Here I am on my 7th trip to this magical place called Thailand. Although these little islands have changed a lot in the ten years since I first came, it has not lost its magic or the strange pull it has on me.
I started coming to Thailand and this group of islands first when I was 22, on a girls trip to Koh Samui. We went on a side trip to Koh Phangan for a few days. I think my friends thought it was horrendous, stuck on a remote beach, bungalow with a bucket toilet only and nothing else around. I was in love. I wanted more. I wanted to chill out on hidden beaches, live in a hut and do nothing and have nowhere to be.
Upon finishing uni, I booked myself on a three month stint around South East Asia, and stayed on Koh Phangan for six weeks before travelling north to Chiang Mai. Travelling mostly on my own I felt safe and secure the whole time, and met a ton of people I am still in contact with today.
I have since returned to Thailand every couple of years to either Koh Phangan or Koh Tao. Funny because my now husband is now on also his 7th or 8th trip – it seems we both fell in love with the place at the same time, although on different life paths.
So many people ask why do I keep coming back to Koh Tao when there are a million other places on my hit list?
I feel safe, it does not feel like a strange or weird place to me.
I am surrounded by water, which makes me feel alive.
There are people to chat to and people are open minded. Often, in other countries especially when you are in a couple, others tend to ignore you and think that you are happy being alone and staring at each others eyes all night long. NOT US. We are social beings, we like other humans. Here on Koh Tao, you can be chilling in the water with a beer and someone will start up a conversation, and because this island is that little bit harder to get to, lots of idiots seem to stay away. If you want to lie with your head buried in a book, then you can be left right alone too.
The food is amazing, the beer is cheap. (I seem to ONLY drink beer in South East Asia – why is that?) There are also some fancy places here that you can have a romantic night at for one quarter of the price in Sydney.
There are 100 things to do on Koh Tao: Diving, Free Diving, Cross fit, Yoga, UV Snorkeling, Rock Climbing, adventure racing, you name it and you can find it here – but there are plenty of places to do nothing as well. And you can see a lot of sea life just swimming off the beach. Everywhere takes five minutes, so you can wake up in the morning and decide what to do. If you like to partake in an ocean swim, or a stand up paddle-board, you can do this as well.
It is being developed, but not destroyed like other Thai destinations. They seem to be onto the fact that people come here to see the natural wonders, not the inside of bars and hotel chains. While development is booming, it seems to be mostly luxury villas and smaller hotels. You won’t find any big hotel chains on Koh Tao. Thank goodness.
There is ALWAYS a party on Koh Tao and this bucket would be surely illegal at home.
Here, you’re never to old or too married to make new friends.
The sunsets are like this – every night.
The water is like this – every day.
And the cats, oh the many cats!
And bays like this to snorkel in with no human in sight.
And the sunset view from Goodtime Adventures
Do you have a special destination you keep going back to?
What makes it amazing?