Koh Tao Island

The Journey To Paradise island.
If you’re planning to get away from the hustle and bustle, stress of work and traffic and treat yourself to a dream holiday whether it is with a spouse, friends or solo, I would highly recommend Koh Tao island: a small 25 square kilometre paradise island in the gulf of Thailand that doesn’t even appear on most world maps - so you’ll literally almost be off the grid but don’t worry, the island still has enough infrastructure for you to carry on with your life as you would day to day.

Scuba Diving Ko Tao

How to get to Koh Tao?:

There are many fun and interesting ways to get to Koh Tao from Bangkok’s international airport: Suvarnabhumi Airport should you choose to fly.
Once you’ve manage to navigate it and get your weekly exercise in from the massive distances between gates to your next flight which would be Samui International Airport, but wait for the surprise you’ll get once you land as it isn’t exactly a traditional airport with it’s golf cart like busses driving you from the plane to the terminals.
I honestly have no other way to describe the airport as a miniature stress relief from Bangkok’s airport due to it’s layed-back vibe. 

Other interesting ways to get to Koh tao would be via bus or train which are great ways to explore bits and pieces of Thailand here and there but this is where I sadly lack the experience of being able to recommend it to you confidently and with a smile on my face, however I can tell you that if you choose to travel using the train that it would cost you between 200 Thai Baht and 400 Thai Baht and it would take you approximately 9 hours, so you have the option of an overnight train or one through the day, which would offer you great views of Thailand as you travel south.

Taking a bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani is another option for you to choose from.
The bus will have a lot more stops for you to stretch your legs and will take the better part of 12 hours and run you almost a 1000 Thai baht but you’ll be thankful for the air-conditioning system the busses have.

Note that the train and bus will both include refreshments as well as traditional Thai cuisine for you to indulge in and have your taste buds thanking you, however I wouldn’t expect much from the aeroplane as the food is generic and bland.

Regardless of your mode of transport, you’ll ultimately end up on a give or take 3 hour ferry from Surat Thani to Ko Samui, stopping at Koh Panang and eventually Koh Tao.

From Ko Samui to Koh Tao, the ferry will cost you anywhere from 600 – 800 Thai Baht, this gets you a seat aboard the lomproyah high speed ferry with the gift of air-conditioning.

Once you’ve made it to paradise island, you’ll dock in Mae-Haad pier, or English for absolute insanity with more tourists densely packed per square kilometre than any pub or bar on the island, so brace yourself for the hustle and bustle but don’t worry, I’m here to guide you through your crazy first few moments on this beautiful island.
(that is if I’m not already drunk from all the Chang I drank…haha.)

From there, you will get countless offers for a taxi ride which will most likely be on the back of a pickup truck.
It is worth it to “shop” around or haggle around if you think the taxi rate isn’t fair but if you do not succeed, it’s a small but well worth it price to pay for the time of your life. 
(I payed 200 Thai Baht from the pier to Chalok area which is a good 30 minutes’ walk or so away to give you an idea)

Accommodation recommendations in Koh Tao:

When I stayed on Koh Tao I only had the pleasure of staying in two places, both of which were Ban Chalok, only a few minutes’ walk from Buddha View dive resort.

The first of the two accommodation was JP resort which is somewhat of a three star with a pool and restaurant with great pad-thai and fried rice as well as great view of the snow white beach of Chalok.
The restaurant acts as the resort’s reception, so don’t go wondering around looking all lost and confused as I did.
JP resort will cost you about 400 THB a night which really isn’t too bad for a short visit, however I regretted choosing room 19 to try and get a view of the sea, little did I know that I had to haul my luggage up several “flights” of uneven stairs which felt like the equivalent of climbing mount Everest in the soaring heat of 39 degrees Celsius that day.

With JP resort, you get the option of air-conditioning for an added fare, make the smart move as the ceiling fan won’t do much but shuffle the hot air around in your room or even worse, make too much noise and keep you up at night.
Also, Hot water is not in the question here but to be honest, you’ll soon discover it’s for the best.

The second accommodation I stayed at was P&N guesthouse, not to be confused with P&N resort.
Rooms can be booked for days, weeks and a month at a time as well as varying in size, cost and luxury.
These mentioned luxuries include a kitchen with a fridge and a TV room, which unless you plan on having guests over is not really worth it in my opinion, however it was the only room they had that was free at the time so I couldn’t complain.
I soon discovered that economic security, if you will for the locals is a great thing to have for example, if you book a room for a week and go by your cost day for day for said room, it will work you out a small fortune in a sense compared to renting long term,
With my “luxury” room, I payed 9000 Thai Baht a month which is quite the bargain compared to the hotels on the island.
P&N turned out the most practical for me as I was a minute’s walk from a laundromat, pizza place, scooter rental and convenience store, a solid 10 out of 10 for me.

BUT WAIT!!! There’s more.
If you ask around and keep your eyes wide open and your ears low to the ground, you’ll soon find that there is even better priced accommodation on the island such as your own private apartment for lack of a better term for as little as 4000 Thai Baht per month, sadly I cannot yet tell you the names of such places but that’s what travelling is all about: Exploration as I always say, if we knew everything about the places we want to travel to, we might as well stay home…