A Year in Seoul - video by Maddy

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thailand Part 3: Koh Tao

in our bungalow

Sunset with Thai fishing boats

Enjoying the view and some curry at a beach bar

morning in Koh Tao

I was happy to be able to spend a night in Koh Tao and get a feel for the island. The smallest of the trio it makes up with Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, Koh Tao appears the most raw and natural of the three. Thin bands of yellow sand ring the coastlines, separating the emerald ocean from the rugged tropical forest by mere yards. Bungalows and beach bars have gradually overtaken the edges of the forest, while a bustling town and snaking roads have filled in the interior.

About 21 square kilometers in size, the island was given its name, meaning Turtle Island, because of its shape. It is, coincidentally, also a breeding ground for several species of turtle. The island's main draw is diving, however, and everywhere you go you overhear people discussing the day's diving conditions.

I didn't do any diving on my trip, but I would like to return to Koh Tao one day to get my certification. The courses are inexpensive and the setting is perfect. I would love to get a glimpse of the whale sharks silently roaming offshore. They are a relatively common sight in the surrounding waters.

After a night out that ended with me asleep on the beach while Maddy talked with the friends she had made over the past week, we hopped a ferry back to Koh Phangan. Koh Tao had a laid back, natural vibe, but I was ready for the excitement of the larger island. Watching my first taste of the islands recede against the horizon, I felt completely at ease. We had no plans or obligations for the rest of our trip and certainly no idea we'd be spending the better part of the next week lost in paradise. ..

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