After spending a couple days in Bangkok to receive information about our teaching jobs and finding a flat to live, three of us took the long-winded, 3rd class train. I couldn’t believe I was taking this uncomfortable to sleep on train again but it’s all part if the adventure. We waited for a songtaow, which packed on the travellers and their lugguge, before catching a boat to Koh Tao. This is one of the smaller islands in Thailand which is becoming more and more popular especially for divers.
On the ferry we met three guys, who were constantly laughing at us as we were delirious from the lack of sleep. We couldn’t stop giggling. Unfortunately it was chucking down with rain when we stepped onto the island so our taxi journey was a little soggy sitting in an open top truck.
However, it soon cleared up. Searching for huts close to the beach was easy to find. Once we set camp, we were exposed to a magnificent, panoramic view of the golden sands and calm waters with picturesque palm trees scattered along the beach. It was like a postcard. For the rest of the afternoon, we lounged on the beach, falling in and out of sleep. One of our friends from the course joined us to travel with us. Now we were an international group of girls (British, Kiwi, American and Canadian).
Feeling more refreshed, we were ready to experience nightlife on the Island. Outside one of the restaurants, laid comfy cushions on the sand for customers to watch the beautiful sunset and a fire show. We took advantage of this, where the guys were swinging and flinging fire around. Next, we headed towards Lotus Bar, which is probably the most popular place to spend the evening, with cheap drinks, a DJ playing popular western chart music and a large area to dance the night away. Here, we got chatting to severally travellers from England and Canada. This is one of the reasons I travelling: everyone is open and love talking to others. You might be friends with them for a couple of hours or a few months but each person is part of a new memory.
The next day, we met up with a couple of guys staying at the same resort to go on a hike. I had no idea of the destination or route: it was a mystery but these days can be some of the best day, which it was. Over the last few years, my perspective has changed on making plans for travelling. Now, I like to go with the flow, see the non-touristy places and pick other travelers brains.
After hours of melting in the heat, climbing vertical, stoney tracks in flip flops and getting completely lost in a jungle like setting with several unknown wildlife jumping across paths, an incredible view surrounded us: an abandoned beach. It looked like a restaurant or hostel used to be there but there were only remnants scattered. In front was a small, sandy beach with beautiful rock faces, where one could go cliff jumping. Unfortunately, the tide was too far out but instead, we went snorkelling. My kit was slightly broken so I could only put my head under the water for a minute before salt water poured in. However, I observed different fish and coral, all different sizes and colours: it just shines out the beauty of God’s creation.
By the time we trekked back, we were starving so I chose a Thai favourite, papaya salad, for dinner. In the evening, we headed down town to Choppers, a pub, which was filled with the pub crawl tourists. The sounds of an acoustic singer, the smell of sweat and beer, and the sight of people dancing on tables and bright lights surrounded the room. To make the night more fun, the four of us challenged each other to get a pub crawl T-shirt by the end of the night. We were all on a mission to win.
We talked with many people including a guy from Israel. After a bit of persuading, I managed to receive a the T-shirt from him as he had one from a previous time. The girls were shocked when they saw me. One of them became determined to get hold of one. From here, the crowd moved to Lotus bar to carrying on partying.
On the way back to our hut, two of us stopped off to munch on a Roti. We end up chatting to the guy, where we found out he was from India. He made a bet with us: if we could count to 20 in Thai, he would give us a free roti. To his surprise, I reeled off the numbers to 20… Neung, song, saam, see… He was gobsmacked. You should have seen the shock in his eyes. Unfortunately he didn’t keep to his promise but it was still so funny.
In the morning, the other two girls told us hilarious stories of what happened to them to night before including something about skinny dipping and a bunk bed situation. The real question was did we complete our mission… Three of us did.
Once we had filled our stomachs with breakfast, we wandered around the typical souvenir and clothes shop you find located near the beach all around the world. We strolled along the beautiful beach: dipping our feet in the water; drinking a fruit shake and climbing rocks.
Two of us had been debating whether to get a tattoo or not for a while. Whilst on Koh Tao, we nervously entered a tattoo shop, which we had been recommended. The guy at the desk printed our designs, where we decided to get the sane tattoo but on different parts of our bodies. I discovered I could get the tattoo with bamboo, which I was excited about because it’s more tradition. I had been told that it was more painful but I have to disagree, I nearly fell asleep while being stabbed with the inky bamboo stick. It was finished: Mai Pen Rai in Thai which means don’t worry, go with the flow, was tattooed on the side of my back. I just love it!
Next, we laid on the beach watching the beautiful sunset with a beer. For dinner, I ate a delicious masaman curry, which is a typical curry to eat in Thailand. Before heading out again for similar a night, we had so many laugh about random thing like not knowing what a post office was or having different names for clothing (play suit, fun suit, rompa). We were in fits of laughter, rolling around on the floor, finding it hard to breath.
The agenda for the evening consisted of enjoying a beer at Choppers with some of the other people from explore Asia, watching both tourist and locals competing in a limbo challenge. I tried but I knew I would fail as I’m not flexible. I still got a small, weak shot for trying. Then we danced the night away in Lotus bar.
Again, as we were headed home, we stopped to chat to the Roti guy, who remembered us to convince him about the free roti he owed us. Somehow the situation changed to him handing me over 16000bt and his credit card. I was extremely confused. What? As I tried to give it back, he started making a roti for me. Success! I then paid him with the money that was his and card. Not sure what just happened but I was happy.
Then we sat at a burger place for fries and talked to a Canadian and an extremely drunk English guy. On the way back to our bungalow, the other young roti guy spoke to us along with the acoustic singer from Chopper, who was from Chili. He ended up ordering a roti for three of us, then paying for himself and walking away. We still hadn’t got back before bumping into a group of traveller wanting to find out about us. A British guy, covered in tattoos, was so pleased to see me as he hadn’t spoken to another Brit in weeks. I’m not sure how as I they were everywhere especially on the islands for a drinking holiday. This was the longest journey but eventually I was tucked up in bed excited to explore a new island the next or actually now the same day.