We’ve left the urban chaos of Bangkok and spent the last couple weeks on the white sand beaches of Southern Thailand. It’s not uncommon to find ex-pats and fellow travelers who end up staying on one of these islands indefinitely. A two week holiday can easily turn into a few years stay. Many fully embracing island life and opening up shop in one of the many tourist-heavy destinations. It’s easy to forget that we’re in Thailand with the number of western tourists usually outnumbering local Thais. It’s hard to get away from the commercialism and western focus in some areas. Fortunately there is enough variety between these destinations and island hopping is painless and straight forward.
Since leaving Bangkok we’ve stayed in Ao Nang, Koh Lanta, Koh Samui, and Koh Phanang. We’ve also visited about a half dozen other islands and beaches in-between, each destination offering different vibes and stunning natural sites. Some of the highlights include: Ao Nang’s massive limestone rock formation, drinking the day away and sunsets on the beaches of Koh Lanta, my private birthday villa in Koh Samui, and learning to Scuba dive in Koh Phangan.
Obtaining our Scuba certification was perhaps one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. Despite growing up in San Diego, I’ve never been completely comfortable in water. I only recently learned to swim and went snorkeling for the first time in my life about a week before scuba training began. I can’t quite describe what I felt when took my first breaths underwater during our pool training dive. It’s such a strange and unnatural feeling at first. My initial moments of awe turned to panic as I began to hyperventilate and signal to the instructor that I wanted to go back up. He signaled to slow down and breathe slowly and deeply. After a few moments I was calm enough to continue the training. The 4 days of training was tough at times but comprehensive. Thanks to the course I now feel completely comfortable in open water. We were even lucky enough to spot a whale shark during our final training dive in Sail Rock, a truly awesome moment I will remember for the rest of my life.