Khao Lak,Similans Islands LOB, Phuket

I’ve just gotten back from a holiday, and i’m suffering from terrible withdrawal symptoms. For some unknown reason, WordPress seemed to have changed their formatting. Can’t say that I’m digging it though.

Anyway, since this was planned this trip with a bunch of divers, its no doubt we will plan this trip centered around diving! Of course, me being a shutterbug, and my other girls being photographers, brace yourself for lotsa photos! This is also gonna be a reeeaalllyy long post.

Day 1

We woke up bright and early on a Saturday morning, to make our way to the airport. Before we knew it, we were on the plane, heading to Phuket! Being the gentleman my man is, he let the girls sit together while he sat alone in the row next to us. What proceeded was non-stop talking on a 2-hour flight while my man snoozed.

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After landing and a 1.5 hours drive, we finally reached Khao Lak!

We had to first make a pit stop at the dive centre, Wicked Diving, to check in and get our equipment fitted. To our surprise,  the hotel is just 7 mins walk away. However, they were really nice to give us a lift to the hotel. The hotel we stayed in was To Zleep hotel. Its a really small bed and breakfast, with an industrial look to the entire place.

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The lobby has an arty feel that upon first look, we mistook it for a furniture shop.

The rooms, although a tad small, was really cozy. The whole place looked really clean and the bed was comfortable enough.
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Glimpse of the beach

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The tiny mop was a nice touch!

Funny thing about this place, is that we had to remove our shoes upon entering. It was a bit weird walking around and taking a lift sans shoes, but we’ve soon came to know that maybe Phuket has a thing for being barefooted.

After lounging, we had to go have lunch, and maybe do some sightseeing.

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Surprisingly good Beef Noodles from a roadside stall near our hotel, and of course, Thai iced tea

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Must eat in Thailand! Banana pancake with Nutella

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Roosters on the beach

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So since we’re on the beach, why not have an impromptu photoshoot? Shirong was really excited for these shots as reflections made by the waves on the beach was really beautiful. All pictures here by Ava Woo

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I can also be photographer

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Art created by crabs

Day 2 and 3

Woke up early as the bus that fetches us to the pier for our LOB was fetching us at 7am. Although we were all really sleepy, we dragged our asses off the bed and unto to the bus to continue sleeping. Since most of us are afraid of seasickness, we decided to just have a 2D1N LOB, to experience it but yet not fully commit to a 6D LOB. Some dive sites we visited were Koh Bon, Three Trees, and Breakfast Bend.

Once we got to the pier, we had to surrender our slippers (yet again) , and get onto Nemo 2, which is the name of the speed boat which will bring us to the dive boat. The ride itself was about 1.5 hours, out into the open sea, thus the need for LOB. Since it was travelling at such a fast speed (imagine a jet ski, but 3 times the size), travelling over waves, it became a 1.5 hours roller coaster ride. Soon, we reached MV Nemo 1, which was the dive boat.

I apologise for the blue-ish tint to the pictures, since I had no red filter on me and since we went quite deep, max depth at 27.5m, there was no way I could adjust the colour using photoshop. I however, tried my best to edit as much as I could.

School of Barracudas

East-Australian Current. No? Currents all the same

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Stingray

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Stoner fish

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Gazillioan fishes in one photo

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Lion Fish

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He holds my hands whenever I have the camera on

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For the last dive, the girls decided to try diving without any wetsuit. So here we are, all naked looking.

This LOB (live on board), was a first for all 4 of us. Before we even got to our first dive, we all succumbed to the porcelain God. I’m probably the weakest, since I puked twice in a day, once before the first dive, and once after dinner. It just seems like all the precautions i took that morning just went down the drain.

The room on board was really small, with 4 people to a room and 2 bunk beds. It was so cramp that if a person stood in between the bunk beds, no one could get in or out. The toilet was also communal. It was however, a great experience no less, and truly living the life of: Eat, Sleep, Dive, Repeat, since that was all we really did on board the MV Nemo 1.

However, once we’re in the water, the seasickness was gone, taken over by the fact that there were gazillions of fish activity all around me! The currents there were also really strong, where you can actually see the currents. It looks a bit like heat waves, but when you go through them, its like you are going through the ice bucket challenge.

There were some wall dives, which we were told that the currents were really strong and that we had to stay close to the wall. I almost gave up, since I was so tired fighting the currents, but thank God my man was there to pull me along. It was a quite frightening as well, since the currents were pushing us towards the wall, and yet I do not want to hit the wall per se, risking coral cuts and what not.

