A Travellerspoint blog

Goodbye Thailand

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After our amazing 14 days in Phuket seeing our friends and diving it was time to head back to Bangkok. We found an overnight bus from Patong Beach that cost 900 baht ($30) and began the long haul back to the city of sin. The ride was fairly good – the music was turned off at 11pm and we didn’t crash, always a success in our books :)!

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When we arrived back at the same hotel we had stayed at two weeks ago we were hit with a 50 baht price increase – apparently they had painted our room so it’s now worth more.
We checked out the new Harry Potter movie as well. I thought it was rubbish – the ‘fight’ scenes were way too PG13 for my liking and considering the movie was soooo damn long the fun bits were too short

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^^ Goodbye delicious banana, chocolate street-pancakes

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^^ Condensed milk? Yes please!!

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^^ Blackout? Probably just someone fixing the power lines!

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^^ FOOD - gonna miss those delicious Pad Thai's

Before long it was time to head to the airport and embark on our next adventure – India!

Our visit to Thailand was really fun – We spent our time in Bangkok seeing naughty things and partying, while Phuket was more relaxed and back to nature. I must say that we didn’t really see the ‘real’ Thailand and we will definitely have to come back and avoid the tourist traps and head rural. We did have a LOT of fun though and after our ‘rustic’ time in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia it was a nice change to just hang out in the touristy developed areas. It was almost like having a holiday, during our holiday haha :)!

I spent $1,594.05 over 30 days in Thailand.

Cheers, Kyle

Posted by KyleMac 07:26 Archived in Thailand Tagged india bus flight bangkok harry_potter new_delhi patong_beach cost_of_thailand Comments (2)

Phuket - Advanced Open Water Dive Course

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Kirby and I couldn’t stop thinking about diving and all we would talk about each day was the stuff we have seen and the places we want to go diving, so we knew for sure that the advanced open water dive course was for us! Plus it was a piece of cake; all we had to do was some reading each night and a few examinations in and out of the water.

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First of all I have to say, the diving was absolutely amazing!!! Our first dive was at Bida Nok where we reached 25.7m deep with around 20m visibility. Before we hopped in Darren told us that if we were lucky we might be able to see a black tip reef shark, however he warned us that they were very shy so we had to keep alert so as not to miss it.

Well we should have bought a lottery ticket that day because during the dive we saw around 5-6 different black tips with at least 13-15 sightings, plus we got really close as well. Unequivocally the best dive we have done so far! Also saw a cheeky little moon wrasse steal a fish from inside a jellyfish!

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^^ Black Tip!!

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^^ Bida Nok

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^^ Our Chariot

The second dive was at Palong Wall where we got down to 18.9m with visibility around 7m. The vis wasn’t so great but we still saw things we hadn’t encountered before – like a giant red cuttlefish, really cool just hovering in the water chilling out. Also saw plenty of Banded Sea Kraits’.

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^^ Phi Phi Ley

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^^ I see you

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^^ Juvenile Harlequin Sweetlip

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The last dive on our first day was back at Shark Point. The currents weren’t as strong as last week so we were able to explore a bit more of the reef that we couldn’t access before. It’s a very beautiful dive with a great mix of sand and reef, and this time we were very fortunate to see a leopard shark :)!!

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^^ Leopard Shark!

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^^ Me and the Leopard hanging out

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^^ Smile!

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^^ Beautiful sunset on the way home

The second day couldn’t come fast enough and I was aching to get back in the water. The first dive of the day was in Banana Bay just off Racha Noi. It’s a deep dive and we got right down to 30m. The visibility was the best we have experienced so far, over 30m! It’s a trippy experience when you roll over onto your back and watch your bubbles float into the bright sky above!

Not long into the dive we ran into a huge school of Forsters Barracuda – and when you stay really still they begin to swirl around you like a huge silver tornado – breathtaking! (Literally – I used 150 bar in this 50min dive). There was also heaps of Lion fish hiding in the crevices and lots of amazing big boulders to explore.

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^^ Kirby directing us

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^^ Barracuda

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^^ Kirby with the school

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^^ Coooool Barracuda

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^^ Hi

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^^ Kirby exploring

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^^ Lionfish

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For the second dive we stayed at Racha Noi but went around to North Point. A wonderful boulder dive with heaps of open sandy areas where we spotted Lionfish, a Jenkins Whipray, heaps of big Travelly and an incredible Octopus that changed from white to brown as he scooted across the sand onto a nearby rock! This dive was made all the better by the visibility which was around 25m.

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^^ Racha Noi

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^^ Nice boulders!

