Koh Tao is much more of what I expected from Thailand's islands. Though hardly uninhabited, the island is much smaller than Koh Samui and has almost no traffic. Though the main village is known to get rowdy with divers coming up for air, there are plenty of smaller coves with idyllic beaches. After seeing in Koh Samui how busy the islands can get here, I spent a considerable amount of time seeking out a place to stay that would have a more secluded vibe. And I wasn't disappointed with the location of what I found, once I got to see it in person. Set in a bay with sandy white beach with half a dozen smaller hotels around, this was a great place to kick back in for 3 days -- read, swim, nap...
Soon after arriving, I became aware of the presence of a group of Russians when I heard the following exchange [they were discussing another hotel nearby, which they were considering moving to] -- apologies to non-Russian speakers, but these are cultural references that don't translate well:
Женщина: комната хорошая, но без холодильника.
Вторая женщина: зато кондиционер есть.
Мужчина: да, а колбасу в кондиционере хранить будем? А чайник-то есть?
Женщина: да зачем тебе чайник? Мы же кипятильник привезли!
They proved to be a fun bunch, and I ended up hanging out with these guys on several occasions. We've done some longer swims, beyond the bay's end, and got to see some marine life in deep crystal waters (though I have to say, it's not as impressive as the reefs of the Royal Diving Club in Aqaba, or some of the places in the Caribbean). Today, we walked over to the next bay, alluringly named Shark Bay, and I actually got to see a couple of small sharks swimming right beneath us.
Tomorrow, I'm moving to a different part of the island to stay at what hopefully will be another relaxed secluded spot, this one set in more rugged rocky surroundings.