Richelieu Rock – Thailand’s scuba paradise

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.

Barracuda is your only friend now. Barracuda does not judge nor wears pants.

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.

  • It’s cheap
  • 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:

  • Similan Islands
  • Surin Islands
  • 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

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.


We booked a trip from Khao Lak explorer and our dive master was Matt Waters from Nomadic Scuba. An amazing and friendly man who took the photos you see above.

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.

My Japan top 5

Few years back, I visited Japan with my friends. My intention was to “tick off” the country, because I’m not a great fan of whole Anime culture and it didn’t seem like my cup of tea.
But instead, I was blown away by the incredible mix of old and the new and recently I find myself wanting to go back there. This is my subjective top 5:

Food

Japanese food is not really about sushi. The variety of food is much greater than you would expect and everything is delicious (except for nanto – fermented soy beans…)

Things to try

  • Bento box – my definite fav. This is a neat lunch box, sold near offices and this is what Japanese people really eat. This boxes have a cute assortment of dishes
  • Proper Miso soup
  • Conveyor belt sushi – the cheapest variety there is and Japanese people consider it subpar quality. More modern ones let you order from an iPad and automatic conveyor belt brings you your sushi
  • Takoyaki – battered octopus pieces deep-fried in waffle iron. Literally, very hot!
  • Omu – Rice ommelette with, well, almost everything inside
  • Tuna – tuna is a big thing in Japan and it tastes like heaven in any form
  • Any streetfood

Tradition

I fell on love with old Japanese tradition. Enchanting red temples inside a lush green forest are just spectacular. Respect for tradition is an important thing in Japan.

 

Things worth checking out:

  • Splendid temples in Kyoto
  • Holy Deer in Nara
  • Little temples anywhere
  • Tsukiji Fish Market

 

Just sheer out-of-context weirdness

 

Things worth checking out

  • Alcatraz ER – a prison/hospital themed cafe. Weird fun!
  • Dog / cat cafe
  • Japanese toilet seat. Really!
  • Any “supposedly european” dish. It will be the weirdest european dish you’llever have

Japanese day-to-day

IMG_0602-MOTION

Japanese are very modern, but the tradition still lives on in day-to-day struggle.

Lost in translation

  • Kaizen – Philisophy of never-ending improvement
  • Mottainai – Regret concerning waste. Or resources, but also unnecessary action or a word.
  • Ikigai – A reason for being, something that drives you
  • Komorebi – Sunlight filtering through trees
  • Shinrin-Yoku – Visit to forest for relaxation / “forest bathing”
  • Yugen – A profound understanding of the universe that triggers a string emotional response
  • Majime – Reliable person who gets things done without drama

Dont miss!

  • Sumo match
  • Onsen – Hot spring/spa. I highly recommend convincing a friend to jump into a “electric stimulation” bathtub. So much fun!
  • Pachinko – Hydhly addictive pinball machine. In Japan there are whole floors of these machines. I cannot express weirdness of it. You have to see it.
  • Traditional tea ceremony

Interesting links

 

Stuff to come back for

For me, there is still so much to see. Of course I want to there again!

  • Love hotels – tiny cheap hotels with a variety of decorum. Their main purpose is not hard to figure out, but weirdness may be interesting
  • Ryokan – Traditional Japanese “Inn”
  • Sagano bamboo forest – A bamboo forest near Kyoto
  • Hand-Made Damascus steel Chefs knife – I want one
  • Shinkansen – Japanese bullet train

 

This fullfills my Bucketlist #78