We also saw a turtle hanging around just before we dived into the water, and that itself held so much hope for us, but it was a slight let down that we saw zero turtles for all six dives. To add on to our disappointment, both me and SAF decided to not bring our cameras down for the sunset dive, thinking it’ll be dark and thus not be able to capture anything, and alas! Two friggin cuttlefish! Just as we were descending! FML.

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Last photo with our guide before bidding goodbye

By the night of the 3rd day, we were back on land at last! Never had we appreciated land as much before. From Khao Lak, it was yet another 2 hours drive to Phuket. Phuket’s bustle was a world of difference from the sleepy town of Khao Lak.

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De Coze’ Hotel; our stay at Phuket

Posh looking lobby

  

De Coze hotel was rather posh looking, despite it being really affordable. The only whim I had was the really unfriendly receptionists. Note that I wrote that in plural. It was so horrible that my friend actually wanted to complain. But oh well, it was only for 2 nights, and it was near Patong beach and JungCeylon Mall, so what the heck.

After settling in, we decided to go for a seafood buffet, hah, talk about hypocrisy. But being Singaporeans, we couldn’t turn down cheap seafood!

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Crazy cat and dog lady

Of course, being in Thailand, and on top of that, diving for the past 2 days, calls for another massage! However, since we just had dinner, we decided to just go for a foot massage. The foot massage, included a head and shoulders massage, which was awesome.

Day 4

Woke up early once again to go sightseeing around Phuket. Since renting a car there is quite out of our budget, we decided to rent scooters instead at a cheap price of 200bht/day. Since no one in the group has prior experience in riding (no license that is), Shirong and my man took about an hour to get a hang of it. When told to go on the main road, all Shirong could say was ‘I scared I scared I scared!”, which was hilarious. But kudos to her, for showing such bravery, so TEN POINTS TO GRYFFINDOR!

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My man on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed himself. So much so, he was really reluctant to let it go at the end of the day.

We started the day by going for a facial which included yet another head massage while my man does a foot massage (again!) , before heading to JungCeylon for shopping.

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Post facial glow IMG_5720.JPG

We then went to check out Karon Beach, not before navigating the hilltop bendy roads. In all honesty, I was grabbing my man with my life, while he pretends he’s in MotoGP.

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After lunch, Shirong and SAF decided to go for a hair treatment, while my man and I head back to the hotel to wash up and prepare for another photoshoot at Patong beach.

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Patong Beach

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I have to say, the perks of travelling with 2 professional photographers friends, is that you can have gorgeous photos to bring back. Although both have different photography styles, all turned out really gorgeous! I will credit them using their photographer names.

 

 

 

After the shoot, we decided to walk around Phuket’s busiest shopping district, before deciding to go for a Thai massage. IMG_5727.JPG

 

This particular massage, was really intense as I had a Transgender woman for a masseuse. She was particularly flirty, much to the annoyance of SAF’s masseuse. She was also really strong, cracking bones which I never knew existed. It wasn’t particularly relaxing, since her strength made every move quite painful. She even openly asked me for tips, which I felt wasn’t really professional.

Since only me and SAF did the massage, after Shabu Shabu (only SGD10/pax!), it was Shirong’s turn for a massage. And since the rest of us want to accompany her, but had enough massages to last a year, the three of us decided to try ear candling for the first time. It was a tad scary, but really quite relaxing.

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Orange stuff is what was once inside my man’s ear. Blearghx.

Since after the ear candling, Shirong was still doing her massage, we decided to do a foot scrub. Basically, most of our money was spent on services like such, and also that we had nothing much to do since we didn’t want to shop.

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My man bidding his last goodbye

Total spending:

Hotel:

To Zleep (Khao Lak) – SGD 41.58/night

De Coze (Phuket) – SGD54.41/night

Air Tickets: SGD318.56/pax

LOB: SGD425/pax, not incl, equipment and marine park fee

As usual, a few tips before I end off:

  1. Always, ALWAYS, haggle, when it comes to buying things from night markets or roadside stalls. You will be shocked that my friend actually haggled with a manicurist in JungCeylon Mall and got what she wanted.
  2. If you are going snorkelling or diving at the Similans, please remember that Marine park fees are usually not included( 500 THB entrance fee and 200 THB per day diving fee/100THB snorkelling fee)
  3. There will be a booth giving out free sim cards at the arrival hall of Phuket airport. Topping up is also inexpensive, about 100-350THB, which can be done at any convenience stores.
  4. Afraid of being on LOB? The feeling usually passes after the first day or when you’re in the water.
  5. Renting a scooter is way more economic than renting a car, with gasoline being sold at 30-40THB. They do not require a license, but please do ensure you get the hang of it before riding out on the main road.

 

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