Koh Tao, Thailand
Koh Tao, the smallest of the most visited islands off the east coast of Thailand, is best known for its great scuba diving opportunities. I had heard wonderful things about it from people who had traveled to it prior, recommending it over some of the more visited islands such as Koh Pha Ngan.
They were right. Koh Tao was definitely the highlight of my southern Thailand experience. No matter where you wandered to on the island, whether it be a remote bay on the east side or the busy backpacker village of Sairee, the relaxed island feeling and gorgeous views followed you everywhere. Because it was pretty small, it was easy enough to explore a lot of ground by motorbike and very easy to get around. Anything you could want was no more than a ten minute walk away.
It seemed I wasn’t the only one who fell in love with the island as I met a handful of young scuba instructors on my dive boat who all had travel plans to see several places in Southeast Asia, like myself, but loved the island and their scuba diving courses so much that they ditched their plans and realities wherever they were from. Today, they are still living in Koh Tao sharing their knowledge and wisdom with travelers seeking the same kind of passion they feel every day.
Scuba diving in Koh Tao was my favorite thing I did on the island. Not only because it was fitting and of course beautiful, but also because it was Earth Day so I had the opportunity to help clean the reefs while diving for fun. I was so thrilled to be helping the environment while doing something so cool for myself as well. There’s nothing quite like swimming with the fishies underwater.
As I leave the island, I feel happy knowing that places like it exist and that there are so many people, like you or I, with no Thai background whatsoever, who have made it a comfortable home to enjoy in harmony with the local people.