Posts Tagged ‘Koh Tao’

  • Run Visa, run

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    The day in which we had to renew our Thai visa arrived and we did it fast and easy, although very tiring. After spending long hours discussing which way would it be the best for us to extend our stay in Thailand and whether to cross to Myanmar or to Malaysia, we decided to do it through one of the travel agencies offering the “Visa Run” service in Koh Tao. We paid them money and they arranged everything, such an strange feeling for us.

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    We contemplated the possibility of doing it by ourselves but were a little discouraged when we realised, after doing numbers, that we would end up paying almost the same and maybe having to stay overnight in the main land, thus extending the time to 2 whole days. Doing it with everything organised was faster, so we surrended this time to a travel agency (sigh!). So we bought the pack: night ferry boat + minivan from Chunporn pier to Rangon + boat to the Myanmar border + return to Chumpon pier + fast catamaran back to Koh Tao. Easy, fast, comfortable and safe.

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    The night was clear and the sea was calmed so we didn’t experience much movement in the boat, although it was very noisy and we didn’t sleep much. We arrived to main land at around five in the morning. The minivan was pretty new and had enough room for long legs like Hector’s, it picked us up from the ferry pier and drop us at the inmigration office. We got our exit stamp, jump on the boat to Myanmar, got the Myanamar stamps too and back to Thailand for another 30 minutes boat trip, including a stop to search through our bags and belongings. The officials at the border weren’t friendly but they were brave enough to stamp our passport with another visa on arrival, 25 days this time. We arrived back in Koh Tao that afternoon, tired but happy for having finished with all that disgusting burocracy for now and to be able to enjoy another “month” of peace and relax without having a look to the calendar or to our passport again. That day we spent the whole afternoon watching movies and sleeping. Only some beers could help us sleep again at night!

     

  • Our wooden house in Koh Tao

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    We started to feel kind of sick of nonstop travelling a couple of weeks ago. It is a pretty confusing feeling because we really love to travel and want to go on with our trip, but at the same time we feel tired of visiting new places everyday and never get to know them well. We have the feeling that we need some holidays from our trip again, something like a stop over to settle and rest for a while. For a couple of weeks, maybe for a month… This is why we decided to look for a house for rent in the island.

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    Surrounded by green and coconut trees, amid the jungle in a quiet valley we found our place that morning, right on the deadline point we had fixed to find a house or leave the island. The house hunting was exhausting due to the strong sun these days. We had checked different houses for rent, but they were not what we were looking for. It was on our way back to the hotel room when we found Gong Valley, just a 50 metres detour off an important road, and a 5 minutes walk to the main pier in Koh Tao, so kind of isolated but well comunicated.

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    The house is made of wood and bamboo, it’s pretty basic and has a lot of charm. From the beginning we liked the good vibes of the owner and his place. He showed us around the valley and the 6 different houses he made himself. All of them have a bedroom, a toilet and a basic kitchen (gas fire, small fridge and a wooden bench, that’s all). Exactly what we were looking for! Outside the house, big front terraces where to admire the view over the valley from your hammock, some hundreds of metres from the sea.

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    We directly felt in love with the place and decided to rent one of the houses for 15 days, later we would see if we were staying longer or not. At the moment, that half month is not over yet and we feel so good here, that we are thinking to stay even longer. That would mean to have to extend our visa and change plans again but, who cares, we are on holidays now and can do whatever we want!

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    We have found also our way to go to the beaches that are far by hitch-hiking. It worked out well in the north of the country and it seems pretty easy in the south too. You just need to stand by the side of the road and stop any car driving in your direction. That’s all. Life here is easy and good. Wake up, have some breakfast and see what you feel like. Later put some sunscreen on and go to the beach with mask and snorkel to see the amazing underwater world. When you feel tired, get some lunch and have some rest. Late in the afternoon it depends, watching a movie, surfing the internet or going out for a drink. What else could we ask for? We are starting to call Koh Tao home…

  • Diving in Koh Tao

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    We knew from the beginning of our trip that we wanted to do a diving course in the south of Thailand. We had heard that Koh Tao was the cheapest and also one of the best options to spot different fish species in all Southeast Asia. That’s why we decided, without knowing the island yet, that we wanted to have our first ever diving experiencie in Koh Tao. We booked our 4 day course from Bangkok so we didn’t do any research when we arrived. There are plenty of diving schools here and all them offer more or less the same. The company we chose, Planet Scuba, is a small school with less students, which makes groups smaller and the classes more personal.

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    The course starts with some clashroom time in which you learn basic things about scuba diving, the underwater world and diving technics. After having passed your test reviews –they are quite easy- arrives your first contact with the diving gear –mask, wetsuit, airtank…- in shallow water. The feeling, when you breath from your tank for the first time, is quite relaxing. At least it was to us. We were very excited about how strange it would feel. Once under water you just need to continue breathing and be calmed. Easy!

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    We learned some necessary skills for diving safe and know the do’s and dont’s under water. Each 45 minutes dive appeared very short in time when we were finished. We would have spent hours there, getting used to the bottled air, the “absence” of gravity, our new friends the fishes, etc. But we had to wait until the next day’s dives.

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    When you have tried it once and know you like it, it is like a kind of drug. I mean, you want more and want it now!! It is tyring to be under water but the excitement gives you strength to continue. When you go out of the water, you realise how tired you are and you start to proccess all the beatiful things you have seen there. The rest of the dives in the course were deeper –up to 18 metres- and even better. We saw many fishes that we had never have pictured in our head before and others –like in the film Nemo- that we had always dreamed about. We haven’t learned much since diving is a thing about experience and time, but we know now that we love it and we are certified to do it everywhere!! It won’t be the last time!!