Scuba Diving In Phuket

diving-phuket

There’s not much to do on Soi Ta Aed, the road Tiger Muay Thai is on, other than train, eat and get massages so I’ve been escaping out to sea with the help of Phuket Dive Tours and its awesome owner Dave.

Phuket Dive Tours

Phuket Dive Tours
https://www.phuketdivetours.com

10/10 Soi Ta Aed, Chalong, Phuket, 83130

Phone: +66 87 022 5356

I’d previously booked a snorkling tour of Koh Phi Phi through Phuket Dive Tours which was absolutely fantastic and before I came to Thailand I knew I wanted to get some scuba diving in and I knew what gear I wanted to try after reading some of the top snorkeling product reviews. So, it was a no brainer to do my PADI Open Water and PADI Open Water Advanced with Phuket Dive Tours too!The PADI Open Water was a 3 day course, day 1 in a swimming pool then 2 days out on the boat, the Open Water advanced was another 2 days out on the boat. It’s a great way to spend a weekend and take a break from training!

One of the reasons Dave and Phuket Dive Tours stands out is the customer service. Next year I’ve arranged a week of spear fishing with some friends and Dave spent 2 days driving me around Phuket helping me get together all the equipment I need for it. He also personally gives lifts to and from his shop to the pier!

It’s hard not to give Phuket Dive Tours 5/5! – Rus!

Over the 10 dives I’ve done so far, we’ve dived a wreck, seen sharks, turtles, sea snakes, eels, seahorses, mantis shrimp and hundreds of huge shoals of fish!.

We’ve also visited beautiful coral reefs and dived along side natural sea walls lined with sponges and sea anemones

One of Phuket Dive Tour’s fantastic diving instructor, and a rather blurry seahorse! Underwater photography is pretty difficult with everything moving all the time!

The dive boats are pretty cool, typically the bottom deck has an outdoor area where all the tanks and equipment lives and then a small, dry indoor compartment, and then there’s another open compartment on top where people can relax. Breakfast and lunch is also included with a seemingly endless supply of coffee! They also have warm showers and beer!

Places To Eat Near Tiger Muay Thai

There are a lot of places to eat around Tiger Muay Thai, all selling healthy things to eat. There are a quite a few cheap, small restaurants and shacks selling traditional Thai food and I think every hotel probably has it’s own restaurant too. The hotels are more expensive though.

Most places sell some variety of steak or chicken breast with vegetables and brown rice, which is the healthy go to food in the area. I enjoy mixing it up with some traditional Thai dishes though, like Pad Ka-Prao (minced chicken with chilis and Thai holy basil). You must remember to say no sugar please when you order else all your healthy eating and hard work will be for nowt!

Below are a selection of the places I’ve eaten at, around Tiger Muay Thai, as well as photos of the various dishes I’ve had.

Tony’s

Tony’s is currently my favourite restaurant on the street. It’s one of the cheapest, with each dish costing 60 – 80 Baht (£1.20 – £1.60) and it also has the most variety of food available, from healthy grilled or steamed chicken or steak (seriously, they do a steamed chicken breast salad!) to traditional Thai dishes.

For breakfast I’ve been having museli with fruit and yogurt, a small bottle of water and a black coffee, all for 100 Baht (£2). For lunch and dinner I usually get the BBQ chicken with vegetables and rice for 80 Baht (£1.60) and then a Thai dish on the side, such as Pad Ka-Prao or the delicious chicken and pineapple curry. Along with a large bottle of water my lunch or dinner comes around to 160 Baht (£3). Eating 3 times a day at Tony’s can cost you under £8 which is pretty good. Tony’s also has free WiFi with several access ponts.

Signature Phuket

I’m staying in the Signature Hotel and I’ve eaten a lot of food here 😉 It’s probably one of the more expensive restaurants on the street because it’s attached to a hotel and it’s also one of the more expensive hotels. If I’m eating here it’s probably because I’m ill so my food choices are more for comfort.

The Signature VIP burger comes with chips and costs 100 Baht (£2). A plate of fruit here costs about 90 Baht (£1.80) the same dish at Tony’s costs around 30 Baht. When I was having breakfast here the price was hovering around 200-240 Baht (£4-£5) so now I’ve got my barings I try not to eat in the hotel.

Muscle Bar

Probably the most expensive place on the street is the Muscle Bar, but it’s for a reason. It’s also probably the healthiest place on the street and does a few things no one else does.

