Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Working on a yacht, Patong, Langkawi and diving at Kho Surin.

For the most of February, I had been a good girl and stayed home. Jo was back, and I went out with her to do one of our favourite girly things: shopping. Not to mention lamenting about the sad sad fact that we had to spend Valentine's Day alone. Even when we are attached.

Sigh.. the reality of life, and geographical differences.

In March, I went to work on a boat for 3 weeks! It was totally fabulous, since it is a great opportunity for me to work AND see the world. Just the way I love it.

Was supposed to go to the Andaman Sea for fishing, but in the end we pulled out due to unfavourable fishing conditions. Stayed around Phuket's Phang Nga area and all those picturesque idyllic islands. Kho Phi Phi, Kho Surin, Similan Islands etc...


-- One of the bays near Patong Beach.

They were just beautiful.


I stepped onto a small beautiful island. I forgot the name, but during low tide, you can WALK to the neighbouring island! Some people were doing snorkelling there, and being the part time "tour guide" (because I spoke Mandarin), thank heavens I didn't drive my jetski through the shallow area. I could have killed some poor snorklers. Eek.

There was a swing on this island. The old rustic kind. The type someone tied onto a tree years ago with a wooden plank for a seat. We sat there while the guests swam and baked under the sun. It was just beautiful.



-- The island with the wooden swing.


I tried my hand at driving the tender. It was fun, despite the gear being awfully difficult to manoeuvre. Or it could be just me, and my feeble arm with zero strength to push that thing. I should exercise more. *Ponders for a second* Maybe not. I'm too lazy for that.



I had a day off when I was at Patong, and we drove around the area in a rented car.



-- Map of Patong Beach.

Click here for this really detailed map.
http://www.phuket-maps.com/patong-beach-large-map.htm?67,208

I'll tell you where to go for your coffee, ice-cream, pad thai and beer fix.


[Don't get me started on how "punctual" car rental services are at Patong.] We stopped at this lookout point and many people took photos there! I could see why. You can see all 3 adjoining beaches from here!



Fantastic view. The boat I worked on was at the 3rd beach in the picture. Not that you can see the boat anyway.

Went go-karting with J. In the heat no less. After 40 minutes of driving round and round the circuit, I got sunburnt on my shoulders. It's like a hamster running on the wheel, that thing is repetitive! I know how F1 drivers feel like now. It was fun, and I didn't run over any small kids on the track.


-- Didn't buy the video they took of me driving. And I got this photo somewhere.

And it was only when we drove out of the go-kart place, that we saw the ATV circuit NEXT door. #*$&@^@)#%@^@)#%


It was great, and Patong being this touristy place, is a great place to people watch. Cheap beer (60 baht for a cold Heineken!) and great food al fresco... it's the ONLY way to go at Patong. And cheap fake clothes too. T-shirts, bags, dvds, shoes and watches. Anything a tourist can buy, you can get it there. Saw fake Birkenstocks going for 400 baht.

Crap. Made mine seemed so overpriced and so not worth every penny. Fark.



-- Bangla Road.

Where all the clubs, pubs and sleaze are. Trannys at night. Must-see when you get to Patong. Well, just don't follow them into the alleys. Eek.


Patong is a great place to visit if you love your sun, sea and sand. And cheap beer. Plenty of things to do like jetski, para-sailing, sunbathe, swim, dive, snorkel etc. Or just veg out at the spas and resorts, sipping ice cold cocktails. It's great to people watch in Patong Beach as well, and with great food and company, there's nowhere else you rather be.

Well, maybe somewhere with shade and/or air-conditioning.




-- Would love to stay in a resort bungalow overlooking the beach. With air-conditioning.


When we were at Patong beach, there were some yachts and boats around us as well. Star Cruise Dunno-what-its-name was there as well, and it arrives once a week carrying boatloads of tourists. The nearest yacht I could photograph was Lady Orient.



Pretty cool, since it was trying to launch its tender into the water using their own crane. You don't see this everyday. Well, not if you are in the yachting industry.


Sailed to Langkawi to refuel. It's a dutyfree port, so booze and electrical appliances are dutyfree! Many of the crew bought stuff. And I had a day off there as well, and this time I RENTED A CAR and drove around the friggin' island!

