Koh Tao

23 Nov

On Thursday evening we walked from the hostel to the travel agency on Khao San road that we booked our bus and ferry ticket through to embark on our worst night journey yet. After some confusion about which of the many identical storefronts it was, we arrived just on time at 6:00 PM. A man on a motorbike guided us through the streets to about five more stops to pick others up which took nearly an hour. We arrived at the bus, which was pulled over on the street, sweaty and tired of carrying our bags around. From the outside the bus looked deceivingly nice. When we got on, however, the seats were ripped up, the AC vents could not be moved and there were no blankets to be found. The guy on the bus yelled at us telling us where to sit and not caring about who you were sitting with. We managed to get our seats all together and get some of the less wrecked ones. When I had first gotten on the bus the man yelled at me to take a seat that was simply the inner foam of the chair with none of the crappy pleather covering on it. Safe to say I yelled back.

When we finally got moving the bus stopped yet again for an hour claiming that it was waiting for people. After a few hours we arrived at a rest stop for “dinner” and had to wait there for forty minutes. It was around this time Josh realized his foot, which he had felt swelling up, was getting much worse and he could barely walk. After determining it was probably infected and hoping it wouldn’t get worse we got back on the bus and drove for what only could have been two hours before they came yelling on the bus for people going to Koh Tao. We had to grab our bags and switch buses to a non-sleeper bus where we spent around two hours traveling to the pier. We arrived at the pier at 3:30 am…for a 7:30 am ferry. It actually amazes me how terrible the travel planning is by the tourist companies. If the buses would just leave later in the night everyone would be much better off. So for four hours we sat by the cesspool of pier water playing card games, listening to music and attempting to make the hours move quickly. FINALLY the sun rose and the boat appeared and we got on the ferry for a three hour ferry ride in uncomfortable seats. I swear I almost cried when we made it to Koh Tao. We paid an exorbitant amount for a taxi that was simply benches in the back of a pick up truck to get to our hostel as quickly as possible, just wanting to make it to a bed.

We arrived at the hostel and were able to check in right away. While paying, Angela realized she was missing all her 1,000 baht bills and any USD she had with her previously, leaving her at about 350 dollars down. After that hit everyone just wanted to crawl into bed and give up. While the beds didn’t even seem clean I would have slept in a dumpster at this point and crawled in for a nap. After we awoke, I accompanied Josh to the doctor, which was luckily across the street, to get his foot assessed. They took him right away, putting him on an antibiotic drip and handing him a bag of antibiotics and pain killers to to take for the next seven days. Just as I was finishing up my antibiotics, he was gearing up to take them. Gotta love Asia. After all of that was taken care of I walked down to the beach to meet Shauna and Emily, who had somehow had enough energy to make it down there earlier in the day, and watched an incredible sunset that made all the ridiculousness of the past 24 hours worth it. That night we went to the Italian place next door for dinner. While I wasn’t hungry after eating breakfast at about 4:00 PM, the others had ridiculously cheap and delicious 90 baht pizzas and I treated myself to two glasses of wine which were definitely necessary. That night Josh stayed in with his swollen foot while the girls went to a beach bar to watch a fire show. We drank the strongest vodka sodas I’ve maybe ever had and played Catch Phrase before heading back at around midnight to conserve energy for the following beach day.

While the weather wasn’t great at the start on Saturday, we didn’t want to stay at Sairee Beach and definitely wanted to venture to a different beach for the day. We took a boat taxi to Sai Nuan, which the driver promised us was cleaner and more quiet. The beach was perfect with absolutely clear water and very few people. My toe had been looking great that morning so I decided it was time to declare it healed and go into the water. We spent our time swimming until it started to rain and we had to move our things to shelter. After a few minutes of rain we said fuck it and got back in the water following Josh’s lead while it poured on us. A little rain wasn’t going to stop us from enjoying the water, but the lightening that soon followed did. We found the restaurant and had a beer and some food while the rain passed. After another swim in the sun and some good reading time our water taxi returned for us. I climbed on the boat and before I could sit I fell and hit my toe against the boat, causing it to reopen in its fragile state. I spent the boat ride back crying at the pure sadness of the unfair situation as my toe gushed blood. Luckily, I had all the materials to clean and wrap it back at the hostel so right when we got back I took care of it. But it was clear that I wouldn’t be able to swim again for the next few days.

Feeling defeated, we went back to the Italian place where I ate a well-deserved pizza and drank some more wine. While I didn’t particularly want to go out, we gave it a try. Josh was sweating profusely, some sort of reaction to the antibiotics or infection we believe, and walked home after one drink and Angela spilled her drink all over the cards. After one drink and one delirious game of Catch Phrase we realized the night wasn’t in our favor and called it quits.

We woke up thankful for the early night on Sunday and went to Ko Nang Yuan island, which we were told is one of the nicer beaches and a great spot for snorkeling. To get to the island we had to pay for another water taxi and then pay again to get onto the island and pay AGAIN for chairs because they did not allow you to lay your towels down. After getting over the expense of the whole experience we settled down in our chairs and the others went into the water while I manned the bag situation with my sad wrapped up toe. While it was definitely hot and I was certainly down in the dumps because I couldn’t enjoy the water, the beach was beautiful and the weather turned out great. The beach is a strip of sand between two mountains, that basically disappears at high tide, making it seem like two separate islands from a distance. The others did some snorkeling and went far enough out to see some exotic looking colorful fish. I sat for a few hours reading my book that I had picked up at the previous hostel and all in all the time passed happily. When we returned to Koh Tao we got ready for the night, went to eat some Thai food and slug down Changs before heading to Choppers bar for the infamous Koh Tao Pub Crawl. Although certainly a rip off it is a fun night with a variety of bars including a pool bar, a beach bar, a cabaret show and some live music. And of course, a t-shirt for the memories.

The following few days were far lazier. My hangover on Monday prevented me from going back to the private beach with the girls. I spent the day sleeping and walking around until they returned and we naturally went back to the Italian place for dinner. We bought some cheap bottles of booze and sat outside the hostel drinking and playing card games. While we had fully intended to go back to Choppers to listen to the live music, by the time we checked the clock the bars were closed. We woke up hungover the following day to of course more rain and lazied around for a few hungover hours. Emily had lost her debit card so we killed some time trying to sort that situation. Finally, we made moves and walked the mile and a half to a mini golf at a place called KT Leisure Park which had a troubling resemblance to the Catskills. The course had some ridiculously impossible holes which led to equal amounts of frustration and laughs as the balls constantly flew off the green. After an exceptionally long 19 holes we got some free ice cream and embarked on the walk back through sunset. It was pretty clear all of us were at low levels of energy and after some cheap Thai food at a local spot, we headed to bed with good books in hand. The following morning at 9:00 AM we took a taxi back to the pier to hop on another ferry to the next island and next adventure.


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