My Last Trip Before Lockdown to Koh Tao Island scaled

My Journey through the Koh Tao Island

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We all have realised the value of freedom, only when we lost it completely over the last couple of months. Things that were taken for granted earlier came in the forefront and indeed made us introspect. Resultantly, we have also come to realise the importance of travel, more than ever before. Travel is something that truly helps us break free in so many ways. Nevertheless, the memories we have made on our travels earlier are just enough for the time being to fuel our excitement and the very spirit of travelling, exploring, and celebrating life.

In this series of blogs, we bring to you some amazing stories of travellers who were left speechless when they travelled to their dream destinations, but have indeed turned out to be storytellers while narrating and sharing their experiences.

In this blog, we bring to you the story of Shreya Ashtekar, who takes us through the travel diary of one of her recent trips.

1. Although the title indicates the destination of your trip, where exactly in the world is this island located?

Well, it may sound quite exotic and in fact, that’s what it exactly is, however, unlike our general perception, exotic need not be always far away. Koh Tao is an island in Thailand. In Thai, Koh Tao literally translates to Turtle Island. It’s definitely not a place that you would find in the itinerary of a popular Thailand tour package. But that’s what makes it so off-beat and special.

2. What did you love the most?

Koh Tao was definitely not my love at first sight or rather love at first flight! Although it’s not that remote, owing to the flight connections we had to fly through two airports in India. We didn’t mind giving the places to visit in Bangkok a miss, since we had already been to Bangkok before. However, if you wish to spend a day or two in Bangkok, you can very well do so and then add Koh Tao to your Bangkok tour package. In our case, we took an overnight bus journey from Bangkok, and then to complete all our modes of transport there was a ferry. Not a distant place but quite a long journey  though. However, it’s rightly said, love just evolves over time, and that’s what happened with me. By the end of our trip, I fell head over heels for Koh Tao… I fell in love!

Ask me, what I didn’t love! Hmmm… However, making a tough choice I’ll go for Scuba Diving to be something that I loved the most. It’s indeed Koh Tao’s biggest draw and was our very travel motivation in the first place. Our group of girlfriends who was travelling to Koh Tao had a common dear friend based in Thailand. Pauravi was pursuing her higher certification in Scuba Diving at the island. Consider her as ‘Laila’ straight out of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Two of my friends Tanmayi and Vinas were already planning to visit her along with exploring this out of the world destination. I’m so glad I joined in!

I must say, Scuba Diving was much more than just a water sport for us.  It indeed made us put our lives into perspective… Just as it did to the three friends in ZNMD. We dove at a site called Shark Bay. Having Pauravi and her team as our instructors were assuring for us. The waters at this site are quite clear making for the best underwater visibility and a scuba enthusiast can make the most of it. Needless to say, the corals, the various fishes, and other marine animals, the underwater plants and their magical colours… everything was simply spell-biding. We indeed found a world that was truly out of this world… And it was down there, under the sea.

3. More about your trip and your stay

 

Koh Tao is nothing less than your tropical dream come true… It’s a paradise found! It’s one of the islands in Thailand’s very popular island trio– the other two are Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan. Breathtakingly beautiful, its unspoiled stretch of long beaches fringed by coconut palms indeed transported us into the movie ‘The Blue Lagoon’; of course minus we being marooned over there. Rather we were all the time surrounded by some of the most hospitable people on earth, affordable luxury, and complete holiday fun. In the evenings the ambience used to turn absolutely magical when fairy lights twinkled around restaurant tables after sundown.

As it’s rightly said, ‘Good things come in small packages’, so does this tiny little island of Koh Tao. The island is just 21 km long. So even if you very eagerly wish to get lost into this heaven, unfortunately, you just can’t. This dramatically beautiful island is equally developed when it comes to infrastructure. Scooters make for a very convenient and inexpensive vehicle to go around and explore the island and so we did hire one. Just one tip: Look out for defects in the scooter right in the beginning so that you aren’t held responsible and payable for the same upon returning it to the rental shop. Also, check it for enough fuel.

Talking about our stay, we had booked ourselves a great place right on the Sairee Beach – the best beach on the island. The resort was adorned with a pool and a view that would sweep anyone off their feet. The moment we stepped in, we were greeted very warmly with beautiful smiles. The hospitality just made me wonder, how come I hadn’t visited this paradise until then. Well, everything happens at the right time!

4. What more to expect in Koh Tao?

From nature lovers to party-animals and from beach bums to adventure seekers, Koh Tao pleases one and all. Absolute heaven for scuba enthusiasts, one can indulge in the sport or even learn it professionally over here by signing up for the various certification courses, that indeed come quite affordable. There are these three ‘S’ that sum up Koh Tao and it’s many facets. These are Super-Fun Night Outs, Serene Beaches, and Stunning Sunsets.

Super-Fun Night Outs: Staying around Sairee? Your nights are simply lit, quite literally! It’s here that you’ll be able to indulge in the vibrant Koh Tao nightlife and the happening full moon parties if you happen to be there around that time. Very popular for its beautiful beachside restaurants and chill-out bars, your night itinerary is sorted – Go bar hopping, dance, drink, eat, repeat and ring in the wee hours by sitting on the beach and feeling the cool breeze in your hair. Ah! Goosebumps already! In this magical ambience, we even stumbled upon various shows. At one instance we could spot some guys on the beach performing a dance show with live fire. The bunch of talented and artistic lads were an absolute delight to watch.

Serene Beaches: What forms the soul of an island? It’s the beaches of course. Again the Sairee Beach on the West Coast steals the show. The waters are clear and turquoise and there’s a pretty restaurant nearby called ‘Lazy Bar & Kitchen’, offering some real lip-smacking Thai delicacies. The beach enchants in the day as well as in the night. I could spend hours simply looking at the sea and doing absolutely nothing. Is paradise anything different?!

Stunning Sunsets: Somehow, sunsets never enchanted me as much until I visited Koh Tao where I beheld some of the most dramatic and amazing sunsets ever. Ever fantasised idling on the beach, sipping on your favourite drink, and feasting your ears and mind on the melodious tunes playing in the background?! Then Koh Tao is the place to turn your fantasy into reality. Probably I won’t be able to get enough of Koh Tao, irrespective of the number of times I visit the island. Koh Tao simply stays with you long after you have returned home. Just like it has happened with me… I don’t think the memories of this holiday would ever cease being euphoric.

5. The best thing about living on an island

Ah! Do a survey on people’s aspirations and most people ought to tell you, they dream to own an island. With overwhelmingly gorgeous views and breath-taking myriad hues of sunrise and sunsets, islands are truly those dreamlands one can indeed visit in real life. I think nothing can match up to the landscape of an island. The words ‘contrast’ and ‘beauty’ become synonyms when we bring warm sand and blue waters together. With its fresh vegetation, pure air, and harmony in nature, our mind, body, and soul cannot thank us more when we stay on an island. The cherry on the cake is their secluded location and fewer crowds that make these islands some of the best places to be in.

Wow! Hasn’t Koh Tao really tickled those wanderlust bugs? It seems, we just can’t get enough of this pristine island even when we are reading about it… Imagine being there and doing that ourselves. Watch out this space next weekend as we continue with the sequel to this blog, with a different traveller and more diverse experiences!

More excitement awaits you in the sequel. To read part two of the story, click here: https://bit.ly/3kwvA7d

Koh Tao, Thailand

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