During our pre-pandemic travels, my wife and I visited the King’s Palace in Thailand. The palace complex is of course on the UNESCO world heritage list and THE tourist attraction in Bangkok. It’s positively rococo.
But I came to realize, that the abundance of riches, gold and things to marvel at quickly fizzles out. After 100 golden buddhas you don’t really care how many more are there. You get it. There’s a lot.
At the same time – the cost of seeing these “Tier 1” tourist attractions tends to grow exponentially:
The queues are longer
The security more annoying
The crowds – unbearable.
Because these are “the most famous” things in the world, EVERYBODY goes there. In the meantime, there are “Tier 2” points of interest, where the crowds are less annoying, the queues less painful, but the “awesomeness” only slightly lesser.
My working theory is that the awesomeness curve is concave but the annoyance curve is convex. At many of these “most famous places” they cross – like in Paris:
Strasbourg is a very beautiful city, with much smaller crowds and costs of going there, but delivers more than 50% of the Awesomeness that Paris does. My travel advice is: go to “Tier 2” cities.
In one of the previous emails, I wrote about GPT-3 – a new kid on the block of Artificial Intelligence. Pieter Levels has turned it into a startup idea generator. He has been pretty vocal in the past about ideas being cheap and execution constituting the real challenge. Now he’s selling machine-generated ideas 🤣. Some of them are much better than those I’ve heard during startup events:
A company that’s building software for restaurants that helps them manage their menus, guest lists, and food orders.
A startup that helps students and other young professionals find other people their age who want to live together
The startup is building a digital platform to enable farmers to monitor and manage the health of their crops.
Human Genome has been here for about six million years. MS Excel only slightly shorter, but it has already won. Scientists have to rename some of the Human genes because MS Excel tends to automatically convert them to dates. It’s easy to point jokes and demand fixes on the Microsoft side, but the software update cycles in Academia tend to take a while. Scientists have control over the naming of genes, but not over the university purchasing department.
When I pictured my dream house, it always had a lot of books. Maybe even a dedicated „library” room, with walls invisible under shelves of volumes, all neatly stacked.
Of course, one of the bookstands would hide a secret passageway. There has to be a secret passageway in a dream house, duh!
Now I do have a house and I am sorry to report that there is no library room and its fine. I did not give up on my childhood dream nor gave up reading. In fact, I do read significantly more.
But I did quit physical books.
There are no bookshelves, stacks of first editions nor walls covered by volumes.
Almost all my reading happens on a Kindle, precisely because it does not have to happen in a library. And replacing the whole room for this device has several benefits.
I bought my first Kindle when I started traveling a lot. The books I read tend to be on the thick side, and they were taking too much damn space inside the carry-on. Kindle Paperwhite weighs 205 grams. Hardcover version of „Song of Ice and Fire” volume 1 is 970. That means that the first part weights as much as five kindle readers.
? You don’t have to decide
Or take books „Just in case.” What if you finish that first part? Seven volumes of George R.R. Martin’s finest work weigh as much as 14 kindles.
? Any book in the world at your fingertips
Let’s imagine you are traveling through Africa and you just heard about a fantastic book that would complement your understanding of the culture. Chances, that you can stumble upon that title in a country that uses a different language are very slim.
But Kindle can instantly turn into ( almost ) any book in Amazon’s offering. You can buy a book on a whim and start reading it 2. MINUTES. LATER.
In fact, in our house books are the biggest „impulse spend.” We had to delete a Credit Card from the Amazon account since we used to buy any book recommended to us.
Some of the books on my reading list I have not bought yet
Books are not like cars (in many aspects). It mostly does not matter what you drive. It will still get you there. On the other hand, the difference between the best book on the topic and the 5th best is sometimes immense.
The friction of paper books means that sometimes you read what is available – and not what is the best reading choice.
