Travelers always joke about those places that are easy to get “stuck” in. Those places that you plan a few days in and end up spending weeks. Or months. Or years…
Wanting to spend the last bit of my Southeast Asia travels relaxing on beautiful beaches, I scheduled 3.5 weeks down south on the Thai islands. However, a spontaneous decision to book flights to Myanmar left me with only 10 days to island hop, meaning I’d have 2-3 days each for the four islands I wanted to visit. That would surely be enough. I mean, what else would I do on each island besides lie on a beach, right?
Wrong. Turns out, I would fall in love with the first island I visited, stay the full 10 days (and almost cancel my trip to Myanmar) and never make it to any of the other islands! The best part about this whole story is that in those 10 days I barely saw the sun and not once did I lay on a beach. Yes, you heard me correctly. This beach-loving girl went to a tropical island and never. laid. on. a. beach.
What is this mystery place that had me so smitten without me feeling the sand beneath my toes and the warmth of golden rays upon my skin? Koh Tao. The island I somehow fell for even in rainy season.
Maud (who I met in Vietnam) and I arrived in Koh Tao in the rain and shared a bumpy ride over to our hostel Spicy Tao. We checked in to our $6/night fan dorm and went to relax in the common area and wait out the rain. We’d been thinking of doing a fun dive somewhere on the island since we heard it had amazing diving, and we got talking to some fellow travelers about it. Within 10 minutes we’d been convinced and had signed up to get our Open Water Certification with Mojo Divers. At around $250 USD (offseason price), the course was a full week’s budget for me as a budget backpacker, but in the diving world, it was an incredible deal.
Scuba diving in Koh Tao proved to be one of the highlights of Southeast Asia for me. For someone who usually craves adrenaline and being active, I was surprised at how much fun diving actually was. It’s a “lazy sport” as my instructor Mahdi called it, but there’s something about exploring the underwater world that’s incredibly alluring… I’d like to call myself an adventure lover, and I found each dive to be an entirely new adventure. It’s about discovering the unknown, and seeing things that we aren’t accustomed to seeing in everyday life. Plus, with 70% of our planet covered in water, diving opens up a vast array of new places to explore (… as if I don’t already have enough on my list).
Anyways, to keep it short, I got “stuck” on Koh Tao because I loved diving so much I decided to go on and do my Advanced Course as well. It really shot my budget to the ground, but no regrets at all because following a passion is always worth it. ♥
Aside from the underwater world, I loved the general laid-back vibe on the island, the friendly people, and the fun nightlife, which is a lot less crazy than the sister islands of touristy Koh Samui and the famous full-moon party island Koh Phangan.
While most travelers come across at least one place they could easily get stuck in, Koh Tao is that place for me. I’m already planning my return, but the only problem with returning… I’m not sure how I’ll ever leave again. Once was hard enough!
If pictures are worth 1000 words, then a video is worth a million! So enjoy:
As always, keep on livin’ pura vida ✌