After being land-locked in Chiang Mai, we flew to Surat Thani to get to Koh Tao for some diving. We decided to do a few specialties and I got deep & nitrox certified. As previously, Phoenix Divers Koh Tao and their fish-pointers (divemasters/guides :-P) did a great job at taking us to beautiful divesites although the visibility wasn’t as good as the last time. I bought a small rubber whaleshark dive-buddy which now rides the bubbles above my tank when I dive – so far it hasn’t succeded in calling its mom so I’d see a whaleshark again :D. We also took pictures from the 360° viewpoint and tried our luck to see turtles or sharks at shark bay (but didn’t). After Koh Tao, we spent the last nights of my 3 week trip in Singapore to re-visit some (rooftop)bars and meet some old friends.
Unfortunately, my Sony SEL16-50 lens broke during the time in Koh Tao and I could only partly fix it on the go so there are only a few pictures. After the replacement parts from china found their way to germany, I managed to get the lens working again =) .
During my Southeast asia trip in november 2019 I finally went to the north of Thailand and visited Chiang Mai during the Loykrathong / Yee-Peng festival. I only stayed for 3 days but visited temples, a cave, the ‘sticky’ bua tong waterfall and learned to cook amazing thai food.
At night, we bought sky lanterns and let them rise to the skies which looked amazing due to the many lanterns.
Please keep in mind that these lanterns may not be allowed to use in your country or area, especially if you’re near an airport. They pose a dangerous fire-hazard if they get entangled in a tree or fall down early. Chiang Mai has a special allowance and lockdown on night-flights during the festivities and many police officers make sure nobody is hurt by burning parts falling down.
In november 2019 I did a 3 week trip to southeast asia. Some friends planned to join later so I decided to go to cambodia to visit the temples of Angkor Wat before returning to Bangkok to meet them. But first, I wanted to chill on a beach and go diving – so I went straight to the eastern thai island of Koh Chang. I went diving, scootered around the island and enjoyed delicious food on the beach with new friends. The island also has a few waterfalls and is famous for elephant “sanctuaries” (which I didn’t visit). Long story short, here are some pictures from Koh Chang, above and below the surface.
Having booked the komodo-flights just hours after coming back from the liveaboard, I was scrolling down my facebook-feed and noticed Phoenix Divers Koh Tao – whom I had visited the year before – had been posting whaleshark pictures for days in a row. Erik, my dive-buddy just said ‘can’t we go there?’ – And since we had 4 days before our flight to komodo, we started googling how to get to Koh Tao asap. Flights were expensive but we found a bus-ferry route and messaged the diveshop if they had beds in the dorm and spots on the boat. They did =). Delayed by a day due to the late kings funeral ceremony (may he rest in peace) and after leaving our krabi-hotel 3 days early, we were on our way to Koh Tao – anticipating to see those magnificent giant spotted whalesharks. A few hours of cab, bus and ferry rides we arrived in koh Tao in the evening and set up our gear. The next day we had 3 great dives – without whalesharks 🙁 . And the evening was overshadowed by backpackers and tourists deserting bars due an alcohol ban.
On the 2nd and last day of our ridiculously short trip over to Koh Tao we were on the boat again – enjoying coffee, the salty air and stunning view while making new friends among the other divers. Then we saw it: The captain lifted his hand sideways in front of his forehead – and people started getting enthusiastic while the diveguides tried to keep us calm since there’s absolutely no guarante these animals stick around. Luckily it did =)). When we reached chumpon pinnacle, we got ready and as soon as someone spotted the whaleshark jumped in.
It stayed with us for most of 2 dives, circelling in and out of sight and coming really close.
In october 2017 I went on my first liveaboard heading for the famous richelieu rock. We decided to book the 5 day 4 nights trip from Khao Lak to the similand islands. This was the first and only prebooked part of a 2 week dive-trip to SEA. After flying into phuket in the evening, we spent the evening and the better part of the next day chilling by the pool or visiting restaurants nearby. We were picked up the next day around 5 pm and driven to Khao Lak where we boarded our home for the next 4 nights; the MV Pawara. Besides the crew of ~14 (boat boys, engineer, awesome cook and other helping hands, the captain, and our dive masters/guides) it offers cabins for up to 26 people, a huge dining area, a livingroom and a sundeck. Luckily, the season had just started and it was only half booked so we had lots of space. The following 4 days can be described in just 4 words:
DIVE EAT SLEEP REPEAT
We got up, had coffee, went for a dive and were welcomed with breakfast. After some deco time on the sundeck, in the shade or inside on one of the many sofas we went diving again – you get the schedule :-P. Besides me and my Buddy, there were americans, swiss, and even a professional underwater videographer (Alex del Olmo aka Naucrates ductor) who joined in for the dives. Long story short: We went diving in Koh Tachai, Koh Bon, the similan islands, Richelieu Rock and even the Boonsung wreck. We saw amazing sealife and had a lot of fun. The only downside was that we didn’t encounter any mantas or whalesharks.
Food was amazing; the divesites were diverse and offered plenty of new sights and Beto and the diveguides (especially Kewalyne and Liane) as well as the other guests made this an unforgettably awesome first liveaboard experience for me.
Whilst I’m not sure which way to write this islands name*, I am sure that it’s an awesome place to chill and dive. After stepping off the plane in Ko Samui and leaving the open-space airport, I took a ferry to Ko Tao which – due to some exhaust problems – covered everyone inside in black particles. The next morning I started diving with a few friends with Phoenix divers – an awesome diveshop with a pink boat 😀 . Please excuse the bad image quality – I used a 70$ Actioncam whilst underwater.
*I’ve seen all of the above in different places.
I used my last two days of leave to spend a weekend on the paradise island of Kho Phi Phi, Thailand, with my friends from Aachen. After a shaky ferry-ride we found an accomodation far from the town in a forest by the beach. Despite the numberous mosquitos, the bamboo huts were an amazing accomodation and we used our days to enjoy diving, thai food and discovering the island.
My last weekend trip took me to Krabi, Thailand. Located on the same bay but opposite Phuket, it’s a famous tourist location with lot’s of hotels, bars and massage centers. Since they realized on friday that sunday will be their most important public holiday, the thai new year, they cancelled my prebooked hiking/jungle trip for sunday. I spend saturday travelling around a few islands by speedboat and met some cool people to have a few drinks at night. It went crazy when all waiters suddenly attacked you with waterguns while you were drinking cocktails. Everyone got wet and we had a great start in the songkran festival (and luckily my camera survived without any damage unlike my completely soaked passport)! On sunday, I hiked a little, walked to bay that can’t be reached by cars and swam around a few smaller islands (besides getting completely wet again). Luckily, the blueish blur on a few pages of my passport still counted as travel-visa-stamp and I was allowed to travel back to Singapore ^^.