Of course, chance encounters of hidden literary gems that serendipity put in our laps should be cherished. But being stuck with a terrible book and the responsibility of finishing it is a waste of time life What you read matters. Much more than How Much.
Amazon has the best selection and arguably the best electronic reading device. That is why I don’t bother with any other brands. They may be technically better or cheaper, but removing the hassle from procuring a book works out to my advantage.
The highlights, OH MY GOD – the highlights
I believe that concrete takeaways are more important than reading more books. Recollection or even reflection upon the concepts, thoughts or mental models can further my understanding of the world. My reading list contains a lot of non-fiction, sometimes called „self – help.” This is a dubious term because they usually are about the workings of the world. Topics like psychology, randomness, organizational design, business or innovation are sometimes dense, but biographies or history books are an excellent example of non-fiction that can teach you a lot about reality.
This is a topic for a whole another blog post, but in essence – taking lessons from books is the single most valuable activity I can imagine.
Inspired by the amazing Derek Sivers, I started a practice of summarising every book that I read. While I’m reading, I do highlight a lot, sometimes even make notes on the kindle touch keyboard (clumsy but doable). After finishing the book, I will fashion some posts about the book.
Having it in public forces me to be more verbose and explicit in my notes. All the posts are written only for the audience of 1 – future me. The external accountability motivates me to put a little more effort into my writing. And future me is grateful for that.
Before Kindle, I was very reluctant to highlight stuff in the book itself. I grew up in a family that was not rich by any means and we cherished books. Highlighting anything feels to me like destroying something valuable. Even if I hesitate only a bit before marking a passage – that has an impact on the lessons I can remember.
But on the Kindle, I can highlight very generously. What’s more, I can also find these highlights with minimal effort. These two aspects of Kindle highlights fundamentally changed how I read.
Here is what I do after finishing a non-fiction book:
Copy my-clippings.txt file from my Kindle to my laptop
Run a simple script to generate bullet points with highlights from a particular book
Use that as a stub to write a book summary post
Publish that, enjoy a wild success on the Internets, be famous, profit from my fame, start attracting the wrong crowd and have paparazzi publish my shameful deeds.
In the meantime, review my posts periodically to refresh the takeaways.
Currently, I am experimenting with Twitter threads (like 1, 2, 3 ) WHILE I am reading a book. Join me!
My fiancee uses the service called Readwise that will send her emails with the highlights.
While automation is particularly appealing to me, I like the responsibility of having to summarise the takeaways myself. It makes me more focused during the reading.
Kindle Paperwhite backlight.
The paperwhite model features an ambient backlight. There are diodes on the sides that make the entire screen reflect a bit of light. It works differently from your smartphone – the light is reflected and does not interfere with your sleep.
But it means that you don’t need a reading light, which is a GAMECHANGER.
It opens an entire world of bedroom entertainment with your partner.
Particularly a sleeping partner you don’t want to wake up.
Yes, smell, feel… All that is nice. It’s nice to have something to put on your shelf as well. I know. The passageway…
In the world that turns everything into digital ephemera, having a hard copy of a book is lovely, grounding and tactile.
But in the end, it’s about reading. And if I did not have my Kindle, I would do significantly less of that.
And I will never give up on that secret passageway. Just watch me.
My life is a real struggle. To keep my hard-earned gold status on Star Alliance, I have to fly to Greece every year. This, obviously is a chore, because I have to eat a lot of food and sit in the sun.
Subscribe to learn more about how I earn miles in a greek airline program, even though I live in Poland.
The first time my wife and I had to complete this particular „mileage run,” her brother was working as a tour resident in Rethymno on the island of Crete. That made it an easy trip to justify! We could have visited Joseph AND earn our status on the way!
Crete is the biggest island in Greece. They have plenty of olive trees, very tall mountains, reasonably friendly sheep, and spectacular beaches. The sandiest and calm ones are located on the north coast – that is where the majority of hotels and towns is, including Rethymno.
