A visit to koh tao with an interview in mind

A Visit to Koh Tao With an Interview in Mind

Koh Tao, or Turtle Island, is not a big island; indeed it only covers 21 square kilometers. It is situated in the Gulf of Thailand off the western seaboard coastline, and it only takes about one and half hours to get there by high speed catamaran from Chumpon.

The majority of turtles that the island was famous for have moved away, and now it is known as one of the major dive sites in Thailand.

There is only one major road on the island, straddling the eastern side of the island, connecting the northern communities with those in the south. Other than that, you will need to take care when traveling around as most of the other roads are dirt tracks.

I find that the best way to get there from Bangkok is by train to Chumpon and then the catamaran. All in, the one way cost is only about 1,200bt and you can buy both tickets at Hua Lampong railway station in Bangkok. Depending on the connections, it takes about twelve hours to get to the island from Bangkok

Recently I went there to meet up with my mate Shane and Sao, his lovely wife. Sao runs a business supporting the dive industry on the island, and concentrates on renting out DPVs. For the uninitiated, DPVs (Diver Propulsion Vehicles) are normally used for diving and snorkeling and can go to a depth of 30 meters

Shane has had a number of business ventures in the U.K. and Portugal. I wanted to find out from Sao what she had learnt from him, and also, what her experience was of running a business in Thailand mainly catering to foreigners.

Allan – Ok, Sao, just how much have your learnt from Shane in running a small business?

Sao –   Well, it was quite a novelty moving to such a small island, learning to dive and then starting the underwater scooter business. It has been an interesting learning curve, and I am lucky that generally all the people I have to deal with are all in all a friendly bunch.

Allan – What is the market like for DPVs on the island at the moment?

Sao – We are lucky that most of the dive schools on the island are happy to use our services, and frankly, diving with a DPV is great fun!!

Allan – What has been your most frustrating business moments on the island?

Sao – Getting parts for the Seadoo DPVs. Despite the fact that Seadoo is a household name in the water sports industry, we normally have more broken machines than working, and getting spare parts is a nightmare. At the moment 70% of our DPVs have broken down and we have waited nearly a year for spare parts. We are hoping that Seadoo can get their house in order and we can get back to offering the best service available.

Allan – And what is your favorite part of the job?

Sao – Getting out there and talking to people every day, and best of all hearing that our clients have had a great time with the DPVs

Allan – What advice would you give to someone starting a small business in Thailand?

Sao – If you plan to start a business offering goods or a service, make sure you can rely on your suppliers. The buck stops with you. !

As I have only been to Koh Tao a couple of times, I also thought that it would be good to get Shane’s ideas on what to see and do on the island.

Allan – I know that Koh Tao is famous as a dive site, so what else would you recommend to do and see during the day?

Shane—There is not a great deal to do on the island except water sports and chilling out, but we do have a mini golf and a bowling alley, paintball, rock climbing and of course water skiing, wakeboarding, and snorkeling.

A round the Island snorkeling trip makes a great day out, available with various companies for around 650bt, stopping in five different bays around the island, but do remember the sun block!!!

(MELT offers a round the Island trip for 650bt, including fins, mask, refreshments/soft drinks, tire riding and a boom net.

Allan – Anything interesting to buy on the island, e.g. to take home as presents?

Shane – Nothing much is produced in Koh Tao and most things come from the mainland, However, Avalon offer large range of aromatic and massage oils, toners and various natural beauty products not readily available everywhere. Free advice is available from Andrea (Avalon@suthep.com).There is also an up and coming U. K. clothes designer recently arrived on the island – Nikki Noodles can design and personally tailor clothes for ladies at a fraction of European prices.

Allan – Where would you recommend eating? 1. Tasty and not expensive. 2. Excellent and not too expansive?

Shane – There are lots of places on Koh Tao to eat and drink. Eating and drinking establishments on Koh Tao have been opening at an alarming rate in the last couple of years

For myself, I enjoy a relaxing drink after diving at the Safety Stop in Mae Haad, where Western and Thai food is available on the menu. Brian, the owner from South Africa, also makes a mean Biltong (dried beef.). South African style!!

Dirty Nellys, the Irish Pub in Mae Haad, offer a western menu and a tasty pint of Guinness with live music some evenings. Choppers, in Sairee Village, also have live music some evenings, have large screen TV’s and show most sports events. Opposite Choppers is ‘Morava’, an up-market restaurant offering their speciality of fondue. Just down the road is Papas Tapas, offering an extensive menu of very tasty tapas dishes. Portabello offers a range of main courses including pizza and pasta, and there is also Brother Restaurant which has fantastic steaks.

