Alternative Things to Do in Koh Tao
Every blogger will tell you that it gets to a stage where they get addicted to Google Analytics. It can be disheartening (my mum isn't a subscriber?!), but it is also an incredible source of useful reader information. It was looking at one of my recently created reports that I saw my most popular post was 11 Alternative Things to Do in Bangkok. So, I thought it would be a good series to branch out into different places. It's a great way of getting me out of my comfort zone as well as creating great content.
Where is Koh Tao?
Koh Tao is the tiny little island, known affectionately as 'Turtle Island' in the Gulf of Thailand. It is around 11 hours from Bangkok and nestles in between the bigger island of Koh Samui and the Koh Phangan off of the Full Moon Party (props to you if you get that Nick Grimshaw reference).
How do you get there?
Simply put, by train, plane or automobile to Champion, the jumping off point for ferries to Koh Tao. I always favour Lomprayah as they are super safe, slick and the ferries are comfortable.
Train from Bangkok to Chumphon: This is our preferred mode of transport as it's great value, convenient and incredibly comfortable (a lovely porter comes and turns your roomy seat into a bunk bed and makes it up for you!). The best train leaves at 22:50 and gets into Chumphon bright and breezy at 6am ready for the ferry at 7am.
Plane to Koh Samui/Chumphon: Nok Air do a great combined plane/ferry ticket or Bangkok Air fly to the, frankly, adorable Koh Samui airport where you can catch the ferry to Koh Tao (about 1.5hrs).
Automobile aka -- hateful overnight Bus: As the title oh-so subtly suggests, this is my least likely form of transport. We do it when we have to but really don't recommend it (I get motion sick on the bus and Oli can never sleep!). The option is there though if you want it and it is a fairly smooth procedure if you book a bus/ferry combo through Lomprayah. The bus leaves at around 9pm and gets in at the (disgustingly) early hour of 5am so at least there's no chance to miss the 7am ferry. Every cloud....
You can either get a train from Bangkok's Hua Lumpong train station which takes around 8 hrs (the sleeper berths are super comfy and clean) getting to Chumphon at 6am approx where you can hop on the Lomprayah express Catamaran to Mae Haad in Koh Tao.
What's the Craic?
Well, Koh Tao is home to diving enthusiasts and is considered one of the best (and cheapest) places in the world to get your scuba diving qualification (SSI or PADI).
But there's more to do than scuba dive, way more.....
- Flying Trapeze Lessons | Yes, you can swing through the air with the greatest of ease. Well, with help and some level of avenged dignity anyway. The beginners lesson costs £18 and lasts for about 1.5 hrs. Let your inner circus freak fly!
- Hike | Leave the water babies to prune up, grab some water, a picnic and your trainers and head for the hills. There is a couple of awesome hikes through Koh Tao which are varying in difficulty. Oli and I did a couple back to back when we were there last time and damn, they were hard! Our favourite was our second hike to a beautiful secluded little beach. I couldn't even attempt to give directions but I got the map from Alex in Wanderland's post.
- Learn to Speak Like a Local | I have been to Thailand far too many times and I have pledged that this time, I'm gonna learn me some Thai! I WILL learn Thai.....at least to the point where I can say more then "hello", "goodbye" and "no chilli". Luckily for me there is a great language school on Koh Tao which offers various courses from beginner to advanced. Sawasdee is located near Sairee beach and classes.
- Have a Roast Dinner | Okay you may not think you want to eat a roast in 30 degree heat while sweating your bazungas off, but after a certain amount of noodles you are gonna be craving potatoes like a hungry kid at fat camp. When this happens, and it will, head to Banyan where they will serve you the most delicious roast dinner for about a third of the price you'd pay in London.
- Free Dive | I'm not gonna lie, freediving freaks me the fook out, but it's a growing sport amongst those who tire of traditional diving with all the correct equipment so why not join them for a trip? Apnea is a great dive school teaching
nuttersadventurous types everywhere how to dive using only what your mama gave you. Yep, that's just your lungs then. No seriously, you don't use any scuba diving gear......just flippers and your god given lungs!
Have you been to Koh Tao? Are you tempted by my list of alternative things to do there?