By night train we travel from Bangkok to Chumphon where we plan to take the night boat to Koh Tao, but the Songkran festival is celebrated and we have to adjust our plans. Chinese New Year is celebrated in Thailand during the multi-day Songkran, in which the whole of Thailand participates in a gigantic water fight. Along all roads there are people with garden hoses, from buckets of pickup trucks with water guns and as if all the water is not enough yet it starts to pour. No possible escape from the water! We pack our backpacks Songkran-proof and mingle in the water fight and celebrations.
The night boat does not sail during the holidays, so we book the crossing with the fast boat and arrive that same afternoon on Koh Tao. A bumpy ride, because the sea is rough due to the bad weather and because of the high waves we are often lifted from our seats, the plastic bags are used continuously all over the place. Fortunately, we do not become seasick ourselves, although the lovely sound of fellow passengers being sick on the entire deck makes for some less refreshing moments.
On Koh Tao we locate a truly amazing spot in a quiet bay on the southwest side of the island: we would fall in love with the sunset, gazing over the sea from our hammock the next couple of nights! The small island is easy to explore on foot, although the steep roads and narrow jungle paths are not particularly suitable for our flip flops. We decide to snorkel a bit until the storm of the past few days has passed, but we cannot wait to finally go diving. After doing some research we decide to go with New Heaven Diving School and we make four wonderful dives, on two days. Our first dive without familiar Up-Again buddies, so it’s a bit exciting. But once in the water everything runs smooth. The first dive site – Shark Island – sounds more adventurous than it actually is, because: no sharks. A few Triggerfish that show in no uncertain terms that we have entered their territory and start to nibble on Rubens fins. They are not impressed by a few kicks and only after a short sprint they disappear from our view.
After four dives, the Common Lionfish, Pufferfish, Bluespottet Stingray and the Titan Triggerfish are on our list and we do not regret the impact on our budget: we bought a GoPro to capture the amazing underwater world with our brand-new camera. After ten days our ‘vacation’ is over, we leave our beloved hammock and we catch the night boat back to the mainland. We spend the night in Surat Thani and enjoy the non-touristic atmosphere of the city. Perfect timing to look back at 26 days of Thailand before AirAsia flight AK839 takes us to Kuala Lumpur.