CategoriesExperience

My Favourite Dive Sites in Asia

As an avid scuba diver, I’ve always wanted to travel around the world scuba diving and exploring all the different areas of the ocean. So far, I’ve travelled to quite a few Asian countries and almost every single time, I’ve went scuba diving at a local hot spot.

Below is my list of some of the best Asian Dive Spots.

Malaysia, Tioman

beach in Malaysia

Being one of the islands located within the Coral Triangle, it has no doubt one of the most specular view underwater. The area is filled with hundreds of different sea life, whether it be reefs, corals, fishes, critters or even sharks. The area was extremely popular and busy when I went, and rightfully so. I spent hours on end diving with my friends, and we loved every second of it. Meeting the sharks underwater was a very thrilling experience, you never expect to see a shark up so close especially since they are viewed as a scary creature. IN reality, as long as you don’t pose a threat to them, and are not part of their food chain, then you’ll be fine. They were very friendly to be around, and I even got to pat and take a photo with them!

Would 100% recommend this destination, if you’re planning on just touring the area or go scuba diving.

Thailand, Phuket

thailand

One of my favourite countries to visit, I’ve been to Thailand several times, and have loved every second of it. The locals are all very friendly plus the food is delicious yet very affordable. I would recommend Shark Point to go scuba diving. Similar to Tioman, it had a large diversity of sea life. You could spot all kinds of creatures, such as shrimp, snapper, barracuda, manta rays and also sharks. It is considered more of an extreme dive spot, thus I would recommend this place if you have experience scuba diving.

Cambodia, Koh Tang

cambodia temples

Located in an inhabited island off the Gulf of Thailand, getting here took a 4 hour boat rid from the nearest town. The great thing about this dive spot, is that you are not limited to just one dive spot, there are many dive sites around the area such as Explosion Reef, Sting Ray Alley or Three Bears. These all have an abundance of reef and fish, with plenty to explore, you’ll lose track of time. You’ll spot lots of different sea creatures such as stingrays, octopus, and more.

Maldives, Ari Atoll

maldives

Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, this is one of the few places that I would like to come back again to with someone special. Considered as a romantic place to spend time, I had a lot of fun exploring the area and getting friendly with the locals. We lived in a house on top of the water, thus accessing the sea was right outside my doorstep. I got to visit Ari Atoll, which is a natural atoll. Considered of the best dive sites, it is hard to beat it as you can see an abundance of coral, canyons, and is surrounded by beautiful views.

CategoriesExperience

Learning How To Scuba Dive

Ever since I was little, I’ve always been fascinated by the ocean and what lays underneath all the water. We as humans can’t breathe underwater like fishes do, thus it being a totally new environment fascinated and me, which also got me into scuba diving. I’ve always been a big fan of swimming; my parents would religiously take me to classes every Wednesdays and Fridays after school. Some days I hated going, as it was extra practice after a long day of school. However, majority of the time, going there to swim helped me to relax and get my mind off of school work. But I still needed to do my homework after I got home. The good thing about going swimming, was that I also got to meet and play with my friends. I had a friend that would attend swimming lessons with me, we would get to the pool early, and play around for a little while before attending our classes. Our classes were around 1 – 1.5 hours long, and afterwards we would get something to eat and go home.

After graduating high school, I started going scuba diving with friends jus to try it out. Whilst most of my friends didn’t like scuba diving as much as me, I continued to scuba dive. I attended scuba diving lessons in San Francisco, specifically near Monterey. I had a teacher that was PADI certified take me out for dives every other weekend. Sometimes, we would dive locally, other times we would get on a boat and head out further to dive a new area. Our dive sessions would last 3 to 4 hours, and each time, I would explore the area and have a blast.

As I got more confident in myself, I started to buy scuba gear for myself, so that I didn’t need to keep borrowing my instructors gear. Plus, I considered it an investment, and since I already knew what kind of gear I wanted, and liked, picking the scuba gear wasn’t particularly difficult.

After graduating University, I took a year off, just to travel around the world doing some charity work. Some of the countries I visited included Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and more. During my visits, I also went scuba diving at a local spot, I was guided by a local dive instructor who took us out to the hot spots, and had a blast exploring the dive sites. It was an amazing experience, and would love to come back in the future to revisit these areas.

Nowadays, I’m back in SF doing freelance work. I still regularly go out to scuba dive when I have the time.

CategoriesExperience

Travelling to Thailand

Back in 2018, I was presented with the opportunity to do charity work in Thailand for a small community that was struggling with basic necessities. I had the opportunity to fly to Thailand to help build schools, public housing and much more. To date, it has always been one of my most rewarding experiences. It helped opened my eyes to how people that don’t have the luxury of everything survive. There were villages, that didn’t even have electricity, which meant no internet access and they couldn’t even communicate with the outside world.

visitng thailand

This was really shocking and hard to take in, as I’ve pretty much had internet my entire life. Listening to music, browsing the web, watching YouTube videos, or even posting on Facebook has become part of my daily routine. Not being able to do any of those, was difficult but really rewarding too as I got to spend a lot more time experiencing new things, and learning their way of life.

One thing that I had trouble adjust to was the temperature. In Thailand, it was constantly hot. The average temperatures were always really high, which meant that I needed to constantly drink water and wear sunscreen. The most rain fell between May and September, and the dry periods were in the early months.

