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It stopped me in my tracks today to realize I have just one week left in Koh Tao before I take off on a little mini-trip around Thailand. As much as I’m looking forward to hitting up Koh Samui, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pai again, I’m quite hesitant to be strapping my backpack back on. And for once, I listened to that little voice inside my head telling me to slow down — instead of spending the rest of my time in Thailand up north as I originally intended, I’ll be returning back to Koh Tao once again. It’s just where I need to be right now.

The past week was filled with tons of stressful deadlines balanced out by beautiful sunsets, a morning of diving with the rockstar dive crew over at Roctopus, and giggle-fueled dinner with friends.

Photo A

Dive Boat Koh Taoblessed shrine on the font of a dive boat

Photo B

Diving with Roctopusgorgeous textures of the sea

Photo C

Diving with Roctopusa shy new friend

Photo D

Koh Tao Sunseta sunset that stopped me in my tracks

Which photo is your favorite?

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79 Comments...
  • Silvia
    October 6 2014

    Love all of your underwater photos! It sounds like a good call on returning to Koh Tao – sometimes a girl just has to breathe! I hope things have settled down there now that the murders have been solved (“solved?”).
    Silvia recently posted..A Journey Through Buddhist Hell in Singapore

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      The last week it feels like tourism is picking back up and it is making the island feel much more normal. I’m sure the upcoming Full Moon Party has something to do with it… there’s always a boost around this time!

  • becky hutner
    October 6 2014

    B ‘cuz it made me laugh. I can’t even figure out what’s going on with Nemo…is that some sort of purple bag he’s playing in?

    I hear you on returning to Koh Tao. When I find a place I love, I’m definitely less motivated to seek out others. It’s almost like I’d be cheating!!
    becky hutner recently posted..The Jews of Barcelona

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      It’s an anemone that has turned on itself to feed! (I actually didn’t know that until this dive… there’s so much still to learn!)

  • Kathryn
    October 6 2014

    B & C! The fish peeking out of the periwinkle “bag”…what is it?

    And C is just stunning with those 3 eyeballs trained right on you.

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      An anemone that has turned on itself to feed! The ocean never ceases to amaze.

  • Kristen
    October 6 2014

    Photo D! When you posted that sunset picture on Instagram it stopped me in my tracks/scrolling too! Amazefest
    Kristen recently posted..A Czech riverside lunch

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Haha, yes, I’m always wanting to post things on Instagram too… which makes for some pretty comical camera juggling whenever I see something cool πŸ™‚

  • Kristin from MN
    October 6 2014

    Photo B! I can’t get over the periwinkle color in the ocean. What is that?!

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      It’s an anemone turned on itself to feed! Can’t get enough of the color and texture.

  • Shaun's Cracked Compass
    October 6 2014

    For the first time I have to say all-of-the-above. But the purple bag in B, wow!
    Shaun’s Cracked Compass recently posted..Boston – Part 1: More Than A Feeling

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Glad to hear I finally stumped ya πŸ™‚

  • Justine
    October 6 2014

    Sad that your time in Koh Tao is coming to an end. But I’m excited to hear about your next adventures in northern Thailand, especially Pai which is one of my favorite places. Anyway, photo B is absolutely spectacular! I love the purple and the little fish poking out!!
    Justine recently posted..Flying Solo: A Visa Run to Penang

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      I adore Pai too! I’ve definitely been dreaming of going back since the last time I was there. Special place!

  • Ashley | Ashley Wanders
    October 6 2014

    I love the underwater photos but I have to go with Photo D!
    Ashley | Ashley Wanders recently posted..Friday Foodie Photo

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Sunsets like that are hard to beat πŸ™‚

  • Janice Stringer
    October 6 2014

    Hi Alex,
    I think for me this time it has to be A. I remember the first time I sat aboard one of these boats as the Captain blessed the trip. It was amazing. Glad to hear you’re going back to Koh Tao!
    Janice Stringer recently posted..Taking on Thailand.

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Just for a little bit, not long enough πŸ™‚

  • Wow, I really can’t decide this time! Love the colors in A, B has me looking up scuba diving lessons and underwater camera housings, what the heck is that in C? so cool. But photo D is a prize-winner. So beautiful – I can see why you are going back!
    Sonja at Breadcrumbs Guide recently posted..Strategy Guide for your Flight to Cusco

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      C is a spotted stingray! They are little guys, about the size of a dinner plate πŸ™‚ I love them!

  • NoΓ©
    October 6 2014

    WOW!
    I’m also in Koh Samui right now πŸ˜€

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Enjoy! I bet you guys get the same gorgeous sunsets πŸ™‚

  • Ashley of Ashley Abroad
    October 6 2014

    A is absolutely beautiful!
    Ashley of Ashley Abroad recently posted..What I Learned from Giving Up Meat, Alcohol and Complaining in India

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Thanks girl. Those colors caught my eye… I never tire of the photographing the boats here.

