Saturday, August 31, 2013

Phuket: Same Same but Different

This is a long overdue, part two post of my recent visit to Thailand. I mean it’s not recent anymore, but still. Originally I thought I'd do the Bangkok and Phuket post one after the other, but for some reason that never happened and now there's a long gap in between them. If you like you can read my Bangkok post here.

Day three in Bangkok we woke up at five in the morning to get a taxi to the airport for our 8:30 flight to Phuket. The city was still waking up to the organised chaos it would transform into in a few hours, but for now it was bathed in a gentle hue of cloudy blue and looked beautiful, sleepy, but still beautiful. I believe that there's a lot you can learn about a city from what it does early in the morning and late at night, you only need to look. 

Hailing a taxi in Bangkok is simpler then you’d imagine. All you need to do is walk down to the main road with your bags and raise your arm at passing traffic and boom a taxi pulls over. Now the real challenge lies in communicating with the driver, because none of them speak English. A little tip here- It’s relatively easier to explain to a non-English speaking driver that you want to go to the airport, most of them understand that, but what about other, more complicated destinations? In that case what we did was print out directions to where we wanted to go in Thai and handed it to the driver. That way he knows exactly where we want to go and we saved ourselves the trouble of using frantic sign language and banging our head against the thick language barrier.

We had a flat tyre on the way to the airport and that’s when my heart stopped, the last thing we wanted was to miss our flight on a vacation! But the driver, a kind, old grand daddy looking man, was swift in changing the tyre and we were soon on our way. I made sure I tipped him and in return got a crinkly eye smile from him.

Landing in Phuket is one of the most beautiful landings I've seen in a long time. No depressing grey concrete looming across the horizon, but only different hues of blue, the turquoise blue ocean and the cornflower blue sky. That's also when I realized you really don't need Instagram filters in Phuket. 

We stayed in a lovely little service apartment we found on Airbnb, which I have come to believe is the best way to find yourself reasonable accommodation when you're travelling. The apartment complex had a swimming pool and overlooked the ocean and also a giant Buddha sitting on a hill. Our one bedroom apartment was spanking clean (it was cleaned everyday) had a little, but fully functioning kitchenette (where we'd make breakfast), a sitting room with a TV and the best bathroom I have used in a long time; complete with one of those fancy new showers that jets water out of the ceiling. 

Kata, Karon and Patong are the few popular beaches in Phuket, apart from Surin and Kamala Beach. Our first stop was Patong beach which was absolutely swarming with tourists, most of them Indians (pot bellied uncles and salwar kameez wearing aunties who looked like they had taken a package tour and who wouldn't stop staring). Patong was like the Baga of Phuket and all I wanted to go was get out of there. Karon and Kata are nicer beaches and not too crowded or blatantly touristy and where we spent more time. There was also this flea market of sorts bang opposite Karon beach and also a lovely street food stall run by a massively pregnant Thai lady, from where we had some very tasty chicken on skewers and some not very tasty fish balls dipped in sweet chilli sauce.

While in Phuket we also went for a traditional Thai massage, done by blind people. We paid 150 Baht for an hour long massage, which was half the price of what others were charging.  Now I've never been a big fan of massages and this massage was the closest I've experienced to labour. I'm not saying it was terrible, but it was nothing like I've ever experienced before. There were times during that massage, especially when the masseuse had her elbow dug into the small of my back that I was convinced this is what childbirth must feel like. Thankfully she couldn't see the hideous faces I had pulled during the massage. But honestly, you feel the relaxing effects of the massage only a day later and boy was it worth it. 

Phuket is gorgeous and I think I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking, which is only fair.

An important rule to follow while being on vacation is that you must live in flip flops and shorts.

A smattering of golf flecked across the sky. It didn't take long to getting used to these gorgeous sunsets. 

The Big Buddha, a Buddhist place of worship, which had this gorgeous and gigantic statue of Buddha sitting atop a hill (the same statue visible to us from our bedroom). There's something so serene and calm about the Buddha that I could have spent hours here. 

The Banana Split, a dessert I rediscovered and proceeded to shamelessly overdose on. Phuket is also where I discovered the BEST banana Nutella pancakes (on an animated street vendors little cart) and oh my goodness it was easily the best I have tasted! 

 The mandatory boat tour to the Phi Phi Islands. (The place is choked with tourists, but it's still worth going)

The last few hours before the end of a vacation are always the hardest and as sad as I was to leave, I knew I'd be back soon.


  1. I'll make sure I read this blog before planning a trip to BKK ;)
    Lovely place ! Next on my list now :D

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  4. In the relaxation time, you can appreciate the vacationer goals of Phuket. Old Phuket Town and Big Buddha and so forth are the ideal cases of the vacationer goals in this region.