Beautiful beaches, secluded and fun!

Trip Start Mar 11, 2006
Trip End Apr 18, 2006

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Where I stayed
Gren Garden Resort

Flag of Thailand  ,
Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Off to Koh Lanta today, Liam and Lou (ftrom Guernsey) are coming with us for a couple more days. Though we may do a live-aboard PADI dive course, will have to see how much and how it works out. Went for a big snorkelling session yesterday, left in the morning and got back at about 3.30. Went out on a longboat and snorkelled arounf Koh Phi Phi Ley (the island the beach was filmed on). Cool snorkelling - we saw schools of barracuda, angel fish, big jellyfish, quite a bit of reef and literally thousands of other fish. Some of the smaller fish swim in schools of a few hundred to a few thousand! We were all hung over yesterday morning after a night out on Friday, Koh Phi Phi is a bit of a party island and the drinks are strong! Didn't feel very well for half of yesterday, but a big breakfast of eggs and sausages helped.

The ferry to Koh Lanta was a mission with touts onboard! They all wanted us to go with them to hotels - we didn't. The touts all hike up the prices and take a cut! Managed to eventually make our way (after a harrowing ride on a Tuk tuk) to the third beach down and am staying at the Green Garden Resort (the sign says Gren Garden). Nothing here is spelt correctly, i.e. Vegetarables on the menu or Pisza... This goes for the whole of Thailand! Back to the resort, at first we didn't like it. It was cheap at 550B (NZ$22) for a aircon room and has a restaurant, is family and the beach is good. Downside is it is far from town, though there are plenty of outher resorts with restaurants on the beach. We rented a scooter and went into town, which was a interesting 20 minute ride each way. We had to bargain for price as we only wanted it for 4 hours. The bargaining stated at 300B for 24hours or 80B per hour, so 300/320B for us. We managed to get it down to 150B for the 4 hours - which is usually about how it works around here! For example, a t-shirt may have an asking price of 300/400B but you might get it for 150 or 180B, though two might be 250B ($NZ10). It's cheap all the same! The trip to town wasn't too bad - we stuck to 50km/h or less and got there in about than 20 minutes. Helmets are optional but we grabbed some before we left. We went and checked out a couple of scuba places, first was Lanta Diver that looked OK but we settled on Kon-Tiki. Kon-Tiki was recommended to us by a dive instructor in Ao Nang and turned out to be a good choice. We start tomorrow with classroom work and some skills in the pool. We also grabbed some beer, breezers and other groceries from the mini-market. Groceries are not easy to come across near our resort and the beer is more expensive at about 100B for a big 660/630ml bottle (NZ$4). After arriving back we had a few beers and a meal with Liam and Lou and then retired to do some study (as suggested by our instructor).

27/03 (Monday)
Up early today compared to other days, about 7:30 - our pickup was at 8:30 so time for a shower and some breakfast. The course materal is a little boring in places but is practical and we will use it all. There are tests at the end of each chapter so we need to pay attention! We manage to complete 3 of the 5 chapters before lunch at about 2PM. In the afternoon we go to thew pool, which is at a local resort that isn't so busy at the moment. It's a nice pool and we get it to ourselves. For a start we learn to just breath underwater and then more and more skills. We finish up at about 5:30PM.

Upon arriving home a game of beach volleyball starts so I join in until it starts to rain too heavily. The thunder and lightning here is amazing, never had it so loud or bright! Lou and Liam join us for drinks and we have dinner at the restaurant attached to our resort.

We start the day extra early and are up at 6:30 to catch our ride to the Kon-Tiki dive boat. We have a few others on the the trip also - mostly Swedes but also an Aussie and a Brit. The Aussie and the Brit are PADI qualified so are doing some fun dives. One of the Swedes is doing an introductory dive and the rest are snokeling. The trip out to the first dive site on Ko Phi Phi Le is rough and takes about 1:45. The spot we arrive at is very busy with boats everywhere. We do a cautious dive and stay under for about 50 minutes. We manage to see quite a few fish types and some schools of thousands though the main idea of the dive is to give us a task for real diving. After lunch and a shift to a new site we set off again. This site is much better wit more coral and different fish. We find a spot on the ocean floor at about 9m and do our skills as learnt the day before. This only takes about 10 minutes and then we are off for a look around. We see a lionfish in a barrel sponge, a few puffer fish (not puffed), some tomato anenome fish and many others including an octopus! We arrive back in Saladan town and do some theory and are back at the resort within another hour.

Liam and Lou have decided they'll leave for the east coast as per their original plan though Lou is cutting here trip short so that she can arrive home with some money! As we did last night we play some volleyball and have couple drinks.

Scuba was good today. We did the final bit of theory and was in the pool mostly. The final exam wasn't too hard and now we just need to do some open water skills to pass. Tomorrow we go out on the boat early (7AM) and will have two dives. Only one will be skills and the other mostly fun. We're allowed to go down to 18 metres now so that'll be cool. I can't remember the name of the island we're goinf to but it sounds good with minimum 15m visability! I hope it doesn't rain tonight as that won't be help the conditions tomorrow.

30/03 (Thursday)
Have had another great day here. Now is 6PM and the sun is setting, the sunsets on Ko Lanta are always great and last a long time. Trudie has just been having a phone interview and I've been playing with the resort's monkey. They have had it since it was little, it's now 1 and like a one year old everything goes in its mouth including people! It gave me a bite but wasn't hard, more gummy. We had a game where it gets in a bent over position with its hands behind it's back and I give it a push! When we walked past after Trudie's interview it jumped on her leg and gave her a fright! Anyway, we've finished our PADI Open Water and are now certified to dive by ourselves down to 18 meters which is cool! We were a bit sad to finish the course as it has been so much fun. The last couple of days we have had a different instructor as our inital one was sick. The one we had the last two days was nice also, and Swedish. In fact all the instructors and Dive Masters are sswedish bar one. Our two dives today were down to 18 (or just over) and 15 meters respectively. They were great fun and we spent most of the time just cruising around checking out the fish and the coral. We saw some more Barracuda, Nemo fish and their cousins, puffer fish, trumpetfish but no sharks. We had another buch of Swedes on the boat for a snorkeling trip as well as a couple of Canadians who were also snorkelling. Oh yeah - we went in a large underwater cave that was pretty cool, we went in the front and came out a side tunnel. It was a bit dark and scary for a start but our eyes soon adjusted. We're having another quiet night and will grab some food soon. We head to Phuket in the morning and then on to Bangkok via Air Asia the day after!

Time to go bye!
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