Tuesday, April 10, 2007

More Koh Tao Pictures

I've added captions to the pictures I already posted in "Live from Koh Tao." Here are a few more pictures to accompany my essay "The Island" in the last post.

Welcome to Paradise. This is the main street of Mae Hat, leading inland from the pier. This is at six in the morning, it's usually a whole lot more hectic.

A side street in Mae Hat. Most of this is five years old or less.

The road from Mae Hat to Ao Chalok Ban Kao. There's development much of the way, but motorbikes and sôngthâew (shared taxis, usually pickup trucks with benches in the back) cruise up and down this road full tilt.

Sairee Beach on a quiet morning. The further you get from Mae Hat, the nicer the accomodations become. The last few on the north end of the beach are downright swanky.

View from Mae Hat beach, looking northward towards the end of Sairee Beach and Koh Nangyuan, a small three-part island a few hundred meters off Koh Tao.

The south end of Mat Hat beach. From here the coast is broken into several small, rocky coves, then rounds a headland to Ao Jun Jeua. Development is pretty muted from here to Chalok.

View of Ao Jun Jeua, seen from near our bungalow.

Having dinner at Taraporn Restaurant. It sits on stilts at a point on the western end of Ao Chalok Ban Kao. Across the bay you can see a large rock formation at land's end. This is Buddha Rock. Use some imagination and it does resemble a sitting Buddha.

A typical longtail boat. Note the automobile engine, shaft, and propeller mechanism all mounted on a gymbal for maneuvering. Many of the engines are air-cooled VWs, and they sound rather like a small airplane or helicopter engine when cruising by.

Longtail boat at anchor in shallows off Sairee Beach.

The downside to cheap development. This is a pretty good example of the eyesores found around the budget accomodations on the island: exposed water & sewer pipe, discarded concrete and tin, assorted rubbish. I'm not only blaming the bungalow operators: tourists seem to have done their part in littering all over, including the beach. There were a disgusting number of cigarette butts to be found in shallow water.

A few self-portraits. Yes, I think I was the whitest guy on the island, even after a few weeks of pre-trip tanning. At least I didn't burn to a crisp. I did get a bit darker by the time we left.

Enjoying the view over drinks at Moondance Bungalows' beachside restaurant and bar.

"Just Another Boring Koh Tao Sunset," to cop a phrase from Hamish Reid.