I had been dying to go to Thailand since I was a child. Having the travel bug from an early age, I could not wait to experience the culture, the food, the views and most importantly, the underwater life. I waited until later in life to learn to scuba dive, and I knew that I wanted Thailand to be the first spot I went. In May of last year my boyfriend Troy and I decided to make it a reality.
From the moment we got off the boat onto the pier in Koh Tao, a small, scuba diving friendly island off the east coast of Thailand, we were completely overwhelmed. The dock was full of people shouting “taxi taxi taxi” and random hotel names at us. From the crowd of people I saw a sign for the hotel we had booked and we hurried past the massive crowd to go and meet the van. We waited with a European couple that was smoking, another very common thing in Thailand. When we arrived at the resort (which seemed like quite a long journey up and down winding roads) we were taken to a pristine, private resort. The reception was outside and we were greeted with cold, nice smelling towels infused with some type of herb and some local juice. We had reserved a cabana directly on the beach and we a bit disappointed when we got to our hut about 50 feet off the beach itself. We walked down past the gigantic infinity pool to the beach bar. We sat at one of the tales and had lunch. I got the customary Pad Thai and Troy got a club sandwich (or so we thought). Troy’s sandwich came with every meat possible, some cucumbers, an egg, and who knows what else. I guess that is what you get for ordering an American style dish in Thailand.
After lunch, we took a stroll down the private beach and then back to the room to take a quick nap before meeting our scuba diving instructor, Lorne, and his crew at 1 pm. At 1 we went up to the top of the resort and 2 European looking guys in polo shirts were waiting for us. “Troy and Stacy?” the taller, skinny one said. Close enough. We assumed we would be getting in a car, but instead were asked to get on the back of their motorbikes (the preferred transportation of both tourists and locals alike in Koh Tao). We hopped on and off we went. It was rather awkward putting my hands around the waist of a complete stranger. The ride was a little scary with twists and turns and so many bikes flying past. We finally got to the other resort where we would begin diving and immediately I saw there was something wrong with Troy. He showed me his leg and it was all white in one spot (Troy is mixed with a caramel complexion). He told me he had been burnt on the back of the motorbike because there was no coverage on the tail pipe. What a way to start our trip in Thailand.
We headed down to the office to talk about our dive training thus far and get some type of first aid for Troy. After discussing a few things, we went down to the beach to assemble our gear for the first time and get into the water. We dove directly from the beach. It took me a little while to sink a few feet as I didn’t breathe the proper way but wow, was it awesome to finally be diving and seeing things. We dove around the shore and saw a few small fish and even a turtle, not bad for a training dive.
After the dive Lorne and his colleague Yuri took us back to our resort with a quick stop in town at a pharmacy for Troy. The pharmacy was closed (even though we were well within its open hours) so we went to hospital like place instead. Lorne told us we are in the Thai world now and things don’t always make sense. The woman at the hospital did not look pleased to know that Troy would be diving again tomorrow with the burn on his leg. We bought cream and a few bandage type things (they don’t have Band-Aids in Thailand, especially not on the islands) and went back to the hotel. Troy was very stressed about his leg as we didn’t have the proper care items. The bandages were too large and needed to be cut and we of course did not have a scissors. I went to the reception and got a pair of scissors and began to cut sticky bandages and cotton bandages for Troy. We went and took a short nap before dinner although Troy could not really sleep as he was too stressed.
When we awoke, we went down to the resort restaurant and sat at our reserved table right by the water. The tables are ground level and you sit with your feet crossed, meditation style. The setting was so beautiful; it was dark by this point so you could only hear the peaceful crashing of the waves into the shore. We had a cocktail and ate some dinner. We went back to the room and went to sleep early to prepare for our next day of diving. Day one of our unforgettable trip was complete.
Scarlett is Vice President of Operations at Infomous and a Global Ambassador at A World At School. Her goal in life is to scuba dive the world one country at a time. She is passionate about all things venture capital, technology, travel and sports.
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