  • Andrew Low
    October 6 2014

    Photo D is amazing…..the Land of Smile never fails to impress me…reminds me of the sunset in Krabi…. suay jung loei

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      I am definitely always smiling too when I am here! Land of Smiles indeed.

  • Great job for listening to your voice and slowing down, I’m all for that. Take advantage of your career and lifestyle flexibility if you feel stressed and don’t feel guilty for it. You’re on such a trajectory right now I imagine it’s hard to take a break! As for the photos, B for the win – I’ve never seen an underwater wrap like that before!
    Danielle @ The-Lifestyle-Project recently posted..The Story Behind My Favourite Photo on Instagram

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Yeah, it’s hard to slow down a ball that’s really rolling. But I am trying to do just that. Thanks for the wisdom, and reminder.

  • Polly
    October 6 2014

    These are all gorgeous. I think I’ll go with A, as I love the graphic quality, the composition, and the colors.
    Polly recently posted..Pure Footballing Magic

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      That’s my fave too, Polly πŸ™‚ Thanks for voting!

  • Krystle
    October 6 2014

    Photo B! It makes me realize that I need a new camera for underwater photos. I love how bright and vivid your pictures are. Glad you are enjoying your time in Koh Tao! I need to add this place to my bucket list! πŸ™‚
    Krystle recently posted..Saturday Between the Hedges

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Check out my obsessions page for my favorite underwater setup! It’s addictive πŸ™‚

  • Jason
    October 6 2014

    A. It’s so tranquil and mesmerizing.

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Glad there’s some love for my favorite shot of the week, too!

  • Petra @ We've Got The Bug
    October 6 2014

    B and C! I love your underwater photos – how on earth do you make the colours so vibrant?!
    Petra @ We’ve Got The Bug recently posted..Tulum, Mexico: Tacos, hammocks, and ruins

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Using natural light to my best advantage, and a little bit of post-processing as well! The best case scenario would be to have an off-camera flash, but I’m working with what I’ve got!

  • Kristen Noelle
    October 6 2014

    B and D. The little bag of sea life is just too cute, and that sunset… glorious!!
    Kristen Noelle recently posted..Charmed by Lisbon & Saint Anthony’s Festival

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Thanks Kristen! I just love something about the phrase “little bag of sealife,” ha.

  • LOVE photo set B! Looks like you found Nemo πŸ˜‰ I really hope you start selling some of your photos. They truly are beautiful!
    Katelyn @ Diaries of a Wandering Lobster recently posted..Strolling the High Line in NYC

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      That’s an idea! I definitely would like to, someday.

  • Cat
    October 6 2014

    D! That sunset stopped me in my scrolling-down-the-page tracks.
    Cat recently posted..Frozen – #FriFotos Theme

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Best compliment an internet-attention-span generation blogger could get πŸ™‚

  • Steve
    October 6 2014

    Ooh Alex. The sunset wins hands down. I’m choosing D this week.
    Steve recently posted..September 2014 – All Change

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      It was a beauty, and the perfect start to a friend’s birthday celebrations πŸ™‚

  • 2 tickets to Wonderland
    October 6 2014

    Your spotted new friend on photo C this time πŸ™‚
    2 tickets to Wonderland recently posted..Cyclades, here we are

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      He’s a little shy, but we’re getting closer πŸ™‚

  • Kendra Granniss
    October 6 2014

    Photo D is amazing! I can’t believe sunsets can actually look like that.

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Here in Southeast Asia they can and do often πŸ™‚ Actually, Gili Trawangan had the most frequent and beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. They were unbeatable!

  • Chris
    October 6 2014

    Photo B for me!

    Can’t wait to start grabbing a few underwater snaps myself! πŸ™‚
    Chris recently posted..Mexico City: Part 4 – Something Blue

  • Darren C
    October 6 2014

    They’re all great photos Alex, But I’m going to go with D, can’t beat a nice moody sunset.
    Darren C recently posted..Pattaya October Weather

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      This one was pretty special. It’s been cloudy every day since, too… so I’m glad I savored it.

  • Charlotte
    October 7 2014

    Def B & C! Just because I can’t wait to go diving in the gulf of Thailand next week! I’ll be in Koh Samui to visit my dad en do some diving!

    • Alex
      October 8 2014

      Amazing! Make sure you get out to Sail Rock… best dive site in the Gulf!

