Well, after an 8 hour bus journey from Bangkok, and then a 2 hour ferry from Chumphon (it was during the night though so we got plenty of sleep), we arrived bright and early in Ko Tao. When we landed in Ko Phi Phi a couple of weeks ago, we were greeted by someone from our hostel to lead the way and take our bags, so we were expecting something similar here... no such luck. There were people from other resorts alright, just not ours. No matter, we found a pick-up truck that was heading our way so we jumped on that. We arrived at the hostel but when we were checking in, they were charging us for four nights instead of three, even though we had emailed them the day before saying that we were stuck in Bangkok and so would be staying a day less. We had booked the place through Hostel World, and gave them 24 hours notice, as per the website’s terms, but she just said, ‘no, that’s not our policy…’. Well, maybe you should find a different website to advertise on so, ya dope! We wouldn’t have been that annoyed about it if the place was nice, but it was rubbish! Paying for one night there was too much, never mind four! The room was horrible, I could go on all day about the things wrong with the place; It was roasting hot with only a tiny little fan on the ceiling to cool us down, there were mosquito nets covering the windows, which was a great idea, except for the fact that there were holes in the walls, the place felt like it was going to fall apart at any second and the room shook every time you walked across the floor - I’ll just leave it there, but to sum up, it was shit! The Lotus Resort, don’t stay there! It’s shit!
We didn’t get up to much on our first day really. We got some lunch in a place called Zest, which we ending up eating in every day (sometimes more than once a day in fact!). The food was excellent though, huge portions and the couple running the place were so lovely too, the smiliest people we’ve ever met! Afterwards, we organised a snorkelling trip for the next morning and took a walk along the beach. It soon started lashing though, so we had to run back to our crappy room. Even though it was raining, it was still really hot, and somehow it was like ten degrees hotter inside! If only our little fan could do more than just blow the dust around…
We stayed in and watched a few episodes of The Amazing Race (surprise surprise) and later went for dinner in a place that was showing the Villa-Arsenal match. It was a great game, even if Villa lost 4-2 in the end…
The next morning we woke up in our shitty, shitty room, after the worst night’s sleep ever, to find that my legs were covered in mosquito bites. I was in agony! Aisling escaped scot-free too… It’s a good thing we were taking our malaria tablets! (Before we set off from Ireland, we were weighing up whether or not to get malaria tablets, as we had heard that the side effects from taking them were almost as bad as actually having the disease itself. We got them in the end, and to be honest, they were absolutely fine). And even worse, Aisling’s laptop wouldn’t work again! Disaster! Seeing as we were going snorkelling for the day, we put it out of our minds and hoped it would magically fix itself again, like it did in Bangkok.
After breakfast in Zest, we headed off on our day of snorkelling. On the boat, we made friends with three girls, who we affectionately knew as Hazel, Sick girl and the Belgian, (We couldn’t actually remember their real names…), Hazel – because she looked like Hazel McCarthy, Sick girl – because she was seasick on the boat, and the Belgian – because, well, she was from Belgium… We were meant to be going to swim with sharks (not big massive ones), but because the weather was so bad and the sea was so choppy, we could only stay along the coast. Dose! We still had a great day though.
We went to a few different bays along the shoreline, and saw lots of nice and colourful fish. The coral was nice too, even if it wasn't as colourful. There are meant to be really good dive spots on the island, it’s just a shame that we were shackled to the coast. Having said that though, the boat trip itself around the island was enjoyable. From little beach huts popping up from beneath the trees, to the odd phallic rock formation!
After dinner, we took a stroll around and were accosted by some ladyboys trying to get us to come to their cabaret show. We really wanted to go too, but unfortunately we were washing our hair that night... (Oh actually, speaking of washing hair, funny story! The shower in our room was so bad that, one night, poor Aisling had to resort to using the bum hose to clean her hair properly! I think it’s a funny story, although I’m sure she won’t think it’s as funny when she reads this…)
The next morning, we went and booked our scuba diving trip for the day ahead, and popped into Zest, of course, for breakfast. (The night before I was eaten alive again by mosquitoes. This time I even put on repellent and everything to no effect. Aisling thinks the spray smells really nice, she'd make a terrible mosquito...) After another quality breakfast, we headed back down to the dive centre to meet our instructor, Antonio. He was so nice! We loved him! It was his first dive in English too, so we were trying to be as supportive as possible throughout the day. You wouldn't think it was either, seeing as his English was pretty much perfect. He also had fluent Italian (well, he was from Italy so that's not much of an achievement...) and Spanish. Also, his girlfriend was Dutch so he was learning that too! He gave us a quick rundown of the plan for the day and told us to go and grab some lunch as we wouldn't be starting for a couple of hours. Back up to Zest!