Archive

Archive for April, 2011

Songkran Festival Koh Tao 2011

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

The Songkran festival is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year’s Day from 13 to 15 April. Songkran has traditionally been celebrated as the New Year for many centuries, and is believed to have been adapted from an Indian festival. It is now observed nationwide, even in the far south. However, the most famous Songkran celebrations are still in the northern city of Chiang Mai, where it continues for six days and even longer. It has also become a party for foreigners and an additional reason for many to visit Thailand for immersion in another culture. Here on Koh Tao there’s no exception as the streets and beaches erupt in an all-day water fight. The festival only lasts one day here on the island but what a day! (Usually taking 2 more days just to recover)

Here at Bans we had one of the best parties on the island as we were visited by many other dive resorts during the day. The biggest group of visitors came from up the beach from Big Blue Diving Resort. A great day had by all. So next year if you don’t mind getting a little wet come for a visit!

Of all the feasts and festivals in Thailand, which are many, the Songkran Festival is the most striking, for it is widely observed not only in this country but also in Burma, Cambodia and the Lao State. Songkran is a Sanskrit word in Thai form which means the entry of the sun into any sign of the Zodiac.

The Songkran is in fact the celebration of the beginning of spring when the sun crosses the equator is now on the 21st of March which is due to the precession of the equinox. The Songkran Festival is in a certain sense like April fool’s Day just wetter.

Advertisements

Set Sail On A New Adventure with Naga and scuba sail

April 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Ang Thong Marine Park

Ang Thong National Marine Park is a protected nature reserve consisting of over 40 islands. Visiting the unspoiled islands and beaches is like stepping back in time as they remain undeveloped and unihabited apart from a small population of sea gypsies.

The islands range in size from mere rocks to tiny paradise islands with pure white beaches and coconut trees. The movie ‘the Beach‘ starring Leonardo Di Caprio was inspired by and partially filmed at this location. Touring the Marine Park gives you the feeling of being an explorer discovering the far ends of the world. The water is clean, calm and inviting, creating the perfect conditions to explore the park’s hidden treasures.

The Naga will take you first to the north of the Marine Park, to Koh Wao. Koh Wao consists of three islands with a shallow, sheltered bay in between, making it well suited for snorkeling. The underwater life is not as abundant as the shores of Koh Tao, but it is refreshing to jump into the water and swim around the beautiful bay. You will spend one hour snorkeling on this site, where you will get a good glimpse of the Park’s marine life.

After that you will land on the beach at Talay Nai and begin an easy but impressive climb through dense rainforest and narrow ravines. This takes you to a spectacular viewpoint which looks out over the surrounding islands. Here you will have some time to enjoy the breathtaking view and take some pictures. A short stroll downhill will take you to the famous Emerald Lake, also known as the Blue Lagoon from the movie ‘the Beach’.

From here, all Ang Thong Marine Park tours go to the Park’s Visitor Center for picnic lunch and kayaking. The visitor center is frequented by many tour operators, making it very crowded. We choose instead to travel a little further on to eat lunch and kayak at Koh Paluay’s sea gypsy village.

On Koh Paluay you will enjoy a sumptuous Thai lunch in the fisherman’s village. After that, the speedboat will take you to the south of the island for an hour and a half of leisurely kayaking along the staggering cliff face interrupted only by the occasional spotless beach.

TRIP DETAILS

Day 1:
6:30 am Departure Sairee Beach
7:30 am Dive 1 Southwest Pinnacle
8:30 am Breakfast
10:30 am Dive 2 Koy Yippon
12:00 am Lunch
14:00 pm Dive 3 Koy Wao
15:00 pm Ang Thong Marine park
20:00 pm Dinner
22:00 pm Overnight Ang Thong Marine park
Day 2:
5:00 am Departure to Sail Rock
7:30 am Dive 4 Sail Rock
8:30 am Breakfast
10:30 am Dive 5 Sail Rock
12:00 am Lunch
14:00 pm Dive 6 Samran Pinnacles
17:00 pm Arrival Sairee Beach

Price: 10.500 thb


Underwater Festival Koh Tao Floods

April 2, 2011 Leave a comment

WOW… What a week here on our little island!! As we got ready for one of the most anticipated events of the year the Koh Tao Underwater Festival..and boy did the water ever come!  Eventhough within the first few hours the event grounds were saturated and the fields became muddy mess, it didn’t really stop anything at all.  As the first night went on everything still happened, the shows were fantastic (Ban’s show included) and everyone after a while seemed to ignore the rain.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Waking the next morning, from our hill-top bungalow overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, we were noticing that the rain had not stopped all night it started to become a concern and as I tried to make my way to work that morning I was met with a river that only the day before was the road I walked home on.  From then on it rained and rained and RAINED some more.  With no stop in sight we decided to get down to the village and pickup a few supplies. Which was lucky too because unknown to us there was some serious weather still to come.  Keeping in touch with our friends on the island via cell phone we started to hear of power outages and water being cut off to a few places at first and then more and more as the day passed.  Some people’s businesses were destroyed, some people lost the contents of their homes but all in all everyone seemed to be helping each other and if you needed a hand there was a hand near by. We even had the Thai Navy assisting us to rescue what we thought would be a few stranded tourists trying to make their flights in Bangkok, this quickly went from getting a few off the island to finding an aircraft carrier parked off the island with helicopters flying in and out from the island trying to get the 1,000 people who needed off the island back to the main land.

At the end of it all we counted ourselves as some of the lucky ones high enough on the mountain to stay dry, not to mention having our power on almost around the clock.  We have received a lot of calls from friends and family back home wondering if we were all still ok or if we got washed away!  My answer was always you’re talking to me on Facebook… how bad could it be ?!  Anyway there was a lot of questions right up to the end on how we were making out.

It’s all over now and the Gulf is getting back to its’ pristine diving it was before this all started.   Took a look around ‘You-Tube’ and noticed a lot of footage on the action over the last few days so I posted the links here.