My new project took me to
People who’ve had prior experience suggested Bangkok & Singapore.
Inspired by “James Bond & Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai “, I was keen on doing the Island tour (
The Leelawadee hotel turned out to be a glorified Dasaprakash. Having booked into a luxurious room (with 2 more men folk), we had a nice view of Patong beach from the balcony(look carefully..somewhere behind the line of trees and buildings there). While we were waiting for check-in, I ran through the tour brochures and lo behold, it was my lucky day. There was only 1 brochure left and that was the only one catering to a half day package. The package included a hotel pick-up & drop, speed boat ride to 3 islands near-by, snorkeling (equipment provided) & fish feeding. Based on the timings, we would miss our return flight, if we return to our hotel & then head to the airport. So we called up the agent, through hotel concierge, and they were willing to safe keep our luggage and provide a shower & a taxi direct to airport from there. So, all settled & we booked for the next day package.
Shower, change into comfortable beach wear and hit the road. Patong beach recovering from the 2004 Tsunami that ravaged the island, was teeming with foreigners. It wasn’t unusual to see 60 year white male walking holding hands of an 18 year local girl. One travel guide suggested, Ignore It! After lots of walking around, trying to be lured by “Massage Sir” cat-calls, we settled into a pub. Thirsty travellers! While Mukul & I downed a few beers,
Next morning the pick-up was at 7 and while we were at the breakfast, the van arrived. So, we were all set for snorkelling. Having never done it before, or being prepared for it, it was something to look forward to. When we arrived at the pier, we were served coffee & tea, while waiting for our boat. The boat was to depart at 9 am and return to pier at 1 pm. We left our baggage at the office and rented flippers (not included in the package, for THB 100). Once we had the entire group assembled, the entourage left for our first island sharp at 9. On board we were treated to water & juice. We were also given our snorkels & life jacket. Our first stop was “Kai Nai”
We reached our first island and once the boat was moored, we were told we have 30 minutes to explore the corals and the amazing aquatic life they support. The sea was 2-3 meters in depth and not being a strong swimmer nor having prior snorkelling experience, decided to put on the life jacket. The first few attempts to snorkel were a disaster. Everytime I tried to breath through the pipe, my mouth and nose was filled was water. I had to pull myself out of the water gasping for air. I also did not have the flippers on me. Then I slowly got adjusted to breathing through the pipe, yet, was conscious of it. This didn’t help me to take long swim. Time to return to the boat for our next destination.
We reached our second destination – “Kai Nor”
At the pier, we showered, boarded the waiting Taxi to the airport with our belongings. The much needed break was short-lived. As I waited at Phuket Airport, sipping a Thai Mango juice, awaiting the flight to KL, I was satisfied that I have a new hobby and lots of memories to cherish.