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Phuket, Thailand

sunny 31 °C

Phuket lies off the west coast of Southern Thailand in the Andaman Sea, approximately 890km from Bangkok. It is Thailand’s largest island at 550sq km, roughly the same size as Singapore, and is surrounded by many smaller islands that add a further 70 sq km to its total land area.

Phuket is separated from the mainland by the Chong Pak Phra channel at its northernmost point, where a causeway connects the island to the mainland. Phuket is quite hilly. There are a few peaks above 500m, the highest being Mai Tao Sipsong at 529m.

Many of these are covered in lush jungle. The lowlands consist of rice paddies, plantations of rubber, pineapple and coconut as well as the only significant area of rainforest remaining on the island, which is now protected as Khao Phra Thaeo Park. The most beautiful beaches are found on the West coast, separated by rocky coves and headlands.

The east coast comprises limestone shoals with only a few sandy beaches while spectacular limestone islands adorn the horizon. Coral gardens full of exotic marine life dot the emerald waters surrounding the island, although sadly much of Phuket's coral has been disappearing due to environmental pressures and human activities.” – Various Sources.

My dive buddy and I checked in at Sheraton Phuket for a night stay. It was about half and hour from the airport. Upon reaching there we were served well by the friendly staffs and the environment was very nice and very well maintained. We were led to the reception whereby we were served with fruit juice and the gulps of the drink really made me felt comfortable, as the weather was quite hot. After completing the check in process we were taken to our room. It was located at level 3 of the buildings. The room was well maintained and it was so nice and comfortable.
After settling down for a while we went out and linger around the hotel. The area is made up from few resorts or hotel sharing some basic facilities, i.e. beach, man made lake, and the boat ride that bring all the guests round the areas and stop at few places for sight seeing. We took the opportunities to check on other resorts located around the areas and all of these resorts are very luxurious and well maintained. I took the opportunity to drive the boat as well and of course that was under the close supervision of the staff who was responsible to bring the guests to tour around the area. Though it was not as challenging as motorboat ride and it worth a try.

We had our dinner at one of the restaurant there. As we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by the friendly staffs, “sawadee ka” (ladies) and “sawadee krup” (men). We were directed to a table for two and the ambience was so nice and really great. Our table was overseeing the lake and it was so peaceful and beautiful. With such a great environment, I enjoy the meal greatly.

The next day, we check out from the hotel and move to Patong beach to enjoy the real scene of Phuket. Patong is the most famous - some would say infamous - beach resort on Phuket. With its wide variety of activities and nightlife, Patong is an ideal place to party, play and have fun. By day, Patong's curved sandy bay is a hive of activity with parasail and jet-ski operators, boat drivers, beach vendors and masseuses all vying for the attention of the many visitors relaxing on the beach chairs. The “chaotic” atmosphere may be overwhelming to first time visitor like me. I didn’t really explore the area in depth as I was spending most of the afternoon searching for tours and diving trips. In fact we booked for island tour to Koh Phi Phi, James Bond Island, Koh Pang Nga and other islands.

However, by the end of the day we changed our mind and we would like to take up the PADI Advance Diving License course offered by Scuba Cat and it would give me a new adventure into deep diving, wreck diving, night diving and etc. It was a two days course and I need to forgo all the activities at Phuket and stayed a night on the boat far away from Phuket.


Besides, we also booked the Phuket famous stage show – Fantasea. It was a great show with great casts and props. It was a new experience as it gave me some insights about the history and culture of Phuket. I believe that it was a must for any first time visitor to watch the spectacular show, as the trip would be incomplete without such show. It reminded me about my trip to Pattaya in 2002. I missed the signature show there and sort of regret and want to be there again in the future to make the trip complete. Tiffanny is a very famous and great show in Pattaya and worth watching.


After watching the show, we were sent back to our hotel and before we retired for the day, I went for a two-hours massage session and it was really relaxing and after that thinking of dropping by any of the pubs around that areas with all the beautiful girls and boys dancing on the table or the entrance but due to the next day trip for diving I just changed my mind and went back to the room and rest. Early of the morning, we were transferred to the jetty.

A two hours journey on the motorboat took us to the live-board boat. After settling down and get to our cabin bunks, we were given a brief introduction of what we were going to do for the day. There were three of us who were taking up the Advance Diving License certification and the other guy was an Australian. He was a year younger than me and once in a while he will forward some mails to me. Quite an interesting guy.

Preparing for the exam....

Writing test inside the water

We had our dives mostly around the Racha Yai island other nearby areas, which I cannot, really recalled by now. This exquisite island (sometimes known as Raja Yai Island) offers gentle easy diving for beginners with some challenging and fun drift diving for the more experienced diver. Beneath the water we managed to find a sloping rock face dotted with hard coral forests, and especially colourful blue Staghorn corals. Water depths range from 3 to 30 metres and visibility is generally around 20 metres, thus making Racha Yai a good dive site for both divers and snorkellers.


I had 7 dives for the 2 Day 1 Night trip and among those dives, I personally felt that the night dive was the most interesting and yet scary kind of experience for me. The dive started about 7.45pm. The night was so dark and we were equipped with all the torches to assist us. It was a real pitch dark for me as I entered into the water. It was very cold as well and all the sudden I got a kind of fear within me as I felt helpless down under the water. I hardly see and my mind started with all sort of imaginations that sent the chills to my spine. I was praying hard that nothing bad would happens to me. Most of the time I was holding the hand of my dive buddy so that I would have some sense of security that I was with someone I know. However, my mind just running wildly and I even thought that I was holding the hand of something or someone else instead of my dive buddy.

In fact, I dun really enjoy the dive due to all the fearful feelings that run within me. The interesting part was that I need to use my instinct to survive down under the water and tried to stay calm all the time and to fight for all the fears that were haunting me. That night, the sea was unusually calm and hardly for me to spot any special sea creatures.

Maybe I was too worried about being in such a situation, which I hardly manage to control and I did not have the chance to observe spectacular views of the sea at night. After the dive I took a quick shower before preparing to end the day with a sound sleep, as I need to wake up very early the next day for a morning dive at about 7am.

Overall, the advanced diving course exposed me to lot of new and useful knowledge, i.e. navigation under the water, water buoyancy test, deep diving and wreck diving skills as well. The wreck diving was another interesting experience for me. A lot of precautions need to be taken to ensure a safe and fun dive. As we descended to the sea using the rope as a guide, I was really excited and thrill by what was awaiting me down under. In fact, the wreck has been commercialized and lost its originality

Posted by terrence79 05:09 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking

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