it’s been already a few days since I published my last post.
After a lonnnng trip (7 hours flight from Tokyo to Bangkok, then 7 hours waiting in Bangkok, then 9 hours night bus to Chumphon, then 2 hours waiting, then 2 hours ferry), I am now enjoying life in Koh Tao.
Koh Tao is small island in the south east of Thailand. 70 years ago, it was still inhabited and it was named like this (turtle island) as beaches were always full of turtle. After having been used as a prison island, Koh Tao started developing in the 80s, when interesting diving spots were discovered.
The island is now known as one of the best spot to dive in thailand, with the similan islands on the west coast, and due to the competition between the huge number of diving schools, prices are very low.
However, as the island is quite small (9 km long, 3 km large), there’s nothing really special to do outside diving.
After a short diving refresher course, I spend the 2 first days in a Padi advanced open water course, where I dive to a wreck for the first time. Very impressive. However, concerning the fishes, for the moment, I still prefer Egypt.
The other days, I dive only twice in the morning and keep the afternoon to walk a bit around the island and enjoy fresh coconut juice 🙂
After a stay in Japan where everything is clean and structured, it’s quite a culture schock to experience Thailand.
Life in the streets is quite challenging :). Streets are shared by everybody, busses, cars, motorbikes, pedestrians and any kind of animals (dogs, cats, chicken, ducks, etc…) and although the official side to drive is the left side, moving in the streets is more based on auto regulation 🙂
Thailand is not a country structure and processes-centric (as opposed to Germany or Japan for example). Signs or instructions seem to be only recommandations but sometimes thing seems to be also dependant on the “authority’s good will”.
For this, I think that the fact that I look like a local seems to help me.
For example, at the airport customs, I was queueing with people from my plane, when a custom guy pointed at me and told me: “You, you don’t have to wait, just pass”. Or for the bus to Chumphon, the girl saw me among many western customers and gave me a seat for me alone.
Food is also a nice topic. I expected food to be spicy, but not thaaaat spicy 🙂 Even with “mai pet” and a big smile, a nice amount of chili is never forgotten in the food. However it might also come from the fact that local people think that I am also a local.