Monday, November 11, 2013

Travel Journal - Phuket, Thailand (Part 1)

Sometimes when I travel I keep a journal. I recently took a week long trip to Phuket, Thailand and thought I'd share the journal this time. I've twitched it a bit here and there from my personal copy, but hopefully that makes it all the more interesting.

KLIA, Kuala Lumpur

There is nothing quite like long late night transit stops. There's this sort of zen-like contemplation that gradually tails off into high-grade boredom.
My flight from Adelaide was good if uneventful. I watched slightly censored versions of Pacific Ring and a sot of b-grade-paranormal-cop-comedy-drama called R.I.P.D.
As I'm now in Malaysia (however briefly) I am taking the opportunity to have Kampong fried rice with chicken satay for dinner. The satays are amazing - the rice is spicier than I expected but very good.
When we landed the plane windows and hazy air made all of the lights appear to have halos. From the terminal the effect is not visible, so no photos.

Patong, Phuket

I tried to sleep a little in a chair at the airport but it didn't really work, then my window seat proved to be a fail - no window in that row on my side of the plane. I got into Phuket very early and very tired. I am glad I had the hostel's directions printed in Thai and instructions on how much to pay - they initially asked for 1500 baht but I got the hostel's suggested rate of 800.

It seems that road markings etc. are treated more as suggestions but I got to the hostel - Bodega - just fine. The cafe wasn't operating yet (fair enough at 6:15) so I caught some sleep in the hostel lounge until the cafe opened and I could have breakfast. I asked one of the hostel staff - Kristin - for a massage place recommendation. I chose the Thai massage at the recommended place which involved being bent into all kinds of pretzeley shapes to the end effect of feeling better already.
I wandered down to the beach marvelling at the slightly terrifying wiring work as the shops were starting to open and I was inundated with sales attempts - it was very quiet until about 10am. Patong very much runs to a tourist schedule.

The tide was in at the beach so the narrow strip of remaining sand was very busy with swimmers, sunbathers, jetskiiers and two parasailing boats.

(click to see panorama larger)

The parasailers launch from the beach (the only time I've ever parasailed they launched from the boat and used a winch to wind you in and out) and in the interest of a safe landing a member of the crew goes up with you. Thing is, they don't bother to tie this person in. Safety is for passengers. They sit on the ropes behind the passenger - or if necessary hang from them to steer.

I also learnt that the inventors of speedos have more to answer for than I realised.
Now I'm having a frappe - I miss having readily available good frappes in Adelaide, not sure what happened to those. Then I'll be off for more wandering and scenery-taking-in. When I can check into the hostel I think I will nap for a bit before finding a fabulous Thai dinner.

Patong Seafood

I had a little more waiting before I could check in so I sat in the guest lounge - first floor by the window with a cool breeze and view down to the street. Lovely. While I watched the world go by one of the street food stalls pedalled off...quite a few of these are strapped to motorbikes but this one was built around a bicycle instead.

The afternoon was restful - a nap to stave off the exhaustion from so little sleep, ice cream, more tropical beach walking and a smoothie. I walked (despite the offers of a legion of taxi and tuk tuk drivers) to Patong Seafood for the satays I saw earlier. They also serve the biggest prawns I've ever seen. The weather has taken a sudden turn. The strong breeze is very refreshing and the lightning quite a show. With luck it won't last as my umbrella is at the hostel where it isn't going to do me a lot of good - at least the rain will be warm! Just like Rome the minute the rain hit the roving umbrella sellers materialised.
I'm feeling somewhat more relaxed already and hopeful that once I'm done watching the world go by and seeing Patong by night the hostel will have good news on the day trip I would like to take tomorrow.
P.S. What is it with this trip and powdered creamer? At least this time there is real milk in addition to the creamer.


  1. There's so much to do in Phuket it's crazy. Most of my friends that visit my part of the island near Chalong like to rent out a villa or house and just spend their time in the sun, but there's actually a lot of other attractions that are worth your time if you're up for travelling about!

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