The south coast is more rugged and rocky. Like the life of a Polish teenager, it is sharp and devoid of any comfort, soft sand, and all-inclusive resorts.
It has character though, in particular, some of the most exciting geography found on Crete. Joseph has recommended we visit Matala – a charming city by the bay.
And boy, Matala did NOT disappoint!
Since the rocks were easy to excavate, many artificial caves were created. The word is that during Roman times, these caverns were a designated burial place. This story does not really hold together, since the caves clearly have rooms and they are quite roomy for graves.
You could for example sit and work there if you reaaaally wanted to.
Since these caves are so comfy, why not live there?
That is what happened in the 60s. Hippies discovered the (then) secluded Matala, with it’s inviting caves, fantastic beach and the shining sun. Several celebrities spent time in Matala, including Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell.
All was fun and games until the Greek dictatorship in the 70s. Hippies were chased away, and law & order got established. Fortunately not for long.
The hipster vibe is definitely felt throughout the town today. It is the most „Jamaican” place in the whole of Greece. Not in the fake, pushy, buy-Bob-Marley-T-shirts sense (although you can definitely do a lot of that!),
It’s just that the spirit of sixties seem to have lasted a bit longer here… Maybe Greece is a good fit for the free-love-enjoy-the-sun approach to life. Maybe it’s the sun, maybe ther is something in the water. Visit Matala to find out for yourself. You won’t regret it.
Oh God, I love Naan! And my wife does too. I think this is an addiction, but I am afraid to seek medical help because I could not quit.
Fortunately, Indian food is quite popular in Poland, so we have a dependable supply of these delicacies. But it was always a mystery to me:
? Fortune favours the hungry
Fortunately, fate decided to help launch me on a fact-finding mission.
When we were roaming around Thailand, our company organized an event in India. Since we were reasonably close, we volunteered to help with the situation and visit Udaipur and Mumbai and enjoy the culture food.
And learn the secrets of the Naan.
??? Naan-making class
On a trip to Paris, a few years ago, I have attended a croissant-making class. I highly recommend the experience, and I was on the lookout for similar fun since.
So, Naan being superior to Croissants, you would expect an even greater abundance of delicious learning opportunity in India, right?
Wrong! Cooking classes are very hard to come by in India!
How is that possible? Indian food is so Instagram-mable, delicious, hard to make, and popular that there should be no issue finding a cooking school. But there are none!
Fortunately, my Indian friends were kind enough to explain it to me in great detail.
What you went for a cooking class? Hahahahahahaha! You are so weird! Hahahahaha!
Kruti, my friend.
After the mockery was over, I learned that Indian people learn to cook from their mothers and grandmothers. There is 0 need for a cooking school because they will learn to make delicious Kadai, Kormas, and Naans at home.
As a side note, it is also quite accessible to hire a cook that will come to your house and cook you food for 2-3 days. In Europe and the US we are used to takeout, but in India, they approach this situation from precisely the opposite viewpoint.
You cook and learn to cook at home. Not at a cooking school.
Fortunately, I have used this thing called capitalism to find a cooking school in Mumbai (Click here for Chhabria Cooking Classes). After double-checking with the teacher that we indeed will be making Naan, we embarked to see the school.
Only to find out it was indeed someone’s home! A very enterprising Indian lady was running cooking classes for foreigners at her apartment. It was perfect because the kitchen had a very similar layout to ours, so we learned how to prepare delicious Indian dishes, Yes, including Naan.
Remote work helps me see the world, contribute more to our products and lets me enjoy life to the fullest. From the stereotypical Thai Beach office to escaping open space, it’s a clear benefit for my employer and me.
