We returned to
Happily, we went out and toured
After short flight the next morning we found ourselves in Surat Thani, a coastal town on the gulf of Thailand that is the gateway to the gulf’s 3 major islands, Ko Samui – vacation paradise of 5 star resorts, Ko Phanang – home of the famed full moon party, the largest beach party in the world, and Ko Tao, the smallest and most rustic of the 3, known for unbelievable scuba diving and remote beaches. We ferried to Ko Phanang, and not knowing exactly what to do, we decided to continue onwards to Ko Tao in order to escape as far as we could in the short time we had. Already from the ferry ride we could sense that we were in paradise, greeted by calm turquoise waters guarded by tall granite and limestone forest covered cliffs and karst formations cropped up in the middle of the ocean as long tail fishing boats passed by. We landed in Ko Tao, and after renting a little 125CC scooter, we went off in search of accommodations. We found what we were looking for on a little remote spot between 2 serene bays. We got a simple bungalow on the water, complete with a porch overlooking Thian Og Bay (Shark’s Bay).
We spent the next 5 days exploring the island. I did a 2-day advanced open water scuba diving course, and Rusha joined me snorkeling for the first day on the boat. The crew on the boat was small, but quality and the guys that worked at the small dive shop ended up being great guys to hang out with. In the course I learned advanced diving skills, including a night and a deep dive, and got to see turtles, rays, and the occasional trigger fish. We did not see any eluszive whale sharks, unfortunately, as the waters were too warm. At night we would go to the main town on the island, Sairee and get fresh fish, beers and watch the Tour de France on TV or World Cup, and walk around the busier, drunker, younger, part of the island, always knowing that we would return at night to our serene little corner of the 5 km long island. When not scuba diving, we spent the days taking the scooter and exploring the more secluded beaches on sketchy dirt roads more appropriate for a mountain bike that a little vespa, which brought us to isolated, serene, picturesque bays, where the snorkeling was fantastic, the waters clear and the scenery stunning. Rusha learned how to ride the scooter, and I wouldn’t be surprise if she wants one when we get back.
We spent our last evening watching the sun go down over the long tail boats before boarding the night ferry, a transport barge that allows people to sleep on it and get an overnight ride to Surat Thani. It was hot (no AC), choppy, and crammed, but a great way to get across the 110 km of open water to the mainland. We arrived in Surat Thani at , got a ride to the airport, where we tried to get on an earlier flight to