Thailand rightly gives off the impression of serenity and beauty, originating from Koh Phi Phi’s infamous appearance in “The Beach.” Now a tourism mecca, Thailand’s naturally picturesque landscapes are being embraced by the world! I’ll delve much deeper into this as we had such a wicked time here but I thought I’d drop in something that the pictures don’t show. Let’s take a trip down memory lane…
*Key points of the tale are in bold*
Koh Tao is awesome! Fact. Anywhere that allows you to get your PADI for £180 is going to get my seal of approval. I went with Pimp My Dive and as brilliant and professional as they were, I was slightly disappointed not to get a hippy version of Xzibit at the front desk with personalised scuba tanks.
Whilst I was doing that, piggy was with a “friend” that we met on our travels and hired a scooter to travel around the island. The reason friend is in inverted commas is because he lied about his identity and went on to steal pig’s phone but that’s not the worst part!
No, no. The worst part was with the Thai locals pig rented the scooter from. The infamous Koh Tao bar crawl, where anybody that’s been has most definitely got the vest to prove it, is where it started. Before the night and perhaps, more pertinently, before the buckets, pig dropped the scooter on the side of pavement, causing a scratch. Tut tut, slapped wrist, small fine, agree? Well our lovely shop owner disagreed.
As is part and parcel of renting scooters over there, pig handed her passport over as a security deposit. TRY AND AVOID THIS IF YOU CAN!
Customer service wasn’t firing the next morning as an all out row commenced, with the lady requesting approximately £200 before raising it all the way to £500. I was peacefully snoozing/recovering whilst this ensued with Rach and Ben being the ones to handle the situation. When I got there, things were extremely heated. I hadn’t even said a word before the husband decided he wanted to take me outside for a fight. I respectfully declined. As we left, the shop owner decided to hit piggy with a calculator. I’m not talking about those school calculators either! Those outrageously sized, monster calculators that they use to show you price. I think she was after a fight to the death, the way she was going but after diffusing the situation, we headed to the police station.
Now, the police are what you’d believe to be the safe haven. You would be wrong!! They are extremely corrupt unfortunately, that in plenty of cases, utilise tourists for their own gain making profit off of situations like this. We felt so unsafe that we were planning our escape at one point! If there’s still a Norwegian police officer there, he’s the worst of the lot!
We had to go to the embassy in Bangkok, get an international lawyer called Sathit (unfortunately, I don’t have the name of the company, although it was the one recommended in the embassy), arrange a fee of £100 for the retrieval of the passport, head back to Koh Tao and get it. During this time we had to; cancel our trip to Indonesia, sleep rough in McDonalds and buses and lose a lot of money on various travel expenses.
When we got back to Koh Tao, the passport was safe and sound in the police office. They left us with a parting bit of advice:
“Get off the island as quickly as possible and keep your head down.”
Two weeks later, two British civilians were killed on Koh Tao. Obviously I’m not stating the two are related but it is a stark reminder to be careful on an island that only started getting electricity twenty years ago! We heard some very savage tales from our scuba instructor too, which really made us sceptical of the whole Koh Tao experience.
Please don’t let this put you off however as Koh Tao is still a majestic paradise. Have fun but stay safe kids! 🙂