I continued my exploration of greater Ko Tao today; but unlike yesterday's adventures, today I just wandered around on foot. From my new base at Chalok, I donned my hiking boots (which I haven't been wearing much, of late), and covered some serious ground. Ko Tao's a pretty small island, and virtually everywhere is reasonably accessible on foot: this makes walking a good option for reaching most places, especially considering how much safer it is than motorbike-riding on those horrific dirt roads.
Cute little monkey that I saw on the side of the road, just north of Chalok.
My first destination of the day was Ao Leuk, a teeny secluded bay nestled in the south-east part of the island, on its eastern side. It was about 45 minutes' walking, from Chalok, to get to Ao Leuk: the road was sealed for most of the way, but it was unsealed and seriously dodgy for the final stretch. Ao Leuk is a quiet and tranquil place, but the sand on the beach is really grainy and salty, and is not nice at all (although at least they have sand); and for some reason, the beach is also covered in washed-up garbage. Must be because it faces east, and because it receives such a strong incoming tide.
The beach at Ao Leuk.
Ao Leuk bay, as seen from the southern headland.
Ao Leuk wasn't as nice as I'd expected it to be. Nevertheless, it took me a while to get there, and it did at least have a beach to lie on. So I relaxed on the sand for a while, and then munched on some lunch at the one-and-only restaurant in the area, before heading off once again.
I'd just finished walking back up the steep dirt road that forks off to Ao Leuk, when I bumped into a group of three older Germans, who were headed to Tanot Bay on foot. Tanot Bay is the next bay up from Ao Leuk, and it just so happened that it was my next destination for the day; so I tagged along with the Germans, and hiked over to Tanot Bay with them. They're staying at a resort over there: they walked over to Mae Hat today, in order to go online and to book a ferry ride. It was quite a hike to reach Tanot Bay — but once there, I was well-rewarded. Although even more remote than Ao Leuk, Tanot is a bit more developed, and it has a much nicer beach (with almost no rubbish). However, Tanot is also rather a rocky place; and like Ao Leuk, its waves are also a bit too big for swimming to be pleasant there (seems that the whole eastern side of the island gets the waves, since it's unprotected).
Lovely Tanot Bay.
Beach at Tanot Bay.
I relaxed away a few more hours on the sand and in the sea at Tanot. By the time I began the long trek back to Chalok, it was getting dark. Walking back was much more pleasant than the walking I did earlier in the day, as it was nice and cool after sunset — with the only catch being the inevitable swarm of mozzies around dusk. It was a good 1½ hours of walking to return to Chalok — by the time I was back, it was well-and-truly time for dinner.