Thailand is such a popular travel destination now, and due to this a lot of the island’s have lost their magic. You know what I mean; that sort of undiscovered backpacker paradise feel that these islands once had, before they were fully exploited to become the tourist hotspots that they are today. As I walked along Chaweng Beach in Koh Samui, I felt a tad disheartened. To me, this looked like it could have been a beach in Benidorm or some other European tourist destination, not wonderful South East Asia. And this is fine, but it’s not what I was looking for.
But, as my boat approached the island of Koh Tao and I could see the lush canopy of trees framing the giant granite boulders, I felt like I was finally getting that taste of paradise that I had been craving. And it did not disappoint. I spent 4 days on this amazing island and I could have stayed a thousand more.
For me Koh Tao had the perfect balance of party and chill. Yes, like most of the other Thai islands Koh Tao loves to party, but its a lot more laid back than a full moon party on Phangan. Picture this; sinking into a beanbag after a long, hard day of sunbathing with a cool cocktail in hand, the sound of the ocean just barely audible above the music and a local Thai guy casually swinging flame torches to the beat on the beach in front of you. If that’s not your thing, you can grab a bucket (or three!) and go wild on the island’s bar crawl that happens three times a week. Whatever your scene, Tao has it.
If you ever find yourself on this wonderful island I urge you to go and check out the amazing Serenity Bar. It was by far my favourite spot on the island for a drink while watching the sun go down and the owners were so lovely. You can relax on one of the hammocks and enjoy stunning views of the island with a mojito in hand and good music in your ears.
Koh Tao is also divers paradise, with dozens of dive schools across the island. While I never had the time to try diving out, I did go on one of the snorkelling tours, which took me to 4 different snorkelling spots around the island, which was amazing and a chance to get a better look at the island. Koh Tao translates as Turtle island, but sadly I didn’t get to see one of these little guys, maybe I’ll have better luck next time.
What I loved most about Tao was that it still seemed to have that authentic backpacker/ traveller feel that many of the other islands have lost to mass tourism. It felt like paradise to me and gave me a taste of what travelling really was. I met dozens of young backpackers from all over the world during my time on the island, and it was so inspiring to be amongst such like minded people and hear about other peoples adventures and what their own corner of the world is like. Koh Tao has a magical atmosphere and it stole my heart, and I really hope it stays like that for many years to come so I can return and relive it all over again.