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Photo Recap 2

Photos, Thailand, Korea3 min read

The focus of this recap is my solo trip to Thailand (to scuba dive) and Korea during the summer post graduation (2019).

Decided that the summer after college and before entering the workforce was the prime time to travel spontaneously. I'm not one for urban tourism and would much rather go for a nature hike rather than explore a new city. So I decided to pick Thailand and to learn how to scuba dive. I planned a short trip to Korea to also see some family and check out Jeju Island. The whole trip took around 2 weeks.

This was taken on a ferry ride towards Koh Tao, the island I booked my scuba diving courses on. There were other connecting flights and ferries I needed to take (in retrospect, I am surprised I got to Koh Tao given my lazy prep ethic) but this one was the most scenic. The water is warm and the color is beautiful.

Pictures of the beach front at Koh Tao during low tide and at an elevated viewpoint at the center of the island. Thankful for Tevas sandals during this trip, the ultimate backpacking sandal. They are super light, comfortable, and secure on the foot due to straps. need to pack socks! Wohoo!

Another cat pic but this time of one I met during my stay at the hostel I was at. A very chill cat that enjoyed scratches to the head.

Some kind of basil chicken dish(?) I had a nearby restaurant. Thai food is the best (peanut based dishes especially) and very cheap. Thailand knows what's up when it comes to sauces.

This is the staging area of the scuba shop where we load/store gear and tanks. Rocktopus is the name of the school and I highly recommend them for anyone wishing to learn.

My scuba learning squad, Valerie and Matt. Valerie was a medical student in France and took some time off to learn diving in Thailand. Her fiancé is also a diver and encouraged her to take the beginner course. Matt is from the States and was on a solo backpacking trip through Thailand. Our instructor was also named Matt, a mellow british guy who was one of the more tenured instructors at the school. The laid back island life seemed to fit him well.

A series of photos from one of our dives. Diving is a really unique experience that I would recommend to anyone comfortable in water and fond of ocean life. It is a different world down there governed by a different rule of motion for navigating around it. Just the feeling of being able to breathe underwater is novel and exciting. I'll admit, the first descent down with all your gear on was a bit spooky...having to place immense trust in the regulator (the mouth piece that feeds oxygen). But that'll go away with each dive (I hope!).

I somehow got pricked by a sea urchin. If you are curious as to what that looks like on the skin, it is.

Now begins the series of photos for my time in Jeju/Korea. I first went to Jeju before visiting and staying over my aunt's place in Gangnam. Here is a meal at a highly rated restaurant I had at Jeju that I found via Yelp. I do not remember where this was or what this is (something monkfish? that kinda rings a bell) was a pretty layout with all the side dishes. As for the taste, it was alright.

I rented a car on the island so I was able to drive around to scenic places/hikes on the island. On a few shores, you can see restaurants or boats run by Haenyeo.

I hiked up Mt. Hallasan, a mountain located on Jeju and the highest in South Korea. I did the entire hike in Tevas (another plug for these sandals! But I would not recommend them for this purpose. There were a lot of large rocks through the path.) and it took me about ~7 hours round trip. The summit was extremely windy and cloudy that day, but I was glad to get a picture of the crater while a gap within the clouds passed over.

At the bottom of the mountain, there was a little restaurant that sold simple menu items. I got Udon and a roll of kimbap as my reward. This meal really hit the spot.

After Jeju, I went over to my aunt's apartment in Gangnam. She is super cool and runs a late night bar that I got to visit/sing karaoke/have a little too many drinks at. Hanging out with my aunt for couple of days was actually the highlight of my trip, not having seen her in person for more than a decade (it has always been difficult for my family to meet up due to finances, visa issues, etc.). We saw the Korean movie Parasite together in theaters (no subtitles) and even though I am terrible at Korean, I really enjoyed it. One of my favorite movies thus far. Here is a picture of a meal she prepared for me and asked me to take a picture of because it looked nice.