After two flights, an overnight stay in Koh Samui and a ferry ride, we finally arrived in Koh Tao very happy to be back in Thailand.
We stayed just north of Sairee Beach as it was quieter up there. We checked into the hotel, ran down to the beach and dived into the water. It felt like bath water, so warm, and at only a couple of feet deep is perfect for floating around in. After bobbing around for a few minutes I recognised a familiar face as our friends Tim and Holly from Vietnam came walking out towards us. It turns out our hotel beachfront was their favourite spot and they’d seen us run pass them and dive in!
That evening we grabbed dinner with them and swapped travels stories before heading down to the beach to get our Chang on and watch the fire shows.
The next two days we got back to the diving and did the final part of our PADI Open Water certifications with Koh Tao Divers (~USD 175pp, 4 dives and tuition). It was just us and a chap called David, who wasn’t the best about keeping his distance, over the two days. We did a confined dive then hit up the Three Rocks, Mango Bay and Japanese Gardens. The diving was great – warm water, good visibility, lots of fish and coral – and I got to put my buddy air sharing into practice. A boat parked above us as we were ascending and we had to wait for it to leave before surfacing forcing me to share air from our instructor, Patrick. Aren’t I glad we practiced that skill a few times!
In the evenings we kicked back, relaxed and watched the amazing sunsets.
Saturday saw the arrival of my brother, Mark, and friend Henry who arrived early in the morning after a twelve hour flight, an overnight train and a ferry to get to the island. After a power nap we headed to the Choppers to watch Liverpool beat Cardiff and catch up. Tim and Holly joined us and it was great to have a little crew together.
After the game we continued the party down at the beach but another election meant all the bars closed at midnight so we wrapped it up early. It was probably a good thing as we were all suffering from pretty bad changovers the next morning even with a midnight finish.
We spent the next few days hanging out at the beach with Tim and Holly, whilst Henry and Mark did some diving, and generally kicked back. We had some good fun with the frisbee in the sea, discussed Liverpool’s title chances and Katie and Henry competed in all kinds of racing and hand stand contests.
On our final day we went on a fun dive with Sairee Cottage Diving (~USD 60pp, 2 dives) who Henry did his refresher course with. It was so much more relaxed after being qualified and they didn’t care if we just wanted to dive in shorts and a t-shirt. We went to The Twins and Red Rock, saw a lot of fish, a sting ray and a load of crustaceans. A lovely little day out.
In the evening we went on a little bar crawl around Sairee Beach and ended up at a Cancun beach club to have one last hurrah with our new friends.
After six days on Koh Tao it was finally time to say goodbye to the island and to Tim and Holly. We had so much fun, were sad to leave them behind and knew the next part of the trip would be weird no longer being a posse of six, but it’s on to the western coast and Ko Lanta. Until then…