Koh Tao-Lazy Days. A New Year. 29 Hour Transfers- Featuring The Boat That Rocked.

Koh Tao

Woops another long gap in between posts. We are a month ahead of the blog, so not sure when I’ll get up to date. Again I hope this blog doesn’t bore you too much. Thank you to everyone who is actually bothering to read this. It’s great we can share our adventure.

 

Koh Tao was the last of our Thai islands.  This was the only island we visited where we didn’t really explore. We did however fall madly in love with this island. Even from the moment we got off the boat we knew we loved.

 

We checked out our hotel in Koh Samui and got our transfer over to one of the many piers leaving the island. The pier was really busy, the busiest one we have been to so far. The journey over wasn’t too bad. I shall forever compare any boat to that horrific one to Koh Phangan.

When we arrived even though the port was full of people it already had a different vibe.  We didn’t have any accommodation booked, so we got a taxi transfer over to Sairee. This is the main area that people stay on the island, and one that was within out budget. There are always places we would love to stay but just beyond our means. Especially seeing as our budget has to last us almost a year, if we include our trip back to Australia or New Zealand (once we get our working visas in September). It just gives us more of a reason to come back to these places one day in the future. Once we arrived in Sairee we headed off to look for some accommodation.  We walked along the path by the beach and found a bungalow to call home for the next few nights. It was slightly pricier than we have paid before, but we already expected that.  It really wasn’t that expensive under £18 a night. We were in a central location, by the beach and had two pools, one of which had a slide.

We went for a bit of wonder along the beach front. Even though the beach was lined with bars and restaurants, they all seemed to be more laid back than the ones compared to Koh Samui and Phi Phi.  We found a place to stop by for some food and a cold Leo. It was great timing. As our food arrived we were just in time to catch the most stunning sun set we had seen so far.

The rest of the time on the island was spent mainly, relaxing, reading and eating. We did a lot of eating. We found a great place that did delicious food and with huge portions. So we ended up having lunch there most days. Banana pancakes are a well-known delicacy for backpackers in Thailand. We visited the same guy almost every day. One time we said “see you tomorrow” and the other people waiting laughed at us.

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During our time on the island we decided to book one of the many boat trips. They all offer the same thing, for roughly the same price. We were supposed to visit 5 different bays around the island. Ending at Koh Nag Yuan, this is made up of 3 small islands which are connected by a beach. So all waves meet each other in the middle. The trip included pick up/drop off at the bungalows, lunch and snorkelling equipment.

Once we were dropped off at the ticket office, we were given our snorkel equipment and headed to the boat. However in order for us to get to our boat, like any other boat trip in South East Asia, we had to climb across 2 other boats to get to ours. It seems to get a bit more ridiculous every time we get on a boat.

It was lovely seeing the coast of the island. The first stop was called Sharks Bay. We stopped here to go snorkelling. As we have an underwater camera we were able to get some good shots of the fish.

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As the sea was quite rough that day, it meant we were unable to get to 2 of the other bays we were supposed to visit. As the sea was so choppy it wasn’t the most pleasant journey traveling between the bays. The last stop of the trip was to Nang Yaun. This was the part that everyone else on the boat, as well as myself was looking forward to the most. When we arrived you could only see one part of the island, a boring cliff face.

Getting off was even more of a joke than getting on. It pulls up to pier, but there is a huge gap between the jetty and the boat. So if you are unsteady on your feet then it’s not an easy task. Once we got off the boat we walked around the manmade path around the cliff of the island. We then saw a sign for the view point. We have such a love/hate relationship with viewpoints. We love the view, but hate the climb. Well apart from the view point in Samui, which was a view of the roof of a Tesco Mega store.

