I did promise another post about Koh Tao and I’m no Lonely Planet, but there are a few top spots we found while roaming the island that don’t all feature prominently enough in the guides for my liking.
To start with, and my boyfriend will tease me for saying this because I moaned so much on the way, do walk across the island… Sairee beach has it all but if you traverse up and over to the other side there’s another treat waiting in store. I won’t lie, this is some trek. Flip flops and the midday sun definitely exacerbated our discomfort and fuelled my whining so I would advise you set out early in the morning and aim to make it over before the heat of the day hits. There is a stunning viewpoint and bar of sorts where you can stop off and hydrate run by a friendly local lady who will happily rent you snorkelling gear and sell you a chilled coconut.
You really do feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. Drop down the steep path to the rocky coast and you can find your own little secluded sunbathing spot amongst the giant boulders. It’s quite a lovers’ cove. If the sun gets too strong you can drop into the water where the snorkelling was actually quite something with beautiful coral close to land.
Next, Koh Nang Yuan. You have to pay to spend time on this private island plus for the crossing by boat taxi plus for anything you want to drink while you’re there (bottles get held upon entry). I take issue somewhat with having my water taken away in the baking heat and then being charged seriously over the odds for any kind of hydration… However, there is no denying the view from the top of the island is breath taking and unlike anything I’ve seen before. The waters off the beach are shallow for a considerable way so are perfect for less confident swimmers or for snorkelling but don’t expect a peaceful visit. Tourists arrive by the boatload and the place gets crowded quickly. On balance, I wouldn’t worry too much if you gave this a miss.
Save your money for The Gallery instead… http://www.thegallerykohtao.com/index.php/the-gallery-restaurant-gourmet-thai-food.html
I mentioned this restaurant in my last post and I stand by my assertion that it is the best Thai food I have ever eaten. Run in conjunction with a photo gallery, this restaurant knocks all the others out of the park. The restaurant is actually quite an intimate venue with a small number of tables so book if you want to avoid disappointment. The service is spot on and the food heavenly. Special mention goes to the spicy, crispy pork belly dish which was spectacular and the, ever delicious, Thai red curry. Excuse the quality of the photos. I didn’t hang around long before diving in. It was too good to wait so I just took a few quick snaps with my phone.
It’s hard to miss the fire dancers along the beach but they are quite a spectacle and very impressive. Some have more skill than others but whichever bar you pitch up in front of to watch the sunset and capitalise on happy hour from you won’t be disappointed. Seeing the sparks dance off the water left me a little mesmerised and a lot in awe of these guys. They carry on into the early hours down the beach at Maya beach club but whilst I wouldn’t advise joining in the tipsy fire limbo it does make a good spectator sport.
If you’re staying near the port at Mae Had or else waiting for your boat, one last favourite of mine is the Taco Shack. https://www.facebook.com/kohtaotaco
Although I’m loathed to admit it, sometimes when you travel around Asia, something different is a welcome change. Taco Shack is bursting with character with its walls covered in messages from travellers past. Very reasonably priced for a delicious lunch, be sure to load up on the homemade salsas. If you don’t have time to sit in, take one for the journey!