We have been here coming on a week now, so naturally we have found a few favourite places. Our morning routine has developed to include a coffee at our favourite house followed by some sort of sandwich or english breakfast, Thai style. This time we had eggs on toast at the coffee house and did a bit of remote work before england rose for the day. This decision was helped by the thundering rain, persuading us to stay put a while longer.
Today’s activity was to find some climbing to do. I went along to “good time adventure” basically the only shop on the strip that had any climbing gear for rent. Here I was greeted by an angry dog and a western guy that had been on the island too long and answered the same questions too many times to be polite. All of the ideas I had from the guide book were useless because the rock was under water if coastal or unmaintained. Obviously, as a local with depth of tidal knowledge I knew this… although he did offer me 50 baht discount on all his rental prices because he assumed I was a local from wearing the Mojo Divers tshirt. He was just prickly. So not being able to do the climbs I wanted coupled with the continued bad weather, we sacked off climbing altogether.
Instead we went for a motorbike ride to the east side of the island to explore what could be found. The road went high up into the mountains and then steeply down to a small bay. So steeply that with the poor brakes, I asked phil to jump off and walk down the really steep bits.
We reached a nice quiet bay, with some very comfortable looking bungalows over looking the sea. I had to sate my appetite for climbing so went for a scramble across the beachside rocks. There was a really nice slab of rock stretching into the jungle with a curving undercut leading to a nice jamable crack straight up the centre. It wouldn’t have been a very tough climb but it suits my style. I had my shoes and harness with me, having lugged them all over New Zealand and into Thailand. But, no rope, trad gear or belay partner prevented me exploiting the new route possibility. Add it to the list of reasons to return to this island…
I also went for a briefe snorkel around the bay. There were quite a few fish dotted around the reef that I had already seen. I spent quite a bit of time just watching them because being on the surface I wasnt worried about running out of air. The sea had started to get rough. With the sky threatening more bad weather i got out of the water. Mindful of the steep road out of this bay we made our escape before it hit.
It stayed dry in the end and we found our way up to a viewpoint called Love Koh Tao. There was a spectacular view from here and a cafe to get a beer with which to enjoy it. It was a nicely positioned cafe with a great deck sticking out into thin air. Im very sure theres no planning department out here or structural code that is followed but it seemed solid enough. It also didnt have any sort of guard rail. We just sat there swinging our legs off the edge enjoying the moody sky view. It’s refreshing to know a deck like this can exist where your own safety is your own concern. And guess what, i didn’t fall off or spontaneously jump off or injure myself in any way.
Now I had to return the bike. It would have been useful in the morning to get us and our stuff to the boat. But it was leaving at 6am and the bike shop wouldn’t have been open and I needed to get my passport back.
That evening we had been recommended an italian pizzeria by a local. It was tucked down a sketchy side alley away from the main parade of shops. Eventually we found it and enjoyed, possibly, the best pizza I’ve ever had! It was exactly right, with fresh ingredients that have that clean, uncomplicated taste. Good amounts of olive oil and mozzarella. It was pizza heaven!
I can see why Mike spent a year here working. This island has got a great relaxed vibe, good food and plenty to do. It might be a bit expensive comparatively but i like it a lot.