While in Koh Phangan we did learn how to say “Hello” and “Thank You” in the native tongue. “Hello” Is “Sa-wa-dee-” and for us females it is “Ka” and for a male it is “Kop”. I am spelling these the way they actually sound. So “Sa-wa-dee-Ka” is how we say hello here. “Thank You” is “Kope-on-Ka” or a male would say “Kope-on-Kop”. We also learned that the Thai people are covered up when walking through town (as in not just a bikini), take their shoes off before entering most shops and all homes, and bow their heads with hands in prayer position while greeting eachother. Some of these cultural traditions are very relaxed, like the bowing of heads and hands in prayer position, but it is still polite to do since we are visiting.
With a little more knowledge of the local culture, we ventured onto a ferry that took us to Koh Tao. It was about a 50 minute boat ride. We got there around 11am. Everyone tends to flock from the Full Moon Party to Koh Tao, so it shouldn’t have been surprising when we ran into Dude one night. Koh Tao was very crowded though and we had to hunt for a room. We finally got a room at the hub of all the activity, Lotus. It was kind of a dump, and the electricity would turn off and they would forget to turn it back on, but hey, it was a place to stay.
Looking around the beach in Koh Tao, every other person was bandaged up somehow. At first I assumed they were motorbike injuries, but thinking about it now, some of them could have been from the fire jump ropeing going on at the Full Moon Party…quite the site to see regardless.
Most people who go to Koh Tao partake in a four-day diving certification course. We were almost talked into this, but decided it was not in our budget. We opted for a full-day snorkel tour around the island, and it provided plenty of excitment for us at a much smaller price. The tour included lunch, fried rice and chicken, and stopped at Koh Nangyaun, a national park in Thailand where three masses of land are attached via sand bars. As if this and snorkeling with colorful fish in coral were not enough, a whale shark swam beneath and around our boat! I spoke with divers later who had hoped to see what we saw, but they weren’t as lucky.
Koh Tao was so hot, that on the days we weren’t snorkeling we had no other option but to lounge in the water until the sun went down. It was too hot to be anywhere else! Once the sun sets though, there was plenty to do in Koh Tao. The beaches were lined with fire dancers everynight, and the Lotus bar offered 1/2 off buckets while they sent a glow lamp into the air. We enjoyed sitting on the mats, leaning back on cushions and watching the fire dancers beach side at night. If we had the energy, there were plenty of dance clubs and bars to visit along the walkway. Koh Tao has a “Blue Moon” party in the jungle, and a “Castle” party, located at a castle! I didnt’ make it to either, because the beach bars were so much fun.
Some nights I just wanted to relax though, and Koh Tao has plenty to offer in that department as well. There are massage studios, with beds lined up, that offer Thai massages for 300 baht. One night I found a little place around the corner (I felt kind of weird having people walk past and watching me in the window) where the foot traffic was slower, and enjoyed a one hour Thai massage and a pedicure.
Koh Tao was a nice combination of beauty and party. 7-11’s were everywhere, so it was convenient to load money onto my sim card, or run into one of the dozens of internet cafes and shoot off a quick e-mail. After three nights there, we checked out and began our journey out of the Gulf of Thailand.