Diving at Koh Tao

P1050474
If there is one thing Koh Tao is famous for, it is for its diving conditions. Even though there are thousands of people getting their diving license there every year, the underwater scene is absolutely stunning. 
I booked my PADI Open Water course with Crystal Dive, and got my accommodation for five days, two free barbecue buffets, one free t-shirt and got free rent of books and equipment included in the course package. Koh Tao is also known for being one of the cheapest places in the world to do the Open Water course.

The price is also not the only reason why Koh Tao is a good place to take the diving license, but because of the fact that everything and everyone on the island are there because of the diving possibilities. People come from all over the world to work as instructors, or just to make their hobby into a fulltime lifestyle.

For those who are not interested in scuba diving, there are also some quality beaches, and good restaurants that would work for a quiet vacation, but I would mainly recommend the place for people who are interested in seeing the underwater wildlife, either fully equipped with scuba gear or just with a snorkel and a mask.
P1050481
P3140015

Full Moon Celebration in Koh Pangan

After the lazy days at Langkawi, it was time for an event that we had been looking forward to for a long time. Our goal was to reach Koh Pangan in time for the famous Full Moon Party, which is held monthly in the southern part of the island, on a beach called Hat Rin. From our guidebooks we had been advised to book accommodation at least a week in advance, but when we showed up the day before the party, we had no problem finding a good value room that was centrally located, clean and decent. Here we also met up with our Norwegian friends Hanne, Ingeborg and Greta, who were also there for the upcoming beach party.

Already a day before full moon, people were working up their mood by arranging beach parties and a massive pool party at Coral Bungalows that we attended. Here laughing gas was sold freely, and there was a rumor spread that it was possible for girls to get pregnant, just by taking a dip in the overcrowded pool.

Finally the day had come, where 40 000 people were gathered up at the beach covered in neon paint, raving to loud music, showing off alternative skills like flameblowing, limbo and bottle juggling. To be part of this raging athmosphere was something we had not been a part of before, and after sharing a couple of buckets, we must say that we enjoyed it to its fullest. If you are traveling through South- East Asia, spending a day or two at this massive event is worth it’s while.

P1050119

P1050168

koh pangan

P1050191

P1050456

The northern part of Koh Pangan is completely different from the crowded beaches and noisy streets in the South. We took a taxi boat to an almost desolate part of the island called Bottle Beach, where party tourists were non-existent. There were only a handful of restaurants, hammocks and beach bungalows in sight, and the few tourist that lived there were more of the quiet type.

P1050143

When looking back on our memories from Bottle Beach, we have both agreed that this has been the most peaceful place we visited in Thailand.

Duty Free Langkawi

The island Langkawi is right by the Thai border, and is definitely one of Malaysias “gemstones”. The sunshine is strong on this pearl of an island, which is something we got to experience on the beautiful two hour boat ride over from the mainland. Even before getting to the beach, we had already caught a sunburn. Since tanning was not an option, we decided to spend a few days exploring the island by motorbike. Gas and shopping was super cheap, since the whole island is tax free, so the first thing we did was to drive to the city Kuah where we could find all the shopping malls. The next place we stumbled upon was a national park on the north side, closed down for regular traffic. Before entering we had to sign a waiver saying that we would not make noise, litter, make campfires or drive fast. When we got in, we could see why this had been necessary. The white sanded beaches seemed untouched by human hands, and the water was crystal clear. There were only a handful of tourists and they all stayed at the luxurious beach hotel we are hoping to visit the day we win the lottery.


Even though this is a tax free island with many luxurious hotels, there are also a lot of budget options around “”. We were so lucky to be the first customers of a newly built guesthouse called Kampung, close to the main beach on the island.  The life there was wonderful, with lazy days in sunchairs at the beach and quiet evenings in our very own hammock. We also made our own fishing poles, but without getting any fish we ended up eating at the local restaurants instead. Since the atmosphere was so relaxed, we rescheduled our travel plans and decided to stay a whole week, not leaving before we had to catch the Full Moon Party in Thailand. 



KL (Kuala Lumpur)

With flight tickets between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur being cheaper and faster than busses and trains, we decided to take the earliest morning flight. This would give us a whole day to spend in the capital before digging deeper into Malaysia. This gave us enough time to see the Petronas Twin Towers, Little India, Chinatown and the famous “Pasar Malams” markets.

Our plan was to board the 11 pm night train to Butterworth, but since we had forgotten that the short flight had brought us into a different time zone, we missed the train by an hour. It felt like a hopeless situation, being tired and shelterless after being chased out of the train station. Luckily a man came over telling us that if we hurried up we could still catch a bus to our next destination, Langkawi. 



Singapore Sling


Singapore was not initially a country we had planned to visit on our journey, but since Elises 20th birthday only happens once in a lifetime, Jørn bought two tickets there to make it a birthday worth remembering.
We had quite a “wow” experience when flying into Singapore, as the sight that met us was tall skyscrapers, green parks, and sparkling clean sidewalks.
Before we got there, we had arranged to stay with a Chinese couple we had contacted through couch surfing. This gave the opportunity to meet some fantastic people and it also saved us a lot of money since accommodation in Singapore is very expensive.

The five days we spent flew by quickly, since there were so many things to do and people to meet. During the days we strolled around, seeing the Marina Bay Sands (tall shopping center and hotel with a huge ship on top of it), the Singapore Flyer (the worlds biggest Mary-go-round), taking picnics in the parks, and visiting Sentosa Island. The main attraction on Sentosa is of course the theme park Universal Studios. If you visit Singapore, this is a place you should not miss out on. We had a fantastic time there, and people of all ages seemed to enjoy it just as much as we did. Outside the theme park you can find an indoor skydiving center called iFly where you can be weightless in a wind tunnel. For some it might be a high price to pay, as a normal “flight” only lasts for 45 seconds, but for us it was well worth the we paid for our two “flights”.

The last days we felt almost at home, as we were invited over to the Norwegian Seamen’s Church for a proper Norwegian meal (potetball, røykelaks og pinnekjøtt) with family friends from home. They also invited us over to their appartment, to stay an extra night before leaving to Kuala Lumpur.