Please note, this blog was bent to be posted before the visa run blog.
Day one: Good buy Ko Phanang, hello again Koh Tau! The boat ride was smooth but that didn’t stop some poor lady from throwing up over the side after we left Koh Phanang (Side effects of partying up the night before at the half moon festival I’m guessing).While arriving toward the Koh Tau loading dock, I could clearly see our local bar with our Australian mate (Andy) sitting on his throne watching the boat come in. Little did he know we were on the boat and back for more adventures (ha ha). With Sara and I as well as all of the other tourist on the dock watching our bags being thrown off the boat and in front of us then trying to sort through the mass heap with everyone (my arse got pinched at this point, by who I’m not sure), it was time to head off to Andy’s…..I mean look for accommodation, then Andys. It was only 2pm after all. Couldn’t help it and went to Andy’s first. Our excuse was that he may be able to help us with finding cheap accommodation. After shaking hands and then him (jokingly) moaning about us being back (Kiwi/Auzzie thing) he was more than happy to point us in the right direction for cheap accommodation. He pointed across the road opposite his bar to a dairy. Turns out the Dairy owner also runs an accommodation place which Just happens to be a 40 second walk to Andy’s bar (Hmm, local conspiracy perhaps). This was going to be in our favor over the next four days as we were in line to run into some more good people and excellent deals. SO, room viewed and approved, backpacks unpacked again, small domestic on who’s got rights to what side of the bed (Sara won), it was time to get some late brunch including dessert. The dessert was eye candying the awesome dirt bikes up for hire around the corner from our place of accommodation and the late brunch was stopping at Andy’s place and having a couple of quiet ones. It was 3pm after all.
Two and a half hours later the drunken topic of snorkeling for the following day came up after talking to another one of our friends, Duncan from Master Divers (He spotted us heading into the bar. Master Divers also happens to be across the road from Andy’s), our minds were made up to hire a bike and venture out to various parts of the Island to the coolest snorkeling spots Koh Tau has to offer. “Yeah but you have to take a good scooter to take on some the hills around here.” commented Duncan. Without hesitation and while I was still up right and able to talk reasonably well, I was off on a ten second walk and inquired about hiring a Honda 250cc dirt bike for the next day. All sorted and done. Cost is $500 Thai Baht ($50 Malay Ringgit or $18 NZ Dollars for 24 hours). The catch here is handing over your Passport as deposit. NOTE: Enquire about the place of hire and don’t damage the bike. If you do your looking at paying for damages yourself if you have the time or 40’000+TB if you have the money to get your passport back. ALSO, Don’t be afraid to take photos of the bikes condition before you sign the dotted line. Thankfully we had it in good knowledge that the place we were hiring off were sound and honest. Another beer later and it was actually time to get something to eat and have an early night without stumbling to much to get anywhere. Another beer later we actually did head off to get something to eat.
Day Two: Woke up early (thanks to an earlyish night) to have a shower and get ready to head to the bike hire shop. Arrived there at 0830. Both the owner and I thoroughly went over the bikes condition which was mint. They sure do look after there bikes here. Satisfied with the owner even advising me to take photos, I signed the dotted line and parked the bike up at the front of our accommodation called Safe Bungalow then headed up to our room to wake Sara and spend the day snorkeling . With Sara awake and ready to go with snorkels (and life jacket in hand we borrowed from Master Divers. I can’t float well which will eventually have me discover a new snorkeling technique) we jumped on new big bike and were of to our first beach on the other side of the Island! But first we rode our way to Surri for breakfast then to one of the first of many beaches on our agenda and with our trusty map we were confident we would find it for sure. The roads were steep and went from sealed to dirt to sealed with potholes then sealed but covered with sand, so it was a good result to choose a dirt bike for the day. However, spent so much time navigating our way to the first stop that we actually overshot the turn off and ended up at another beach we were meant to be going to later in the day. Stuff it we said, and navigated our way down the steepest hill on the Island (so I thought). Scooters could get down there with ease but it was going to be a ‘get off and push’ all the way up. Made it to the beach and we were not disapointed! The water was clear and the fish were out in full and with my trusty life jacket I was able to float around and take my time to soak up the views. We spent at least an hour in the ocean before it was time to find the actual beach we were initially suppose to be at. Heading to shore we were greated with a topless beach goer. Blushing and trying not to look (plus I knew Sara was looking at me wondering if I was looking at her) we steered past her and went for a refreshing bottle of water before jumping on our new big bike. Typically we saw a couple trying to make there way up Mt Everist before stopping and letting us pass. I could not help myself and hooned up the hill while hearing the guy on the scooter saying to his lady friend “See, now thats a bike we need!”.
