A Paddling Misadventure in Khao Tao

Stunning Khao Tao Reservoir
Stunning Khao Tao Reservoir

A Love Affair Continues in Khao Tao, Thailand

My family's love affair with the idyllic fishing village of Khao Tao, located just 15 kilometers south of Hua Hin, began two generations ago, when my grandfather first took up residence there, building a charming wooden Thai beach house on Khao Tao beach. We spent countless glorious days at the beach house; crab hunting, picking pineapples and collecting marvelous seashells for hours on end.

Sadly, the beach house has long since been torn down, but in recent years we have once again taken up residence in Khao Tao – not on the beach, but within walking distance to Had Sai Noi, another well known smaller beach located just minutes from Khao Tao beach.

My Mom, Khun Janchai Waralee Pipatpan in Khao Tao. In the background is the island that we paddled around.
My Mom, Khun Janchai Waralee Pipatpan in Khao Tao. In the background is the island that we paddled around.
Beautiful walkway at Khao Tao Reservoir
Beautiful walkway at Khao Tao Reservoir

Additionally, we are also within walking distance to stunning Khao Tao Reservoir, where a truly scenic winding pathway takes you past exotic floating lotus gardens and is perfect for sunset strolls and a few Singhas or Leo Beers with the local residents. Our sunset “bar” consists of a simple table and a few chairs in front of a popular mini-mart.

Khao Tao Reservoir
Khao Tao Reservoir

Had Sai Noi Beach

For years, Had Sai Noi beach was our own private playground. We were indeed spoiled and the only critters challenging us for beach space were a few hermit crabs. Today, the beach still has a secluded feeling even though there are plenty of umbrellas and beach chairs available for rent and masseuses for hire, along with a few beachfront restaurants. There is even a Mermaid watching over “our” beach, keeping a lovely eye over all her visitors.

Secluded Had Sai Noi Beach
Secluded Had Sai Noi Beach

Paddling to Turtle Island

Depending on the season, the sea is either calm or can be a bit dangerous especially with Had Sai Noi’s strong riptide. On one of the calmest of days, my husband and I decided to paddle out to Koh Tao (Turtle Island), about 2 kilometers off shore. Although we knew the fiberglass boat we were using wasn’t really seaworthy, we were in an adventurous mood and decided to test our karma by ignoring all common sense. After about 30 minutes working our way up the coast toward Khao Tao village, my husband started paddling toward Turtle Island.

Even though the sea was flat and there was not a wisp of wind, we were often pausing to bail water out of the boat. Not a good sign. And of course just to make our paddle a touch more dramatic, there were storm clouds looming far off in the distance, but in our glass half full mode, we were sure the clouds would dissipate before ever reaching us. We thus made our run for the island, paddling and bailing; and paddling and bailing. If we had plotted our course with a GPS it would’ve been truly funny with all the 360's and left and right turns we made along the way.

After our  paddling misadventure, my son bought us this much more seaworthy kayak.
After our paddling misadventure, my son bought us this much more seaworthy kayak. | Source

Turtle Island

When we finally arrived at Turtle Island, (after about an hour and 20 minutes) we saw a skinny monitor sea lizard meandering about his rocky perch for some tasty island tidbits. Spotting the lone lizard was actually exciting. We were explorers visiting an unknown land (or maybe we were victims of sunstroke). After he saw us, the lizard quickly scampered off into the sparse vegetation, so we headed onward to the north end of the island. Unbeknownst to us before our paddle, Turtle Island has a channel splitting the island in two. We passed through the channel and emerged on the other side of the island, where the water was a bit rougher and a slight wind was starting to blow.

Two hours had already passed since we had bravely, or stupidly, left the shore and it was time to head back. We took turns alternating paddling and bailing but soon the wind got so strong that our small boat was becoming entirely engulfed in water. We were sinking and sinking fast! No amount of bailing would save us. Finally, we succumbed to the inevitable and stopped bailing. The boat flipped over and we were scrambling overboard into the water. Climbing back on board was a bit tricky, but somehow we managed to flip the boat back over and gently hauled ourselves back into the half-submerged craft.

Khao Tao Reservoir
Khao Tao Reservoir

At that point, I was convinced that one of us had to swim for the shore (2 kilometers away) because there was no way we could paddle the waterlogged boat back with both of us on board. I slid back into the water and told my husband that I would swim alongside. He reminded me that there were huge jellyfish in the sea and seconds later I was back on board the boat, face down on my belly, and not moving an inch.

