Welcome back to my Koh Tao Series!
In my previous post, I explained how we managed to reach Koh Tao from Bangkok the cheapest way. We rode a night bus at Khao San Road, then followed by a boat ride to the island. Overall, it took us approximately 12 hours of land and sea travel combined to get to Koh Tao.
For this second part, I’ll share how our island tour & visit to Koh Nang Yuan went. It was through this tour that we were able to snorkel and swim in five different spots around Koh Tao.
However, let me just explain that the most famous activities that people do in Koh Tao are scuba diving and snorkeling. In comparison to the other islands I’ve been in Thailand, Ko Tao has only a few swimming spots or beaches. Therefore, if you don’t want to do these water activities, you can always just stay at your resort and relax. Make sure to choose one with the best facilities like a swimming pool. fitness room, and entertainment amenities that will keep you entertained.
1. Book an Island Tour
There are a number of tour agencies available which are advertised everywhere on the island. We’ve seen information about day tours or half-day tours in our resort and on the streets. I’m not really sure what the differences are among these tours because they have similar itineraries. Additionally, all the prices are the same too, 850 THB.
In our case, we booked Diamond Tours after talking to our resort staff. She told me that most guests they had would return happily and satisfied after the tour. I just thought that these staff would know better because they’re the experts in the area. Moreover, they wouldn’t recommend a tour with bad feedback, would they?
We booked a day before the tour and paid at our resort. Then, the receptionist gave me our receipt and instruction that we should be ready before 9.00 the next morning.
2. Be Prepared for the Island Tour
On the day of the tour, we ate our breakfast first and then, we were picked up at exactly 9.00 from the resort. We were the first people to arrive that day so we had to wait for a little while before other guests finally came.
They gave us our snorkeling gear and reminded us that if we lose them, we will have to pay 1,000 THB. Next, once everyone arrived, a short introduction and explanation were done by the staff. Do’s and don’ts were discussed particularly at Nang Yuan island.
The itinerary for the tour includes going to five bays or snorkeling spots around Ko Tao. But, for me, the most exciting part was Koh Nang Yuan.
Nang Yuan Island
Luckily for me, this was our first destination. An entrance fee of 100 THB should be paid which was already collected by our boat staff. What impressed me the most was not only the scenery of the island but their “no plastic” policy. It means we were not allowed to bring plastic bags or anything made from plastic in Nang Yuan. Instead of water in plastic bottles, they have them in glass bottles.
They gave us two hours on the island. That could be just enough time to do activities such as swimming, sunbathing or snorkeling. Another activity that could be done is to trek up to the viewpoint. It was very tiring climbing up and the fact that it was a sunny day made me looked like a soaked/wet chick (basang sisiw) after. =) Ha! I was soaked in sweat. After the customary photo on top, we head back down and relax.
The fact is that the food and drinks sold in Nang Yuan are very expensive. We were only able to refresh ourselves with cold water which cost 30 THB. Other drinks cost double or triple.
By 1.00 PM, we went back to the boat while the staff distributed our lunch. The food was the usual lunch-packed meal consist of fried egg, rice and meat with vegetables.
Our next destinations were Mango Bay, Hin Wong Bay, Aow Leuk, and Shark Bay. In each spot, we were given at least 45 minutes to snorkel. This was the most fun but exhausting part for me because I snorkel without a life jacket. Of course, life jackets are available on the boat but I didn’t like wearing one because it’s heavy which makes me swim slower. And besides, once I started following the colorful fish and all the sea creatures underwater, I got completely amazed that I forgot I was swimming or floating for hours.
To be honest, I couldn’t believe it myself because I’ve never swum nor stayed in the sea for a long time like this. It’s unbelievable to me. Usually, when I swim in a pool, for example, I always rest or hold onto something for a few minutes and swim again. So, I was proud of myself although it was undisputed that I felt extremely spent at the end of that day.
Best Island Tour Experience
We returned to our resort at around 5.00 PM. After talking to other people on the tour, we all agreed that indeed, that day was enjoyable and an experience that will never be easily forgotten. In fact, I think this constitutes the highlight of my Koh Tao trip – reaching the top of Nang Yuan Island and snorkeling for hours in one day.
Stay tuned for my next Koh Tao post in which I will be sharing about our accommodation, our approximate travel expenses, and other activities that can be done on the island.