TAO TRIP REPORT BY BEACH BLOGGER - visited Feb 2015
Some of you are probably wondering why I’m posting this trip report when it’s supposed to be a forum for READERS’ trip reports. A number of reasons:
STOP 1 - KO NANGYUAN
Nangyuan page here. Maybe you can tell I wasn't exactly whelmed by the joint, unlike several stays in years gone by.
STOP 2 - SENSI PARADISE MAE HAD
We came in from Ko Nangyuan (far background left) on that resort's shuttle to the pier area (mid-background right - which may better be seen if you click-expand shot) from where it was less than 5 minutes walk along a mostly okay road behind the beach (a bit sandy towards the Sensi end). The resort will pick up from the pier but why complicate things to avoid such a short walk?
Water in the corner of the beach seemed to be suffering from the nearby boat area but became unexpectedly clear once 25m from shore and I found some interesting coral and fish out there which continues as you head westwards close to the rocks - the area seemed to keep guest snorkelers quite entertained.
about 65% down the main Tao page.
STOP 3 - MONTALAY RESORT TANOTE BAY
I usually try to stay in a different place when I revisit a beach but if you scroll down page you can see I was at Montalay in July 2013. Thing is, Lady Tezza was with me this visit - she likes comfortable places with a pool (as do I) and as far as I know Montalay is the only place right on the beach at Tanote can do this.
I'm not going to repeat information available down page on Montalay except to say it seemed up to standard as before.
Beware of super steep slopes, rough tracks and high temps for much of the area I covered.
When the ferries arrive there is a bunch of transport mafia guys will take you over to Tanote for an arm and a leg. Fortunately a lot of the resorts will do free or cut price shuttles.
Free was the case with Montalay, so The Lady and I walked the 5 minutes from Sensi Paradise to the pier area, found the transport guy and 5 minutes later were on our way with 2 guests off the incoming ferry.
Going out, Montalay charged 100b each for transfers which is maybe a third of what the transport mafia want.
TAO TRIP REPORT BY BEACH BLOGGER - visited July 2013
LANG KHAI BAY
*not putting on any side: just a lucky guess. Maybe.
TAO TRIP REPORT BY RACHAEL - visited Dec 09
The journey was pretty typical of travel around Thailand. We were dropped at a restaurant in the port town (probably the bus driver’s sister's cousin's place!), then herded into Songthaews (converted pick-up trucks) to take us to the Surathani pier.
Halfway there the trucks stopped at a petrol station an we were chucked back onto the pavement with no idea what was going on.
Alnother coach arrives and we get on to find our that our ferry has been cancelled and we are going to drive 6 hours up the mainland to Chumpon where a boat will take us to the island. Our ‘boat’ was actually a small cargo ship – after climbing over 2 jeeps, and pallets of vegetables and Thai whisky we made it to the sleeping quarters.
As the pictures show it wasn’t exactly luxury but that’s how Thailand works and after another (surprisingly comfy) night’s sleep we docked into Koh Tao at 6am the next morning.
Our favourite beach previously had been Haad Sairee but we were disappointed to find that it had been hugely developed since our last trips. Where there had once been just a few bamboo bungalows was now a mass of horrid, concrete buildings spreading out onto the sand so the beach was nothing more than a tiny sliver. Dejected, we hopped in a taxi and headed to Ban Kao on the South side of the island and were excited to find the Koh Tao we remembered still existed there – just a few resorts and a small, curved, palm fringed cove. We stayed in a concrete bungalow at the Big Fish Resort for 500 baht a night which was simple but comfy.
We visited Nang Yuan island which is a short longtail boat ride away and has 3 gorgeous forest covered islands connected by sandbanks at low tide. There is a 50 baht admission fee per person which I assume goes towards preserving the island and to that end, you can't take plastic bottles/bags in (although the island has a restaurant and beach bar so you won't starve or go thirsty!) If you like snorkelling there are several reefs to explore although get there as early as you can - its becoming a hugely popular dive site and the water was pretty busy by late morning . If you're feeling active you also can climb up to the island lookout for a breathtaking view.
On our last day I nagged Andy into hiring us a moped (well it only cost us £3 - bargain!). It was a pretty scary experience though given the lack of helmets/insurance, unpaved roads and Thai traffic laws (i.e. there are none) but with slow progress we did manage to see a bit of the island including a rather cool whale skeleton!
It was my 26th birthday whilst on Koh Tao. I wasn’t expecting anything given that the holiday was a big treat in itself but Andy still surprised me with cake, some little presents, sweeties and a Happy New Year card (apparently they had no birthday ones!). He also treated me to lunch and dinner (a big deal when you’re on a backpacker budget) so thank you Andy for a lovely day! :)
Rachael has more on Tao, plus other islands like Lanta, Mook and Bulon Lae on her site A DATE AT THE TATE. She also has a section on Bangkok and some good general info on MONEY, FOOD, COSTS etc.If you want to submit a trip report on Tao or any other location please send text and any pix to firstname.lastname@example.org
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