Post Donsak, I have found myself on the island of Koh Tao in Thailand. I feel like I am in paradise and to be honest, I never want to leave! I mean, of course I want to see the other islands, and go to Vietnam, but I actually feel like I am in heaven. The people are so friendly and the food is absolutely amazing, and I can’t forget my favourite thing so far, which is fresh watermelon juice. I still feel like pinching myself because I am in such disbelief that I could be in such a beautiful place.
The island of Koh Tao is not a big one, but it makes up for the size by the beauty. It took a good 5 hours to get here from Donsak by ferry (stopping in Koh Samui and Koh Phangan on the way) but once we got here, it was so worth the journey. The ferry ride was nowhere near as bad as the bus but I have to say, if you can’t handle rocky boat rides, you will definitely need to pack a Gravol. Also, once again, you will want to provide yourself with toilet paper and soap.
We were debating on coming to Koh Tao because we were not sure if there would be anything to do and had planned to go to Koh Samui instead. Now, I can’t say anything of my own experience of Koh Samui because I have not been, but we had a friend recommend Koh Tao over Koh Samui because it was less family oriented. Not that we don’t love kids, we just are travelling as a couple and are more interested in relaxing and being in more of an adult-oriented environment.
My first impression of Koh Tao was amazement. Once you disembark the ferry, there is a swarm of people waiting. There are taxi drivers aggressively trying to offer rides, people handing out flyers for parties, and everyone else who was on the ferry with you just trying to figure out where they are going. We decided to walk to the hotel because it was only 20 minutes and from what we had heard, the taxi’s were not cheap. The walk was not ideal, but also not too crazy, thankfully we had water to keep ourselves hydrated in the heat. Upon arriving at the hotel, we checked in and got to our room where we discovered there was no fridge and no air conditioning. Not to say that the place we stayed was not great, it was beautiful and right on the beach, I just was shocked there was no AC and no fridge, but instead there was a ceiling fan.
The place we stayed (I say place because it was called a resort, although I don’t know why) was called the Koh Tao Tropicana Resort. In my eyes, this was not a resort and more like a motel. There was no pool (probably because the beach was right there next to it) and the only amenity the place had outside the room was a communal gazebo and a restaurant. All this being said, it was not so bad. The only downside to this place was the lack of AC and fridge to keep our waters cold. We had to keep the fan on full blast to even feel remotely cool when we came back out of the sun, but the staff was friendly and the food at the restaurant was good.
We stayed a 20 minute walk away from the ferry terminal, which was where a lot of the restaurants and bars were, but we were still in a bustling neighbourhood with plenty of places to eat and people around. We also were able to go to the John-Suwan Viewpoint, which was not far from where we were, although I am embarrassed to say that we did not make it to the right place. We went to what we thought was the trail to the viewpoint and walked through the jungle to find a secret beach, which was amazing, but did not get to the actual viewpoint. We were at the top of where Freedom Beach is and could see down to the area we were staying, which was beautiful, but unfortunately did not get to the right spot for an optimal viewing.
Staying on Koh Tao, I recommend renting a scooter for at least a day. We did not because we planned to do so in Ko Phangan, but I do regret not renting a scooter while on Koh Tao. We definitely could have seen a lot more of the island and not had to walk in the blistering heat (which resulted in a pretty bad sunburn that I am trying to get rid of so I can go back out in the sun and tan). Koh Tao did not seem like a party island, at least not where we stayed, or maybe it was the time we stayed there. There were parties going on, I’m sure, but not near where we were. We did get to see a pretty great fire show on the beach at Carabao Restaurant the first and last night, which was right next to our resort.
Overall I have to say that I loved Koh Tao. It was relaxing and exactly what I needed after the hustle and bustle of Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Definitely more upbeat and lively than Donsak, which was great, and there were a lot more tourists, so there were more people who spoke english, which was a huge bonus because the only thing we know how to say in Thai is ‘thank you’.
Now it’s on to Ko Phangan for more beach lounging and exploring! Leave a comment below, especially if you have been to Koh Tao and let me know your experience, and don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on Social Media for more photos and updates!