Finally found the turn off to the other beach. This is where you can go to see the Reef sharks. Decided to ditch the life jacket so I could dive under and see the giant clams up close as well. We were not dissapointed here either and the Reef sharks were awesome. Just swimming around people and sometimes swimming between their legs. They are not dangerous at all. In fact, the fish that do bite are small and have a type of rainbow colour to them. They just come up, check you out then take a peck at you to see if your real. So after that (and a few rainbow swear words at bitey little fish) we decided to check out the other side of the beach. For some reason while out in the deeper part, I decided to suspend myself in an upright position and start walking around. It worked! I was walking in the ocean and Sara was having a laugh at my expense. She even tried it! We decided to call this new craze ‘Walkeling’. Done and dusted here and laughing at the very little fish following our feet while walking from ocean to land we were once again greeted with another topless beach goer. We decided to call it a day and head home to check out our emails, but not before going for a good hoon on new big bike including going to a view point called Mango to have a beer and enjoy the views! Back at Save Bungalows in the open cafe part (wifi is strongest there) and enjoying the ocean views. From there we went to get something to eat and a few beers for us to enjoy just outside our room. As we did, one of many female tourists staying at Save Bungalow was walking past our room. “hello!” Sara and I said, and with that she just sat down and started chatting to us like we were old mates, just random We found out her name is Natalie from Austria and we have said hello to each other while passing now and then on random days (kiwi kindness) and was doing her advanced masters dive course here before she has to head home, so her and Sara hit it off straight away. We ended up meeting her American friend Jesse, who is an awesome bloke, and basically spent the night at another bar having a drink with them and sharing stories.
Day three: After our night with Jesse and Natalie, it was time to have a chill out day and catch up on our blog and organize our day for our visa run tomorrow. Jesse spent the morning with us having breakfast – he is very good at speaking Thai – which was handy. He then did his thing while we did our organizing. Natalie was out all morning finishing one of two dives that day to complete her advanced. The day went on and we went snorkeling just out in front of our Bungalow which was ok but a bit shallow and hard to see in some places. As night fell we had some dinner and another beer outside our room when we saw Natalie. She had finished her 2 of 2 dives early and was keen to get on the beers with us. Magic words said, all four of us went out and played pool and had a great night as well as meeting other adventurers on our durnken journey, it was our last night here after all!
Day 4: Alas after a great night out and after remembering how I got a bump on the head (walking into the top of the door frame) It was time to pack and head off for our Visa run. Natalie spent the whole morning with us as well as the start of the afternoon but Jesse was nowhere to be found. We were passing like ships in the night apparently so we never got a chance to say good-buy properly. With time nearing (catching the 2.30pm boat back to Champon) and after realizing we were going to be waiting for the night train to come in at 10.30pm )but it actually came in at 11.30pm, see previous post) we were going to be in for a long wait. Final hugs to Natalie with sad good-buys we were on the boat and making our way to Champon, then bused it to the train station where we had something to eat including this lovely rice soup (hot and melt in your mouth) snacks while enjoying Thai tea and watching the live English League soccer. For Sara, this slowed time down tat little bit more but for me I was secretly hoping the train would be late (prayer answered) so I could enjoy another live soccer match, Chelsea Vs Liverpool with Chelsea winning 2 – 0 (WOOHOO!) The train finally arriving, we were on and in bed enjoying a shaky sleep back to Butterworth to sort our visa extension.