Among all these islands, we will have to choose ...
Among all these islands, we will have to choose ...

Preparations but not too much

  Thailand: Islands - February 2009

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

Are you the kind of person who plans everything before you leave, or who improvises as you go along? I'm more in the second category. In a week, I'll be in Thailand. I haven't booked much, except the essentials: plane tickets, a room in Bangkok so I don't have to struggle when I arrive in the evening, a diving cruise in the Similan.

The rest... we'll see! 😎

Search information on the internet

My only preparations these days have been to browse the web, looking for fresh information and impressions from travelers, on various places that interest me: Koh Yao Noi in the bay of Phang Nga, the beaches a little away from the tourist flow in the south of Phuket (Ao Sane, Nai Harn, Ya Nui, but hush!) and a whole string of islands along the Andaman coast, up to the Malaysian border (Koh Jum, Koh Muk, Koh Libong, Koh Bulon, Koh Lipe).

Among all these islands, we will have to choose ...
Among all these islands, we will have to choose ...

I will not be staying in Krabi or Koh Phi Phi or Koh Lanta, where I have been hanging my flip flops a few times. I do not know yet if I will go very far to the south. My initial project was to target Koh Lipe ... But I may change my mind along the way.

For island to island connections in the Andaman Sea (ferries and speed-boats), I found several interesting sites. It gives you an idea of the existing routes and fares:
"Andaman Island Hopping
"Tiger Line Travel
"Satun Pakbara Speed Boat Club
"Koh Lipe Thailand
"Koh Yao Travel

Diving gear

My most serious preparations were to invest, finally, in a thicker dive suit (there were specials on the 5mm to RenSports!). It will advantageously replace my discarded 3mm (on the left on the picture), even if the water is hot at the moment in Thailand (it should easily oscillate between 27-30°C).

So I should not go out blue and chattering like this summer in Bali, on the side of Nusa Lembongan.

The bottom of my old combi 3mm left, the 5mm right.
The bottom of my old combi 3mm left, the 5mm right.

I've also put money into a new diving computer: the Pucks de Mares. A simple computer, one of the cheapest on the market, but which does its job very well, according to the opinions found on the web. In any case, this model is more than enough for the "leisure" diver that I am.

The Puck is more complete than my old Aladin Pro (Uwatec), since it can handle the air AND the nitrox (well yes ... I had it that well, since there is the free nitrox on the boat that I I chose for the Similan cruise). It gives the temperature and you can change the battery yourself, which is not the case of the Aladdin.

Aladin Pro (Uwatec) vs Puck (Mares).
Aladin Pro (Uwatec) vs Puck (Mares).

UPDATE → In 2015, I changed my wetsuit again and in October 2016, I unfortunately "left" at the bottom of the Red Sea, my faithful little Puck, who always worked very well... So I changed my computer again! To see all the parts of my diving equipment, visit the page Equipment.

Travel Guides

I took advantage of these "preparations" to gather all the travel guides on Thailand that I have kept over the years. I found seven, and I do not count the two chapters of the last Lonely Planet, downloaded from Pick & Mix Chapters.

I see that in 2004 I was still embarking hitchhiker

My travel guides about Thailand.
My travel guides about Thailand.

And that's when I realized I didn't even have a map of Thailand... to die for. Zoo! To Ariane, the travel find one. The map's on the wall and it's already taking me on a trip!

Finally, final and very serious preparations: I have restocked my swimsuits. In-dis-pen-sa-ble!!!! I confess: I bought three at once. Since I'm in the water all the time, I like to change.

Now I think I'm all set! 😀

In short, the pleasure of projecting myself into the coming journey is, in my eyes, more important than planning a roadmap ... If you read English, go take a look at How to plan a trip without making any plans, on Vagabondish. I find myself well in this article.


  Thailand: Islands - February 2009

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  1. Three jerseys? 😉
    I like a little galley arriving in Bangkok ... It's part of the trip!
    Your itinerary makes me dream ... and even more the idea that it is not cast in the concrete!
    I will spend a week in France while you are among the fish. Less exotic, but at least no white carpet!

