Diving Experience in Thailand

This week, I got invited to a dive session with some friends at The Gulf of Thailand in Koh Samui. It is renowned as one of the most popular places to dive in Thailand, and boy did it live up to expectations. The water temperature was quite warm at around 28 degrees celsius, and everyone was super friendly and welcoming. We decided to travel with a dive operator as we had a friend that was brand new to scuba diving. It was the safest option, as he can then be supervised by an experienced diver. Our guide kindly helped me set up all my scuba diving gear, and also picking a new scuba mask, and a new scuba bcd, as I wanted an upgrade. I had done some research prior, and had decided on a shiny new Apeks Black Ice BCD.


Our first destination was Sail Rock, where it was flourishing with all kinds of marine creatures. We saw an abundance of fishes and even reef sharks. We, unfortunately, didn’t see any whale sharks, which have been reported to appear here.

After exploring the seas for what seemed like 3 or 5 hours, we traveled back to shore with the rest of the tour group. We decided to hit up a local restaurant where it served some of the most deliciously fresh seafood platters. The food was caught fresh and tasted amazing, whilst it was a little expensive. We greatly enjoyed the experience and the food.

Lately, I’ve also been reading a lot of Dive Theory, which is really interesting to read and learn about. Whilst, I don’t have any immediate plans to become a Scuba certified instructor, I believe that learning the fundamentals of diving is important as it not only helps me stay aware when I’m diving but also gives me a sense of security. If something were to go wrong, where my scuba buddy or scuba instructor wasn’t present, I could apply what I learned and hopefully wriggle out of a sticky situation.

My friend who has recently been a scuba instructor also recommended I learn the basics of Dive Theory, he said that not only is it beneficial for a recreational diver like me, but it teaches me the best practices too. I’m currently learning how to do a diving safety spot, which’ll be useful when I go deep-sea diving in a few month’s time with a few buddies that are planning on coming to Thailand.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


Foodie Heaven

Having gone to so many different fairs and festivals, I’ve tried a large variety of foods from all countries. These are some of my favorite food vendors to eat from when I’m not busy working at a booth. You can’t go wrong with any of these choices. Sometimes, going to a fair alone just for this yummy food is worth it!


With a wide variety of hot, fresh Indian cuisine, there’s bound to be something that will satisfy your hunger.

Curry Up Now food

#2 Frozen Kuhsterd

As the pioneers of West Coast Style Frozen Custard, they have so many yummy ice cream flavors to choose from. You can’t go wrong with any of these!

Frozen Kuhsterd Ice Cream

#3 Jade Chocolates

Some of the most amazing tasting chocolates come from Jade Chocolates. They’ve won numerous awards, and their chocolates live up to the hype!





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.


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.


Tips Going to A Fair Alone

Have you ever wanted to attend a fair but none of your friends were free or interested in coming along? Well, don’t be afraid of going alone. You may be anxious and be asking yourself all sorts of questions such as:

  • Will I have fun alone?
  • Will I meet new people?
  • How do I handle going alone?
  • Will I enjoy myself?

These are all valid questions that you may ask, and the answer to them will in most cases be “YES”.

Going to a fair sounds scary, but it can be one of the most exciting and adventure experiences if you are really interested in the fair. In the end, you will always be making friends whether you like it or not, you will be talking to other people and sharing experiences.

It can be nerve-wracking, especially for those that are introverted, but taking the first step in making new friends makes it infinitely easier in future scenarios.

Here are some tips that I use when going to a festival alone.

  1. Talk to people when waiting

When waiting in line for something, whether it be getting food or getting a ticket. You can strike up a conversation with the person behind you or even the person in front of you. Since you are both going doing the same thing, there’s already something that you have in common that you can talk about. It is important that you introduce yourself first, ask them about something related to what you’re doing.

  1. Participate

Participate in activities, whether it be yoga sessions, art sessions, or even a dance workshop. Getting involved with other people, creates the opportunity for you to speak with people. There are even activities that require you to be with a  pair, it can be daunting trying to find a partner if you’re alone, but there will be in most cases someone one that is alone and doesn’t have a partner yet, or someone from a group that doesn’t have a partner as there isn’t enough people in the group. Once you meet someone in a group, they are more likely to introduce you to their entire group, which expands your connections and introduces you to more familiar faces and potential friends.

  1. Don’t be nervous

This can be difficult for people that don’t have much experience, but as you build up more experience you become more and more confident in yourself. For some people, making small talk is natural but not so easy for others. There are all kinds of different situations that you’ll encounter, and its important that you adapt as necessary. I’ve met several lifelong friends both at fairs whilst being alone and in a group simply because we shared the same interests.

  1. Read the Signs

When introducing yourself to someone, its important that you guys are on the same length wave. If someone is constantly giving you short answers and doesn’t seem interested in continuing the conversation, then perhaps it may be a sign that they aren’t interested in. In this case, it is better to simply move on and try to find new friends to talk with. If you are constantly hanging around them when they are not interested, then it may bother them and probably wont get you anywhere. It is important that you trust your gut feeling.


Fundraising – Going Slow

With a little over 5 years of volunteering and charity experience, I’ve discovered that by rushing things, not only will it cause more pain than good, but the quality is generally much poorer as everything has been rushed and time is of the essence. As a result, things get overlooked, and the quality drops drastically. Not only, is it more likely that something goes wrong, but you’re not 100% sure that something won’t just fail and things won’t go as you had originally planned. That’s why my motto is to always take things slow but smartly. Conducting the proper research beforehand and being organized and prepared helps not only in the long run but also ensures that there is a lower chance of something going wrong. Of course, there are times where you are working with a strict deadline and you cant afford to take things slow, sometimes there’s just no option but going full speed ahead.

hand dropping a coin

One example would be reaching a donation goal. Most non-profit organizations want to reach the fundraising goal as soon as possible, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. Receiving big donations is quite rare and quite frankly difficult, especially if you don’t have any connections. The more zero’s at the end of the number, the more frightening and seemingly impossible it becomes. Imagine, reaching a donation goal of $1,000,000. How many years would it take to reach this goal?

