The One Ball Rally
If you want to learn to scuba dive, this is the place to do it! If you are not intersted in diving then give it a miss as there are better beaches to visit! We headed for the Hat Sai Ri area which is quieter than Mae Haad where you arrive by boat. We stayed our first night in a budget cottage called 'Sai Ree Cottages'. It was very basic but just 300 Bhatt. We had a look around the different diving resorts as we wanted to find a package with accomodation and diving in one. We saw AC Resort which had a deal with Phoenix Divers to do SSI Open Water (not PADDI) for 4 days and B&B for 8500 Bhatt. This was an excellent deal as the Lonely Planet said to expect to pay around 9000 just for the diving course. Our instructor was from Sweden, Claus and had very good English. He was a good teacher but it seems like all the other instructors were just as good. We were in a group of 3 and it is better not to have too many people in a group as you may not get the attention you need. Accomodation was clean and tidy, lots of space and a hot shower! Also the AC restaurant had very good food for a very good price, especially seafood. Many other bars and restaurants around with a variety of cuisines. But be warned that most do close about 10pm but the best bet for a late night is to speak to a local as they will know which bars are having parties and on which nights. A couple of things we would have done if we had more time (as the course is pretty full on): Visit Twins- as we did 2 dives there but the beach looked beautiful, apparently it is very popular with honeymooners. It is two islands joined by a sandbank. Also, you can snorkel at Shark Bay with Black tip Reef Sharks. You could do these together on an organised boat trip for 500 Bhatt including lunch.