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vacation from our vacation

THAILAND | Friday, 2 February 2007 | Views [568] | Comments [1]

if anyone is still reading!!  we now find ourselves on the lovely island of ko tao in the gulf of thailand, far away from the mountains and chill of northern vietnam.  we spent our last days in nam touring hanoi and the nearby halong bay.  we signed up for what was supposed to be an overnight trip on a boat called a "junk" with kayaking and snorkeling, but the trip turned out to be another fine example of tacky vietnamese tourism.  our first stop on the boat was this giant cavern, discovered by a fisherman during a typhoon in 1993 and rapidly developed into a tourist trap, complete with fluorescent lights, fake springs and "legends".  we then journeyed to a fishing village, consisting of tiny floating houses reminiscent of seattle where the inhabitants were eager to sell us "biscuit oreos" and pineapple from their rowboats.  finally we achieved our total of one hour of kayaking for the entire trip, not what we thought we were signing up for...   we spent the night on the junk in a beautiful bay with about thirty other junks.  we managed to have a good laugh about it all with our new australian friends carl and lou, who made the trip quite memorable over countless tiger beers.

needless to say we were anxious to finally get some sun and ditch our raincoats and shoes.  we flew from hanoi to bangkok, and then boarded a bus to champon that same night.  by 7 am we were on a boat to ko tao, a small island in the gulf of thailand known for its diving.  the island was bigger than we expected, and quite developed but tastelfully done.  there are very few large buildings, no gaudy hotels or condos.  mostly bungalow nestled among the trees. 

we spent the first several nights in a simple room overlooking the ocean, with competing bars wafting their techno music through our window.  we happeded to choose the most mellow, and cheapest dive company on the island for our first taste of the reef.  whereas most boats headed out to dive at 7 am, our group of german divemasters preferred the more humane 9:30 am departure.  this turned out to be quite wise, as we usually arrived to a dive spot as half a dozen of other boats were leaving.the diving has been fantastic!  the visibility is unbelievable, the coral and fish plentiful and healthy, the water warm and calm. 

after a couple of days we decided to take a break from the dive scene and techno and sought more peaceful accomodation a 10 minute hike along the beach from our first room.  we found ourselves a tiny rustic bungalow on the beach consisting of a bed, a toilet, shower and a hammock, our dream come true!  unfortunately, we have not been able to escape the techno music yet, as the one bar near us is holding a two-day trance party starting last night...

luckily, randomly, we met up with our friends todd and cat, who are doing their open water certification as we speak.  it is fun to share stories as they have traveled for the past month throughout thailand and cambodia.  we plan on happily staying right where we are on ko tao for the rest of our trip, heading back to montana on february 8th.  our daily choices consist of which beach to nap on, which spf of sunscreen to use, where to eat and whether we should go snorkeling, kayaking or diving.  this is a vacation from our vacation.

Tags: Beaches & sunshine



Kendra! Sounds like you are having an amazing trip. We had a blast in Thailand, Hanoi and Ha Long but missed out on all of the backroad adventures. Oh, and I started laughing when you wrote about Ha Long. We were on a really cool junk and got to drive the boat but we slept in for the "amazing cave". ha ha. Take care and enjoy the rest of your trip in sunny Thailand - if you're still there!

  Kate Feb 7, 2007 5:16 AM

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