The first part was okay, it was just a long, narrow and painful flight of stairs, with loads of other people trying to pass by on the other side. Then when you reach the top it’s just boulders that you have to climb. Then you have to wait until someone moves a bit or goes down, so you can get a bit closer to the top.  The view (when you manage to pass all the selfie sticks and people posing) is incredible though. No wonder there were so many people up there. It’s a sight you will want to remember.  I just wish people didn’t feel the need to conduct full photo shoots up there.I was very keen to get a photo to remember the day by, maybe even one of us with it in the background. I didn’t feel the need to pose in about 20 different positions (cough Grivas Kopti . Cough cough).  We did ask someone to take a photo for us, but when we looked back at it later on it was like they had taken it to take the piss. It didn’t even have the incredible view in the back ground. The annoying thing is Sam managed to get a great one of the people that took our pic. Truly an instagram worthy snap. #blessed #nofilter #beachdays for them. Ours is more like #closeup #palecouple #noview. #amibeingabrat.P1020912.JPG

 

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On the way down the queue up had become huge. They would be waiting a good half an hour before they got to take in all that beauty. Probably longer with all the photo shoots taking place up there. We then wondered down the beach where the currents meet in the middle.  We had a cold drink in the shade before heading back to the boat. The pier was full of other tourists waiting to get various boats back to the mainland. We spotted ours which was behind 2 other boats. So we had climb back over to get to ours. There is absolutely no health and safety out here.  I could barely make the climb, due to being so short and my legs not really reaching the other side. Once we were back on dry land we head to the beach to grab a drink and enjoy another incredible sunset.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

We were really excited to be spending New Year’s Eve on Koh Tao. We definitely didn’t think this time last year we would be spending it on a beach in Thailand. Our day was pretty lazy, reading by the pool. Just after the sun set we head down to the beach to one of the restaurants that do BBQS. As we are greedy bastards, we ordered 3 meals to share between us. BBQ fresh squid, prawns and mixed meats. All washed down with a few cocktails and beers. After the meal we had a few buckets on the balcony of the bungalow, then headed down to the beach to see the New Year in. it was incredible. There were fire dancers, music and lights outside most of the bars. In the water they had signs that said happy New Year 2017 on. This would later be set on fire.  Due to the death of the Thai king and the country being in mourning, they were unable to set off any fireworks, but all the signs in the water were set alight. I really could never have imagined bringing the New Year in like this. I’m not normally a huge fan of New Year’s Eve, but this was just amazing. Everyone seemed really happy rather than blackout drunk.

We then headed away from the beach to find a bar to watch the city game in.  By this point all the buckets had hit me. I wanted to go back to back to the beach and wait for the sun rise, which wasn’t for about 4 hours. So Sam said we could either head to the beach and wait or get some food and head back to the bungalow. Well clearly I would have chosen the second option over many things. So we bought 3 ham and cheese toasties and 2 pancakes and had a feast back on the balcony.  This will be a hard NYE to top. We had an amazing meal, saw the New Year in on the beach and had our favourite snacks.

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Thailand to Cambodia.   Boat-10 hour bus-5 hour wait- 10 hour bus

Today was our last day on Koh Tao and saw the end of our time the beautiful Thailand. I wasn’t feeling great, so not the best feeling ahead of a 29 transfer we headed to our usual place for lunch but I couldn’t stomach any food so just opted for a smoothie.

We then began the 29 hour journey, which was made up of a taxi to the port, a boat, a bus to Bangkok, a bus to Siam Reap then a transfer to the guesthouse. So the first part was fine, just a short trip down to the pier. We had to wait a while at the port as the boat heading in land was running late due to choppy waters. There were hundreds of other travellers waiting so it took a while to get everyone off then load it back up again. A lot of seating had already gone by the time we managed to get on, and we had to put our bags on the top deck as all other places were full. We managed to find a seat, but it was right at the bottom of the boat.

