As we were preparing to leave Ko Tao we all agreed it had been a fantastic Island for us travelling together as a family. It had been the right mix of a little bit of everything – the perfect balance. The perfect balance of lazy days, where the hours melted into one another, to days jam-packed with activities.
From the moment we arrived on the Island we knew we’d love the vibe. There was something about the young-hip-mixed-with-dive bum- mixed-with hippie-laid back-but upbeat, that was instantly appealing.
We had done, what was to become our usual, and had arrived in the afternoon with nowhere booked for the night. We parked our bags, and Tiah and I, in one of the beach bars, while Tony and Abzy went on the hunt for a perfect place.
The first place we stayed in didn’t end up being the perfect place (obviously, else I wouldn’t have called it the first place!) none-the-less it was cute – reminded me of a little Swiss Chalet, set up in the mountains. Major bonus was the pool which was where we spent most of our first day.
I should clarify that the place wasn’t perfect because it was up a hill a ways from the beach and when Tony and I went for our morning walk we did find the perfect place, right on the beach!
So some of the highlights – of course Mango Bay and the hike to ‘2 View’, which if you’ve been following along you have already read about! There was yoga on the beach and sunset paddle boarding.
There was also the trip to Koh Nang Yuan, which not only included the spectacular viewpoint, but also some fabulous snorkelling that we enjoyed as a family. We must have been in the water for about an hour, there was so much to see. What I was most fascinated by was how the sandy-bottom suddenly changed into a graveyard of dead coral – fascinating sight.
One of the other parts I loved about the Koh Nang Yuan trip was the boat ride. A steady trickle of tourists had crossed over from Ko Tao all day but the Island closes at 5:00 pm and of course everyone wanted to leave at the same time. It was an adventure in itself as everyone clambered over one long-tail boat after another to get to the one they were supposed to be on. Felt like I was in some Viking movie as all the boats pulled out at once to go off to sea.
Diving was certainly a huge highlight from our days on Ko Tao. Tony and I had decided it would be a crime to have your open water and not dive here and as both girls were game we decided to go as a family and have it as a Valentine’s Day treat. It was fantastic and was indeed a full day’s activity.
We started by meeting our dive master, Tim, who gave us a pep talk and then took us into the pool for a refresher – really helpful though I felt more nervous getting the skills right than I would have been had we just gone diving – curse that mask-clearing-trick!
Getting from shore to the dive site was quite the ordeal. All the divers start on the long-boat, with all the equipment. The boat sails out to the middle of the ocean to the dive boat and everyone is expected to help throw all the gear up (it’s not light!) and then somehow shimmy up the side of one boat while climbing from the other and I have to mention the sea here is ROUGH! These are things you don’t know til you’re doing them!
It was a further adventure as we jumped from the boat and had to swim in ROUGH waters for about 200 meters (with BCDs, tanks et al). Again, things you don’t know… All this to be said it was so worth it once we were underwater and swimming with the fishes!! Great way to spend the day with the girls – highlight was probably seeing the blue-spotted sting ray and the Giant Grouper – that is one ugly fish!
Tim actually referred to Ko Tao as a ‘sticky Island’, which i thought was both apt and true. We had originally thought to maybe spend 8 days there but in the end it was 12! Along with all the ocean/beachy things we had some great meals, did some fun shopping. All the guide books say don’t buy on Ko Tao because it’s expensive but I reasoned that if you love it, you get it anyway!
The running was also brilliant here – hard but worth it! Big hills with big views – worth every step. The beauty here is having a hard, hot run and being able to jump in the ocean right after.
And then last but not least I got my first pedicure – yes, everyone, I , Susan Jane Atkinson, got a pedicure. Of course it was all on a whim. We’d had an ‘all girls’ day’ and decided to end it by getting our nails done. I admit, it was fun. There the three of us were, lined up in a row on super comfy chairs, a cup of coconut-infused tea in one hand and soft music in the background. I’d do it again!
Oh, and the sunsets, the glorious sunsets. Again our perfect little bungalow was in the perfect little spot for the setting sun.
So Ko Tao, I say to you, fabulous Island, fabulous memories and certainly a place I will return to.
a world away –
the perfect balance