There are so many places on Koh Tao to eat drink and be merry, it is probably easiest just to list a few places to try.

Chopsticks, in Mae Haad, has authentic Chinese food and is also a nice change from Thai food. The house speciality is dim sum.

The Golden, which is between Mae Haad and Chalok Ban Khao, has an all you can eat Korean Barbeque for 139bt.

Safari – Mae Haad – Great Steaks and pizza and pasta also available.

La Matta – Mae Haad. Pizza & pasta, takeaway and delivery available

Caf? Del So l-Mae Haad – great breakfast.

Zest – Mae Haad – for a great sandwich/baguette and delicious coffee; a perfect start to the day!!

Farangos – Mae Haad and Sairee Village – pizza and pasta.

Blue Wind Bakery – situated on the beach in Sairee – homemade bread and a very varied menu. It also has accommodation available at a very reasonable price just meters from the beach.

Shalimar Indian Restaurant – Sairee Village – authentic Indian cuisine in a walled garden surround. Reasonable prices with curries to die for.

Noori Indian Restaurant – Sairee Beach. Situated right on the beach next to the Lotus Bar, Indian food incorporating some of the best naan breads I have ever tasted.

Lotus Bar – Sairee Beach – if you are under 50, this is a ‘Must Go Place’ and a starting point for the night life; meters from the sea, and a place to warm up before going on to the late night dancing a little bit further down the beach.

Sun & Moon bar is a 1st floor bar in Mae Haad at the dockside, and a great evening place. It has a playstation 3 and free Wi-Fi is available for their customers, plus a balcony to relax on as you watch the sunset. A cocktail as you ‘watch the sun go down’. is what makes the holiday. A perfect place to just do it! Loads of information and advice on Koh Tao is also available. Just ask at the bar staff, and, if they cannot help, then ‘They Know Someone Who Can!’  – Simon on 0810789963

Allan – And how about where to go to party after dark?

Shane – After Dark Parties!!! There is always the beach, and most of the late night places are on the beach; sit on the sand enjoying a drink, or get up on that dance floor and show everyone what John Travolta didn’t do!!!  The late night places are all in the same area, and some are open whilst the others shut. There is Maya, In Touch, Moov, one of which is open every night. Then there is the Castle on the way to Chalok Ban Khao that has a party every couple of weeks; well wor
th the wait!!! But don’t expect to get much sleep. The party at the Castle is an event!!!!

Allan – Finally, what should you not do on the island?

Shane—Simply, Two Things.

1. Avoid drugs. The penalties are harsh. Whilst in Europe a marijuana joint is a minimal legal infraction, in Thailand, generally, the penalties are over the top, and a joint can cost you a couple of thousand US dollars.

Class ‘A’ drugs will definitely put you in prison for many years to come.

2. Do Not Use the front brake on your motorcycle . There is so much sand on the road that if you use the front brake, you will most likely lock the wheel and fall off.

Any damages to the rental bike and you have to pay over the odds for repairs, so be careful when renting a bike, and always check for previous damage!

Johnny from Chopsticks offers the ‘Rent A Wreck’ Rental service – ,john_stafford75@yahoo.co.uk – has older bikes which work well but may not look pretty. Cosmetic bike injury he tends not to charge for!

To the uninitiated Koh Tao is a wonderful Island to visit; relaxed, friendly and somewhere you have to visit before you die. !!!!!

With the question and answer session over we retired to Sairee Beach for a few well deserved beers. A big thanks you to Shane and Sao for a wonderful insight to life on Koh Tao!

Shane and Sao can be contacted on 085 791 4610 or 084 840 5997 if you are interested in hiring a DPV, or indeed want to know more about Koh Tao.

Need to book some dives, find accommodation? Give us a call and we can point you in the right direction.

And finally, as usual, a big hello to my friends at the Thailand Web Zone, www.thailandwebzone.com, which is a new Thai social networking and Thailand community site. Share information in Thai forums and Thailand articles, meet people, share photos, music and video, find & submit information on Thailand travel. Make new friends from all over the world! For those readers who have not visited TWZ, go have a look now!


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Опубликовано 06 Oct 2008 в 3:15 pm. Рубрика: A. Вы можете следить за ответами к этой записи через RSS.
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