But what gets me most excited about remote work is the environmental impact. If people don’t have to move to big cities, they can stay in their home towns, close to friends and family. Outside of metropolis, it is possible to consume locally grown food, eradicating the need for transport and packaging of perishables. With a smaller density, the housing can be cheaper, and living conditions improve considerably. People working remotely from areas like Kentucky, Idaho or Ukraine can spend their fat tech salaries locally, raising the living standards for the entire community, providing new jobs and example for future generations. According to WWF, the commuters in the USA alone are generating 1786 metric tonnes of CO2. That is 26% of all US emissions that remote work can help curb.
But of course – there is an element of hypocrisy in that grand vision of remote work saving the environment.
I fly a few times a year to meet my coworkers in person, and air travel is a contributor to greenhouse emissions.
Haunted by this fact, I decided to count how much harm did I do. I added up my flights for each year:
2016: 4.4 tonnes
2017: 8.11 tonnes
2018: 5.51 tonnes
That makes a total of 18.02metric tonnes of CO2 emitted due to me flying over the past three years. I do not feel happy about this, but I found a way to ease the impact of lugging my ass all over the world.
CarbonFootprint.com lets you contribute to carbon offsetting projects around the globe. Their air travel calculator will help you figure out how much harm did you do while getting these Instagram photos:
I decided to fund tree planting in Kenya since it will both plant trees and provide work for the local community. I happily shelled out 280 EUR to buy the land, plant trees and help them grow. The trees should consume 20 tonnes of CO2 caused by my air travel, helping me sleep better.
Carbon emissions due to flying is a downside of working for a globally distributed company, but I still can do something about it.
I also believe that long-term remote work can be the answer to the climate crisis we are experiencing right now.
For the past 3 years, my fiancée kept on telling me how amazing South Africa is. We’ve had an amazing road trip in western Canada together, spent a month jumping into Yucatan cenotes, and worked from the beaches of Thailand like proper remote employees, so I felt a little bit insulted. While we were enjoying these amazing places, she extolled the virtues of a city that has both the ocean and mountains, and teased me with waterfalls, wineyardsand the perfect steak.
Fortunately, the opportunity has come to say “I call”.
Maria’s team had to gather in April for some on-site R&R in Cape Town. This is a traditional practice for remote employees. Since you see your coworkers only on Slack or Zoom calls – its good to remind yourself that these are real human beings that like to eat and have fun. And that was the plan for that trip – I would sit tight and work from fabulous Cape Town coffee shops and Maria would eat, drink and have fun with her coworkers.
Afterwards, we would go for a 6-day road trip.
We picked an 800 km long route on the coast, west of Cape Town. Known as the “Garden Route”, it is home to multiple national parks and charming coastal cities. This is where Atlantic and Indian oceans meet and nature decides to show us the good stuff.
Addo Main Camp is located close to a waterhole, which you can observe from an underground hide. And… oh boy! That came in handy when a Lion (I had no intention of seeing a lion, but he showed up regardless) killed a Kudu antelope right next to the hide. We could all see him resting for a while before he dragged the prey away from our prying eyes.
I managed to record a video before he vanished:
The park itself is a DIY safari. You take your car and drive around, spotting different animals and enjoying life. Safari was #128 on my personal bucketlist and I can proudly cross it off having seen:
Wild Pig AKA Pumba
Dung beetle. Lots of them! The biggest challenge in the park was not to crush them when they were crossing the road. I guess this is how elephants feel about us humans.
And the aforementioned Lion
2 ⛰ Storms River Mouth / Tsitsikamma
My sneaky fiancée lured me to this country promising waterfalls. I am kind of a Waterfall afficionado junkie, so visiting Storms River was a must.
Unfortunately, on the day both the weather turned bad and I started having ankle problems, so we gave up on waterfall hike (3-4 hrs) :(. We will have to do it another time.
3 ? Nature’s Valley
Even though you can sleep in the park itself (Storms River has cottages), we spent 2 nights in the nearby town called Nature’s Valley. The Otter Trail connects it to Storms River and apparently we are the only 2 people in the world that have not heard about The Otter Trail. Everything in Nature’s Valley is named after an Otter, and I mean EVERYTHING. We stayed at a placed called Kamma Otter and I counted at least 5 other B&Bs named after an Otter (and this city has only 50 houses). If you see how many times I used the word “Otter” in the last paragraph, you’ll start to get a feel of Nature’s Valley.
