Recap of Koh Tao, Thailand
As I mentioned in my last post, Koh Tao is the hub of scuba diving. It's where the most people get their certifications because of how good and cheap the dives are. However, people go to Koh Tao without diving and still have an amazing time. Outside of diving, I had a blast at my hostel and going out. There's a pretty good gym right across the street from my hostel and a big supermarket. So that was really clutch! I've been making a greater effort to workout and stuff while I'm in SE Asia because of all the food I'm consuming. It's hard to workout outside because of the humidity so I've been trying to find gyms where I go and go every other day or so slow down the fluffiness I feel. Besides the good location, the hostel was also really fun! I met some great people and had a blast there. They make an effort every night to have everyone come together in the main area playing drinking games and then around 11pm, we all head out together to Fishbowl, the college bar you hate to love. We went here every night and every night it was a blast! They have tons of beer pong tables, bumpin' music, stairs to the water so you can soak your feet and dance in the water to get away from the sweaty crowd of the bar, and everyone is around the same age. It's exactly the college bar vibe that you hate but love so much.
Since I spent most of my time diving, I didn't get to see much of the island unfortunately. I should've rented a motorbike one day to get around but at that point I had already secured my volunteering gig in Koh Phangan so I needed to get in and out of Koh Tao quick. I did stroll through Sairee beach and watched the sunset from there. There's a huge expat community here because of all the diving. Tons of tourists come to the island for that reason, which in turn promotes more shops, restaurants, stores, bars, etc to be open to cater to the growing tourism.
The one touristy thing I did do was spend a day on Nangyuan Island. It's a little island that's right off the northwest tip of Koh Tao but you need to get a taxi boat to go there. Since I was by myself, it would've costed me 300baht + 100baht entry fee to get on the island. I talked to my dive school and they were going towards that part the day I was planning to go so I asked to hop on with them. I paid only 300baht for the ride there and back and they also gave me snorkeling gear, which would've costed another 50baht for so to rent on the island. Since I was coming from the boat, I completely skipped out on paying the entry fee to the island. So it was a pretty good deal! The only catch was... I had to swim from the boat to shore then back. As I was not a very good swimmer, this was a bit daunting. However, if I can save a few bucks, I'll do it. I got a snorkel mask and fins plus all of my stuff in my "dry bag" and off I went. I couldn't see anything so I just started kicking in the direction I thought was the shore but when I stopped after like 7 minutes, I realized I was going the wrong way. So I wasted all that energy for nothing... okay recentered myself and off I went again. Once I got closer to shore and could walk, I did that instead. I think it took me about 15 minutes to get to shore? I haven't swam that much in a long time. I was exhausted! This also means when I go back home I'm going to get into swimming or at least learn to be a better swimmer so I can complete a triathlon (next goal).
So the reason I put quotes around "dry bag" was because it didn't actually keep any of my stuff dry, which was really annoying and upsetting because I had my wallet, phone, and camera in there. I guess I didn't close it properly or something because everything in my bag was damp. I was glad my phone is water resistant so it was fine but my wallet was completely soaked and all of my paper money was wet and my camera was moist as well. I bought rice to soak the camera and it's working fine now. There's a bit of a glitch but it's nothing I can't ignore. Overall, I'm really lucky everything was still working properly once I did the swim twice and had to put my stuff through water during the entire time. The situation could've gone a lot worse... I'm thankful it didn't. But still that's really really annoying! I bought the dry bag for a reason, ugh!
There's a viewpoint that everyone climbs up to that will give you a picturesque view of the two beaches of Nangyuan, the sand patch diving them, the beautiful blue water, and greenest palm trees. Since I had to swim, I left my flip flops on the boat and came on the island barefoot. This was not great for the hike up to the view point. There's a wooden path that wraps around one part of the island and leads to the steps of the viewpoint. This wooden path was flaming hot! I had to run like a lunatic through it to not burn my feet. Then at the very end of the hike, you have to climb on these big rocks with sharp edges. Again, not great for my feet. So I do not recommend doing this without any footwear. I learned that the hard way. However, the view was soooooo worth it! It was freaking hot and I was sweating up a storm at the top but very very worth the trip.
The rest of the afternoon I spent laying out on the beach. I took a nap, went into the water, talked to a few people, snorkeled, and just chilled. It was an overall amazing day! The last ferry back to Koh Tao leaves at 5pm so around 4:45pm everyone was clearing the island. Not a lot of people stay here since there's not much to do. When I saw the island clearing, I knew it was time for me to find my dive boat and swim back. This was honestly a lot scarier than the swim in because at least I knew I was swimming to land. Swim out was just throwing myself into the open water. I couldn't find my dive boat because 8/10 boats were the same blue color... I just swim and half way through looked up and recognized my boat.