Koh Tao…the smallest island on the east coast and one of my favourite places in Thailand. Unlike Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, it has yet to adhere to the chaotic drunkenness and overwhelming touristy vibe. With its clear waters, blue skies, and endless activities to pass the time, combined with its chilled out vibe, Koh Tao truly is a paradise. Although the island is renown for its diving opportunities, if diving isn’t your thing, it still has much to offer. Whether your days on the island are passed by snorkelling, cooking classes, yoga or simply nestled in a hammock by the beach watching the sun set, Koh Tao does not disappoint.
After spending our first week on Mae Haad beach doing some diving with Crystal Dive, we found a cosy bungalow just metres from the beach on Tanote Bay which is situated on the other side of the island. Tanote Bay is a popular destination for a day trip with travellers, boasting awesome snorkelling and cliff jumping opportunities. Here, we found our own little sheltered paradise away from the travellers swarming, like bees to honey, to the bars and restaurants of Sairee beach. After our first night at Tanote Bay, we awoke to our beach hut trembling against the force of a fierce wind and looking out of our window, we saw the crashing waves inch closer and closer to our bungalow. An awesome Thai family invited us in for breakfast and shelter from the storm, assuring us it was perfectly normal and would pass in a few days.
While venturing through the jungle surrounding Tanote Bay, we stumbled across a Reggae Bar. In amongst the jungle and overlooking the ocean below, Jah Bar is donned with hammocks, floor cushions, Bob Marley paintings and quirky handmade decorations. This combined with some chilled reggae music and we had found our own little jungle haven. The woman Gah, who owns the bar with her husband, is an all round awesome human being; having built the reggae bar, she now makes the cocktails, cooks the food and runs a tattoo hut out back where she does bamboo tattoos. We were taken aback by their kindness – constantly offering us fruit and desserts from their family meal. I felt completely at home there as I lay back in the hammock, overlooking the beauty of Koh Tao and being surrounded by such kind hearted and welcoming people. If you venture to Tanote Bay, I urge you to seek out Jah Bar…I promise you will not be disappointed!
It is with a happy heart that I leave Koh Tao as I know I will definitely be back – every time offers yet more adventures and more fond memories. But for now goodbye Thailand…hello Vietnam!
Do not ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman
Be weird. Be wonderful.