Believe it or not, an Otter-based naming scheme is not the only charming thing about the lovely town. It is located between the lagoon and the ocean, has 1 restaurant, 1 shop and a very tight-knit community of bird lovers.
I think they throw you out if you don’t love birds.
4 ? Knysna
Do you see the white building just on the edge of the left “head”? This is Easthead Cafe. We had breakfast there. You should too.
5 ? Map of Africa paragliding spot
On the way back to Cape Town, we decided to check out the spot called “Map of Africa”. It’s a piece of land shaped like an African continent, surrounded by river.
My fiancée had dreamt of paragliding for few years now (this trip is all about the stuff she wants to do, isn’t it?). Every time we noticed people in the air, she would point them out and make sure I knew she is up for it 🙂
And there they were, running from the cliff and soaring in the air!
So how does this work?
You drive to the “Map of Africa” viewpoint, expecting to see something vaguely resembling African continent,
A random guy walks up to you, offering to strap you onto a contraption that puts you a hundred meters in the air. No reservation was necessary,
Naturally, you say yes to the random dude,
You pay 800 ZAR per person,
This is a tandem flight so you are actually tied to an instructor who hopefully knows what he is doing,
You run awkwardly a few steps,
You start soaring like a sack of potatoes,
You fly for about 15-20 minutes having the best time ever,
If the instructor catches a wind current, you land where you started, with smooth grass and sheep to soften your fall. If not, he will drop you in the ocean land on the beach and they’ll pick you up in a car.
6 ? Kaaimans Bridge
While paragliding, you can get a glimpse of this decommissioned railway bridge. If you are not paragliding, you can stop at “The Dolphins Viewpoint” to have a look:
7 ? The Oude Post
This is a gas station and a sandwich shop. Which has Mini Goats, a turtle and the most delicious sandwiches imaginable. They serve traditional Roosterkoeken – a sandwich/pastry that is baked on the barbecue during traditional Braai.
Braai is to South Africa what Barbecue is to Texas. A human right.
8 ? Hermanus
Our trip had an end right on the airport, where we would return the car. But since we had extra few hours, we stopped in Hermanus.
Hermanus is a coastal city that is famous for one thing: Whales.
The season is from July till November, so a whale watching trip in April was a bit of a gamble, but it paid of tremendously! A whale was doing whale things in the bay and standing on Gearings Point, we could see the back and tail popping up from the water here and there.
I tried to take drone photos, but birds attacked my drone, so I had to count on the return-to-home feature.
Here are all these spots – and more on the map:
I have to admit that now I understand why my fiancée wanted to share immense beauty of South Africa with me. I will definitely come back here. I the meantime – you can check out Job’s post with much better photos. Or subscribe to my newsletter!
YES. You can swim with Seals (not the Navy kind) in Cape Town, South Africa. These gracious creatures are very playful, and they don’t hesitate to swim up close, say Hi or maybe do a high five (fin).
A Bit of Backstory:
In April 2019, my Fiancee (who also works remotely) had to go for a business trip to Cape Town. Since we all work in different places, our company flies the whole team to one place for a week, so we can get together and dose up on some in-person interaction. Since 3 of Maria’s teammates live in Cape Town, I was hoping that someday she would have to go there and finally they decided to do so. Being shameless opportunists that we are, we jumped at the chance to spend some time in South Africa. Nature is fantastic here, people friendly and ocean cold. Real cold. Maria was spending days with her coworkers, and I was working from the city’s amazing coffee shops and researching what could we do after her business was over. During that research, I stumbled upon a Casey Neistat’s video where he went swimming with sharks seals.
This is the best stuff ever!