  2. Listen Corinne, stop talking about me on your blog, it's getting embarrassing 😉 readers will wonder...So I publicly confirm that I don't make any contribution to appear on this Blog!
    More seriously, I am one of those people who do not plan too much their trip (yet I have something given my environment!), I focus mainly on the cultural aspect of a country or more often a city (I am an urban tourist) before leaving ... then on the spot I let myself be carried by my impressions, the inspiration and of course the guides.
    For hiking, it's different, I would say that there, however, I try to control everything before leaving. Like what there can be 2 types of travelers in 1 person 😉
    I notice on your photo a collector, the (fire) guide NEOS of Michelin. It was for me an excellent collection that did not have time unfortunately to find his readership
    ...and then Bon Voyage 😉

  3. You will have to explain to me where do you find 3 swimsuits in winter in France ...
    I hope you will meet whale shark (they are rare) and mobula rays to Koh Bon!
    Buen viaje.

  4. @ Marie-Julie:

    Yes, three jerseys, perfectly!!! 😛
    I found very pretty and not expensive at all in the shop of a chain of clothes that had just received his new collection. Unable to choose, I took the three models that I liked. Those I already have are starting to show signs of fatigue. It is high time to renew the stock. All these things are somehow my off-beat Christmas gifts ...

    For my part, I do not like galley on arrival in Bangkok ... Especially as I drag my dive bag in addition to the backpack, and I will arrive late in the afternoon. There, I will be able to ask myself direct, and quickly go eat a padthai in the wake without having to make the tour of the guesthouses.

    I savor in advance the happiness of this trip, in this beautiful region ... Me who loves the islands so much, I will be served!

    In the meantime, I wish you an excellent stay in Lyon. It will change the winter rigors of Montreal. In Brittany, it is surprisingly beautiful and sweet today. It almost looks like spring is in the air ...


    It's MY blog and I advertise if I want, for who I want, when I want, because that's my pleasure. N / A!!! For me, it's less of a "pub" than a useful link and info that can help travelers read this post ...

    The hike is a type of getaway apart: I understand that we need to leave a little less room for chance, if only for the logistics aspect of the organization.

    Otherwise, I rediscovered, too, this famous guide Neos on my shelves. I had found it quite well when I got it. I did not know that the collection did not exist anymore.

    @ Marie-Net:

    I just found your comment ... So I complete mine. And for jerseys, I refer you back to the answer I gave Marie-Julie. I do not really like to mention the names of chains of clothes that really do not need me to advertise them (while I gladly promote quality independent bookstores), but hey, for your info, there's a good choice of cheap shirts that have just arrived at Etam.

    I cross my fingers to have the chance to meet again spectacular big beasts, like three years ago. It was at Koh Bon and Richelieu Rock ... Ah, I can not wait !!!

  5. Yeah ... well ... we ... there ... we have, either too prepared ... not enough ... I write this word from Australia, Perth, and we booked via the internet a motorhome to spend 4 days mop, saying: too top, we will be free of our movements, it will cost less..etc..etc ... In short, so we had a little planned ... Result: we went to get the van this morning ... .and ... my god .... It is HUGE !!!!!!!!!!!!!! in the photos, it seemed small, handy, etc ... but there ... .an anxiety !!!! In short, the horror, drive this fat truck left, shift gears with the left hand, in the middle of the snakes, with the knee that swells visibly ... No, it's too much !! So, finally, we opt to leave the monster in a parking lot. the outside of the city, because, considering the greatness of the thing, we are forbidden to park in the city; and tomorrow, we go to Rottness Island (it's not worth the Koh ... but hey!) We go relax at the hotel, I can ice my knee, and we take the camper Sunday morning for the north!
    So here ... do not plan too much ... because, there we got ourselves ... and suddenly, what seemed practical is rather a big ball!
    Well, at the same time, it makes us laugh ... yellow ...
    Anyway, it's warm, and nice, and good mood prevails!!! 😕

  6. @ Helen: I promise, I won't book an RV!!! 😆
    This is also why, to avoid disappointment, I do not like to book things in advance when it is not essential. I decided to go directly to Koh Yao Noi at the beginning of my stay, to rest and calmly acclimatize, waiting for the date of the diving cruise. I spotted several places to stay, but I preferred not to book anything. I will choose on the spot, from visu, it will be as well.
    Clean your knee while waiting. It'll be fun your adventures driving the monster! Take pictures especially.