I've never felt so proud of myself.

Went to every tourist spot on the island. [we got a list of tourist attraction from the reception at the yacht club.] Never knew Langkawi had a cable car place, nor some Burnt Rice Paddy, nor a paintball place, nor snake farm (Ewww...) and plenty of other places. Trekked through the nature reserve in my birks (big mistake. Reason? Bugs.) just to see the Temurun Waterfall, and visited every friggin' beach on the island. Very beautiful.


-- Temurun Waterfall. People who wants a look at the trek through the nature reserve, IM me.


We were quite bummed out about not being able to get on the cable car at 6pm to watch sunset together. It would be soooooo romantic. It's just so foolish of the cable car operator to shut down service at 6pm. If I run that place, I would have this special package operating from 6pm onwards. View of the sunset, champagne and chocolate coated strawberries. Langkawi would be THE place with the most number of marriage proposals!

But then, that's just my business money-grubbing side talking.

I was every bit the foreigner like everyone else, despite being 100% Malaysian. The island can be quite boring if you don't take a car and explore every single bit of it. I am so glad we took the risk and drove around all day.

[Well, the 100% Malaysian bit may change when I apply for Australian PR. When I have the moolah of course.]

[Psycho Phil, the part you want to read about is coming up. Stay tuned.]

More guests came onboard when we went back to Phuket, and I was offered the chance to dive! But, like everyone on God's green earth knows, I do not have a diving license. Was quite bummed out, until the divemaster agreed to give me a crash course on diving! It's like those resort course or something and I couldn't be bothered to find out what the exact name was.



-- Drying out the dive gear after use


Had my lesson in shallow waters of Kho Surin. The water was warm and crystal clear. Practised putting the mouthpiece in water, putting on BCD and all that jazz. Stupid weight belt was too big for me. Had to tie a knot. Farking hell. I even practised the coolio [in my humble opinion] backflip into the water entry method!



-- Training ground!




-- My tank! The one with the pink tab, of course. And my neatly folded clothes.


And thank god we were practising in shallow waters, because my tank ran out of oxygen. Yes you read it right. Somehow it ran out, or leaked. We still don't know. J, exasperated, was looking at me, "Girl, you have to BREATHE through the mouthpiece when you are UNDERWATER." Man, was he shocked when he read my gauge.

Changed the tank and off I went! My first dive had been pretty uncomfortable in the beginning. I couldn't equalise and my ears hurt like no tomorrow. Finally got it right, and we went diving! J, being my dive partner, was very patient with me. Held my hand throughout the entire time when we were diving. Saw a stingray, and the corals were so beautiful. Fish swam all around the corals, and they were so colorful!

Dived again the next day. Saw many Nemos! Nemo had been busy. ;) I was surrounded by a school of tiny silver fish, and the way they glimmered when they swam around me was so mesmerising. Definitely another National Geographic moment for me. Saw moray eels, sea turtles, more stingrays and striped yellow fishies (don't know the names of all the fish) all around.


-- Mesmerizing silver fishies.


I am swooning again. I totally dig scuba diving. Everyone should try it if they can. It is just too exciting and fascinating to see the underwater world.

"I'll take you diving one day."

And yup, he finally took me diving, like he promised last December. =)



-- We sailed off into the sunset right after. Yeah right. I wish.



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Weel you certainly got out and about when in Phuket. It's nice to hear reports of Patong without the slagging it normally gets!

One thing I wanted to ask was...did you think the third beach in that pic was Patong? If so, it's actually Karon beach...Patong is over the hills from there...common mistake.

I like the pics too.

TheGecko said...

Weel you certainly got out and about when in Phuket. It's nice to hear reports of Patong without the slagging it normally gets!

One thing I wanted to ask was...did you think the third beach in that pic was Patong? If so, it's actually Karon beach...Patong is over the hills from there...common mistake.

I like the pics too.

Min said...

I love it when I was at Phuket. Plenty of things to see and do!

Oops, my mistake.. I just assumed from the tall buildings. Now I remember driving uphill on a winding road, passing by a Buddhist temple before I got to Patong Beach!

It's a fabulous place. Great diving spots!

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