Just like on my previous post about Koh Phangan, I am not going to go into too much detail about my visit to Koh Tao. You know it’s a beautiful place, you know it’s famous for its cheap diving courses and the incredible opportunity to see and swim with whale sharks — it’s an amazing island to say the least.
My friend & travel buddy Buyana and I didn’t get to experience it to the fullest, unfortunately, since time was short, but it was great fun and a rewarding experience nonetheless.
The first highlight of our trip was a fun show at the Queen’s Cabaret. It was all singing (more like lip-syncing), dancing and imitating personalities like Shakira and Rihanna. Those ladies know how to work it! Sure, they make you feel like the least feminine woman in the room, no matter the amount of make up you put on or the number of flowers you have on your crown, but whatever. They are great!
Highly recommended in nights where you don’t have any plans and don’t want to spend lots of money on a memory-erasing pub crawl.
If we would have had more time in the island, we would have done a scuba diving intro course. But since that wasn’t the case, we decided to go snorkelling instead. No complaints whatsoever!!
All the agencies around the island will charge you about 750THB ($21) for the tour (lunch and snacks included). They take you around the whole island stopping in front of the best beaches for 30/45 minutes at a time until you reach the teeny little island of Nangyuan, where you get a couple of hours for yourself until it’s time to go back.
It was amazing.
The tour guides were the nicest guys and made sure we were having a good time at all times. They jumped in the water with us a couple of times and showed us around the underwater world that was nothing short of beautiful. There were plenty of fish at every stop we made and at one point we even saw a turtle! Oh and have you ever heard the names of the beaches/bays of the island? Aow Leuk, Shark Bay, Mango Bay… am I the only one to find them so cool?? Yeah…ok. Ignore what I said then.
Unfortunately there were no sharks in Shark Bay… Did that sound convincing coming from somebody that only recently got confident swimming in open water and got (slightly) over her fear of fish? Yeah, didn’t think so either. I mean, I would have loved to see one — they are innocent black- and white-tips sharks, but maybe from the boat would have been enough for now.
It was high season for whale sharks in May. Now that’s a creature I wouldn’t have been (too) scared to see for myself and probably even swim with! At one point we crossed a boat with divers which stopped all of a sudden and everybody began screaming and yelling ‘whale shark!’, but by the time the first people jumped in the water it was gone, far too deep for us to see it. SO CLOSE!
Koh Nuangyuan was beautiful! No plastic and waste is allowed on the island, so as you get dropped off you have to leave your water bottle to later pick it up on your way back. There’s only one hotel with a bar in the island and they serve all drinks in glass containers. Don’t do like we did and leave your money on the boat: you will get thirsty and you will end up considering drinking sea water.
The island is a great for snorkelling and diving as there are lots of little spots scattered around it with lots to see. It wasn’t surprising then to see a massive crowd of people getting ready to go in…or they were just coming out. I’m not really sure, I’m not a diver.
The mandatory thing to do is go on a little hike up to the viewpoint of the island. It was 2pm when we were there and the sun seemed to be closer to Earth than usual. The short hike made us lose about 3 litres of body water each, but I have to say it was worth it.
The view was fantastic! Such a unique place. The way the beach links the tiny islands in the middle of crystal clear water is something you don’t get to see everyday. It wasn’t long before we ran off to hide among the nearby massive rocks only to find the best spots were already taken by other sweat-covered and lobster-looking fellow tourists. It was time to go in the water.
Buyana and I were as happy as two panda bears on a park slide. We didn’t want to go back to the average thing everybody that can does: walk. Swimming and floating over corals and colourful fish was too much fun. But our skin was turning tomato-red and time was almost up: it was time to go back.
Koh Tao is truly an incredible island that although is crowded with tourists all year long is very much worth visiting. I hope to go back there soon, especially considering I really want to learn to dive and if there’s one thing that Koh Tao doesn’t lack is diving schools. So book your ticket already and go! You won’t regret it at all.