Koh Tao, Thailand – October 15, 2017
We ordered breakfast at the hostel because the bus to take us to the ferry terminal for Koh Tao was coming in about half an hour. Note to self: never order curry in a hurry. The workers always take their sweet time, chopping garnishes while you’re waiting, tossing one banana slice into your fruit salad and alternating the next one for their mouths. Some of them even sit playing on their phones while their customers are rushing to make a connection. There is definitely no sense of urgency like there is in the restaurant industry in the USA. You always have to chase after the waiters to order or pay. It’s strange because the street food here is made in about 10 seconds while the restaurant food takes upwards of 40-minutes… and I gotta say the street food usually tastes much better and is more traditional.
Luckily, we made it in time to board the ferry boat. On the wooden-planked boardwalk, we walked deep out into the Thai Gulf as the rain started staining the deck. Dropping our bags in the covered bow of the deck, we sat in rows for take-off. Water streamed down the windows of the ship as the soft yellow light lit up the islands in the distance. It was a really rocky ride, boat bouncing between whitecaps and thunderclouds. It didn’t help that they were playing hard-style EDM in the cabin while our rickety boat rocked on the ocean. The five of us teetered feebly off the ship, knees weak with seasickness, and checked into our beach-front hostel.
Koh Tao is too cute with little wooden stilted cabins lining the seashore. People are stretched out in hammocks on their beachside-balconies and little brick paths are really the only roads that connect the entire island. Only motorbikes, pedestrians and street dogs use these roadways in order to make their way to the perfect coastline. I taught the Dutchies how to “weigh options” and we walked past many beach restaurants until we found one that hit all our main criteria: on the beach, open-air, cute, cheap, Thai style, with local people partaking in the foods, not just tourists. I swear I’m one of the least high-maintenance people I know, but I’m also somewhat obsessed with finding the best vibes/value for money. I ordered spicy red curry on the deck of the eatery, waves lapping against the concrete foundation we perched upon.
Colorful long tails bobbed out on the water as the sun sparkled across the tide. Locals lifted themselves from the ocean into their canoes and stood up to maneuver the boat’s steering contraption. The engine and steering rudder was connected to a 12’ long propeller shaft that they lifted and set back down in the water depending on which direction they wished to go in. After dinner, I separated from the group and took a sunset swim. First full day in Koh Tao—you gotta get in that beautiful green water! We joined back together drinking beers on the beach, watching the sun go over the edge of the ocean, and making seashell mandalas in the sand.
Our hostel has a connected bar as well as a scuba and yoga school. We played card games while divulging in two-for-one drinks during happy hour. An incredible beach club was setting up next door, and after getting a little buzz going, we meandered on over. Their seaside estate sold infamous alcohol “buckets” to partygoers and they lit up sand sculptures with flaming bottles of liquor. Projections of music videos and light shows were cast upon huge boulders that were sunk into the sand on both sides of the bar. We drank out of purple and green sand-pails with metal straws (to protect the sea turtles), danced barefoot on the satin sand, and chased each other all night in the waves.
Alena Horowitz | Miss Potato