The first time I went to Koh Tao was with my friends, Hayley and Nikki, who were visiting me for a few weeks. Koh Tao- Thai for “Turtle Island”- is the smallest island when compared to its neighbours, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui and like them it is very beautiful but small enough to explore easily. On one of the first days Hayley and I went for a little walk, while Nikki stayed on the beach sunbathing. The trouble was when we were together we got itchy feet and a little bored sunbathing, so off we went to explore the island a bit more.
We walked for quite a way up towards the north of the island until we basically ran out of road. We followed the pathway and came across a building site for a new hotel, which has now since been completed, and we realised that we couldn’t get through the building site so we decided to walk back, the way we had come, to Sairee beach, stopping for refreshments in a small bar, which had wonderful views overlooking the bay. Then we realised that we only had about 30 baht on us so we had to share a bottle of sprite. Honestly who goes on a walk with no money and no water! (Oh yes, no water in the heat of the day- that was the reason we stopped because we were so thirsty).
We spent three glorious days on Koh Tao and one of those days we took a boat across to Nang Yuan which is a small island near to Koh Tao. It is actually a dive resort and it is so small that there are no cars or motor bikes, just calm and serene-it is simply stunning and has one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand.
You can walk round and up to the top of the largest part of the island where you can get fantastic views of Koh Tao, Nang Yuan and the surrounding ocean. It is a bit tricky in parts to reach the top, there being some scrambling over large rocks, but it is well worth the effort.
There is a coral reef, close to shore, called the Japanese Gardens. You can enter the water from the shore and it is very shallow so perfect for beginner divers and snorkelers. During our day trip to Nang Yuan we went snorkelling here and saw some beautiful coral formations and a fair few fish.
There is a 100 baht fee for day visitors to Nang Yuan and, in the name of conservation, plastic bottles and cans are banned from the island, but there are refreshments available at the restaurant there but at prices higher than what you would normally pay. Nevertheless, it is money well spent to spend a few hours in this little bit of paradise.