On the 13th day of our trip, we made the long trek from Koh Lanta, on the bottom right of the Adaman Sea, to Koh Tao, on the top left of the Gulf of Thailand.
Twelve hours, two busses, three ferries, and a ride in the back of a truck bed, turned taxi, later, we made it to the hotel we'd been most looking forward to the entire trip.
After bug-filled bungalows and hard hostel beds, an actual hotel felt like complete luxury. As if we weren't excited enough, when we arrived, they told us that they'd decided to upgrade our room to one with an amazing balcony and an 180 degree ocean view.
When we woke up the next morning, we'd decided to rent some mopeds to see a little bit more of the island. We spent the majority of that day checking out our new area, driving up and down precarious, steep, dirt roads, and eating out in the main town area.
Unfortunately, something I ate that day didn't agree with me (which turned out to be a whole other story), and we spent almost our entire second day on Koh Tao holed up in our hotel room because I was too sick to leave.
Although being stuck in our hotel the whole day sucked when there was so much we wanted to see and do, and so little time to do it all, it was also just the nudge we needed to just take a day of relaxing and doing nothing, which we didn't do much on the trip. It can be really overwhelming to be in a completely different country than your own, and to just go-go-go all the time, and a day of rest was exactly what we needed.
Fortunately, with the help of the emergency antibiotics we'd been prescribed by the travel clinic, I'd felt good enough the next morning to do the one thing we'd really been looking forward to doing while on Koh Tao- taking a day trip to the Nangyuan Islands!
After breakfast, a huge storm started to roll in, and we weren't sure whether or not it would clear up in time for us to be able to visit the Nangyuan Islands, like we had planned. After watching the lightning, hearing the thunder, and getting soaked by the monsoon rain, the skies cleared and we jumped on our mopeds and rolled into town. We found a long tail boat to take us there, and spent the rest of the afternoon hiking to the viewpoint, walking around the islands, seeing hundreds of fish and sea creatures while snorkelling in the clear waters, and eating good food in the one restaurant on the island.
The Nangyuan Islands are as beautiful as it gets, and they were definitely the most "Thailand" feeling of all the places we'd been. With the clear, kool-aid blue waters and fluffy white sand, mixed with the lush looking jungle towards the middle of the islands, it made for a pretty spectacular sight.
It was the perfect last day of our adventures in the south. The next morning, we hopped back into the truck bed for a ride to the pier for the first leg of our 12 hour travel day to Bangkok.