We had the opportunity to do many activities with the locals, such as scuba diving in the caves to explore the sea life, fishing, hunting and many more. It was the first time I’ve ever went Scuba Diving, and thus I was a little anxious but also really excited as I had prepared beforehand. I read and watched a lot of Scuba Diving videos to learn and understand the basics. I didn’t want to be left clueless if I’m ever left in a bad situation. I made sure to ask for advice from my friends who were avid scuba divers, and even attended scuba diving lessons before going to Thailand. Little things, such as how to use a dive watch, how to use a dive compass, how to install a regulator, etc were all things I wanted to know before coming to Thailand.

Overall, coming to Thailand to do volunteer work is of those experiences that I will never forget, and was also an excellent learning experience. It taught me not to take things for granted. The price of food and the general cost of everything was also much cheaper compared to the US. Everything only costed a few dollars and we were able to survive quite comfortably, using only a few dollars a day.

Of course, this isn’t always the case for the locals, as they generally don’t earn as much money. The entire volunteer experience, was awesome. We were picked up at the airport by our designated drivers, and we made sure to have a plan for everything.

The general day to day schedule followed:

8 AM: Breakfast

8:30 AM: Leaving to project site

9AM – 3PM: Volunteer work and lunch break

3PM – 5PM: Free time

6PM – Dinner

Whilst it was hard work, working everyday. Seeing the finished product and the happy faces was all worth it. I hope to come back in the future when I have the time and to checkup on the locals. I also got some free time to do some travelling and boy was it awesome! Interacting with locals and visiting all the popular tourist attractions.

CategoriesExperience

My Favourite Fair Activity – Performers

One thing I enjoy the more than food at festivals and fairs are the performers. There is always a wide variety of performers performing throughout the day. My personal favorite being K-POP, as a massive K-POP fan. I’m always excited when I hear K-POP songs being played at a restaurant or in public in general. K-POP dance covers are quite popular nowadays due to the complex dances in most K-POP music videos. There is also a large interest in fans dancing to K-POP music videos, learning the choreography that the singers dance to. Thus, whenever I attend fairs, I always see at least 1 K-POP dance workshop where a dance teacher teaches the audience dance choreography to many different K-POP songs.

The type of people I see in the crowd can range from young children to parents having fun with their kids. No experience is required to join these dance workshops, but keeping up will be difficult especially if you don’t have any dance experience. The dance teachers are always very encouraging and very patient, as they don’t expect you to get everything right the first try. It takes many hours of practice to learn a full choreography, thus the teachers just teach the highlights in a dance video. These highlights are usually the parts that are the most memorable or most popular part of the song. These are usually short and easier to teach.

Sometimes, we can also see celebrities, most of the time foreign celebrities coming to these fairs to promote their song and to meet fans. It’s also interesting to see celebrities come to these fairs, as there is usually a large crowd fo people cheering them on and people singing along to their songs as they are fans of their songs. There can also be artists that sing in languages other than English, for example, Indonesian, Japanese, etc. The language barrier doesn’t stop them from singing out their heart and interacting with their fans.

In addition, solo artists are also quite popular. Especially, those that are celebrities and also those that are unique. It’s always interesting to see a solo artist sing a song in a different version.

CategoriesExperience

My Experiences Working At A Booth

Back in 2017, I had the opportunity to work as a vendor as the Annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration, I was responsible for managing the booth setup and anything related to customer service. We were giving out free glucose screenings and also handing out free health promotion items and flyers to promote the company. Working at the vendor was an opportunity that helped us showcase our products and services to the Asian American community located in San Francisco.

teamwork

Getting to the fair was painless, as I had to arrive early to setup everything. This meant that there was no traffic and no distractions, which is always good when I need to concentrate. The first thing I had to do was register and confirm the booking of the booth, I had to find out where our booth was designed to operate. With that out of the way, I helped setup the booth, made sure that everything was ready to go and that nothing was missing. I also had to ensure that there was people on standup so that when I went on break or finished my shift, they could take over without any problem. This involved teaching them the basics and what to do, so that I didn’t need to bother with that once it was their turn. Overall, I worked for around 3 hours, and saw probably 10,000 people pass by. The fair was crazy packed, and every booth was busy, it was amazing to see so much foot traffic and everyone interacting with each other. As the booth was located near the entrance, a lot of people stopped by when they first entered the fair and thus there was always a constant stream of interested people coming up to us to ask questions and receive free samples.

Setting up the booth, we had to prepare and supply our own booth materials. This included bringing in our own tent, tables, chairs, power source, etc. The only thing we had to pay for was the booth space, but we were given the option to rent equipment through the fair.

After finishing my shift, I got to enjoy the fair. I went around to the other booths to see what they were offering and went to interact with a few vendors as they intrigued me. I ended up spending hours wandering around meeting new people, and checking out the booths, musicals, and activities. At the end of the fair, there was also a raffle drawing. There were many prizes being given out.

Unfortunately, I didn’t win anything, but I wasn’t too bothered about it.

Overall, I had a great day exploring the fair and meeting new people. I got to experience a whole bunch of new experiences and learned a lot about our Asian heritage.