FOR YOUR SAFETY, I implore you to read this whole review before booking with this company. What should have been a fun, normal day turned into a nightmare and could have been avoided if this company hadn’t been so negligent.
Start the day- it had been a rainy morning (more on this later)... It was still overcast and the water was choppy. The crew told us the first ride on the speedboat to Angthong for snorkeling would take 45 minutes. We stopped at Koh Phangan to pick up more passengers before heading to snorkeling. Altogether, we sat on that boat for 1 hour 45 minutes. 4 people on the boat got seasick and another injured her back on this extremely long, extremely bumpy ride. The crew had no medication, no solutions for the seasickness.
We arrive to snorkeling, and there is no land for everyone to recover from seasickness, it’s just a rock/cliff in the middle of the ocean. Hardly any shade in the water to stay out of the hot sun, and a putrid smelling boat. My wife and I got out to snorkel, which was fine enough, definitely murky where you couldn’t see too deep below you, but there were jellyfish in the water (APPARENTLY, it’s common knowledge that jellyfish surface after rain and the company still felt it was appropriate to take us to the deep water snorkeling where jellyfish could be present). The crew told us it was ok to snorkel, just watch out for them as they are generally not “dangerous”.
We watched for jellyfish the entire hour, avoiding them successfully, but in an instant, a jellyfish rose from underneath my wife, and stung her, wrapping around her stomach and both legs.
I swam her back to the boat, where the crew poured vinegar on her sting, which only made the pain worse(we later learned it may have been a seanettle, which you ARE NOT supposed to treat with vinegar). The crew said they had NOTHING ELSE to help her pain on the boat, but the island we were going to (and would take 15 minutes to boat to) would have a pharmacy and a doctor to tell us whether it was a dangerous jelly or not.
On the boat ride to the next island, her spine started radiating heat up and down and she was in excruciating pain to the point of trouble breathing. She needed to go to the hospital as soon as possible, but there was not a hospital at the next island. The tour leader said they would have a speedboat ready to take us back to Ko Samui, which would be a 30 minute boat ride. He then lead us to the first aid hut on Wo Tao Lab where their sorry excuse for emergency care supplies consisted of Tylenol, antidiarrheals, and contact solution. THAT. WAS. IT. Passengers on the boat carried more medical supplies than the hut contained.
Meanwhile, my wife is shaking, hyperventilating, hysterically crying out in pain, her extremities going numb from tingling and feeling her organs and nerve endings shutting down. The nurse at first aid kept saying “jelly not dangerous, jelly not dangerous” and the tour guide kept telling us a boat was on the way to take us back to Koh Samui, telling us “5 more minutes” and LAUGHING at the pain she was in, as if she were overreacting to a “little sting”
30 minutes later, I am LIVID that they haven’t put us on a boat to go back to Koh Samui to get her to an Emergency Room. They don’t even have any painkillers effective enough to numb the pain until then. The tour leader said he “needs permission from his boss to take her back” because there are “more guests on this island too and he has to make a decision”
This company has NO EMERGENCY PROTOCOL. They trust a “medical professional” who works in a little hut with no medical supplies who just looked at her sting and said it “wasn’t dangerous” and because of this, they took AN HOUR to put us BACK ON THE BOAT WE ARRIVED IN to take us to Koh Samui. The whole time HE LIED and said a boat was going to be there for us, a boat was then coming for us, and they ended up just driving us back on the boat that had been sitting there THE WHOLE TIME.
By the time we were on the boat, my wife was unable to walk, I had to carry her onto the boat, where she was barely conscious. After getting to the pier, we boarded a minibus the company called for us, and it took ANOTHER 30 minutes to get her to a hospital.
Once in the ER, we discovered she had a severe allergy to the jellyfish that stung her. The one redeeming quality of this company is that they covered the entirety of our medical expenses, but it DOES NOT EXCUSE their egregious negligence and lack of planning for emergency situations such as ours. Had it been a box jellyfish, she would have been dead, for the simple fact there is no emergency medical care on the tour and the crew refused to make an executive decision without permission from their boss.
The choppy water, weather, and jellyfish sting were obviously not under their control. HOWEVER, they could have skipped Angthong snorkeling due to the danger of jellyfish after rain, spent more time on the first island, showed actual concern and empathy for us, or acted with a sense of urgency for my wife who was visibly and audibly in excruciating pain.
Their negligence and lack of professionalism is entirely unacceptable and I would never recommend anyone to do business with them. I’m sure the day goes off without a hitch for most people, but god forbid you have a life threatening emergency, I promise you they will do nothing to make sure you get proper medical attention in a timely manner. Avoid at all costs for the safety of you and your family.