Koh Tao

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There are three main islands off of Thailand’s peninsular east coast frequented by tourists: Koh Samui (the best known), Koh Pha Ngan (home of the famous full moon party, and Koh Tao (the smaller, less frequented island adored mainly for it’s diving. We chose Koh Tao and do not plan to head to the other islands- at least not on this trip.

Koh Tao is a lot larger and much more modern than our last island experience in the Perhentians. There are trucks that act as cabs, carrying people and their associated luggage in the bed of the pickup. There are motorbikes everywhere, and a number of paved roads (yet there are some more picturesque sandy walking paths). There are streets of shops selling swim suits, dresses, sandals, and t-shirts. There are tons of restaurants to pick from. It is noticeably still a smaller island, but has all the modern amenities and thus much more tourism.

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A different crowd comes here. Koh Tao has it’s party scene- the sports bars with daily happy hours, the guides promoting bar crawls, and small carts selling buckets of the alcoholic drink of your choosing. I’m mildly interested in having a drink from a bucket, but I have not tried it. I don’t think it will be nearly as exciting as iced coffee from a bag.

We rented a motorcycle for a few days and have been able to wander the less crowded areas of the island. Off the beaten path are rough roads that lead to hidden resorts and private beaches. One could feel completed cut off from the world at one of these resorts, and we can imagine how the ultimate getaway vacation could be found here. And because this is Thailand, the island doesn’t come with the price tag with which tropical settings are so well known for. Our room (about a block from the beach) costs us about $13 a night. From what we have seen, the nicer resort style places on the beach average around $30 a night.

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This feels like Hawaii without the high costs, resort fees, and room taxes. And while we are tempted to stay here longer we recognize how much there is to see in this country. So with that our week here comes to a close. The afternoon boat ride and night bus will carry us to Bangkok by early morning. I am sure it will be a shocking change from coconut trees and clear blue water.

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