The main drivers in reaching the fundraising goals will be the executive directors as they have the biggest vision out of everyone. They know what their organization stands up, and can sell that idea to people that also believe in that cause. Having said that, they aren’t the easiest to convince when you have a brilliant or daring idea. They can be impatient and may even fail to see the big picture which can lead to fundraising difficulties. However, they are your biggest assets in ensuring that the charity is kept floating and that things are running smoothly. They are the one to go to if something bad ever comes up.

To fix any problems with an organization, it’s vital that you take a neutral stance and view the organization whole in the eyes of an investor. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential investor, wanting to invest in the company.

Some questions you may ask as an investor include:

  • What are their goals?
  • How will they utilize your funds?
  • Does the organization file their taxes?
  • Is the organization legitimate?

It’s important that you take a step back and view your organisations as objectively as possible. If you have any doubts of your organization, its best that you bring them up and resolve the issue as soon as possible rather than leaving it to the last minute. It’s important that you also have a backup plan, if materials or gear suddenly went missing or caught on fire, what happens next? Do you have a contingency plan set in place, to alleviate the stress and offset costs. These are the kinds of issue, that may people don’t think of enough as statistically speaking, they would only happen once in a lifetime.  Most of the time, things go to plan and nothing bad happens.

One non-profit organization I worked at, was afraid of upsetting their donors as they had invested quite a big chunk of money into the organization, and truthfully speaking losing them would be a huge loss on the organization as donations were far and scarce. They were the biggest contributors to our funds, and the executive director was on excellent terms with them. We had to make sure that we treated them with utmost respect at all times, and asking unnecessary questions was forbidden. We weren’t allowed to ask questions that may potentially endanger the sponsorship. As time went on, they eventually grew closer to the organization and the team behind it. They would treat us out to dinner and bought lunch packages for the company every few weeks. As time went on, the restrictions were a lot loose as we were on very friendly terms. In the end, we achieved our quarterly goals, and the investor was more than pleased with our efforts. We made sure to keep him up to date with everything we were doing, and we were upfront and transparent throughout the entire process. We had a solid plan set up beforehand that no only gave the investor confidence and but also made them believe in our organization. They believed that we were able to achieve our goals and thus they provided utmost support and encouraged us throughout the way. Not only was it an amazing experience, but everyone on the team had a great time, and we also learned a lot from the investor themselves.

CategoriesHow To

Writing A Grand Fund

I began my journey back in 2015, where I worked for a small nonprofit sector at a small art museum in Austin, Texas. I worked there as a volunteer for about 2 years, before moving to a part time employer and eventually a full-time employer. The organization not only helped me buy my first game console, but taught me a lot in regards to employment. In addition, I also entered a writing contest whilst working there. The organization was kind enough to offer me a grant for which I will be forever grateful of. This helped kickstart my love for reading and writing, during my spare time, I like to read books and write a little bit of science fiction. I gained a thorough understanding of how to write, and how to compose documents to attract potential donors. This was all taught during a small workshop which the organization held when I first started, they taught me the ins and outs of securing investors.  At the organization, I have written probably close to a hundred different grant proposals for foundations, government agencies, corporations and individuals.

Through these life experience, I have developed my own unique writing style, and have trained my writing style to be the best it can be. My attention to detail was my highest priority when writing these proposal grants, as they were typically seen by the most important person. I had to ensure that there was absolutely zero grammatical error, and that everything I had written was the truth. I couldn’t say make up anything to make it sound better, and had to ensure that the proposal was attractive and interesting to them. If it was just another proposal, then they wouldn’t bat an eye, and just move on with their day. That’s why I had to make it interesting, keep them hooked on the idea.

Some of my tips on how to write grants.

  • Ensure that you know what you are talking about. If you do not have enough experience at the organization, then it may not be at your best interest to sell the idea to someone else. If you don’t understand something, its better to ask questions than be silent. You must also thoroughly understand the reasoning behind why you need this grant funding.
  • Understand the constraints and limitations. Know how much budget you are working with, and ask plenty of questions when in doubt.
  • If you can’t secure a fund on your first try, don’t just give up. Give it a second try, but try a different approach. Perhaps, pay them a visit personally, or submit an application directly to someone of higher status. Perhaps even set the groundwork to secure funding the next year or sometime in the future.
  • Asses whether the project would be a good fit for your organizations mission. Check that your leadership approves of your proposal, you don’t want to be getting in trouble later on for submitting a proposal that isn’t aligned with your organizations values.
  • Feel confident and do your research thoroughly. Ensure that you have checked every cranny and nook twice. If a question is asked, be sure to come up with a satisfactory answer.
  • Don’t give up. Competition will be tough, as there will be hundreds if not thousands of other applicants also competing against you trying to win the bid. Try to stand out as much as possible, and you must grab the readers attention whether it be via an interesting story or pitch.
  • Say Thanks: If you are lucky enough to secure a funding from a vendor, then it’s important that you stay in good terms with them. This can include sending them a thank you letter or better yet paying them a visit with a small gift to show your appreciation for them. This will not only help in the long run but will also present a better image of you to them. This could be the beginning of a long term relationship between them and your organization.
  • Don’t take their money and run. Give them frequent updates, invite them to meetings and get involved with them. They’re investing in your organization as they believe in your values, and it’s your job to ensure that they know how their money is being utilized.