Ko Tao – Scuba Heaven

There is nothing Thai about Ko Tao, the tiny 21 km² island in the Gulf of Thailand. The main road runs about 5 km long and hugs Sairee Beach, the longest beach on the island that runs a short 1.7 kilometers. You basically go to Ko Tao for the following reasons:

1. Scuba dive.
2. Hang out on the beach.
3. Drink, party, and/or pub crawl with the Brits and Aussies at any of the numerous bars.IMG_4934 IMG_4935 IMG_4929

During our first night we enjoyed drinks at a beach bar and watched in awe at the local fire dancers. Our favorite show involved a young Thai man poi dancing on a floating board that bobbed against the waves close to shore.IMG_4925

Fire limbo was also entertaining to watch. Fortunately no one was drunk enough to seriously hurt themselves.IMG_4928

We spent our three days in Ko Tao scuba diving, scuba diving, and scuba diving. Scuba shops are competitive, with an average rate of 700-800 baht (~$22-25 USD) per drive–probably the cheapest place in the world where you can get certified and dive.

Every day was spent on a boat.20140615_084159 20140615_084331 20140618_07281920140619_161619

If the tide was high enough, we would just cross the street (from our bungalow scuba resort), walk across the fine white sands, and hop onto a boat taxi. Early morning dives were the best, starting at around 7am.20140618_180908

During our stay, water temps in the Gulf of Thailand averaged 30ºC, with visibility ranging from 8-15m. Although we did not see a whale shark, we saw plenty of cool sea life.DCIM104GOPRO DCIM104GOPRO DCIM104GOPRO DCIM104GOPRO

Chris even encountered a weedy filefish, a cool little guy who wasn’t shy and is apparently quite rare.DCIM104GOPRO

Just messin’ around. DCIM104GOPRO DCIM104GOPRO

Not only did we swim with fish, we scoped out a cool shipwreck. DCIM104GOPRODCIM104GOPRO DCIM104GOPRO DCIM104GOPRO

After our first dives, we arrived at the pier just in time to catch a storm. Our open-air flatbed truck taxi made the day even better.DCIM104GOPRODCIM104GOPRO

Our favorite dive was perhaps our first night dive! We geared up at sunset and descended at twilight. 20140618_18393720140618_18392420140618_194728

After spending 6 days in Ko Phangan and 4 days in Ko Tao, I could not wait to get out. Beaches and scuba diving are fun, but paradise is a luxury empty of culture and valuable life-enhancing challenges. As many of you know, I’m pretty terrible at relaxing.

Next up…Bangkok!

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