Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Snorkelling with sharks on Koh Tao

We took the night ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Tao (“Turtle Island”), a small island off the south-east coast of Thailand. The sleeping conditions on the boat were cramped, as the narrow mattresses had not been designed for broad-shouldered Westerners. Jen was sleeping next to a space hogging girl, so they ended up having elbow fights in the middle of the night.

We arrived on Koh Tao early the next morning, tired from the eight-hour journey. We were trying to wake up over breakfast in a nice cafe, when the clouds suddenly burst into the biggest rain shower we've seen in ages. After the rain stopped, we hopped on a taxi to our final destination, Ao Tanote on the east side of Koh Tao. The local taxi is the back of a pick up truck with a few seats fitted. We went bouncing down a hillside, on a road that had half disappeared in the last monsoon.

Tanote Bay is remote and stunning. On our first afternoon here, we caught a boat to the next bay over in the hope of snorkelling with sharks. We got lucky and saw a couple of adult black tip reef sharks, a baby one and a big tuna. The reef sharks are totally harmless, and were no more than a meter and a half long. They were pretty shy too and kept swimming away from us. The snorkelling in Tanote Bay itself was fantastic! We saw stingrays, parrot fish and lots of other colourful species.

To check out the snorkelling elsewhere on Koh Tao, we joined a boat trip that went round the island. The views were good although the snorkelling didn't rival Tanote Bay - we did see some giant clams and sea anemones though. The highlight of the boat trip was Nangyuan Island, a private resort island just to the north-west of Koh Tao.

We've been staying in a lovely bungalow on the beach. In the evenings, we've enjoyed sitting in chilled out bars playing Bob Marley and watching the full moon rise over the Gulf of Thailand. This morning, the sunrise was also lovely.


David said...


Can you give us some pictures of rain and cloudy days. All these lovely pictures of sunsets and tropical beaches are really annoying.

We are already in gloom filled UK, and your rubbing our faces in it =)

Sounds like your still having a wonderful time. Can you let us know what your future travel plans are too.

David said...

Sorry that should have been a "you're" not a your

Anonymous said...

Looks really hard work this touring !!

Glad you are having lovely time.

Mum & Dad