John first came to Koh Tao to join a friend to do his divemaster course after travelling the east coast of Australia. The plan was to be here for three months but like a lot of people, he fell in love with the island and never went home.
John is now a successful business man on the island with four establishments; Island Travel with its Koh Tao Scooters, Reef Restaurant and Bar and Central Hostel, all of which are close to each other on one of Mae Haad’s main streets.
The first one in the story is Reef, where we sit down to chat with a nice cold beer...
‘There was no sports bar in the area and me being a sports fan, it seemed the logical thing to do’.
I notice you have a London theme at Central Hostel…?
This is my Dutch business partner not me, he said he wanted to do a London Underground theme and does all this Banksy style stuff inside…
All your businesses are pretty much next door to each other which is good…
Sure, yes the reception for the hostel is in Island Travel shop which is handy for the customers and they can come across here to Reef if they want something to eat and drink, we give them 10% off when they show their key.
Has Koh Tao changed much since you have been here?
I arrived in January 2004 and obviously there are more hotels and guest houses. People used to come here for diving only but they now come for a holiday, Koh Tao still retains its original charm.
John, do you have a life philosophy?
Work hard, play harder!
It was a pleasure to meet John just before he popped off for a well deserved holiday and what a great accomplishment to have these businesses which serve the wonderful travellers to Koh Tao.
Island Travel will help you with any travel arrangements or visa trips and Koh Tao scooters of course provide helmets which is a hot topic on the island at the moment.
You can stay at Central Hostel and know that you can get discount at Reef Sports Bar just across the road plus Island Travel is just next door and can help you explore the rest of the island, then when you’re ready, even further afar!