The last leg of our Thailand trip was planned for the southern islands so we could unwind and truly relax before returning to Spain for our last, most intense year of studies. The plan was to fly from Bangkok to the island of Koh Samui, then take a ferry to Koh Tao, a tiny island known as a worldwide snorkeling and diving mecca. We decided on Koh Tao since it wasn’t as commercial/touristy as Koh Samui, and hoped to find some remote beaches there.
As soon as we got to Koh Tao we stopped by Café del Sol for lunch. They had an awesome menu and best of all, free wifi! And thank goodness for Skype. You know you’re living an international life when you have to call your Spanish landlord from a remote island in Thailand and discuss wiring funds from U.S. accounts. After some delicious veggie pizza and mango lassi, we did our best to figure out how to get to our resort.
Upon a friend’s recommendation, we booked a few nights at New Heaven Resort. Because Koh Tao is such a small island that is very hilly and mountainous, many of its roads aren’t paved. The resort was located all the way on the other side of the island, so we had to take a huge pickup truck to get there. It was awesome sitting in the back of that pickup, driving through palm trees with the island breeze in our hair.
Our bungalow at New Heaven Resort was located right on the beaches of Thiang Og Bay. They have a full service community area which is also a restaurant that serves really awesome seafood and Thai cuisine. They offered shuttle services and we were even able to book snorkeling trips through the front desk. There really wasn’t a reason to leave the resort because everything was right there! Which was convenient since we were situated along some cliffs that weren’t easily accessible.
The bungalow was so much more rustic than we imagined. Hot water only ran for two specific hours per day. The bathroom was roofless, but I guess the bright side was listening to the symphony of waves while doing your business. Truly one with nature ;-). It really did feel good to disconnect from it all though, since wifi wasn’t available in the bungalows.
The weather was a hit or a miss. Because we were there during the rainy season, the clouds would come and go. The owner of the resort told us that the few days we were there, the sea was especially turbulent, so we weren’t able to go boating nor snorkeling until our very last day when it calmed down a little. Ironically, the weather was perfect the day that we left -________-
After unpacking and getting settled in the bungalow, we saw a storm coming but decided to explore the beach with the few hours of daylight we had left. We ended up scaling the boulders along the shore.
On our second day, we slept in late and completely disconnected from all our technology. So necessary after such a long summer of internships and a crazy past few days of travel and exploring. The weather was pretty gloomy all day so we read books, swung around in the hammock, and traveled back to the harbor for souvenirs and postcards.
Our third and last day was the most adventurous. We booked a snorkeling trip where a boat took us around the island to the best reefs. It was my first time snorkeling! We saw all kinds of exotic fish and coral, and even got caught in a cloud of a school of fish. We snacked on fresh watermelon and pineapple in between reefs and then would dive right into the water. The only downside was that I got the worst sunburn on my bum. I had trouble sitting/showering/sleeping because it hurt so much!! It was kind of comical though; I looked like a baboon from behind. Never skimp on sunscreen, folks!
After all the reefs, the last stop was at Koh Nang Yuan island, considered one of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world. It’s a cluster of three small islands that are connected to each other by a strip of sand that surfaces when the tide recedes. We lounged on the white sandy beaches and continued snorkeling in the warm, crystal clear, emerald green waters.
After about an hour we saw dark clouds approaching in the distance. But we still hadn’t climbed up to the viewpoint yet, so we scrambled towards the trail up the mountain. The hike is only about 30 minutes and the view from the top is absolutely amazing. It’s a total MUST when visiting the island. We reached the top before the storm hit, but it started pouring rain soon afterwards :-(.
We got back to our resort and had one of the best dinners of the entire trip. It was called a fisherman’s basket: a huge platter full of fresh mussels, prawns, squid, and fish.. It was definitely a great end to an amazing day.
The next morning we went down to the beach for breakfast and was greeted with the most amazing weather and views. Too bad we had to leave within the next few hours. We had nutella pancakes, a last round of mango lassis (my ultimate favorite drink at this point), and were headed back on the ferry to Koh Samui, where the airport is located.
Once we took the ferry back to Koh Samui, we had a couple of hours to kill so we decided to head to the beach. I can’t stress enough how perfect the weather was. Such a pity that it was during our last few hours there. We found a little gazebo that looked out into the ocean and had some Thai snacks. I bought these amazing potato chip snacks that comes with a little packet of sauce that tasted kind of like sweet and sour sauce which you are supposed to dip the chips in. Thomas snacked on some Thai granola like the abuelito that he is :-D.
Finally, it was time to head to the airport and fly back to Europe. The airport at Koh Samui is like a resort in itself. There were so many cute souvenir shops and the greenery there was so lush and beautifully arranged.
Since we still had some extra time left, as well as a bunch of extra Baht, we decided to use it up and treat ourselves to one freakin’ epic dessert. Ice cream fondue. Yes. So much yes.
Finally, it was time to say goodbye to Asia and hello again to Europe. It was the most adventurous trip of my life and I can’t wait to visit again!