Quick impressions of Thailand, first due to us being in a really big tourist area, it wasn’t very much as I would like to see Thailand. Way too commercialised for me, next time we go, I will pick somewhere quiet.
If anyone out there is thinking of invading Sweden, I would suggest that now is the time to do it because 95% of everyone we spoke to was Swedish, so Sweden must be relatively empty at this time of year; we also met one couple from Greenland!
Day 1 was the travel day which was us trotting off to Hong Kong to catch the Dragon Air flight to Phuket, this was a 3 hr flight arriving early evening. We had a slight problem at Phuket airport, the cab from the guest house had not arrived to collect us, so Rose decided to try to negotiate with the local taxi drivers, this did not turn out good, at one point she borrowed a cell phone from one of them, called the guesthouse and cancelled the cab we ordered, an argument then ensued re the payment for using the cell phone after she wouldn’t agree a price for the taxi, this got a little heated and I eventually got her to calm down and pay the man, it didn’t help that he kept asking for 20 dollars, instead of 20 Baht (a slight difference in price). In the end I used a phone from a local cafe and recalled the guesthouse and reinstated the cab that arrived 40mins or so later. We arrived at the guest house, named Charlemporn, (note last for letters).the guesthouse was on a street leading to the seafront, which was around 800mtrs away, the Tsunami damage was not in evidence except that the drainage system seemed to be having trouble coping, giving off the usual sweet scents on occasion. The room was clean and tidy, on the 2nd floor, but had no window, which was no great shakes as we only were sleeping there anyway.
Day 2 we spent looking round Patong Beach (the area we were staying in) we had a swim in the sea and lazed on the beach, but not after a nice local crab tried its best to remove my left big toe! Luckily he failed and just left his claw mark on it. no blood! We ate in the Molly Malone Irish Pub, the food there is excellent and I would recommend it to anyone, its good English pub grub along with Thai food if you want it. Me being starved of good UK food, I went for that selection. Patong Beach is like Blackpool on steroids, at little bit over touristy for me, its full of pubs, bars, restaurants and every 2 minutes someone wants to sell you stuff, you start to feel like your being followed by a chicken after a while as the local minibuses are called Tuk Tuk, and when you walk by them that’s what the owners say to you, "Tuk Tuk", "Tuk Tuk", at least, unlike Shezhen, there did not appear to be any beggars around. But still too over commercialised for me, not what I would call the real flavour of Thailand.
Day 3 was spent on a trip to the main town of Phuket, aptly named Phuket town! This is a quiet town compared to Patong, there appeared to be few tourists about, we spend the day just walking round it, we tried to find the harbour, but failed in that by walking in the wrong directions, Thai signs are a tad difficult to read, Thai looks more like music than words. Still we at least managed to find our way back to the bus for the return trip home, but not before I managed to twist my ankle on the pavement, not badly but enough to get me limping for a few steps or so.
Day 4, we took a taxi to the next beach along, I asked for a quiet beach, but it was not a lot different to the main beach, only it was smaller. We decided to have a walk round the end of the beach and make our way to the headland via the rocky beach area. At the start of this was a small cafe type place, I was looking for a way get to the road behind it, as I went to brush past some sort of plant that was hanging over the pathway, I got stung (or bitten, don’t know which) by something needle like, I waited in trepidation to find out what would happen, it went it to a small swelling, but it didn’t hurt at all, It later went into a big bruise 3 inch by 2 inch on my right wrist, this being the wrist I sprained earlier in the month, it became hard to tell if the sting was affecting it or not. Anyway it did not stop me doing anything else. We made our way along the rocky front till we could go no further, and eventually went back to the little cafe for a drink, we then went by road to the next bay along, called Paradise Beach, now this was a slightly longer walk than we figured, but there was no local transport to hand at that time, and uphill in 30deg heat was a bit of a trek for about 2 km. but we eventually made it, this beach was a little quieter and a trip round the rocks to the next inlet revealed 2 empty beaches, so we sunbathed there, it was a pity we couldn’t swim in that bit, there were too many sharp rocks on the shoreline, but at least, at last, it was quiet. At the end of the day we got a Tuk Tuk back to Patong. Next time we go there I will be hiring a car, its a lot simpler and less hassle than getting public transport.
Day 5, was a boat trip to Phi Phi island, that involved a 1 and 1/2 hr boat trip and on arrival at the island was first a snorkelling bit for anyone that wanted, Rose had not done it before so she went in while I photographed the event, no one got eaten by sharks. the second part was a little plastic canoe for 2 for use to row around in for about half an hour or so, it was on Monkey Beach, but the monkeys didn’t show that day. the next part of the trip was landing on the Island itself and having the usual tourist type dinner, which to be fair, wasn’t too bad. we then had about an hours free time,but its basically only a beach area you can look at, no time to actually look round the place, then the trip back home.
Day 6 today we had a 3 trips in one day tourist thing. Rose, unfortunately rose with a touch of the local runs, so we kept close to local toilets for a while. The first of the mini trips was an elephant ride, which went along a stream then through the local rubber plantation, quite interesting for about and hour, at one point the Mahout got off the beast and beckoned me to sit where he was, this was a slightly tricky manoeuvre, never having ridden on an elephants head before, I found it quite difficult to keep my balance and we weren’t even moving!, the Mahout tried to get the beast to walk but it refused, so I went back to the proper ‘seat’ on the back and suddenly it started to walk, it obviously wasn’t that keen on me being the ‘driver’. The next part of the trip was to the local water fall, this was a bit of a trek up a mountain, but due to the lack of rain it was more a trickle than a fall, but was ok, it enabled us to cool off a little. Next came a momentous occasion and that was a ride in a Buffalo cart, well, this was less exciting than a toddlers ride at a funfair, we climbed on the cart, the buffalo decided to urinate for around 5 min’s before we could start, then when we did start, the bloody thing kept stopping to urinate. we went round in this little 300yard circle and that was it, a little bit of a swizz if you ask me. Next we had a canoe ride through some local mangroves and up the local river, which was ok and then it was time for some dinner, which also, surprisingly was good. During dinner, one of the locals caught an Iguana, which will probably get itself eaten later in the day. After the meal the local monkeys descended and before we left we watched them taking over the local cars and trying to destroy whatever they could. Later in the day we took a trip to Kata Beach and then up to Sunset Point, where everyone goes to take photo’s of the Thai sunset, this took a while to wait for, but the sun eventually went down, the only problem being it went down into a thick mist, so you didn’t really see much of a sunset.
Day 7, this is the last day, I ventured into a local Pharmacy to see if they could tell me what bit me, the chemist looked and said he didn’t know, but then said, "Do you want some cream for it?", I said, "There’s not a lot of point giving me cream if you don’t know what it is!". We later just went round the local area, had a laze on the beach then went for a meal, . Then it was time for our boy racer taxi back to the airport and home. By now my sting bruised right wrist was starting to fade, sorry, but I may live.