  • Amanda Kendle
    October 7 2014

    I love the colours of the boat in A. But of course they are all beautiful!
    Amanda Kendle recently posted..Do young children remember trips – is it worth travelling with your kids?

    • Alex
      October 8 2014

      Thanks Amanda! Yes, I also love the color of that black water…

  • Melanie Fontaine
    October 7 2014

    My favorite is Picture D! I already admired the sunset when you posted a photo of it on Instagram, but seeing it on a big screen makes it especially impressive! The colors are simply amazing! Hope you enjoy this week on Koh Tao! πŸ™‚
    Melanie Fontaine recently posted..Norway |Β A Hiking Trip to Iconic Preikestolen

    • Alex
      October 8 2014

      Thanks Melanie! Trying to cherish every last second πŸ™‚

  • the paper boat sailor
    October 7 2014

    I’m headed to Thailand in less than a week, and this’ll be my first time in Koh Tao (I’d gone to Phi Phi instead last year). Your photos are making the week-long wait even harder!
    I’m a huge fan of black and white, and love your b/w school of fish. Though every other photo looks brilliant. πŸ™‚
    I’m planning to do a dive in Koh Tao and was wondering about the difficulty level of the dives there. I’m new to scuba diving and plan to grow old with it πŸ˜€
    the paper boat sailor recently posted..Far Out: A Photo Essay on Scotland’s Outer Hebrides

    • Alex
      October 8 2014

      Koh Tao is the perfect place for beginners. Warm calm waters, nice shallow dive sites, and good visibility most of the time πŸ™‚ You’re going to love it!

  • Mike of Mapless Mike
    October 7 2014

    I’d go with A & D, but as always, I love all your photos!
    Mike of Mapless Mike recently posted..My Spanish Piso

    • Alex
      October 8 2014

      Thanks Mike! That is a much appreciated compliment πŸ™‚

  • Rika | Cubicle Throwdown
    October 7 2014

    I usually go for the diving photos (hmmm, wonder why) but I’m loving Photo A this week.

    Glad you listened to yourself and are heading back to Koh Tao! How much longer do you have in Thailand?
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..On Being A Chameleon

    • Alex
      October 8 2014

      I fly back to the states right before Thanksgiving. Sad to leave, but happy to spend that time with the fam. It’s my favorite holiday!

  • Stef
    October 7 2014

    Photo D. Even though I love your underwater photos, photo D looks like the perfect moment of a day.
    Stef recently posted..Crossing the desert from Marrakesh to Fez – a photographic journey Part II

    • Alex
      October 8 2014

      It was… and it’s been cloudy every day since I got that shot! So I’m glad I savored the last good sunset for a while πŸ™‚

  • Rekha Devarapalli
    October 8 2014

    Photo B is quite interesting!
    Rekha Devarapalli recently posted..Our anniversary trip to Maui, Hawaii

    • Alex
      October 8 2014

      The underwater world is endlessly fascinating! And anemones are no exception πŸ™‚

  • Caroline
    October 8 2014

    Your underwater photos makes me want to start diving, something I have never wanted to do before – They are very lovely!
    Caroline recently posted..PICTURES: Animals around the world

    • Alex
      October 8 2014

      That’s what I love to hear Caroline! My goal is to get everyone underwater and loving diving πŸ™‚

  • Jimmy Dau
    October 8 2014

    I am a sucker for sunsets and clouds!
    Jimmy Dau recently posted..The best of France – Photos.

    • Alex
      October 8 2014

      I actually said the sentence, “I am really into clouds right now” when I took that photo. Ha!

  • Love all your photos so this week I’m voting on them all πŸ™‚ Staying in Thailand, and returning to Koh Tao, sounds good for the soul and I’m sure you’ll have plenty of chances in the future to explore Thailand some more. We just gotta follow our instincts.
    Miriam of Adventurous Miriam recently posted..How to Plan a Yoga Retreat in Bali

    • Alex
      October 10 2014

      Especially when the instinct is “slow down!” Travelers have to protect themselves from burnout — there world isn’t going anywhere πŸ™‚

  • Amy
    October 9 2014

    So hard to choose! I think I’ll go with B though as I love your underwater pictures. I’m not a diver (maybe one day) so I love getting a glimpse of the underwater world through your lense!
    Amy recently posted..Changing Direction – Travel Plans for 2015

    • Alex
      October 10 2014

      Aw, thanks Amy! And I love sharing it with you guys. I can’t imagine diving without a camera anymore!

  • pete
    November 17 2014

    D – the sunset brings back the memories of my trip to Phuket and drinking cocktails by the pool and watching the sun go down on a perfect tropical holiday

    • Alex
      November 17 2014

      I’ve still yet to make it to Phuket, Pete! One of these days πŸ™‚ Thanks for voting.

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