Diving

What could two travellers get each other for Christmas when neither wanted to make their already over-crammed backpacks heavier? A PADI Open Water dive certification of course! It would have been foolish to not take full advantage of the fact that very popular and beautiful dive sites were practically on our doorstep!

Koh Lanta where we were staying had a plethora or different dive schools so it was just a matter of picking the right one – and at a good price too, since prices seemed to range depending on the school. We hired a scooter and rode down towards the harbour where most of the dive schools were clustered. Picking one wasn’t easy, they all offered the same course. However, in the end we chose a company called Go Dive Lanta. What stood out was the warm welcome, bright smiles and jokes from the staff. Even though we were only speculating on prices and questioning the instructors, the staff at Go Dive Lanta answered all our questions really thoroughly and didn’t do any ‘hard selling’. We also liked the fact they were a Thai-owned company and had their own dive boat. Our dive instructor was Dean, a Welsh ex-accountant that had got hooked on diving several years ago and decided to move to Thailand. He was hilarious and our group (including Tristan from Germany and Martha from Poland) had a great rapport with him, learning was serious but fun and we knew we had definitely picked the right school to go with.

The PADI course was set over three days, day one was spent at a hotel with a swimming pool where we learnt theory from the PADI textbook and physical techniques in the pool. Day two was our first dive at Koh Ha, which were a small cluster of five little islands (‘ha’ means five in Thai) 25km west of Koh Lanta in the Andaman Sea. Breakfast was provided on the boat as well as mcopious amounts of tea, coffee and soft drinks. It took about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get there, our group were all a bunch of giddy and excited wrecks though! Diving in a swimming pool and in the sea were two very different things – we were eager to get in the sea but nervous at the same time! Once in the water we completed some of the dive techniques and enjoyed watching all the marine life swim around us – truly spectacular! It was then break time and the crew served a fruit platter snack before the second dive at the blue lagoon area of Koh Ha. More techniques and more underwater exploring! Then came lunch – super tasty and freshly prepared thai curries and rice. It was a really long day but so much fun! Then day three was our final dive at a different dive site called Koh Bida, a site consisting of two smaller islands. We had finished our techniques early on so we had more time for a ‘free dive’ which was amazing, we followed Dean through twists of rock and reef and were mesmerised by the rich marine life that surrounded us.

Best Christmas present to ourselves ever! We can’t wait to do more diving!

Have you read these posts yet?…
  • “Who knew riding on trains would be so much fun?”
    We’ve always wanted to travel in China, and what better way to get there than the Trans Siber …

  • From Ulan Ude we decided to take the coach to cross the border into Ulaanbataar. We had read on several travel blogs that this route was cheap …