With our travels in the north behind us, we turned to the last portion of the trip – the tropical south. Our last 10 days was focused on the beach and ocean. According to the guidebook, the best place to scuba in Thailand was Khao Lak. The town basically exists to support trips to the nearby Similan Islands.
I finished the bookwork and pool dive portion of my PADI certification in Wisconsin through Breezeway Bubbles, which I highly recommend! The last step was four “check out” dives. I booked two days of scuba with the local company, Sea Dragon. They were highly recommended in both the Lonely Planet and the Rough Guide. This was by far the most expensive portion of the trip, costing $350 for a private instructor, boat ride and the course fee. I spent the first day completing the skills portion and getting comfortable diving at a local reef. The visibility was about 3 meters and there were hardly any fish, which was probably good because I could focus more on diving without so many distractions. The second day we took a large live aboard boat to the Similan National park islands. We had a buffet breakfast of fruit, bacon, eggs, sausage and coffee as the boat headed out for the 3 hour ride. My two dives were incredible! It felt like I was watching an episode of BBC life. There were millions of fish as well as a sea turtle, several sting rays, a moray eel and an octopus.
Rebecca, my instructor was wonderful. She was patient and explained everything very well. After the dive, we got out a book with pictures of the fish so I could put names to what I saw. I am so excited to be PADI certified after scuba diving Khao Lak!
We also took a day trip to Phang Na Bay. We got to do a sea kayak trip around the huge rock walls. Part of the area’s claim to fame is “James Bond Rock”. Apparently this particular cliff was featured in the movie The Man With the Golden Gun. In the movie though, the peak is blown up. Somehow it is still standing today for tourists to gawk at. Ah, Hollywood.
Part of the trip was wiggling our way through sea caves. We literally had to put our hands on the ceiling of the caves and push our way through the narrow paths. Each one opened up into a secluded lagoon. One sea cave also had a larger cave to walk through, inside the rocks sparkled like they were made of millions of tiny diamonds.
I even busted out a bikini to show off my surgery scar. It’s healing quite well if I do say so myself!