets which they send you from line to line, which I am sure is only for their own amusement. Fortunately this time we got the high speed catamaran that 'doesn't go from side to side'. It was a pleasant and fast crossing to Koh Phangan where we waited to be picked up by another Cat. When we were waiting a middle aged American came and asked us when the bus leaves to Phuket, when we were on a different Island.....on the wrong coast of Thailand, A for confidence but I think he is failing Geography. I had another experience of Thai people not queueing which really annoys me and then we got the ferry back to Surat Thani and connecting bus to Krabi. I somehow managed to sleep on this bus that shook rattled and was more likely to roll than Big Joe Turner and only seemed fit to go into circulation on the school bus run in South Wales.

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