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^^ Initiate Take-off Sequence!

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^^ Exploring the crevaces

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^^ Kirby

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Our 12th and final dive in Thailand was at a wreck off Racha Yai. There were two wrecks in this area – a local wooden fisher boat and an old dive boat. Surrounding the wrecks is a large, open sandy area where we encountered heaps of batfish, lionfish, flounder, and byno gobies with their shrimp friends.

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^^ Racha Yai

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^^ Going to the toilet at 21m is heaps funner…and warmer

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^^ Lionfish

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^^ Flounder

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^^ Goatfish

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^^ Thanks Darren!!

We had so much fun doing our open water and advanced open water courses. This is definitely a new hobby both Kirby and I will be enjoying for the rest of our lives. Big thanks to Darren and All4Diving who made this adventure possible :)! We can’t wait for our next diving adventure, although it might be a while since we are planning on heading inland.

Cheers, Kyle

Posted by KyleMac 09:21 Archived in Thailand Tagged diving thailand black scuba phuket shark wreck reef tip leopard stingray shark_point all4diving advanced_open_water_dive_course goatfish jenkins bida_nok palong_wall racha_noi north_point racha_yai Comments (1)

Phuket - Open Water Dive Course

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The first half of day 1 of the dive course consisted of us sitting in the classroom and watching the Padi instructional DVD’s and doing some written theory tests. Our instructors name is Darren, an expat Australian, he’s an awesome teacher and we got pretty lucky getting an Australian, there’s something about Australians understanding other Australians so we flew through the theory really quickly. After lunch we got fully kitted up and did some practice dives in the deep pool. It was heaps of fun and we had no problems at all which made us both even more excited for getting out to the reefs and experiencing the real thing!

Day 2 of our open water dive course and we were up bright and early, excited and waiting for the mini-bus to pick us up and take us to the boat. Unfortunately the weather was pretty shit today and it was rough as guts heading out. But nothing could quell the excitement and anticipation of our first dive, so while some of the veteran divers were looking pretty down we were buzzing with enthusiasm to hop in! We were scheduled to do Shark Point but because it was too rough we ended up doing all 3 dives that day on Phi Phi Lay. Some of the older divers weren’t too impressed but for us it was amazing! That first initial feeling of sinking into the deep blue when you deflate your BCD is something I’m finding very hard to explain. When you look down and there is nothing but that deep green and the noise of all the commotion on deck disappears a deep calm seems to wash over your body. I’m glad that for me it was an extreme sense of calmness that washed over my body because I’ve heard for some people its extreme terror and panic.

We saw a lot of cool stuff over the 3 dives which you can see in the pictures below – by the way Darren is an awesome underwater photographer! The deepest we went today is 13.7m and each dive was around 45 – 50 minutes long – which is great, but I was never ready to hop out :)!!

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^^ Pretty bloody excited!

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^^ Heading out

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^^ Me diving Phi Phi Ley

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^^ Banded Sea Krate

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^^ Kirby and Nemo

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^^ Awesome Scorpion Fish

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^^ Loving every moment

The weather ended up getting worse and Darren kindly organised for us to have a couple days break to let the bad weather pass – otherwise we would probably have had to dive the same spots again – he’s a super nice guy!

So on the 14th we found ourselves once again eagerly awaiting the mini-bus for another day of adventuring the deep blue seas. The weather was a bit better today and we ended up doing a dive on Shark Point and 2 dives off Koh Doc Mai.

When Darren told us that we were just about arriving at Shark Point I excitedly leapt up and ran to look out the window to see what it was like. All I saw was a small rock poking out of the swell. I don’t know why I was expecting to see something; I guess I was just still not used to the whole idea of everything being under the water. In fact I don’t know how people even find out that these are great dive sites because they look pretty boring from the surface. But as soon as we delved into the depths there was an explosion of colour as we dropped through schools of small fish to the reef below. There were heaps of anemones around with their clownfish counterparts and large snapper patrolled the outlying rocks, but the big draw is the prospect of seeing a leopard shark. They give Shark Point its name and are often found hanging out on the sandy bottom next to the reef. Unfortunately because the current was still fairly strong from the weeks bad weather we were unable to make it to the sandy patch, so no leopard sharks this time. The dive was still really amazing and we ended up getting a bit deeper to 18m.

The next two dives were at Koh Doc Mai which was completely different once again! Koh Doc Mai is a sheer wall and you basically just drift along it with the current. It was a very relaxing change to the energetic, high-current dive that we had just done at Shark Point. We saw heaps of cool stuff; eels, sea snakes, caves filled with big-eyed nocturnal fish, colourful nudibranchs, not to mention the large pelagic hunters like jacks that cruise the wall. Visibility was fairly poor – only like 7m but because you are right next to the wall that’s not a problem and Darren let us use his torch – legend. Once again we got down to 18m.

