Open Water PADI
We did not really plan to pass the PADI but after reading about the crystal clear water of Ko Tao, we decided that we should really scuba dive to enjoy the fishs, corals and other wonders of the sea.
So after Chiang Mai and the mountain trek, we flew to Ko Samui (Bangkok Airways) where we meet with my brother and his girlfriend who are speed-visiting Thailand... Funny that I am living in London, he is living in Cameroon and we are meeting in Thailand... Anyway: we stayed for three nights in a great hotel in Ko Samui, the Ayaraburi Boutique Resort with its private swimming pool and little beach. It was way above our budget range (2300 THB/night) but whatever. We enjoyed it very much.
We then split and with my girlfriend, we continued to Ko Tao using the Lompraya Catamaran boat service. It's about 90mn from Samui but instead of going to Ko Tao, we went to Koh Nangyang, a very small island just in front of Ko Tao.
Koh Nangyang is probably one of the most beautiful island in the world: three pieces of land connected by a white sand beach surrounded by blue crystal water. There is only one hotel on the island, a bit pricey but worth it in my opinion. There is also a dive center and that's where we passed our Level 1 PADI certification. You need at least three days to pass the level so we stayed four nights on the island and we didn't move from it so we did not go to Ko Tao itself.
We are now back in Bangkok to spend two days partying with my brother and tomorrow, we are off to Cambodia to visit Angkor.