Koh Tao, Thailand — After spending two weeks in Phuket, I hopped on a ferry to explore the islands off the coast of southern Thailand. I started with Koh Phangan, which is infamous for its Full Moon and Half-Moon parties. Then, I eventually made my way to Koh Tao. I initially planned to focus on Scuba diving until I reconnected with Javier who I met in Bangkok. Coincidentally, he was attending 10th Planet’s camp with Nathan Orchard in Koh Tao and invited me to drop by for training. Although the visit was not in my plan, I was happy to join Javier and others for an amazing seminar on this tropical island at 10th Planet Koh Tao.
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Koh Tao (Turtle Island), a tiny island in Thailand, creates an island trio along with Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. The island is the smallest in size but this serene and magical island is gaining in popularity as Koh Tao’s turquoise waters and white sandy beaches basically remain untouched compared to the other two islands. Koh Tao is almost exclusively known in the world for scuba diving due to its warm and clear water with diverse marine life.
Next to Sairee Beach, 10th Planet Koh Tao is located within Monsoon Gym & Fight Club. 10th Planet Koh Tao is the only 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu affiliate in Southeast Asia. With its affiliation, 10th Planet Koh Tao focuses on strictly no-gi Jiu-Jitsu and hosts various seminars from 10th Planet black belts including Marvin Castelle and Nathan Orchard. I have heard about the franchise name and its fame, but it was my first time visiting a 10th Planet gym. As you can see from the photos, Koh Tao’s hot and humid weather made the training session extremely challenging, and not having to wear a gi was a bliss.
Nathan Orchard is a 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Eddie Bravo, who has been testing himself in various martial arts disciplines for years. Nathan’s teaching was rather unconventional. With his wrestling and MMA background, he had a unique way of combining his background into Jiu-Jitsu. The class began with wrestling takedowns followed by a variation of back mount escapes and transitioned to various submissions. Traveling along with another 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Phill Schwartz, the class itself was quite dynamic and comprehensive. I was happy to add a different perspective to my BJJ game.
As Koh Tao’s economy is centered on tourism, it is normal to see visitors from all over the world. With the academy’s a week-long Jiu-Jitsu camp in Koh Tao, there were about 15 students from the United States to Australia. Though the backgrounds of students were different, they stayed focused with one goal of learning Jiu-Jitsu at this camp. Besides special 10th Planet camps, 10th Planet Koh Tao offers the opportunities every day to train BJJ on the island. Combining its beautiful nature and scuba diving, Koh Tao remains one of the ideal holiday destinations. I will be back for more diving and training. See you soon, Koh Tao!
Location & Facility
10th Planet Koh Tao is under the name of Monsoon Gym & Fight Club near Sairee Beach in Koh Tao. The outdoor area has punching bags and a boxing ring for Muay Thai training, while the indoor facility is fully matted for grappling. The gym is located near Sairee Beach, which is a fairly touristy area so you will not have a hard time reaching the facility (The island itself is already small to begin with). (Google Map: Link)
Joined with Muay Thai and HIIT classes, the classes are offered every day. Note that BJJ is offered from Monday to Saturday at 6 pm.
The drop-in fee for one group session is ฿300(~$8USD). The academy also offers monthly packages with unlimited access.
<<Exchange Rate: ฿100 =~$3 USD as of December 23rd, 2018>>
— 10th Planet Koh Tao’s Website
Things to do
- Scuba Diving — If you are in Koh Tao, chances are you probably are thinking of scuba diving. It is known for one of the cheapest diving sites in the world. With its warm water temperature, you won’t even need a wetsuit. I would highly recommend trying Scuba Diving.
- Sunset View Point — Koh Tao is also known for its sunsets. Various viewpoints will charge a fee. I ended up going to an abandoned house near a radio tower with friends and had one of the memorable sunsets in my life. Do it for Insta!
- Beaches in Koh Tao — Despite its size, there are countless options when it comes to choosing a beach in Koh Tao. Sairee is the island’s main and longest stretch of beach. At the same time, it could rather be crowded as there is the largest concentration of resorts, restaurants, and bars. If you prefer a peaceful atmosphere from Sairee’s hustle, June Juea, a small bay hidden on the west coast of the island, would be ideal.
- Nightlife — After photogenic sunsets of Koh Tao, the island gears up for a vibrant nightlife scene. Bars and clubs by Sairee Beach line up to present live music, DJs and fire dancing shows til dawn. With each venue’s unique theme, the street along the coast makes Koh Tao an ideal place for a pub crawl. Don’t forget (or forget) to get a Sangsom bucket when you are in Koh Tao.