Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Oh, to live on an island...

We've spent the past two weeks traveling to some of Thailand's most spectacular islands. Koh Tao and Koh Phangnan, located in the southern Gulf of Thailand were first. From there we headed across the mainland to the west coast of Thailand to explore life in and on the Adaman sea.

Koh Tao: SCUBA Central

This tiny island is known for one thing, SCUBA diving. One of the cheapest and best places to dive, Koh Tao was a must on our itinerary. We spent four days in a classroom, swimming pool, and the ocean learning everything you'd ever want to know about diving. We did four dives to about 16 meters for about 45 minutes over a two day period. After a grueling 50 question multiple choice test, we were officially certified as "Open Water Divers" on the fourth and final day.

Koh Phangnan

Known for it's full moon parties and backpacker culture, Koh Phangnan is a crazy place. Fire dancing and buckets of liquor cover the beaches each and every night. But, there is much more to the island than partying. We rented motorbikes and toured around the island, which turned out be far less developed than we anticipated (i.e. the roads were dirt and filled with boulders). Nonetheless, we survived our treacherous bike excursion to find one of the most beautiful beaches of the trip.

Koh Phi Phi

The next two beaches, Phi Phi and Rai Lai, were greatly effected by the Tsunami last December. Thousands died in the region and reconstruction is still underway. We are glad to report, however, that both areas have recovered successfully and are filled with travelers like ourselves. We got in another SCUBA dive session off the coast of Phi Phi, which was amazing. Sadly though, the pressure underneath the water has left Gino with a significant ear infection. I fear he may be deaf in his right ear indefinitely. Back to the dive though, we saw leopard sharks, moray eels, blue-spotted rays, trigger fish, jelly fish, clown fish, and much more.

Krabi: Rai Lai Beach

Krabi is on the mainland, but you can only get to Rai Lai beach by boat, which makes feel like any other island. Rai Lai is surrounded by some of the most unbelievable rock formations either of us have ever come across, and of course, the Thais, clever as they are, have made a great rock climbing business out of their natural wonder. Papa Loftus, if you'd be kind enough elaborate on the various types of rock formations featured in this post, we and our readers would be more than appreciative. Climbing for the second time on the trip was great. Da, our Thai instructor, was super nice, as was his Scottish friend/assistant, Maggie (both pictured below).


At 10:13 PM, Blogger Davide said...

On Belay! You guys have got to be kidding me. Here I am at home in the full on rat race of life and you are diving and climbing in Thailand. I think if I were to get any greener, Jim Hensen would return from the dead and mistaken me for the 21st century version of Kermit the Frog. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the blog. Gino, hope your ear recovers. Your beach accommodations are a far cry from psych hospital of Torino. Miss you guys.

Dave - the old man

At 5:33 AM, Blogger Shara said...

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At 2:36 AM, Blogger AnJaka said...

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