After Koh Pha Ngan Full Moon party we were definitely needing something a bit calmer. Jumping on the ferry together, we left in the morning again for Koh Tao. This is a very small Thai island, know mainly for its diving. Now this is where the Magician and I are a little interesting… I have asthma and he once broke one of the tiny bones in his inner ear. When we were stood outside ‘French Kiss’ diving company, we were distinctly told we couldn’t have the worst medical conditions as a couple for diving if we tried.
So needless to say the diving here is AMAZING! But that’s going to be obvious, Thai Island… coral reefs (blah blah). So I won’t go on about this, I’m just going to give a few tips on picking a diving school. So, I trawled tripadvisor (and a couple of blogs) on who we should pick. We’d already booked our accommodation, before I found out on Koh Tao that a lot of the diving school here will commonly include accommodation in the cost of an Open water. But after that boo boo, I looked for a medium sized school which would be able to cater for our languages. French Kiss came out as one of the top places (and was conveniently near to our hotel). So something you’ll come to notice in Thailand is most travellers here are German or French (not so many Brits). However, going to French Kiss where most of the Divers were French (but they have English speaking instructor), boom! The Magician and I had our Open Water with our own instructor (who also had a Dive Master training with us). So it meant the first time the Magician was in the water, he got one to one time to help him get really comfortable with diving. Whilst I happily floated behind him, with the Dive Master making sure I didn’t try to find a shark to pet (I’m a bit weird, best not to ask).
The other benefit was the first sessions of the Open Water took us to Super Shallow places to dive. In my first dive I didn’t have this. And to be honest, I think it would have been better to be in a very shallow place, as it helps to get very comfortable with the weird feeling of breathing underwater. The week passed quickly (and tiringly) with early morning study lessons, followed by 2 dives in the afternoon. But before we knew it, we were both qualified. Even managing to sneak in a night dive, before we had to head back.
If you’re not going to dive in Koh Tao, there is still a lot to do on the island. And its really easy to hire a moped and see the island. The beach we stayed at was stunning. But the bit that surprised me, was the smaller restaurants next to our hotel were amazing. Including a great vegan café, and a bohemian multi- story tree house (that seemed to be more appropriate to Jamaica and Bob Marley that here). When you go into the main part of the town, it felt a lot more commercially touristy (which isn’t really my thing!). What you’ll find is that the locals tell you to get a taxi everywhere. And some places are only 15 mins walk away. The hills up and down the road are fairly steep though. And unfortunately I slipped and feel embarrassing smack on my butt in front of a crowd of locals… D’oh!
So all in all, Koh Tao was wonderful. I love being with nature. And under- water nature is so different, especially at night. As the week drew to a close though, the Magician and I started to feel the pressure of my impending walk on the Appalachian Trail. Walking 2,200 miles for 6 months in the USA would mean a long separation, whilst he would continue his journey to understand enlightenment through Vipassana and he was planning on visiting a Zen Master in India. This background left us in a status of limbo’d and in need for reassurance, but at the same time complete respect for one another separate journey.
Photo’s kindly provided by Saber Photography!