Taxi fares on Koh Tao are a total rip off. It’s a minimum of 100 baht per head to go anywhere, and the drivers pile people on the back of an open pickup truck then drive like complete madmen with no regard for if you fall off the back or not. Payment is collected before passengers get in the truck, so who cares if anyone arrives in one piece anyway? They’ve already made their dime.
On my second day in Koh Tao, the talk of Sairee beach had been all about “Castle Party”. I’d explain what it is but I’m not even sure – we never got to go to it. Or rather, we arrived, but were told the power was out (the recurring issue on Koh Tao) and nothing was happening. I’d traveled a whole 3 minutes down the road with 10 of my dorm-mates and now we all needed to go back. “100 baht each,” again demanded the driver. In plain English, this guy was about to make $70 for a max 5 kilometer drive. Sorry. No.
We climbed back into the truck and demanded our return. Unfortunately the driver wasn’t about to take us anywhere without a fare. He stepped on the gas and quickly threw on the brakes, sending us flying off our benches and gripping each other to not fall off the rear. Then he stormed away, leaving a truck of 11 party-goers, arms folded, cranky, drunk, yelling for anything to happen. Nothing did.
The driver was fine with waiting, but our group, not so much. Several people ran off to haggle with other taxis, but I would’ve rather walked an hour than give anyone any more money. I’d been ripped off enough times in Thailand, and this whole thing seemed like some scheme for cars to take people out to a party that wasn’t happening tonight because of the power, and they knew it.
In what felt like a split second and a complete “fuck dis shit” moment, the four English girls and I completely bailed on it all. We jumped off the truck and hopped on the back of the motorbikes of 5 Canadian guys who had just arrived at the party and were heading back to Sairee upon seeing the party was closed, speeding away from the scene with not much more than a “toodles!” wave goodbye. When all else fails, jump on a stranger’s motorbike? Sorry to everyone else who still got stuck paying those dirtbags. Sorta.