Even though the boat was full of water, it was still floating and with fierce determination, my husband paddled and paddled and paddled until at long last, 2 hours later, we finally were safely back at Had Sai Noi Beach.

Not surprisingly, our children were quite alarmed hearing about our misadventure to Turtle Island and recommended that we invest in a more seaworthy vessel. For our 29th wedding anniversary, my son gave us an inflatable kayak – a perfect gift to safely continue our paddles and love affair with Khao Tao!

Khao Tao Reservoir, Thailand
Khao Tao Reservoir, Thailand

Getting to Khao Tao From Hua Hin

Khao Tao is ideally located only 15 kilometers south of Hua Hin and if you don’t have transportation, simply hop on a minivan and for 40 baht per person, they will drop you off on the road leading into Khao Tao (just look for the Khao Tao sign and tell the driver that you are going to Khao Tao). There are several stops along Petchkasem road in Hua Hin to catch the local minivans, which run about every half hour.

Khao Tao Reservoir and Khao Tao Beach, Thailand
Khao Tao Reservoir and Khao Tao Beach, Thailand

Recommended Activities

Tour de Asia Bicycle Touring Co., Ltd.
4/34 Hua Hin Soi 96/1
Hua Hin, 77110
Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand

66 (0)8 1173 4469
http//tourdeasia.org

Hua Hin Pranburi Forest Park
Tel: (+66) 321608 or (+66) 97874812
Price: 400 baht for a boat ride
Duration : Boat tour approximately 45 to 60 minutes

Getting there: From Hua Hin, take the main Petchkasem road down south for approximately 25 kilometers. Follow the signs to the Pran Buri Forest Park.

Vic Hua Hin
62/70 Soi Moobaan Huana, Nongkea, Hua Hin
Prachuab Kirikhan 77110
Tel: 032-827-814, 032-827-815

For art lovers, Vic offers excellent theater performances and art activities.

Properties for sale in Khao Tao

Khao Tao Properites - JMPT Holding Limited Partnership

JMPT Holding Limited Partnership prides itself in offering the finest selection of Hua Hin, Khao Tao and Thailand properties. Please browse through our Featured Listings for more information on Hua Hin properties and the surrounding region. HUGE PRICE REDUCTIONS slashing hundreds of millions of baht on selected properties. Take advantage of this tremendous opportunity!!

Picturesque Khao Tao fishing village
Picturesque Khao Tao fishing village

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Comments 8 comments

PETER LUMETTA profile image

PETER LUMETTA 5 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

Been to Hua Hin but not to Khao Tao, next time I'm there I'll look for it, Thanks

Peter


Husky1970 5 years ago

Your words clearly conveyed your adventuresome paddle to Turtle Island. In reading it, I felt that I was sharing in your anxiety. Beautiful photos. Voted up and interesting.


Prisana profile image

Prisana 5 years ago from Thailand and Colorado Author

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the comment. I recommend a few hours at Had Sai Noi, followed by a sunset stroll at Khao Tao Reservoir.


Prisana profile image

Prisana 5 years ago from Thailand and Colorado Author

Sawasdee Kah Husky,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment. I first wrote about my paddling misadventure in an email to friends and family titled: "The last time we saw them they were headed out to sea." Needless to say, the fact that I had written the email should've implied that we did indeed make it back, but a few relatives actually wrote wanting verification that we BOTH made it back. I felt bad for alarming them, but thought it was truly funny that such a confirmation was seriously requested.


PETER LUMETTA profile image

PETER LUMETTA 5 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

Sounds like a plan to me, thanks

Peter


PETER LUMETTA profile image

PETER LUMETTA 5 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

Sounds like a plan to me, thanks

Peter


liesbeth345 profile image

liesbeth345 5 years ago from Thailand

Hi Prisana, we happen to live in Khao Tao too....and indeed it's a lovely place to stay! Some adventure that was...nxt time I'm on the beach I'll look out to the island for people who might get lost there :-)) Luckely you're all back safe!

Warm regards

Liesbeth


Prisana profile image

Prisana 5 years ago from Thailand and Colorado Author

Hi Liesbeth,

What a small world! We won't be back in Khao Tao until December, but this time we're bringing an inflatable kayak! Thanks for commenting and I look forward to reading your hubs and maybe seeing you on the beach.

Kind Regards,

Prisana

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