Phuket and Koh Phi Phi

28 Oct

We arrived in Phuket at some ungodly hour of the morning and were transferred to our hotel, which was actually in Patong Beach. We didn’t receive such a warm welcome when we arrived, but we put this down to the fact that it was probably about two o’clock in the morning. No one can be happy at that hour. I’d also started to get sick the day before and ended up going partially deaf thanks to a blocked ear on the flight. Keb was also sick, so we were not a happy pair.

We went to bed straight away and had a bit of a sleep in for the following morning. We were to have the morning spare until we got picked up to be taken on a boat to Koh Phi Phi that afternoon.

The first thing we noticed the next morning after breakfast was that the weather was pretty crap. The next thing we noticed was that the wiring and electrical work around the streets was horrifying. I was surprised that there weren’t electrical fires while we were there. We wandered around for a while but ended up going into a cafe where we paid Australian prices for cups of coffee. (Thai prices are much preferable but the coffee is so much worse.)

As the weather wasn’t too enchanting and there wasn’t really much else we could do, we went back to the hotel to wait for our transfer to the boat. Our bus came and we made the trip to the boat where we were ushered to a desk, given tickets and then shown the boat.

We got on and passed our suitcases to these guys who basically just piled them all for every single passenger in this back spot just inside the “enclosed” part of the boat. We trudged down the stairs and found some spare seats where we whiled away the journey. I think we actually all fell asleep until towards the end when we started to see some land again. When it was time to get off the boat, there was a rush to rummage through the pile of suitcases again. There didn’t seem to be any order in the chaos at all. It was weird but we did retrieve our luggage eventually.

We didn’t really know how to find the place we were staying, but we knew it was a short walk. A lady at a dive shop stopped us and ended up giving us a map, some directions and some advice on places to eat. We were profoundly grateful to her for that. Even though I’m sure the map wasn’t quite to scale, we found our bungalow and dropped our stuff.

Yet again, we didn’t have anything planned for the evening, so we went wandering once more. This time we decided we were actually pretty hungry as we hadn’t had lunch and ended up going to one of the places the dive shop lady had recommended. It was called Only Noodle and, unsurprisingly, served only Pad Thai. There were variations of the dish, of course. Only Noodle is famous because it serves the best Pad Thai you’ll ever eat (or something along those lines). And here is where I have to make a confession: out of all the Thai food I’ve tried, Pad Thai has never been high up there on my favourites. But, I tried the big noodle tofu version at this place and found myself craving it the next day. So it must have been good.

By this point on the trip, both Keb and I had decided we were too sick to go diving. We decided instead that we’d do a boat tour or something along those lines the next day. As the island is riddled with both dive shops and tour shops, we stopped at a random one and booked a half-day snorkel and kayaking boat trip for the next day. We went walking once more and stopped in various shops on the hunt for some board shorts for both Keb and Lairey, but not with much success. Then it started raining.

I can’t remember if we stopped for food that evening but I do recall wandering around the shops and then getting irritated because of comments that apparently weren’t meant to be offensive (or I shouldn’t have been so sensitive was one other excuse). So I must have become pretty quiet. I usually don’t notice if I’ve become quieter than usual. It all seems normal to me and I usually get frustrated if people ask me if anything’s wrong. I just prefer to be left alone.

We had an early night that night, probably all feeling a bit tired and cranky. Then the music started. I don’t know if Thai people ever sleep. I was lying there awake for hours with earplugs in frustrated at the infernal beat that was wafting up from the middle of the island. I don’t know if it was because there was a void between us and the middle of the island but it seemed like the music was just next door. In the end I got so upset that I started kicking in my bed (yes, like a mini tantrum) and then took a sleeping tablet in the hopes it would cloud my hearing. Eventually it worked.

The next morning the weather was miserable. We walked around to find a cafe that we thought would be ok for breakfast and went inside. It started to rain while we were sitting there eating and I wasn’t too certain that our boat trip would be overly fun.

I was still feeling irritable and felt like I needed some space so I decided to get another massage and let the other two wander off to find some board shorts or presents. I went inside a random one and asked for some Thai reflexology. It was very relaxing despite the fact that I found that there were several tender spots in my feet that I hadn’t previously been aware of. As usual, I got a complimentary head and neck massage afterwards and I left feeling a lot better.

We walked around some more and did some idle shopping, filling in time before lunch and the boat trip. I think we went to the bungalow briefly to get changed and get our stuff and then came back for lunch. We just picked a place next to the tour shop and ate quickly before going next door.

This is when we found out that because the weather was so dodgy, the afternoon boat trip had been cancelled. We got a refund and left feeling a little crestfallen. All we’d done the past two days was wander around pretty aimlessly. There wasn’t much else we could do.

For dinner we finally went to the second eatery that the lady at the dive shop had recommended. It was called Papaya and there were several cats occupying chairs inside. They had a donation box so that they could buy cat food, which I thought was nice. Then a cat decided to get into the drinks fridge and was apparently unconcerned about staying in there for a while. I thought the food was really good there to, so I’d probably go back.

Once again we had an early night and this time managed to mentally block out the music and sleep through it. We had to catch the boat the next morning.

Ironically, the weather turned sunny and warm the morning we left. We got on the boat and decided to sit on top to soak in the warmth. In the half hour or so that we were sitting there, I managed to get burnt on my shoulders, but I didn’t mind too much. Then it started to rain again so we made a dash for the inside of the boat.

By the time we got back to Phuket, the weather was wet and grey again. We hopped onto our bus and went back to the hotel to dump our stuff again.

We hadn’t eaten all morning so we decided to go find some food. We found a restaurant could Dang’s and ate there in memory of our trek leader, Deng. Then we went in search of a place that would candle our ears, as Keb and I were still sick and Lairey was curious about the concept. As usual, the experience ended in a complimentary head massage, but we left feeling much, much better.

After some more aimless wandering, we decided that we should go out for a special dinner as it was our last night in Thailand. So we went back to the hotel for a brief swim, showered, and got ready to find a nice restaurant.

We walked through some kind of festivities. I’m not sure if it was the usual nightlife or not seeing as I’d not experienced it before (or gone looking for it). Eventually we found a place with an open setting and sat down.

It was an amazing meal. I don’t remember what it was that I ate but it was delicious and spicy. Then I topped it off with fruit salad and then realised I’d eaten way too much. We were entertained with some live music and we may even have danced a little at our table. Then we finally decided to head back to the hotel, got ready for bed and said goodbye to Phuket.

I think if the weather wasn’t so rainy and I wasn’t sick and cranky at the time, that I would have enjoyed myself a bit more. That being said, even though it wasn’t my favourite part of the trip, it was good to just sit back and relax for a bit. I’m generally not one of those people that constantly has to be busy anyway. Plus it teaches you that even though you may make plans, there are things that are outside of your control and you should just embrace the bad with the good.

(Like so…)

That’s what I think anyway. I hope you’ve enjoyed my rather lengthy “snapshots” of my holiday in Thailand.


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