Around the world travel, Backpacking, Bucket List, Ko Tao, long term travel, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Travel

Ko Tao – I could spend some time here…

Ko Tao is one of the smaller islands, but it’s packed with everything I hoped an island would offer. Given that it is smaller, it hasn’t been as “McDonald-ized” as the other islands. So you have to swap out your Starbucks coffee for a banana mango-shake instead, and for me, that is a damn good thing. Ok- you still have two 7-eleven stores, but it wouldn’t be Thailand if you didn’t.

Sairee Beach is the main tourist spot, dotted with bungalows, dive shops, beachside restaurants and shops. Sairee Beach faces west, so on clear days you’re perfectly positioned for the sunset. However, wet season seemed to be following me, or it had arrived early for Ko Tao. Fortunately, I had signed up to do my advanced diving course, so for the first few days I was going to be spending most of my time underwater anyway.

I signed up with Island Divers and got a good deal on a basic bungalow, which was literally a bed, a fan, and a cold shower. We also had some dwellers- one being a giant lizard, that I nicknamed “Iggy.” I would later find out what other animals were dwelling with us.

I had an early morning dive on the second day, so I grabbed my gear and headed over to the dive shop. Fortunately my swimsuit had dried out over night after I had hung it on the handle of the bathroom door. I suited up, got the brief on the dive site and listened to what skills we would be working on. Then we were off. As I jumped in, I felt something bite me under my right armpit. It stung like hell, but my dive instructor reassured me that it was most likely just sand mites that had got into the wetsuit over night.

I tried not to think about it for the rest of the dive, but was happy to get out of the water and out of the wetsuit. I went to the bathroom on the boat and had a look under my arm and saw a red mark where I had felt the bite, but what I saw next was far more disturbing. At first, it looked like a brown shadow in my bikini top, but at second glance, I saw that something had nestled in to the lining of my suit. I started to poke at it, and then started to pull, and I realized I was pulling a centipede out of my bikini top.

Then, it all made sense. I had hung the suit on the bathroom door handle so it would dry out, and this little guy had crawled up the drainpipe from outside and into my bikini. I didn’t know what freaked me out more, the fact that it had bitten me, or that I had just spent about 2 hours with this bug nestled in my bikini- eeewww.

Luckily, I found out these bites, while painful, weren’t anything serious. But, you better believe that every time I put my bikini on after that, there was a thorough examination to make sure nothing had crawled into the lining.

No other hiccups occurred during the rest of my course. I completed my first night dive during a thunderstorm. It was pretty neat to be underwater and still see lightning. I also saw some of the biggest chevron barracuda having their dinner- kind of scary. Rumor had it a whale shark was visiting Chumphon Pinnacle, so after completing my courses I signed up to do a morning dive with Scuba Junction, another dive shop on the island. I didn’t get to see the whale shark, but was glad to have dived this site, as it’s one of the deeper sites around Ko Tao, so I got to see some new marine life, including a moray eel, some huge grouper and beautiful corals.

And luckily, as the week came to an end, the weather improved, and I got to see just how beautiful Ko Tao is. I lounged on the beach from sun up to sundown, read a couple of books, tried my hand at kite surfing (which wasn’t as successful as the diving), and got quite adjusted to island life. If a ticket wasn’t already booked to Hanoi, I could’ve stayed, well, indefinitely.

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like