    @Manta: Yes, we follow the trail !!! And I'm sure we'll end up diving together someday!
    Bambi is very nice. The transfer proposed by the SBSR Leyte is not given, but it makes good service. Bambi also works for him, he can walk you around the island.
    I cross my fingers so that you meet the good big giants of the bay. If you're there in March, it will usually be the right season, for whale sharks ... Last year, I was a bit too early. That said, even without big beast, the funds are superb in Sogod Bay. Good bubbles !!!

  7. Well, it only remains to wish you a great holiday in the land of smiles ...

    😉 Funny, last year I was there, you were in the Philippines....
    This year it will be the opposite! By the way, I just had the name of my driver in Leyte ... it's Bambi who will pick us up when the ferry arrives!

    🙄 I hope we see some big beasts this year, in addition to the palanque of small ones!

  8. Here we go at the same time, but not at the same place ...
    I go to Indonesia, first Papua Barat in the Raja Ampat Islands, then Sulawesi around Lembeh
    At Papuans, I'm not sure to find Wifi to post a few comments, but Lembeh should do it (I took the MSI in the end)
    According to a tour-leader I met in Thailand 2 years ago, Similans is nobody, it's rotted mantas and they saw 2 whale sharks in Richelieu at the beginning of the month
    In any case you will not be cold to contemplate all this with your 5 mm 😯

  9. @Alimata: Oh my... PNG + Sulawesi? Now that's a nice program. I'll be happy to read you live from your MSI!!! 😉
    As for mantas and whale sharks, I want to believe ... Go, I believe! 8)

    @Nono: In the end, our practices are quite similar. Like you, in hot country, I limit the clothes and I buy on the spot. I take the same precautions for the papers, whose scanned copies are stored on my messengeries in case, and the same, I walk with a photocopy of my passport.
    Question books, I do not charge anymore: just like you, I take only one book, for the plane. As for the jerseys, there, I loose myself, inevitably, I am always in the water !!! For the camera, I would like to change, too, but in the meantime, mine suits me well enough: small, not bulky.
    In all, with the dive bag, I drag myself about twenty pounds. Since 20kg is the max without extra cost that allow many airlines, I stick to it.

  10. Yes, but since I am lugging my diving gear, it's hard to do less ... Mask + combi + fins + boots + regulator + stab + knives like knife, lamp, parachute etc., all that ends with reach 8-10kg. My backpack "clothes", which also contains my gear that weighs a little (rechargeable batteries, cables, sockets etc.) is in the 10kg when I leave.

    The principle is that I have to be able to carry everything alone, otherwise it's not worth it. The bags I have are well done, and until then, it has always been without concern.

    I arrange to take the TGV that arrives directly to the airport, so as not to have endless corridors to survey at Montparnasse. In France, nobody has pity on me, but in Asia, when I find myself having to drag my bags over a long distance, there is always someone to help me ...

  11. I would exaggerate if I said that I do not prepare anything, but really not much. Depending on the trip, as I do not like to go, there are at least one or two nights booked. For hot countries, it's a great minimum of clothes (two or three) I buy on the spot. I scan (or photograph) addresses, passport, plane tickets, in short any important document for this trip and I send it to attachments by email. In case I lose my papers, I could find them on my mail. I often double my papers on me. In India, I do not plan anything anymore and I always do a lot more than I planned. Travel cards, I buy in the country. On the other hand before leaving I read books, guides of course, and in general novels to better apprehend the civilization and make me happy at the same time. But I only take a book to leave, for the plane.
    The jerseys, it depends on the destination but it is not my priority.
    Oh yes, I always take a digital camera (or two). And I would like a new compact for the next trip and with some autonomy.
    How many kg do you wear with all your gear?

  12. 20 kg, it's heavy! One way, I have gifts in the valoche, and back I come back with the weight of objects (jewelry, paintings) that we sell in the humanitarian markets for the benefit of the association. In the subway or at the train station, when there is no escalator, I tell myself that this is the last time ...

  13. I sometimes combine like that, but since Finistere it's not always easy and I like to stop in Paris to see my friends. It is true that in Asia, we are always helped ...
    Come on, three short days and the big splash! 🙂

  14. Having a good idea of places to visit, do not over program (when you have the time or the time), it is sometimes the best. Especially since you go to corners probably 'less' tourist, more welcoming (ie without a smile of use for tourists), more fishy too. Because, for Alimata, the Similans are currently full of boats and tourists, the fish are less numerous at the rendezvous (but there are the usual and there are still beautiful things to see down with Richelieu Rock ... in any case no rays (no Koh Bon for about 1 month certainly), no whale shark (have a lot of luck ... and I know you had it ... after a few years in thailand ;-) full of good ploufs and beautiful met.
    ps: a 5 mm is sometimes not too much in Thailand!

