Posts Tagged ‘Asia-Pacific’

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.


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



March 18, 2011 Leave a comment

PADI rocked Koh Tao few weeks ago during their IDC Staff Instructor update and Member Forum.  Tony and Colin were on the Rock that day updating Instructors and fielding questions, mainly on the new changes to the Divemaster Program that will be manditory as of July this year.  It’s an exciting time for us here at Ban’s with one of the worlds largest Divemaster Programs with over 50 participants and already 15-20 certs for 2011.

The day started with an update lead by Colin Melrose from PADI’s Head Office for Asia Pacific.  The update looked at the the Divemaster course as well as a lot of PADI’s new Online programs including Online DM and theory classes.  This new online programming is a fantastic way for travelers to save their precious holiday time for the beach in a classroom and get alot of their theory accomplished before they even arrive.

Later that evening Tony, the Regional Manager for Asia-Pacific, opened the floor to all the members in the first members’ forum for 2011 here on Koh Tao.  Our attendance was great with a lot of Ban’s DMT’s showing.  This event may not have been as formal as forums from other places in the world but was done in true “Koh Tao Style”.  Tony had lots to give and many questions were asked.  One new event that PADI was looking at is creating a PADI PRO NIGHT! but that’s info for another day.

Traveling With Equipment

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Are you an over packer? I know I am, and the cost of flights going to my favorite Diving Locations are killing me let alone the cost for extra baggage!  What about once you get there? Do you ever get sick and tired of carrying around that huge bag of Diving equipment? Again my hand is raised! A few months ago I was offered the chance to try Aqua Lungs solution to this problem. The Aqua Lung Travel Set (see below)!  At first sight I could see the quality I have come to trust from Aqua Lung.  As I sat with the Asia-Pacific Rep we joked about just how small we could pack this kit.  So together we put it to the ultimate test, we picked up all the gear went into the dive shop and as we made our way through some of our smaller dive bags we had an idea… the rep wanted us to try to get it all into a 20 Liter dry bag, mask, BCD, Reg everything! I didn’t think it would be possible but there it was within seconds inside a  20 Liter bag! With room to spare we took it to an even smaller bag… Yes we were even able to pack an entire diving kit into a 15 Liter dry bag WOW!  Now he had my attention but what about comfort, quality and what kind of price is a kit like this going to cost me?  We demo’d the kit for a few weeks letting quite a few Divemasters at Bans try it out as well as myself we all found it to be one of the most comfortable BCDs we have ever worn.  The Reg breathed like a dream and we could not say enough about it.  So ok, great quality, great comfort, where’s the down side? MUST be the price right? Mask (Look2) BCD, full Reg set all for 51,930 Baht.  Then after talking with the rep we got a special discount getting the Look2 mask for free with the purchase of a whole kit! That brought the price to 49,560Baht. GREAT! Still want better? Till the end of December 2010 Aqua Lung is offering to give you a FREE Octo with this set as well! Thats taking the price down to 41,870 Baht. Now… that’s pretty hard to beat but at Bans till the end of the year, we are also giving a special Divemaster discount of 15% so the final price for a full set of equipment with a BCD that weighs less than 2kg comes to 35,590 Baht!!! For the rest of the world that’s $1,180US. Now the only thing that worries me is the strength of the BCD over time.  This is no problem if your going away on holidays every year.  However, I do not think it would hold up to heavy everyday use,  but we will see (it does come with a limited lifetime warranty). I like this product soo much that if you come into our shop and ask we’ll give you one to try for the day.  Stop by try it out, see what you think.  Give us a post if you have any feed back.

Do you have YOUR ticket to world travel?

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

So now you’re a Divemaster or you’re just about to finish your DMT course.  Now what?  What are the opportunities out there for you?  What can you expect?  Where can you go to find out more?  One of the main focuses we use our Facebook group for is to assist new DM’s find there perfect jobs around the world from the Caribbean to South America (and don’t forget Asia-Pacific.)  For instance this month alone we have found 40 new jobs presented to us for DM positions all over the world!  Being a Divemaster is a great way to travel!  It could be your ticket to see the world and arrive home debt-free.  Another route a lot of Divemasters take is to become  Underwater Photographers (did you know you can teach underwater photography as a DM??) or Videographers.  Here at Ban’s every Open water course it filmed, by an Underwater videographer (many trained in our DM program) so the students may share this with their friends and family back home.