As well as being a cafe the Muscle Bar offers a service that measures your body fat percentage and overall body composition, they then offer a meal plan, with the calorific content depending on your base metabolic rate, goals and calorific need. The meal plan costs depend on how many calories you eat a day, and offers 3 meals and several snacks a day, but nothing on Sunday. The person I spoke to suggested I’d be paying around £400 a month for their meal plan, which for me is too much at the moment.

They are also opening a gym up opposite, with a goal of offering a combined personal training and meal plan, which I am quite interested in.

2Home

The other hotel I’ve stayed in, 2Home, does fantastic food as the chef used to work in 5* hotels in Bangkok. My favourite dish is undoubtedly Nasi Goreng, but they are all great. Cheaper than Signature but more expensive than Tonys, I’ll definitely eat here when I stay there again, despite it being across the street from Tonys, simply because the food is probably the tastiest on the street!

Tiger Muay Thai

Most people that come to Tiger Muay Thai for the first time get the meal time and personally I think that’s a great idea. It works out to about £250 a month for 2 meals a day, which errs on the expensive side for the area, but not by much. Whilst they don’t mention calories or macros, the food at Tiger Muay Thai is delicious, it’s filling and I am testament to how easy it is to lose weight eating it! Free WiFi is also available!

Normally I opt for some form of steak or chicken breast and brown rice, but they also do burgers and pizzas using a wholewheat dough.

Ali’s BBQ

I LOVE ALI’S BBQ. Ali’s Persian BBQ is amazing. They have all kinds of grilled meat and steaks and lots of healthy fruits and salads. It’s also the furthest restaurant away from Tiger Muay Thai (which isn’t saying much ..) and quite expensive unless you can control yourself. I always end up paying around 600 Baht (£12) because I eat so damn much when I go!

Koko Hut

The pizza at Koko Hut is like crack, which is just as well as they were finalists in a national pizza competition recently! Their Pad Ka-Prao is also delicious. The first time I ate it here I had to pick out all the chilis but now it’s not a problem!

Bamboo Hut

The Bamboo Hut (I don’t think it has an actual name..) is one of the cheapest places on the street. Most dishes are 50 Baht (£1) each, and then rice is an additional 10 Baht (20p). I usually don’t get the rice and have 2 main dishes instead so it’s easy to come away full, having eaten 2 plates of meat, for about £2!


Anchan

The restaurant attached to the Anchan Hotel is even more expensive than Signature. They have a larger range but with all the other options on the street I see no reason to go there. Not even for their 20% off Steak Night on Fridays. Even with 20% off it’s still more expensive than everywhere else!

The Rich House

The Rich House is a mid priced restaurant that serves mostly Thai food. It stands out because it doesn’t really focus on healthy, so you can order Pad Thai with crispy pork, or just a huge plate of crispy pork if you’re so inclined. They also have free WiFi!

The SEA Coworking Space

The SEA Co-Working Space

The road Tiger Muay Thai and Signature Phuket are on is having extensive roadworks today, with power and water outages. This means no training, as I can’t shower afterwards and no Internet as there’s no electricity, so I’ve headed out to a co-working space to get some work done.

The SEA Coworking Space

The SEA co-working space is located in Phuket Town, next to the historical clock tower and has a lovely nautical ambience when you get inside, with orcas and whales everywhere. The vibe is peaceful, with chilled music playing and people whispering. This is not a busy office environment.

Internet Speed

I’m pretty sure SEA Co-working has 30Mb down as that’s what I was getting when I first arrived, but since then 6 other people have turned up!

Services

This is a co-working space, so you need to bring your own computer, but SEA has, obviously, wi-fi, printing, fax, a nice coffee shop, free water and snacks, a relaxing sofa space, a kitchen you can use to prepare food, books to read, a play area for children and toilets.

Prices

Prices are competitive, I’ve opted for the 199 Baht (£4) day pass for the time being. Prices are on their Facebook page but here’s a screenshot of their current price list.

sea-coworking-prices

Hot coffee goes for 40 Baht (£0.80) but you get one free with admission, the sandwich was 90 Baht (£1.80), they also have a daily dessert.

I like SEA Co-working Space, but they need to do more with their marketing. Having just a Facebook page isn’t really enough. They do update it regularly though, which was reassuring as some of the other co-working spaces I was looking at had terrible websites and social media pages that had been dormant since August, I had no idea if the others were really still open!