  15. @Martial: It was Alimata, not Nono, which evoked the Similan, I rectified in your comment ... As I will be there in March, I might have less affluence than you had in February? We'll see, the dives will be beautiful, anyway! And then mantas and whales-sharks will not resist the pleasure of coming to admire my new 5mm, I'm sure!

    @Francis: The trip will be good, as it has always been for me in Thailand, thank you! But ... you do not count, Francis. Of course, the score is currently 7 to 1 (not zero !!!) for whale sharks, because of your Mexican skewer (and as I'm a nice girl, I will not have the indelicacy to remind you of the account, in my favor, of the Balinese molas-molas).
    OK, that was three years ago, that whale-shark, but it still counts, no but! 😈

    [flash w = 400 h = 300 f = {image = http: // Shark}]
    Whale shark at Richelieu-Rock • February 2006

    Me in front of a whale shark

  16. @Francis: You didn't have to look for me... 😈 😆

    @Nono: Oops, I had zapped your comment, I reissue mine to answer you ... I agree with you enough, even the "tourist" are worth visiting. For example, to return to Thailand, I often advise people who ask me where to go, to discover Koh Phi Phi, because it is a beautiful place, despite the affluence. Similarly, closer to home, Mont-Saint-Michel is a place to see, even if there are people. And then there is always a way to get away from the crowd, including in "tourist" places.
    On the other hand, for the "traffic jams of divers", I confirm to you that it exists. We call it "bubble factories" or "bubble factories" between us. I have never been to the Red Sea, but it seems that the concentration of divers in the cubic meter of water is particularly dense ... In Asia, I saw "bubble bottlenecks" in corners like Koh Tao (Thailand) and in Amed (Bali) on the wreck of the Liberty.

  17. Thank you Corinne for having rectified. Since this morning, I look for the innuendos and hints that explained this comment. As a result, I documented a little bit about the Similan Islands.
    I take the opportunity to say that I start from the principle that a tourist place deserves in general to stop there: one does not have to be in the most frequented corners, it is often enough to walk a little to discover beautiful places and interesting people; it is also valid for Paris, Rio or small villages.
    And then under water, it should not be too crowded with tourists. I can not imagine the traffic jams of divers, but since I do not know anything about it, I may be wrong. I like this blog because I discover a world that is unfamiliar to me.

  18. Hello Ludovic-Wet & Sea! You had to feast in North Sulawesi ... Soon a little report on, I hope?

    As for Koh Lipe, as I have not planned anything (preparations, but not too much!) I do not know yet with whom I dive, nor where I sleep ... I spotted Forra Diving, on Sunrise Beach. They offer bungalows too ... But I will see well on the spot. I take good note of the sites to see! Exactly, I went yesterday to read your report on Lipe ...

    Hat for your frog-fish of 3mm !!!! You're right, it's not just big beasts that matter. It's not me, who likes to flash the little ones, who will contradict you!

  19. Ah la la... it hurts so much to see those who leave when you just get back (me it was last week Gangga island/N.Sulawesi) 😥 .
    So you'll tell us Koh Bulon huh?

    Who are you going to dive at in Lipe? Say hi to Yan if it's Ocean pro... and ask Noi if she got my yellow snorkel back 😉
    In all cases: requires three miles reef if the currents are not too strong and failing, Stonehenge for the strange basaltic monoliths and its beautiful soft corals, or Koh Yang for its splendid alcyonniares and its resident ghostpipefish.

    Ludovic / Wet & Sea
    (0 whale sharks 😕 but the smallest frogfish in the world on Kasawari in Lembeh : about 3 mm, 8) ) there is not only the size that counts... 😆
    I still wonder how I found it, luckily it was fluorescent orange...I even wowed the Indonesian guide! 😀 )

  20. Hmmh... 😡 finito for me
    Despite my old age, I have the gameness to hate the paternalism of the forum bosses... 😀 I won't be caught again. 🙄

    A priori no CR expected, or so on another site ... but I have so much to do late, Mozambique, Andaman & Nicobar Islands or Lipe -again- last December ...
    When I grow up I'll make a website with trip reports, here 😆 .

