A Few Favourites

So far, we’ve been on Koh Tao for about two weeks. Time flies here, so even though I have little to do everyday, I find I’m always too busy to sit down in a quiet room and write. There are just too many things to do, people to meet and adventures to be had.

So after two weeks, here is a (tiny) list of some of my favourite things Life on the Turtle has to offer:

1. Pets- It seems as though everyone on Koh Tao has a dog. And not of the malnourished variety you might stumble across in the bigger cities like Bangkok.

The majority of Koh Tao’s tiny population is Buddhist. After a bit of local education I learned that Buddhists view animals as sentinel beings, capable of feeling and suffering just as humans. Karma is also important, because any wrongdoing (such as animal cruelty) will be paid for in the next life. The idea of rebirth and negative karmic consequences means creatures here- from a dog to a centerpede- are treated with respect.

George's new squirrel friend.

For me (who reaches for the bug spray when a suspicious spec of dirt moves across the floor), this was difficult to grasp at first. You can buy bug spray here but it’s pretty expensive, and for the first few days I would manically spray around the door frames of our house. Seeing the mass grave of little bugs outside our front door a few days later made me grateful they weren’t inside biting me, but incredibly guilty all the same. I have since ceased my nightly massacres, and have had no nasty mozzie bites, or frightening run-ins with the local dogs. And we welcome our little watch-frogs (who guard our house by night) and gecko friends, whose play area is our ceiling. Karma!!

This Buddhist quote sums it up perfectly,

All beings tremble before violence. All love life, all fear death. If you see yourself in others then whom can you injure?” Dhammapada 129

Fanta likes to hang out with the boys.

2. When you walk around barefoot, your feet don’t go black, they turn a chalky white. So even when you feel really dirty, you don’t look too bad! I’m guessing this has something to do with the fact that the island is made up of huge boulders and rock. Their erosion over time makes the ground chalky.

Walking under the boulders (below) is always a bit sketchy, especially since it looks like they’re being held up by twigs!

Watch your head... because the boulder you're about to walk under is being held up by twigs!

Are you sure those twigs will hold?!

3. Butterflies- there are butterflies everywhere. Enough said.

4. Yellow rice with crispy chicken- Yellow Rice is a tiny little hole in the wall and, as the name suggests, all they sell is yellow rice. It might not look like the most appealing dish, but it’s fricken awesome. Saffron rice, perfectly cooked crispy chicken, some home-made sweet chilli sauce and crunchy fried garlic scattered throughout. Delicious. And it only sets you back 50 Thb (Aus$1.50)!

5. Tanote Bay- a beautiful little spot on the east side of the island. Home to a couple of German diving schools, a few bungalows and this incredible view.

Tanote Bay from above (kinda looks like that truck is about to drive off the edge of the cliff!)

However, it can be a little tricky to get to if a truck breaks down across the entire length of the only road in and out of Tanote! We were stuck on the lower end (driving up the mountain) for a solid hour. It was hot. We were sweaty, and just wanted to get the hell off the steep mountain. That’s when this happened…

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On the Thailand Trail

So far this blog has been pretty all over the place, a little directionless.

Well lucky me, I finally found some direction! And that direction is approximately 7662 km (or 4761 miles) northwest from my home in Sydney.

Destination: Koh Tao, Thailand.

George and I are escaping the plummeting Sydney temperatures, and taking a hop, skip, and jump across the pond to the Gulf of Thailand. We first fell in love with Koh Tao after a visit in 2009. We booked for two nights, stayed five, and wished for more. Unfortunately our itinerary at the time didn’t allow much flexibility, so we were left kicking ourselves for not arranging things differently.

This time around we are dedicating three months to Koh Tao, and a few days to Bangkok. This could change slightly, and we may end up adding a few extra stops in along the way, but at the moment that’s how it looks.

So where is this Koh Tao place anyway?

The island is located approximately 70km off the east coast of Thailand, between Suratthanu and Chumphon, in the stunning Gulf of Thailand.

 

 

 

 

Here’s a small fact about Koh Tao; it’s tiny. Coming in at a cosy 21 square km’s, it is dwarfed by neighbours Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. At the end of 2006 its official population stood at 1382.


 

 

 

 

Koh What…?

Koh Tao (which translates into Turtle Island) earned its name because of the abundance of turtles found in the waters surrounding the island. Unfortunately, due to tourism and infrastructure, these numbers have dropped significantly. Many also believe the shape of Koh Tao resembles that of a turtle.

Hmmm… I’m not so sure. What do you think?

Turtle shaped or not, Koh Tao will be our home for three months (as of May 1). So please feel free to come along for the ride…