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^^ Koh Doc Mai - amazing wall dive

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^^ Colourful nudibranchs

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^^ Little box fish not bothered by us

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^^ In the deep blue whale shark spotting while we made our safety stop. No luck though.

We ended up paying 12,500 baht per person which is about $390. We thought it was a pretty good deal for the 3 day course and 6 dives – including all equipment.

After our last dive we were a bit sad that it was all over and instead of feeling fulfilled with our experience we were left with the insatiable lust for more. So the decision was pretty much made up for us, we enrolled in the advanced open water course and another 6 dives!! Wooo! Plus it was only another 10,000 baht or $310 for the course and 6 more dives. A good deal I reckon – go All4Diving!

Cheers, Kyle

Posted by KyleMac 13:08 Archived in Thailand Tagged diving thailand scuba dive phuket shark whale eel phi_phi_ley koh_doc_mai shark_point krate open_water_dive_course all4diving Comments (3)

Thailand Visa - Doing a Border Run

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Because we made the mistake of crossing the land border into Thailand without a pre-arranged visa it meant we could only stay for 15 days. But because we want to stay longer we had to do a border run to get a new 15 day visa.

Thankfully there are a lot of companies that specialize in this sort of ‘tour’ – we ended up paying 1500 baht ($46) per person.
It’s pretty straight forward – you basically stamp out of Thailand for half an hour and then stamp straight back in for another 15 days. Unfortunately it’s a big day trip from Phuket, most of which is in the mini-bus.

We were picked up at 6am and drove for 4 hours to Ranong. We stamped out of Thailand at Ranong jetty and took a 30 minute boat ride across to Burma. We stamped in…and then out of Burma and after an hour wait on the Burmese jetty telling the persistent kids that we didn’t want any weed, morphine, ketamine, or Viagra we were back on the boat into Thailand where we got a new stamp & 15 extra days.

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Once we were back in Patong we organised to do our open water dive course with All4Diving. Can’t wait to start!!

Cheers, Kyle

Posted by KyleMac 13:01 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand new burma visa myanmar phuket ranong border_run 15_days Comments (0)

Patong Beach - Time to Party!

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Today was a great day. We just hung out in Patong Beach and checked out the area, markets etc. Ellie and Steven treated themselves to fish eating the dead skin off their feet and then we headed down to the beach.

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We saw some crazy locals whose job it is to hang off the parasailing parachute to help guide/land the tourists when the ride is over. They get pretty bloody high! I’d be shitting myself if I was them clinging on without a harness.

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^^ Crazy

After relaxing around the beach we decided that tonight would be the night to party! So we headed off to the 7/11 to get some booze. Turns out you can buy a bottle of Sangsum whiskey, 2 bottles of coke, and a bag of ice for 200 baht ($6.20) - not bad! The girls also got some vodka and mixers for cocktails.

That afternoon we all just drank and laughed in Ellie and Steven’s hotel room. It had been a while since Kirby and I had hung out just having a great time with friends, so it was a particularly awesome day for us, and the night had yet to even begin :).

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After we finished our bottles and had a swim we headed out and had a MASSIVE feast! We ordered something like 7 dishes for the four of us and they were all incredible (making my mouth water as I write this!).

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Going out in Patong was a heap of fun, especially with good friends. It takes a little while to get used to all the sleaziness though, pretty much every bar has girls dancing on poles (albeit while they text on their phones) and prostitutes prowl the streets outside for drunken tourists, but I guess that’s part of the fun and something you come to expect of Thailand.

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^^ Pimp my Tuk Tuk!

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^^ Drunk people....the perfect customers for knives and killy things

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We found a little street bar that had ‘Connect 4’ – which I proceeded to get thrashed at 10 times in a row. They also had buy 1 get one free shots which got us really happy. The rest of the night is a blur of dancing, laughing, and good times :)!

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^^ Cheers

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^^ Getting dominated

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The next day was a lazy one; we just chilled at the pool and ate all day.

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Then it was time to say goodbye to Ellie and Steven as they headed back home to Australia. We had heaps of fun meeting up with you guys so feel free to join us on our adventure anytime you want :)!!!!

Cheers, Kyle

Posted by KyleMac 12:31 Archived in Thailand Tagged market thailand club feast party phuket parasailing nightclub patong patong_beach sangsum connect4 Comments (2)

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