Drop Ship Lifestyle Ride Along #1 – Niche Selection

After the amazing last week at the Drop Ship Lifestyle retreat, due to all the questions I was asked in the evenings, I’ve decided to do a Drop Ship Lifestyle ride along. I am going to create a new drop shipping store and cover every aspect of the process from the very start for you guys. Along the way I will explain exactly what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and how the store is going!.

What Is Drop Shipping

The principle of drop shipping is quite simple:

  1. Your customer buys a product from you for £x
  2. You place an order for that product from your supplier for £y
  3. Your supplier delivers the product to your customer
  4. You keep the profit, the difference between the £x your customer paid and the £y you paid

Drop shipping can work in both physical stores and online stores. If you’ve ever ordered an expensive product from a small, specialist store and then had to wait a few days for that product to be delivered to the store, it was probably drop shipped. When I was fire dancing in Brighton I’d regularly have pyrotechnics drop shipped to the small, local shop that dealt with stage lighting!

As I am an Internet marketer we will be building an online store together, so it is manageable from anywhere in the world.

Niche Selection

Niche selection is the first and arguably one of the most important aspects of creating any e-commerce business. If you start out with the wrong niche you might find it impossible to find suppliers to work with or, later, impossible to make sales due to the cut-throat competition.

The niches I am investigating observe the following rules:

  • Over 2000 searches a month for the main keyword
  • Targeting small businesses or the upper middle class
  • Average product price is £200 or more
  • No famous name brands

Over 2000 searches a month for the main keyword

When picking a niche, you want it to have potential customers. If you pick a niche where no one is buying anything you will not make any money. I like to have my main keyword have over 2000 searches each month as you will need at least 1000 visitors to come to your site in order to track how well your sales pages are converting.

Targeting small businesses or the upper middle class

Small businesses and the upper middle class are good target markets but for completely different reasons. If you’re selling expensive products to small businesses then they probably need those products to run their business. If you’re selling to the upper middle class they probably have disposable income and are used to shopping online.

Average product price is £200 or more

Simply put, more expensive products have better margins, so we might make as much selling one product for £200 as we would selling 10 products for £20, but we’d have to do 10 times the work and drive 10 times the traffic to make that margin.

No famous name brands

Often niches are dominated by one or two famous brands and customers can often develop a strong bond to a specific brand, limiting what you can sell and how much you can sell it for. With a niche that only features generic brands there is less brand loyalty and you can make sales on the strength of your marketing and the strength of the product, rather than on the strength of someone else’s name.

Creating Niche Ideas

There are lots of ways to come up with niche ideas, some people like to only choose niches that they have prior experience in, either as a customer or a seller, for others that can be seriously limiting.

My favourite way for coming up with new niche ideas is to simply abuse Google shopping. By entering really generic keywords, e.g. red, large, etc as well as a high minimum price, e.g. £200 you can quickly come up with a huge variety of products to get inspiration from.

Choosing Niches

Determining Search Volume

I use a tool called Market Samurai for all my keyword needs. As you can see from the image below, it can produce incredible insights on niche selection, “lava lamp” get’s over 6000 searches in the UK alone, not to mention the dozens of other related keywords you can target.

Market Samurai

My Task

Using both Google Shopping and Market Samurai, I am now going to compile a list of 100 different niche ideas, for our next step, market research!

If you want to get the jump on me and want more information about drop shipping, Anton’s Drop Ship Lifestyle course offers a 60 day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.

Living It Up In Chiang Mai

Four Seasons Chiang Mai

As everyone at the Drop Ship Lifestyle Retreat had such an incredible week, Anton and Johnny wanted to show everyone how they celebrate reaching their sales goals for the month and took us all to the Four Seasons Resort in Chiang Mai. Apparently it costs between $400 – $800 a night to stay there, but for 1500 – 2000 Baht (£30 – £40) you can spend the day there which includes a buffet lunch and, if you wish, a never ending supply of drinks.

Four Seasons, Chiang Mai

The resort consisted of a series of infinity pools and beautiful bamboo huts on stilts, surrounding a simulated, rural Thai farming village, complete with rice paddies, a huge lake and water buffalo! It was beautiful. Relaxing here was easy as we all grabbed a seat on the sofas (which were suspended from the ceiling) and chilled out to the awesome music they were playing.

The buffet lunch was phenomenal and you were also able to eat off the a la carte menu too so lots of steak and chicken tikka was flying around the table along side salads, pastas, fruits and the most amazing Crêpe Suzette which featured it’s own cooking team!

