When you read and hear about Thailand, the small island of Koh Tao is very often highlighted as the most beautiful and exotic place. Unfortunately we had a slightly mixed experience.

Koh Tao was ‘discovered’ 15-20 years ago. Back then turtles still crawled ashore on Sairee Beach to lay theirs eggs (also the reason for the name ‘Turtle Island’). The busy main street was a dirt road with no honking cars and the primary source of income for the inhabitants was selling coconuts – if only time travel was an option.

Straight upon arrival it’s very obvious that the island is worn, dirty and heavily burdened by the many tourists who flock to obtain a divers certificate on the assembly line and to live a careless budget life. We understand them very well. We came here for the same reason. So we are not a slice better than all the others.

Well maybe, as we have yet to meet someone who also has chosen to use the hottest hours of the day walking along small, winding paths through the dense palm forest and crawl around on the steep cliff to reach the small beaches scattered as small blue lagoons along the coast of the island.

This was how we spent our first day on the island. We simply walked the entire west coast.  Here we experienced a completely different side of Koh Tao and discovered that “the most beautiful and exotic island” actually has some merit to it.

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