Trouble In Paradise – My Koh Tao Horror Story

Imagine waking up in a ball on the floor of your dormitory, with no idea how you got there. Your face is covered in blood, your hair is matted with more blood, half your front tooth is missing and you have a pretty bad pain in your head. That was me about two weeks ago, and this is my Koh Tao horror story. (

We had only been on the island for 2 nights, staying in Koh Tao Dive Dorms. The room I was in had no aircon – so essentially I was sleeping in hell. I woke up in the middle of the night to turn the fan on higher and at some stage between standing up and reaching for the fan, I fainted. In the process I thumped the back of my head so hard on the sharp corner of the bunk bed opposite me that I cut it open and gave myself a concussion. This then caused me to fall forward, banging the front of my head on the floor and knocking half my tooth out. A nightmare to say the least.

I wasn’t sure the extent of the damage until the next morning (I forced myself to go back to sleep as I was informed there is no hospital on the island and the doctor does not open until 9am!). By 8.30 I was all set to go to the doctor but the reception in our hostel said it was a half hour wait for a taxi. As you can imagine I was pretty upset at this stage and this woman was not helping my emotional state. The fact that I was still covered in blood did not seem to faze her!!

Eventually I got a lift into town and made it to the clinic. Was told the wound was quite deep and I would need to get 4 3 stitches in the back of my head. They also had to shave off quite a large chunk of my hair to access the wound. Not that anyone would notice…my hair is more Lion’s mane than human hair anyway.

I was a little shell-shocked at the bill but I got on with it and hoped and prayed my insurance would pay me back…another great reason to never leave home without travel insurance!!

As for my tooth, I waited a whole week until I got it fixed, despite it looking like I had gotten in a fist fight and the fact that breathing was beginning to be painful in air-conditioned rooms!! Why wait? I am literally petrified of the dentist. Honestly it is my biggest fear sitting on that chair, strangers poking metal instruments in my mouth and then been handed a bill that would swallow up an entire pay check.

Anyway I could not handle the pain any longer and finally went to a dentist on Koh Phangan to get it fixed. Turns out that my fear of the dentist combined with a pretty bad hit to the head ensured for an eventful visit. I just about survived the hour it took to fix my tooth then I jumped out of the chair, legged it to the bathroom and projectile vomited into the toilet bowl. On target, thankfully.

Despite a few bad headaches and the odd spout of vomiting, I am most definitely on the mend. Thanks to everyone for all your kind messaged of concern – you all rock! Here’s hoping for a full recovery within the next week or two. xx

Side note: I am dead serious when I say you should never leave home without travel insurance. I actually wrote an entire post about the importance of travel insurance before travelling. If any of my Irish readers are looking for the right insurance to choose, Travel Insurance Ireland seem to have a lot more information on the matter than I do. Just be sure to shop around and buy the package that is best for you!

6 thoughts on “Trouble In Paradise – My Koh Tao Horror Story”

  1. Kosuke Yamamoto

    Hi Janet, I feel your pain!! I think Ko tao is one of the worst places to get injured as you can’t get out, there is no facilities, and nothing more than hills and beaches. That’s an adventure getting tooth fixed in Koh Phangan. I don’t think many tourists have experienced that! Thank you for sharing your bad day and sorry for enjoying it 🙂

  2. Pretty horrific and sad to hear. I had a bike accident in Chiang Mai and broke my two front teeth and the medical care of exemplary and relatively inexpensive (6 months of dental work for less than EUR1, 000). So, it’s definitely not like that everywhere in Thailand but I’ll keep it in mind for ventures to the islands. Heal well.

  3. I’m so glad to hear you’re okay and recovering. What an incredibly scary story, and you sure are right: Travel Insurance is SO important!

  4. Glad to hear you’re ok Janet. That must have been terrifying in every way possible. I had an accident on my moped in Koh Tao as well, but nothing as bad as your story, that island must be cursed.

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