Thailand: The Phuket Edition.

iphone-2-363We arrived in Phuket in the late afternoon. Once again we had a driver to pick us up from the airport. It was a long ride to Karon Beach. We were finally dropped off at our hotel, Beyond Resort Karon. When we got checked in the first night, our first inclination was to spend some time on the beach. We went down for a quick walk & then headed back up to get ready for dinner. Within a short period of time, I noticed that we had a small problem. There were several bugs in our room. The alcove around the ceiling had several cobwebs and spiders, and there were a couple others in different spots as well. We called downstairs to see if it was possible to switch rooms, but instead they sent in a crew of 3 people to clean the place up. Within about 20 minutes, they had dusted and vacuum just about every inch of the room which was amazing. We appreciated their hustle and dedication to fixing the problem.

Once that problem was solved, we were free for dinner. We headed out onto the street lining Karon Beach in search of a meal.We went left as we exited the hotel and walked along the coast. There wasn’t much striking our fancy, so we kept on going. Finally, we reached a point where we decided that we needed to turn back because it didn’t seem like there was a future for us beyond. We crossed the road and walked along the opposite side to inquire further. We eventually ended up at a small Thai restaurant. I was beyond miserable. My body had reached that level of hot that you don’t know if you can come back from. My fingers were really swollen, and I was struggling to cool down. I was ready to lose it. As soon as my water came, I practically chugged it. For dinner, I ordered fried rice because I felt like it was a meal that wouldn’t make me any hotter because rice seemed like it cooled down quickly.

Post dinner, I was desperate for more water, so we made a valiant effort to find some. We stopped in at a 7-11 down the way to stock up. Not much more happened after that,and we ended up back in our room ready to stock up on rest for the next day.

The next day was all about relaxing and exploring the area. We got in a lot of walking and a lot of beach time.  After our complimentary breakfast, we headed down to the beach to do some light swimming in the sea. The water was warm, fairly clear, and the sand was so smooth. We had a great time goofing off in the water & and fighting the currents like a couple of kids. After our swim, we went back to our room to change.

It was lunch time, and we wanted to find something great to eat. We ended up at Buffalo Steakhouse because Brad was wanting a burger. They had a menu with a lot of options on it… Something for everyone! We ate somewhat quickly, and then were back on our feet. We wanted to see more of Karon so we continued on our journey down the rough streets. We followed a sidewalk that ran along a smelly stream, and it led us to Kata Beach.

iphone-2-364We walked along the coast and followed it to the end. We took a left and headed “into town”. As we turned in, we found a dive shop, Dive Asia. Diving was one of the things we wanted to do while we were there, so Brad made a quick inquiry. When he came back out, we kept walking with the intent to do a little research on the company prior to booking. TIP: Before booking with an adventure company it is always wise to check their reviews and ratings… You don’t want to be the next horror story… However, we were overwhelmed by the heat, once again, and decided to turn back. We ended up grabbing cocktails at one of the restaurants that may have been apart of Kata Beach Resort & Spa, I know we used the resort’s wifi while we were there.  This was the perfect place to do our diving research. When I pulled up Dive Asia on tripadvisor.com, I took note of their score. It was basically 5 stars or iphone-2-3675 green dots… however you want to look at it. I read some of the reviews, and check the website, and decided that I was satisfied with what I saw. So, after wrapping up our cocktails be headed back to the Dive Shop, and booked our dive. We decided to do 2 dives off of the Phi Phi Islands & 1 dive at Shark Point the following day. This was our first dive trip since doing our training in Cancun & we were thrilled! After filling out our paperwork, we began our walk back to the hotel. We hung out on Karon Beach for a while, and enjoyed an early afternoon stroll along the shore.

Soon enough it was dinner time, and we decided to go find a place. We ended up at Sorrento’s Ristorante & Pizzeria. Brad ordered a couple seafood dishes, and I went with an Asian dish. We weren’t fully thrilled with our choices… I think I was burnt out on Asian, but I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to embrace the culture.  Shortly after we were back on the streets wandering freely. As we wandered down, we stopped at a pop-up Mojito Bar… Freshly made mojitos by a young woman for a small price. They were so worth it! That girl knows how to make a mean mojito! We continued walking, and found the lady-boy bars. We laughed the whole way down the street, as they cat-called & offered to let us play some bar games. I found it interesting that they would call to Brad when I was right there, but I guess some people are into some weird stuff! We continued our way down the street, and ended up finding an interesting looking restaurant… for another night.  We popped into the 7/11 that was right there for more water and some J Chew Dehydrated Mango.

