After taking 3 different minibuses (!) and being scared out of our mind by the way they were driving, we made it from Koh Lanta to Kao Sok.
Kao Sok is a 739 km² national park on the mainland, home of a dense liana and bamboo virgin forest. Its rainforest is older and more diverse than the Amazon rainforest.
One of the seemingly amazing thing to do there is survival training in the jungle for 3 to 9 days. Unfortunately it was a bit out of our budget and timing, so we just went for an one-day excursion. We started on the lake, cruising around its limestone rock, then trekked into the jungle to a 800m cave in which we had to swim half of the way.
We then set out for our last Thailand stop: Ko Tao (which incidentally made us waking up early enough for sunrise on the park!).
Ko Tao is the smallest of the 3 south-west islands of Thailand, Ko Samui, Ko Phong Nha (the Full-Moon Party island) and Ko Tao. It is also the most well-known for its diving spots and its world cheapest instruction. Which is why we chose it for our Open Water Course.
We settled at Big Blue Diving, a resort right one the beach, and started our 4 days course right away with our new diving mate and friend Rachel. How was it?
The feeling of being able to breath underwater and to move in 3D was truly addictive, and our diving instructor Alex was awesome. We loved it so much that we decided to extend our stay for 2 more days and did our Advanced Course. This course was rich in awesome experiences:
- An advanced skills dive, in which we had to play the mission impossible hoover, float standing on our heads and other fun activities
- A navigation dive during which we had to find our way alone around a new diving site with just a compass, a hand-drew map and a dive computer (we succeeded-ish)
- A night dive with just the light of a torch to see what was around
- A deep dive at 28m around a pinnacle covered of old fishing nets that gave it a ghosty look
- And finally an amazing wreck dive on an battle military boat. The visibility was fairly low, which made the dive even more awesome: we suddenly realized at 28m deep that the wreck was 2m on our right side!
We are now Advanced Certified Divers and we can go down to 30m with a diving buddy!
The story of a dive in pictures:
Waking up at dawn to arrive on the dive sites early
Setting up our equipment like pros (obviously)
Briefing of the dive with Alex
“James Bond” entrance
Enjoying the underwater wonders…
…and “horse racing” (Alex and Rach totally cheated)
Ko Tao is the only place we have been during our travels where we didn’t take the time to visit inside the island because we were so busy diving. But we don’t have any regrets!