I calculated that it has been 14 years since the last time I visited Koh Tao. That was my first trip to Thailand when visited many of the southern islands.
Not surprisingly, the place has changed a lot and not for the better. I caught a catamaran from Chumpon. Last time I think I got a speed boat. For the size of the craft, I was surprised how sick in the stomach I felt and it didn’t even think it was choppy.
I am staying on Sairee beach, which is where I also stayed last time. I don’t know if it is just that it is high tide, but the sandy area of the beach was only about a meter deep and I don’t think you could have walked along very far before hitting a building, rocks or pillars of concrete.
Obviously things can never stay the same forever, but it seems like development has gone completely out of control, with little respect for the natural environment. Koh Tao is small and there are just a few main beaches where people stay, but everyone seems to ride around on motorbikes and those 4-wheeled ATVs.
My best memory I had all those years ago, was walking along dirt paths and coming across a beach where I was the only one snorkelling. I remember feeling like Robinson Crusoe at the time.