28On our way back to the hotel once again, we made a stop so that I could try the French Rolled ice cream that was being sold by one of the street vendors. I requested chocolate & he pulled out a recycled 2 liter bottle full of, what looked like, chocolate milk. In a flash, he quickly poured it over his frozen counter top & began to spread it into a loosely shaped square. …After shaping and freezing, he began to scrape it off the counter into lovely rolls. One by one he placed the rolls into a paper cup & handed it over. I was able to add my own chocolate sprinkles (the jars seemed like a germ trap, though), and I scarfed it down as we continued on our way. When we got back to the hotel, we were ready for bed because we had a fairly early pick up the next morning.

So, with an early pick up, we went and got our buffet breakfast, and then sat in the lobby for a while. I was bummed because I had bought a GoPro specifically for this day, but sadly I spaced on getting a housing for it. TIP: If you are getting special gear for diving, don’t forget that you dive in meters, not feet… like this dumbass did. But, We knew it was going to be a good time anyways. We had our backpack packed with all our necessities to get through a long day, which included our hotel towels.  We were picked up and loaded into an open back truck again. Slowly, but surely the number of people began to grow. We enjoyed the company of another young couple from Finland & eventually got talking with an awesome couple from Malaysia (…we are facebook friends now!). However, I believe we were all in different groups.  When we got to the main Dive Shop, we were all paired with a guide who gave us a tub of dive gear with our name on it with our requested sizes & had us try everything to ensure that it fits.  Once everything was in order, we were all loaded back into our trucks, and toted to the big boat.  Once we reached the pier, we were all unloaded and just had to wait for a free pink truck to take us down to the boat (it was a weird system).

1Once there, we took a giant group photo, and then we all boarded the boat. We were instructed to remove our shoes to prevent slipping, and we could gather them again once our trip was over.  From there, we climbed the ladder to go up stairs to the “hang out area”, and we all had to put on a life jacket until we were out of the policed waters… Once we begun to head out to sea, we had our “orientation”.  It was a while before we reached our first dive site. Approximately 30 minutes before, we were on the dive deck gearing up. Once we hit the first Phi Phi site, we shuffled off in our groups, and began our descent together.  Unfortunately, the first dive was a pretty clear indicator of how the day was going to go… fair visibility, and not a lot of great iphone-2-379sightings.  We got to see a beautiful cuttlefish as one of our last sightings of the day, which was truly incredible. Seeing one in real life is far more amazing than watching it on the Discovery Channel. haha.  The dive day itself wasn’t too bad. The staff was great, and looked out for us. Our guide was awesome because, considering this was only our second set after getting our certification, he looked out for us & treated it as a bit of a refresher which was definitely needed.  Dive Asia also, provided a great lunch. Lots of veggies and rice.. Something for everyone! I’m certain no one left hungry.  FACT: What I liked about Dive Asia is that we never felt abandoned, and the boat was large enough to prevent sea sickness… but I think we took something prior as well. It was well-organized and planned. The whole thing went like clock work. Beautiful! I would recommend them! 

iphone-2-384-1After our final dive at Shark Point, we all rinsed off, and changed into our day-to-day clothes. We were able to just relax, and some of us even enjoyed watching the sunset over Phuket as we rode into shore. I was really looking forward to showering, but still had a while until we returned to the hotel. Once everyone and everything was removed from the boat, we hopped on the pink trucks again to take us to the start of the pier. From their, we all broke down into our travel groups, and one by one we were dropped off at our hotels.

