Before departing from Koh Samui we stocked up on soy milk and biscuits as there aren’t any Tesco’s on Koh Tao. It’s always a good idea to have emergency food as you never know if you’re going to get vegetarian food in small villages – people love their meats here. The ferry was about an hour late so we had time to observe other travellers bustling about with their huge bags in the heat. Some people had a 65 litre backpack on the back, a 25 litre bag on the chest, a camera around the neck, a wallet in one hand and a suitcase in the other. We quickly realised that carrying a bag of soy milk in addition to our 26 litre Ospreys was not that inconvenient anymore.

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Shamely, on Koh Phangan we had to change from our shiny air-conditioned boat to, let’s say, a more timeworn one with a gasoline scent. You can see straight away that there are fewer people travelling to Koh Tao as the boats are smaller and only run once a day, at least with Songserm. They also ask to leave your bags on the deck when boarding, but we just smiled, pointed to our “26ers” and took a seat inside. Tip: try to sit in a shade on the deck as you’ll have plenty of fresh air, won’t get sunburnt and be able to enjoy the view.

Another tip is to always ask for a map, as people here just can’t give directions or have no sense of distances whatsoever. I suppose some may feel awkward directing tourists with big rucksacks to walk any kind of distance in the heat so more often than not they just offer you get a taxi. The weather was lovely, there were few people on the road, and we could see the white sand and blue water through the floor-to-ceiling windows of restaurants and diving shops. Even though it was still early afternoon, we had the right for a beer, and so we did. It was funny to see Auste just walking along, drinking beer in the middle of the day, right on the street – not a very usual sight, as she’s always the one paranoid about breaking the law, getting in trouble with the police and so on.

post-image-0063I suppose the laws on the island are so laid-back that even dogs were riding motorbikes! (photo) They do seem to enjoy it a lot and stay surprisingly stable with their paws on the handles (or shall I say ‘pawndles’?)

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We walked past many bars catering for western clientele, but just couldn’t get our heads round eating burgers or pizzas on a tropical island. So we asked a local vendor if he could make some rice with vegetables, but he simply fired back “only chicken or pork”. Fair enough, I guess we have plenty of biscuits… We did have a nice meal elsewhere though and were ready for a day of kayaking.

post-image-0118Keep reading about Koh Tao in Part 2Part 3 and Part 4.For more stories from the same trip read: Koh Phangan Part 1 and Part 2, Angthong Marine Park, and Koh Samui.

More photos on our Flickr page here.