  21. 😆
    Me it's lazy, especially ... Since I make "reports" in near-live on my blog, I do not see too much interest to start over on And then, those who seek a specific info on one of the destinations where I went end sooner or later, as they search, to fall on Small Bubbles Elsewhere ...

    Nevertheless, I would like me to have your impressions and photos on Mozambique, Andaman and Nicobar ... A site, a site, a site !!!!

  22. Frankly, Corinne, I do not see why you would waste your energy with a report of travel since you do it as you go on your blog. And then you put so many links that everyone must be able to glean his happiness. By dint of reading the comments on Little Bubbles Elsewhere, I have ants in the legs and I do not think I'll wait for August for a getaway. But have to go to work to ensure the everyday and extras, is not it?
    In how many hours the big dive?

  23. Have a good trip and good dives... If we don't leave, we'll wait until you tell us about it, that will make me wait for my next vacations. In May, and the Red Sea: yes yes, the factory for divers, with bubbles, but also with beautiful corals, and lots of nice fish. And then, with just one week, there is not much choice! 😛
    For Indonesia, I have to wait even more, probably November, with a return to Froggies and after Bangka or Pulisan, finally in this corner of North Sulawesi... 😀
    Wet&Sea: we miss your reviews on 😥
    but you could not practice your talents and your English on the big site of Scubaboard ...

  24. @Nono: Yes, long live the energy savings! It is for this reason that I have gradually abandoned the dive forums and travel, I do not contribute much, although I continue to browse for information. Question getaway, mine is in the good "timing" of the year, I think, to wait until summer ... It makes me think that I have not decided where I intend to mop, in July.
    PS. I take off this Wednesday night. Arrival Thursday in Bangkok. Take off Friday for Phuket. I should be able to find a bungalow in Koh Yao Noi in the process. As for the ploufs at Similan, it will be from March 3rd to 7th !!!

    @Malene: It will be necessary, one day, that I still go to soak my palms in Red Sea !!! Even on the side of the bubble factories, there is a way to have fun. As for North Sulawesi ... oh there, that good memories. I would stay there again, wish! Otherwise, like you, I regret not to see Wet & Sea on ...

  25. Oh boy... 😮 So with all these requests, I'm going to have to find a way to post reviews... 😛

    Malene: you're right Bangka / Pulisan region, it's the best in N / Sulawesi, 8) it combines both big and small, between Sahaung spots for lovers of coral and Paradise for the small (an incredible micro-Lembeh: 3 distinct biotopes covered on a single dive)

  26. I think of you very much ... you are in the plane ... lucky! I am looking forward to reading you soon, especially since I am off, and yes, the meniscus ...

  27. @ Wet & Sea Eh yes! You have many fans ... Your reviews are missing !!!

    @ Helen: I take advantage of the stopover at the brand new airport of Dubai to connect ... Here the wifi is open access! In Paris, it's 6 € for half an hour! Heal your knee ... Good convalescence!

  28. "The trip for me is not happening, it's leaving. It is the unexpected of the next stop, it is the desire never filled of knowing constantly something else, it is tomorrow, eternally tomorrow "Dorgelès

    Well, it's nice to see you leave while we're at the dock 😥 the weather is gray 🙁 usual 😡

    (I noticed that the first two weeks back from vacation were the hardest... after even worse) 🙄

    Come on Corinne, may your trip be filled with intoxicating discoveries and multiple encounters, translucent water, ghost pipefishes more colorful than the others, subtly spiced curries... and uh... what else in fact? ...beautiful articles on petitesbullesdailleurs for example 😀

  29. Very well seen, this story of "desire never filled" ...

    Here it is 33 degrees. It's good to get back in flip flops! Bangkok is only a short night stop between two planes ... I'm happy to have arrived, already, but I want to see the sea, fast! It's for tomorrow. I look forward!!!

    Pfff ... You're putting pressure on me! "Beautiful" articles, just that ???

  30. It is beautiful this reflection of Dorgelès.
    Quick to see the sea. 33 degrees, I hope you have a good kiss to refresh yourself.
    Splash! 🙂

  31. @Nono: It's such a pleasure to never be cold again !!! These more than 30 degrees are easily supported, especially on the coast. The, I'm on the island of Koh Yao Noi, in the bay of Phang Nga, sown with islands and rocky limestone peaks, which plunge right into the sea. You'll see the pictures ... It's beautiful!