I know, right? Who does not want to swim with sea dogs?!
Since famous bloggers think alike, I went with the same company Casey did – the Animal Ocean. They run an environmentally conscious operation, and they make sure the seals are fairly treated and allowed to unionize.
So here is roughly what happpens:
You book your trip like 5 days in advance. They sell out fast
You arrive on time to Houts Bay. We were scheduled at 11:30
Park your car there, they are looking after it
Sign paperwork, check out amazing shark socks
You squeeze into wetsuit, you get a vest and one-piece suit with vest
You put on wetsuit again since you confused the sides. ZIPPER AT THE FRONT!!
You can rent a gopro if that’s your jam
Leave all other stuff at their shop
You go to the bay in a SealMobile!
Ride in a speedboat to Duniker island
Now you get gloves and masks
You play with seals which is the best experience of your entire life
After about 1 hour, you are so cold that you really want to go back on the boat (and life)
They pour hot water inside your suit to make you less cold
They give you hot chocolate – guess why .
Speedboat and sealmobile back to the shop!
You wear a cute seal hoodie while you get warm. Also probably a shower.
Want to know more about the seals?
These particular seals are known as “Cape Fur” seals. They hang out in Duniker island in Houts bay because:
Island is not connected to the land, so humans are not bothering them too much
There is plenty of food. They like Mantis Shrimp
They ocean has good temperature
Sharks (pretty common predator in South Africa) stay away from Houts Bay.
In February I found myself in Zurich. You know, the go-to destination for cheap travel.
One of the advantages of remote work is that I don’t need to take time off to enjoy another part of the world. I can work somewhere and just take in the local culture, food and experience the change of scenery. I can pick a cheap flight at an unpopular hour and have a regular workday without skipping a beat.
My Fiancee was in Costa Rica at this time, so I decided to visit my friends in Switzerland. Not that I needed an excuse – Switzerland is a gorgeous country that has the things I love the most: mountains, forests, lakes, and waterfalls.
But since we spent last winter in Thailand and India, my main focus was to get a chance to practice my amazing snowboarding skills.
By amazing I mean perfectly average.
During the weekend I would ski, and on the workdays, I would roam around the city, have a nice walk and work from their home, maybe a coffee shop. Or a fondue parlor, since what you really need on your keyboard is not crumbs nor spilled coffee, but melted cheese.
OH MY GOD, THERE IS SO MUCH CHEESE HERE.
? Ok, enough about cheese.
There are plenty of ski areas nearby, so we decided on the closest one.
Flumserberg is the easiest one to get to. The train from Zurich HB takes 1 hour to get there, and the lift starts 20 meters from the train station. Swiss locals come into the train wearing their ski boots and with the gear on. It is perfect for a 1-day or a weekend trip.
It is also gorgeous. The city of Unterterzen is by the lake, surrounded by almost vertical walls of Fjord-like peaks
We came here with a 7am train, arriving at 8am and returned on Sunday at 5pm and were at Zurich HB at 6PM.
? Ski Passes
Swiss rail runs a special promo that gives you:
10% reduction on the 1-, 2- or 6-day ski pass for the entire Flumserberg region.
Free baggage transport for the outward and return journeys worth CHF 12 each.
15% reduction at Intersport Rent.
You cannot purchase it online though. You have to use a machine at the station. Here are the details
I paid 156,80 for a 2-day ski pass and transport to Flumserberg and back. Once you arrive in Flums, you have to exchange the coupon from SBB into the actual ski pass at the counter.
? Juhui Flumserberg:
Theoretically, on these 2-day tickets, we could have gone back to our place in Zurich on Saturday evening and return Sunday morning. But since Switzerland is such a cheap country, we decided to live like kings and splurge on accommodation. Which means that we got the cheapest option available on Booking and we stayed overnight. And what a fantastic decision it was! We got to sleep in a 120-year old wooden hotel.
