We finally get to escape the cities and make our way to Koh Tao. Upon arrival I was kind of disappointed with my initial impressions, if you’ve been to Koh Tao you may understand if not I shall explain…
It’s a small island, not terribly small, but small enough that it only has one main pier, so upon arrival you are greeted with what looks like hundreds and hundreds of people, crammed onto this tiny pier all looking slightly moody because they are leaving island life behind. I wasn’t impressed, I figured this was probably just gonna be some super cramped island with loads of partying people. Anyway we find our Big Blue guy amongst the sea of hotel employees all shouting out the resort name, we get in the back of a wagon and off we go, the amount of people quickly diminishes and it starts to feel more like an island.
We arrive at Big Blue and do the usual check in routine, (this is where I try to act like an experienced traveller and make a terrilble decision), we get offered the choice of a larger 10 bed A/C room or a small 6 bed fan cooled dorm with private bathroom, the guy behind the counter, Ian, informs me that he’s absolutely fine with a fan and that you always get that one idiot in AC who turns it down to 18 degrees. So I opt for the fan room…Later that night this would be the biggest mistake ever as I had to keep stepping outside to cool down as the room was like a sauna… lesson learnt ALWAYS OPT FOR AIR CON, I am not the experienced traveller I think I am, and I am certainly not okay with sleeping in 30 degree heat…
Anyhow our resort is in a perfect location, right on the beach, with its own restaurant and swimming pool, it’s perfect.
We did our diving with Big Blue and our Scuba diving instructor was a guy named Luke, and he was awesome (if you’re reading this, cheers for everything dude!) I’m sure all the instructors at Big Blue are awesome, but I wouldn’t know…Anyway Luke is very chilled and makes you feel super relaxed when you’re diving. From our pool lesson to our final advanced dive everything was amazing!
My favourite dive was part of the advanced course, the wreck dive. It was truly amazing, and somewhat inspiring/relaxing to see something so big just lying at the bottom of the ocean. This particular wreck was sunk on purpose in 2011 to create an artificial reef.
Another amazing dive site is Red Rock, this is because of the swim through! this was super exciting and reminded me of being a kid again, squeezing through gaps to see what’s on the other side, very cool! We seen so many fish overall, and on the final few dives, the 30m dives, we got to see some huge grouper fish and some Barracuda! Which was super cool.
We had a big group of us so the day after our open water course, we hired a long tail boat and got him to take us to multiple snorkelling sites around the whole island, for 7 people this worked out at 400 Bhat each, a bargain for a full day trip.
The problem with going to multiple beaches is you want to swim at them all, which means the lack of sun cream I had on at the beginning is completely non existent very quickly, I for some reason decided to not where a T-shirt while snorkelling and proceeded to burn my back, quite badly…
I basically spent the next 6 days in the hostel, avoiding sun shine at all costs, with an insanely itchy back, which was also very dry and very sore, this prolonged our stay in Koh Tao which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but also potentially damaged my skin for life, not cool kids. Always wear suncream!!! (I’m still peeling almost 2 weeks on)
Koh Tao is truly a beautiful island, although it may be slightly too much of a party island compared to what I expected, it wasn’t that bad, often you could have the beach or at least a good section of it to yourself, most people here were relaxed and not actually here to party hard. You could see how easy it would be to settle here and start a life. There were some great local food places to eat and get away from the busy restaurants on the main road and Big Blue was far enough off the main strip that it was quiet at night!
The true serenity though comes when you’re under water, in what feels like another world, surrounded be magnificent looking fish, with only the sound of your breathing (and the occasional boat). It is incredibly relaxing to scuba dive and something I highly recommend you do!