Thailand 2009

Thailand 2009

A very short 18 day trip to complete my PADI Open Water certification on a liveaboard crusing the Similan Islands in the Andaman sea. Into Bangkok for the first time, then down to sleepy little Trang in the far Southwest, Across to Ko Mook, then ferry North to Ko Phi Phi. Another ferry to Phuket, and up to Khao Lak for the start of the liveaboard trip. Once back on dry land, overnight bus to Bangkok and back home…

That’s me on the right in the pic above!

Dive Thailand 2009

Dive Thailand 2009

Thailand for the 1st time.

Exploring the city

Exploring the city

Up too late to catch the wet markets, Bangkok’s Chinatown was still a nice little excursion, bustling and busy, but without the tiny alleys being clogged with people as they would be later in the day. Bigger than I expected, there was a lot of common zoning going on – If you ever need a couple of hundred stalls all selling Hello Kitty merchadise, this is the place to come to.

Grand Palace closed (yes, really)

Grand Palace closed (yes, really)

In Bangkok, when a tuk tuk driver tells you the Grand Palace is closed, you don’t believe him – even the dumbest farang knows that’s the cold open to a scam of one sort or another.

Travelling to, and winding down in, Trang

Travelling to, and winding down in, Trang

Tweet 15 hours on a second-class AC sleeper doesn’t sound fun, but turned out to be a smooth ride. Knackered by this point, I went with the flow on board – overpriced separate farang menu (nice spicy soup, D- cashew chicken), super-overpriced Chang – “What did you say, 120 baht for 660ml of 6.4% silky…

Onto Ko Mook

Onto Ko Mook

In theory, I’ve got to find out how to get from Trang to Kuantong Pier, then bag a space on a longtail to Ko Mook, then find my way across the island to Had Farang bungalows on the West side.

Emerald cave

Emerald cave

Exploring Ko Mook’s Emerald Cave

Traveller Ground Zero – Ko Phi Phi

Traveller Ground Zero – Ko Phi Phi

Passing through the Andaman Sea’s party island

Phuket pit-stop

Phuket pit-stop

Sadly, I was off Phi Phi on the 9am ferry without spending daybreak hanging out with reef sharks. But, big bright blue skies made the ferry trip over to Phuket an early morning pleasure.

School time in Khao Lak

School time in Khao Lak

You could never, ever describe Khao Lak as pretty – it’s a strip mall, happily strung out along dusty old N4 North to Takupua. If you’re in Khao Lak, you’re here for one reason – diving.

Similan diving perfection

Similan diving perfection

So, for those who don’t know about diving liveaboards (e.g. me, yesterday) the routine is very simple – up at 6am, then eat, dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, eat and finally sleep…