The journey from Cambodia to Koh Chang (an island off the east coast of Thailand) was a pretty awful 16 hour affair involving 3 different buses/mini buses, a ferry and a border crossing. So by the time we arrived we were reeeally looking forward to a bit of relaxed beach time. The island was the perfect place for it, and we spent our first day lounging on the beach, only leaving to bring the team Oreo Cornetto’s from the 7/11 (they really are the dream).
The main reason for visiting Koh Chang was to get our scuba diving qualification, and so on our second day we moved accommodation, down to the south of the island, and started our training with Scuba Dawgs. We had managed to get 2 nights of free accommodation alongside the diving, and so weren’t expecting to find anything other than a really basic dorm room. But we were pleasantly surprised when we found ourselves in some lovely bell tents on the top of a cliff overlooking the bay. Basically glamping in the most beautiful setting. We headed down to the dive shop and met our instructor Jodi. We were really lucky with the fact there were only 3 of us training in our group; the two of us and a South African gal called Stacey. It was such a great group to learn with! We spent the first day getting to grips with the equipment and diving skills in a swimming pool, and later completed our online dive learning test. We rounded off the day by heading for dinner at Lonely Beach with Merel and Pauline, the fab Dutch girls we’d met in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. It was so nice to catch up with them and find out what they’d been up to for the last month or so.
On the second day of training we were finally allowed into the sea! We were pretty nervous because there was so much to remember and getting it wrong 18 meters under the surface wasn’t an entirely tempting prospect. The conditions were amazing with visibility of 15 metres, and on the first dive we practised a few skills we had learnt the previous day, while getting pretty distracted by all the amazing wildlife. We saw: blue spotted sting rays, huge trigger fish, Moray eels, clown fish, Christmas tree worms and more.
On our way home we stopped at a little bakery and picked up some pastries and fruit and munched them in the truck on the way back to our bell tent on a cliff. After catching Amie up on the dive and hearing about her amazing snorkeling we all took some time to chill out in the hammocks overlooking the sea, and made some calls back home. Later we bumped into another couple of divers who had been at the same dive site as us that day, and had a couple of beers, then they kindly gave us a lift to Roberto’s, a pizzeria run by an Italian dive master. We couldn’t wait to try his famous pizzas made with authentic Italian ingredients and it certainly did not disappoint!
Our final diving day was by far the best. By the end of the second dive we both felt comfortable manoeuvring ourselves through the water, and never wanted it to end. We could have stayed down by the reef, playing with Christmas tree worms and having slightly too close encounters with some large trigger fish, for hours. Just can’t wait to dive again now.
After the 3 of us had officially received our Open Water diving qualification, we met up with Amie to hear about her jungle trekking experiences, and later all celebrated with buckets of Thai rum & coke in Ting Tong bar/club (would recommend – after only hearing top 40 tracks for the past few months, the DJ at this bar actually realised that there is other music out there to be played). Thankfully we’d decided to book an extra night on the island, and so spent our last day in Koh Chang on the beach, with a coconut in hand, sweating out the previous night’s alcohol, before preparing to head to Phuket, via Bangkok, for our flight to the Philippines.
A & K