So apart from a teeny post about a gorgeous hostel, we admit, we’ve been fairly absent from WordPress. Some may call us lazy, unmotivated, undedicated… you’d be right, I’m afraid.
But before judging us too harshly, all we ask is that you imagine being in our position. On a tropical island, the sea lapping at our hostel’s doorstep, 37 degrees and glaring sun… snorkelling in crystal clear waters and lounging lazily on white beaches, taking long walks through coconut farms, making friends with stray dogs… now try motivating yourself to sit inside long enough to write a blog post. No? That’s what I thought.
So while we’re being honest about our laziness and lack of motivation, let me just quickly add that the only reason we’ve managed to glue our asses to a chair and forced ourselves to do some work is because we went out last night, and we’ve not got enough energy to do anything else.
When I say going out, you might imagine us at a bar or in a club, drinking some shitty beers, stumbling home in the early hours of the morning in our pretty dresses and perfect makeup. But this is Thailand. Shitty beer is probably the only accurate part of that image. Now replace the bar with ladyboys dancing in stripper heels. Replace the club with a beach. Replace stumbling home with limboing under flaming poles and jumping over skipping ropes set on fire. Now dunk the pretty dresses in sea water, and smear fluorescent paint all over the pretty make up. And there you have it- an accurate representation of our night out.
Welcome to Koh Tao.
At this point, those of you who’ve travelled through Thailand are nodding in understanding at the mention of this name. Those of you who haven’t are wondering whether Koh Tao is a type of tropical disease or a noodle dish. Koh Tao, meaning Turtle Island, is a tiny island situated in the Northern part of the Gulf of Thailand, that has made a name for itself for three main reasons.
First of all, it’s every traveller’s paradise. Beautiful white beaches, dotted with palm trees, warm seas, gorgeous restaurants and cafés, mesmerising hostels, hotels, resorts. Great for going out- if you hadn’t gotten that from earlier, great for meeting people or being completely alone… in short, it’s paradise.
Secondly, it’s the second cheapest place in the world for scuba diving. The teeny island contains over sixty scuba diving schools and more than thirty diving sites. Yearly, dozens of backpackers get sucked into doing their open water PADI, are persuaded to do the advanced course, then their masters… and are never seen again. Currently, over two thousand westerners inhabit the island, working as scuba diving instructors, accepting the fact that it will never make them rich, knowing full well they receive the perfect island life in return.
The third reason Koh Tao is notorious is revealed by it’s nickname: ‘Death Island’. The place is riddled with media stories about “mysterious” deaths and missing person files. ‘Yeah right.’ Jacob, our newest scuba diving instructor-friend scoffs. According to him, “Death island” is, as Trump would put it, a classic case of ‘fake news’, promoted by a Koh Samui (its neighbouring island) which was losing tourism to Koh Tao. A journalist asked to redirect tourism traffic from Tao to Samui thus rifled through the islands police files and pulled every story which could sound mysterious, and combined them into one piece. The article spread like wildfire: was Koh Tao safe? Were these deaths a coincidence? Who on the island wanted tourists dead?
The answer? Nobody. The islands’ mafia profits as much from tourism as resorts do, so not them. The deaths, Jacob assures us, are unrelated, tragic instances, and not mysteries. A French tourist found hanged in the forest sounds mysterious enough, until you read that he attempted suicide by hanging a week earlier in Bangkok, which medical records prove, but which the article conveniently omitted. A girl’s inexplicable disappearance has the same mysterious ring to it… until you find out she was a free diver who went out to sea every day by herself, attempting more and more extreme dives without supervision, which again her log proves, but which the article again omitted.
In either case, whether or not any of these stories have substance, mystery deaths or not, the pair of us are pretty damn happy here. I mean, yes Myrthe has a sunburn on her butt, but now she can make jokes about her ass beinghot! Okay yes, a flaming skipping rope singed the hair off our legs, but now we don’t have to shave! And yes fine we are questioning our sexuality thanks to those slut-dropping ladyboys (if you’re a girl who has a crush on a ladyboy, are you homo- or heterosexual??) but questioning keeps the mind healthy, am I right?
Lots of love from the sunburnt beach bums of 231daysofsun ❤️