Upon return, Brad & i quickly cleaned ourselves up, and headed back out for dinner. This time we headed to the restaurant that we had found the previous night, Wine Connection. Don’t even ask me what Brad got, but I got a Mediterranean salad, and I ordered the Pumpkin Ravioli that changed my life! I’m not even kidding… It was, again, one of those things that I crave! We ate until we couldn’t fit anymore in, and then headed out for our usual… A stop at 7-11 for water, and our walk back to the room.

iphone-2-403The next day we decided to head into Patong. We walked down the street of Karon in search of a tuk-tuk. As we walked along, we tried to find someone who would offer us a decent rate. But the closer we got to Patong, the more we realized that we weren’t going to get a better rate for transport. Brad finally gave in and we loaded into the back of a black sedan, and our driver took us on to Patong. It was a decent length drive, and the roads were covered in mud from the rainstorm the night before. What we found out when we arrived, is that it was one of the biggest mudslides Patong had seen in in several years. The coating of mud extended down into the shops, even the shops with a step up. Many were closed for the day as we watched owners try to squeegee or mop it out.

iphone-2-405We wandered on looking for something to snack on, and ended up at Somero’s Ice Cream Paradise for ice cream. It was so delicious, and definitely a destination that I would go to again, should I go back.  From there we just continued to wander the streets. We were primarily looking for souvenirs aka “Buddha Bells” as I like to call them, but I wasn’t having much luck. Most the shops that were open were selling random cheap gifts like carved soaps. But we kept trying. After wandering, what felt like, most of Patong we were starting to wear down.  We needed lunch. We wanted another Indian meal, and somehow ended up at ICC Indian Curry Club, we ordered our date day usual, chicken korma & naan, and oddly, despite it’s high ratings, it was one of our least favorite kormas. We finished it out of politeness, but felt like we were not satisfied by the unique flavor.

iphone 2 408 1.jpg
Brad’s strawberry cocktail… I got a beer. 

After lunch, we bumped into two of the guys from our scuba trip the day before. We engaged in quick and friendly banter before trying to continue on with our day. I decided that I wanted to stop in an antique & souvenir store that we had seen prior. I noticed that they had some “Buddha Bells” & to my surprise they were offering 30% off. So, with that I left with a big one, and a mini one. I was so excited that I finally had a Thai treasure to bring home!  From there, we decided to stop in at Tiger, a very large local bar & club.  The ladies working showed us a spot we could sit, and quickly took our drink order. As Brad & I were attempting to relax, the ladies decided that they wanted to play a couple different games with us. One was Connect 4, and the other was a dice game! FACT:It was a great addition to our day, and really showed how fun the Thai culture & people are.  SIDE NOTE:  I don’t think we got the full Patong experience because of the King’s death, from what I understand it can be really crazy. From here we wandered into the shopping center, Jungceylon. It was an impressive center. It was fairly small, but was comprised of 3 levels, and had many yummy-looking restaurants on the outside. It was a great way to kill a little time.

iphone 2 420.JPGBy now, Brad was wearing down, and was starting to get a migraine so we decided to head back to the hotel, so that he could take something for his head, and we could just hang out. Our evening resulted in another beach walk for me, and Brad rested for about an hour before he came to find me. Eventually, we met back up, and were ready to grab some dinner. It was unanimous. We wanted to head back to Sorrento’s to try the pizza. I know, I know… We are pizza freaks, who isn’t though?  We were actually incredibly surprised by how delicious the pizza was! We scarfed it down without any issue.  By now you should know what we did post-dinner: walk & 7-11.

We had considered booking another outing for the next day, but I just wasn’t feeling up to. Instead, we decided to spend the day in Karon & enjoy each other’s fabulous company. After breakfast, we decided to put on our swimsuits, and play in the ocean. …but at this point, we realized that Brad left his hat on the scuba boat. This meant that we had to make an impromptu trip to the scuba office, and thankfully we had found the Karon office which was near the Starbucks (that we never went to!!). When we made our inquiry they shared that they didn’t have anything but would have the crew check the boat, and that we would have to check back the next morning. With this plan in motion, we headed back to our beach.

iphone-2-375 The water was warm, and clearer than it had been the past few days. We played until Brad started to worry about turning pink, at which point he headed inland for cover. We ended up laying by the pool for a short period of time before deciding to grab a snack. We went over to the hotel restaurant, where I proceeded to order a ham & cheese toasty… I was so exciting thinking it would remind me of Europe, or something. It didn’t. It sucked. It was literally the worst thing I had on the entire trip… Okay, maybe not as bad as the lava cake in Bangkok, but pretty damn close.  Thankfully, it was small, so there wasn’t much to suffer through, but we knew that a real lunch was going to be required, so after a little more relaxing, and a little extra time in the water, we went upstairs to change into something more appropriate for tracking down lunch.  I should point out that neither Brad or I remember what we did for lunch… so I am just going to skip it!