Don’t get me wrong, restrooms were not in the room, and it was very cramped, but we passed out almost immediately anyway. We got sheets, towels and a big breakfast with fantastic views. We were happy. We paid 149 CHF (including beers) for 2 people in a 4-person room. I would be very surprised if in 4 people would indeed fit there comfortably. But it was 74 CHF after splitting between 2 people.
I had my Snowboard boots with me, but I had to rent the Snowboard and a helmet. The passes from SBB should have given us a 15% discount on Intersport rental. But because of a misunderstanding with our friends, we rented in a place just by the gondola. I paid 101 CHF for a helmet and a snowboard for 2 days. My friend paid 65 for skis + boots etc., for 1 day.
I have Star Alliance Gold status, which entitles me to a piece of free luggage on all star alliance flights except „light” tariffs on Lufthansa and Swiss. But I found a cheap ticket on LOT (PL national airline, Star Alliance), also in the „light” pricing. But because of my Star Alliance status – I got luggage for my snowboard shoes and drone for free. Zurich is a peculiar place. It is a place of employment many expats, and they want to fly home for the weekend. Which means that if you come here FOR the weekend, you pay less. I arrived Saturday morning and flew back Sunday. I paid about 55 CHF for all of that.
If you want to read some tips on how to get to Star Alliance Gold cheaper and faster – do sign up! ?
So there you have it. I paid 331 CHF for the whole trip. If you want to include the flight to Zurich, that is an additional 55 CHF. So for 380 CHF, you can enjoy a weekend of skiing in Swiss Alps. But then again, if you want it to be cheaper, then you probably should not choose Switzerland. ?
And here is Michał who organized all of this. Thanks Michał!
Remote work has it’s own set of cultural stereotypes. On one hand, there is “Work from home”.
Put your pants in the bottom drawer, because you won’t need them anymore. Now you will work from home and never again will you have contact with a human being.
The second end of the spectrum is full-on digital nomad. Someone who has all belongings packed in a carry-on bag and travels the world perpetually living in hostels and airbnbs.
And… Of course is working from a beach in Thailand.
Thailand comes up a lot while mentioning remote work. And for a good reason.
Chiang Mai or Bangkok enjoy a bustling tech scene
People there are very friendly
Food is amazing
The nature is spectacular
But the beaches out of this world!
So we decided to give it a go. The only downside is that… I hate beaches. Literally, I would rather be anywhere else that on the beach.
This is hell
Diving in Thailand
Fortunately, Thailand has more to offer than those menacing sandy beaches and annoying gentle waves.
It has some great diving. In fact, the diving is so great that we practiced in 2C ( 35.6 F ) water in Poland just to finish our scuba certifications before coming here. This is a story for another post, but I will mention this while I have a chance: DO NOT DIVE IN 2C ( 35.6 F ) WATER.
For our Thai diving, we were interested in Ko Tao. This is a whole island famous for quick & cheap diving certifications located on the bay side of peninsula. But it turns out, that the best diving spots are on the Andaman sea! Places like:
Hin Daeng and Hin Muang
Famous Ko Phi Phi featured in the movie “The Beach” (with that title it’s rightly a Thriller if you ask me)
And Richelieu Rock
Richelieu Rock is considered a #8 best diving spot in the world. It is a vertical limestone pinnacle just barely touching the surface. It looks very unassuming, but under the water… It’s a magnificent experience.
He also brought our attention to the debate regarding the naming.
Richelieu Rock was discovered by Jacques Cousteau – a relentless oceanographer. Some say that the purple reefs reminded him of the colors of Cardinal Richelieu’s robes. Matt says that the name comes from General Richeliu, a Danish officer who became an admiral of Royal Thai Navy.
Regardless of etymology, Richelieu Rock is worth a visit. Khao Lak is a good home base, but Phuket has ships coming to Richelieu Rock as well.
Thailand is not only Bangkok, beaches and booze. It’s Barracudas as well.