You have to be careful when sitting down though, as the initial glass of champagne isn’t complimentary with the 1500 Baht (£30) price of entry and buffet. It is part of the 500 Baht (£10) drink as much as you like menu addition, which none of us realised. For the most part everyone was “behaving” but when we realised, at the end of the buffet, we’d all paid for unlimited alcohol, even those of us like myself who weren’t drinking decided to double stack a few delicious Lychee Martinis!

As relaxing as the Four Seasons was, I wouldn’t want to visit too often as portion control went completely out the window. The food was absolutely amazing though and the scenery idyllic.

Chiang Mai Night Market And Bazaar

As it was a Sunday the Chiang Mai night market was in full swing so we couldn’t not go.

Chiang Mai is a walled city and the market seemed to completely fill the walled area as well as sprawling out the gates, it felt much larger than Phuket’s night market and there was a lot more available.

The food was delicious, more meat on sticks, donuts and noodles

Rooftop Bar, Chiang Mai

After we’d walked round the market we headed off to the Rooftop Bar at Toto, of Dropship Kickstart, was having a leaving party. The Rooftop Bar offered an amazing view of the walled area of Chiang Mai as well as the market itself and reminded me a lot of the parties and festivals I used to do with the Poi Passion crew back in the UK! No shoes allowed, everything was vegetarian and there was lots of awesome neon, psychedelic graffiti all over the walls

Now, after a fantastic week with the Dropship Lifestyle army I fly back to Phuket later today for another 6 weeks of solid training, not drinking, healthy eating and a lot of work. I will definitely have to come back to Chiang Mai as it is an amazing place.

Posting Mail In Chiang Mai

If you need to mail a postcard or a parcel in Chiang Mai, Thailand, there are two helpful places in the Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center in town.

Mailing A Post Card In Chiang Mai

On the 3rd floor of Maya there is an awesome little book shop called Asia Books. These guys will sell you stamps for your postcard as well as mail the postcard for you! Postcards in Thailand are around 15 – 20 Baht (£0.30 – £0.40) and at Asia Books, 3 stamps to mail postcards internationally costs 60 baht (£1.20).

Mailing A Parcel In Chiang Mai

If you ever need to post something substantial back home there is a Mail Boxes Etc. on floor B1 (down in the basement) where you can post things via UPS. It felt extremely expensive though, circa 1500 Baht (£30) to post the tiniest thing back to the UK, via UPS Air Mail, which will take 1 week.

Drop Ship Lifestyle 2014 Retreat – Day 4

Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary

Yesterday was the last day of the Drop Ship Lifestyle Retreat in Chiang Mai with more amazing presentations and fantastic entertainment.

Drop Ship Lifestyle 2014 Retreat Schedule

Friday, October 10th

  • 8:00am – 9:00 – Open office with coffee (Optional)
  • 9:00am – 9:45 – Content Marketing for eCommerce and Q&A with Brandon Nolte
  • 10:00am – 10:30 – Facebook Ads Session and Q&A with Jill and Josh Stanton
  • 10:30am – 11:15 – Outsourcing your Life and Q&A with Vince Wong
  • 11:45pm – Meet out front of Ibis for transportation to the Elephant Nature Park
  • 12:30pm – 5:00 – Elephant Nature Park
  • 5:00pm – Meet at drop off point for return transportation to Ibis
  • 5:45pm – 6:45 – Free time
  • 6:45pm – Meet out front of Ibis for transportation to the Closing Party
  • 7:00pm – 9:00 – Closing party / Buffet dinner and open bar included at 90’s Bar

The presentations in the morning were cut down and a little rushed to fit the afternoon and evening in. The Outsourcing You Life presentation should have probably been scrapped to allow the others some extra time.

Elephant Nature Park

The afternoon’s entertainment was the local Elephant Nature Park, which as beautiful. It was amazing being that close to them but some of them had really sad stories before they arrived at the park. After we had a tour of the enclosure we were allowed to help wash the elephants in the river and then actually feed them in the afternoon before we left. A vegetarian buffet was also supplied which was delicious.

Closing Party

Anton Kraly

Anton organised a closing party, with free food and beer at a local bar called the 90’s bar. That atmosphere was amazing, the food was incredible and the beer was ice cold and girls just kept refilling everyone’s glasses. I only had one glass of beer but it lasted 4-5 hours …

After the 90’s bar, there was some bar hopping and some of us ended up at a crazy Thai club. Culturally it was very different to anything I’d seen before. Free entry, with 13 bands or singers alternately singing songs on stage. The locals were all sat or standing around tables of food as they were partying and the age range seemed to be between 16-50. I’ve no idea who the people on stage were but some of the fans at the front would become quite theatrical if they got to touch one of the performers, so the performers were either super famous and/or attracted weird fans.

