I’m meant to stay another night at Dancing Elephant, but Haad Rin is a ghost town now. Those who hadn’t already left yesterday, were recovered and leaving today so I figured I may as well go too. The next place on my list was Ko Tao an even smaller island north of Ko Pangan, famed for its exceptional scuba diving. Here is where Mike learnt to dive and then spent several months as an instructor for Mojo Divers.
Getting off of Ko Pangan you have a choice of ferry’s ranging in speed and price. The ocean was mill pond flat today so I went cheap, hoping that I would last the 2 hour crossing. At the ferry terminal hundreds of backpackers jostled for position at the front of the line before realising the boat was an hour late. We all sat around on our bags in the sweltering heat waiting for the ship, today was a hot one.
When the boat did turn up it looked like an oversized speedboat. Single hull, with tall bow, no flying bridge but a sort of wing on which instruments were mounted. Everyone pushed forwards, firmly but careful not to push anyone off the pier. There seemed to be the thought that there were nicer seats somewhere on the boat and you had to get there first. I planned ahead a bit as i saw some lads take up some floor space on the edge of the ship, their legs hanging over the edge. They had gone for the shady side of the boat because it was a really hot day, but I knew the boat was going north so would need to turn around. I went and sat my arse on the scolding hot side for 20 mins till we set off and, sure enough, was rewarded with a cool, breezy crossing. This massively helped me not throw up.
The boat ejected us directly into the town on Ko Tao. As usual there was a line of taxi men shouting for business, offering to take you anywhere on the island for 100b. Well I knew a scooter would be about 250b for 24hrs so went to find one. It was going to be a few hours till Phil arrived so I spent the time bombing around finding hostels and rooms of varying quality and price. Finally settling in a nice clean room with AC it was luxury compared to the scabby hostels I had been in up to now.
Picking up Phil on the scooter, we deposited our stuff in the room and went out for dinner. We found a great place with pretty cheap food and a show. There were 5 or so little topless Thai guys, glistening with sweat, twirling fire poi’s. They were really good to watch and clearly had a lot of control over the spinning fire balls, getting them ludicrously close to guests and themselves. One type of poi was used a bit further back from the crowd as it spat off fire in all directions like a gigantic human catherine wheel.
We popped back to the hostel briefly to grab some more beers. The landlady also ran a shop beneath the rooms and Phil had negotiated a good deal on the bottles. We headed up to a hostel called Taco Shack where some lads I had met at full moon were staying. We didn’t find them but met a new group of cool people to play pool with. When the hostel closed, we progressed to another bar where there were about 20 beer pong tables set up. There were ping pong balls flying everywhere and excited lads yelling victory to the sound of loud club music. It was a really good atmosphere and as usual, got you really drunk because you just don’t keep track of it when playing a game.
This had to be the last night of going out heavily for a while. I want to do some diving and I don’t think I could handle being on a boat hungover… Or, vomiting into my respirator underwater.