Remember in the other Blog when I said the boat over to Koh Phangan was the most horrific journey and I would forever compare boat journeys to that one?!? Yeah that boat was like visiting Disneyland. As the water was so rough the boat was extremely rocky and the waved were going right up across the boat. As we were on the bottom it probably felt worse, as the waves hit the side of the boat pretty hard. I tried really hard to remain calm, but had a panic attack. I found it very hard to breathe and was contently crying, but trying to stop so I could breathe properly. Sam helped calm me down and get my breathing back to a normal rate.  I have never been so scared; I honestly thought the boat was going to capsize. Once I had stopped crying I started to feel really sick. Sam tried to help me get to the toilet, but I was almost too scared to move. We did attempt to go, but I knew I couldn’t make it. I had to quickly sit back down on the first empty seat I could find. A very kind girl passed Sam a bag and some tissues. I was pretty embarrassed. I was just crying and bring sick into a bag with loads of people around me. The boat was encounting some really rough bits at sea, so the journey wasn’t getting any easier. Someone else passed Sam some sickness pills to give to me. Not only did they stop the sickness, they helped calm me down. I don’t have a clue what they were but I would pay good money to have them again. They even helped me get some sleep. By the time I woke up we were just about to reach dry land. We were lucky that our bags were on the top, as there were huge piles of bags everywhere else. The people that had pushed past us to get on fist had to wait ages until their bags would become free.

Once we got off the boat, we had to wait for our connecting boat to Bangkok. We were given a sticker with a number on. Ours read 6. There were others starting from 1 and going to 8.  Number 1 and 2 were called then a while later 4 and 5. Not sure why they missed 3 out, but people with a 3 sticker were not happy. About an hour after getting off the boat numbers 6 and 7 were called. We already had a tactical plan. Sam would get our bags on and I would run on the bus and grab the seats we wanted.  We wanted the seats behind the stairs. As it means on one is in front of you, and means no one can push their chair all the way back so they are basically giving you a lap dance.  I managed to get a few hours’ sleep in, probably due to whatever magic pill I had taken before, but Sam didn’t get much as he was feeling really ill/needed the toilet.

When we arrived in Bangkok we were just dropped at the side of the road.  We had a print out of where we were supposed to get our connecting bus on Koh San Road from so headed there. At the transfer office said it would be at 7am, and then the woman at the port said it would be 8am. So we had 4 hours to kill until our next bus. It was nice to have a bit of a break but we were unsure how to kill 4 hours.  Koh San Road was in my opinion the vilest place we have seen so far. To some backpackers it’s a must.  I just don’t see the appeal. There were so many people still our from the night before. People were just sat in the street, which was totally filthy. We spotted several rats. We headed to maccys to try find a toilet and use the Wi-Fi. Sadly the toilet the toilets didn’t open until 8am. There was only so much time we could kill in McDonalds. We enjoyed the best chicken nugget meal. It was just what we needed.

There was only so much time we could kill in McDonalds. So we headed out to find somewhere else, a place with a toilet. I’m not sure how but Sam managed to hold it in all the way from getting off the boat. That boy must have buns of steel! There were loads of places still open, some still had people in drinking from the night before. It was a mix of other sleepy backpackers killing time and people still out from the night before. We keep encountering people that don’t actually know how to communicating by talking, just screaming at each other. Even though they are sat next to each other.  For those who live in Manchester it was like being in a Thai sports bar version of 7 oaks.

I managed to stomach some breakfast, while Sam spent some time in the bathroom.  We then headed to get our bus to Cambodia. Only to be told our bus wasn’t for another hour.  We were too far gone to even care by this point.  One hour later our bus was ready to take us over to Siem Reap, Cambodia. If you Google map the directions it says it takes just over 5 hours by car. This leg of the journey was to take us 10, with the stop at the border.  The crossing wasn’t too bad, a bit slow but an easy process. 29 hours after leaving Koh Tao we were finally in Siam Reap.

We were offered a free Tuk Tuk from the bus station to our accommodation. This is so they can push the Angkor Wat tour on you. We had done some research about roughly what you should pay for the trip. So with having the fear of over paying for a tuk tuk, we over paid for a tuk tuk. For the sake of $5 it didn’t really matter. We were just too tired from the journey to work out the price. It also meant we didn’t have to arrange with anyone the next day.

As soon as we got in our room, we got into bed and crashed. It felt like a long time since we set off from Koh Tao.

Honestly thank you so much for reading this to the end. We really do love you for giving your time to follow us along on our journey. x x x

 

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