The retreat now is technically over, so I’ve 2 more days to explore Chiang Mai before I had back to Phuket for some more training.

Drop Ship Lifestyle 2014 Retreat – Day 3

We’ve just done day 3 of the Drop Ship Lifestyle Retreat in Chiang Mai! Justin and Joe from Empire Flippers gave a fantastic talk about creating SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and the monetary potential of selling a profitable website! (Who knew you can sell a profitable website for 20 times it’s averagely monthly profit!)

Drop Ship Lifestyle 2014 Retreat Schedule

Thursday, October 9th

  • 8:00am – 9:00 – Open office with coffee (Optional)
  • 9:00am – 12:00 – Empire Workshop with Justin Cooke and Joe Magnotti
  • 12:00pm – 1:00 – Buffet lunch at Ibis Styles
  • 1:00pm – 2:00 – Empire Workshop conclusion
  • 2:00pm – Meet out front of Ibis for transportation to the Sticky Waterfalls
  • 2:45pm – 5:45 – Explore the Sticky Waterfalls
  • 5:45pm – Meet at drop off point for return transportation to Ibis

Nothing was planned for the evening, which was fantastic as it gave me some time to make a payment to one of our suppliers that had been blocking progress for almost 2 weeks. It also gave us an opportunity to explore Chiang Mai a little bit on our own terms.

Sticky Waterfalls

After the talk Anton organised 2 buses to take us the 90 minutes to the Sticky Waterfalls just outside Chiang Mai centre. The driver was insane and almost killed us 3 times on the way there, forcing another driver off the road whilst making the most hilariously stupid over taking decision ever, but we made it there alive. Thai drivers are just rubbish. I’ve driven all over the world and whilst drivers in Georgia and Russia are daring, they are also good, but in Thailand the drivers are simply not good.

The sticky waterfalls are crazy. They are covered in white calcium deposits and there is very little algae, so you can walk up and down them, using a rope to hold on to during the most hairy sections.

Korean BBQ

In the evening we headed off to the local Korean BBQ. The premise was simple, 150 Baht (£3) for an all you can eat buffet featuring meat, fish, prawns and vegetables that you cook yourself on a communal hotplate on your table! It was a really cool, social place, full of students and very different culturally to anything I’ve seen before in England!

I mostly stuck to the beef as I was a little concerned about not cooking my food properly but I woke up the next day feeling amazing.

Drop Ship Lifestyle 2014 Retreat – Day 2

tiger-kingdom

Yesterday was day 2 of the Drop Ship Lifestyle Retreat in Chiang Mai, with some amazing and inspiring talks. The most interesting one for me was a surprise talk by Ben Brandes about the potential of Amazon FBA, one of the methods I’m using to make money online currently.

Drop Ship Lifestyle 2014 Retreat Schedule

Wednesday, October 8th

  • 8:00am – 9:00 – Open office with coffee (Optional)
  • 9:00am – 9:45 – Email Marketing for eCommerce talk and Q&A with John McIntyre
  • 10:00am – 10:45 – Easy eCommerce Wins and Q&A with Brendan Tully
  • 10:45am – 11:00 – Coffee and snack break
  • 11:00am – 11:45 – Pinterest for eCommerce and Q&A with Nate Ginsburg
  • 12:00pm – 1:00 – Buffet lunch at Ibis Styles
  • 1:00pm – 2:00 – Open office
  • 2:00pm – Meet out front of Ibis for transportation to Tiger Kingdom
  • 2:30pm – 6:00 – Tiger Kingdom
  • 6:00pm – Meet at drop off point for return transportation to Ibis
  • 7:30pm – Buffet dinner at Kantary Hills (Optional)

Tiger Kingdom

After a morning of talks and then lunch in the Ibis, it was off to Tiger Kingdom to spank some tigers. Despite their peaceful nature and the fact there were no incidents, these tigers were huge and very intimidating. They were also ripped. Knowing that they could disembowel me in under a second was kind of freaky.

Kantary Hills

Dinner was at the luxurious Kantary Hills restaurant. An all you can eat buffet of real food, very contrasting to the Ibis buffets. The cuts of beef were medium rare, thick, came with an assortment of 6 different mustards, and absolutely delicious.