After lunch, we just continued to wandered. We ended up a very small shopping quarter that had a massage shop. We each received an intensive foot massage, and I’m pretty sure I left feeling just as tense as when I left because, I just don’t enjoy being touched by other people…. From there, we began heading back toward Kata.. We followed the same smelly stream down toward the beach, and were there for just a little while before we decided to turn back.

All day, we had been planning on heading back to Patong for dinner to celebrate our anniversary at a fancy restaurant, but with only hours to go, we began to lose interest. We weren’t sure what to do, but we definitely were not feeling fancy. So I made the suggestion to have a beach date.  We ended up grabbing a beach mat for about $5USD from one of the shops lining the street, we ordered another pizza from Sorrento’s and grabbed beers and a twix from 7-11. Honestly, it was amazing! I think it was one of the funnest and most spontaneous anniversaries we have had so far because it was so low-key!  We laid the beach mat out on the sand and enjoyed our pizza & beer overlooking the Andaman Sea. The only downside, was the chubby man in a speedo in front of us, but it was all for the memories!

iphone-2-471

After our mini feast, we left our belongings behind, and headed over to the granite boulders that I proceeded to climb barefoot, in order see what lie beyond the rock formations and in search of tide pools and claimed that if Pocahontas could do, I could do it… Why would I say that??? …because I swear I thought my feet were going to bleed… Those rocks were rough! TIP: Don’t climb granite boulders barefoot, especially when you have to leap from one to the other…  We watched the local fishermen on the rocks and on their boat as the sun began to set.  It was a great night.

 

 

iphone-2-476-1The next morning was our last. We got packed up, grabbed some breakfast, and enjoyed one last swim in the beautiful turquoise waters. We were sad to say goodbye, but it was so nice to think about seeing my dog again. Once we were all cleaned up, and everything was tightly packed away, we headed downstairs to check out. The trick now, was that we still had a few hours to kill. We first arranged a tuk-tuk ride to the airport. Then we headed over to the Dive Asia office in hopes of collecting Brad’s hat, and thankfully, we succeeded. Then from there, we just meandered around town, trying to find a place that would let us use our credit card for lunch, so that we would be able to pay our tuk-tuk driver with our remaining Baht. We ended up stopping in at a roadside restaurant, where we both proceeded to order our last Pad Thai of the trip. When we were ready for the check, we found out that we had to spend a certain amount in order to use our credit card, so we ended up ordering desert too… ice cream, of course.  We aren’t very mysterious, are we??

iphone-2-501Finally, after additional meandering, it was time to leave. Our driver met us in front of the hotel, and we loaded up the tuk-tuk with all of our luggage and us.  As we made our way to the airport (which was different the way we came), it began to rain. It was a beautiful way to end the trip. We were able to see the Big Buddha on top of the mountain, which was truly satisfying. Brad & I didn’t have much of an interest in seeing any additional temples while we were in Phuket, so this was a nice final touch.

At the airport, Brad and I had a little bit of time together, and thankfully, we were in the same terminal. We were able to be together until my flight began to board. He smiled and waved at each other, until we were out of each other’s line of sight. I was thankful that he got to wave me off this time, instead of having to sit alone for an extended period of time in a different terminal, but anyways… our trip was over. …and I was homeward bound.

iphone-2-502
Brad’s plane was right next to mine.

LESSONS LEARNED: 

1) I definitely get burned out on Thai food

2) Brad can’t keep track of his belongings

3) Scuba Diving definitely gets easier the more you do it!

Advertisements

Published by

The Compulsive Traveler

out to see the world, and snap beautiful photos while doing so.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s