Published: January 15th 2008January 15th 2008
Boys, boys, boys
Yes, they're all boys
We’d intended to stay longer in Malaysia than we did, but having got out of the habit of bus travel, we woke up on our last morning in Kuala Lumpur with nothing organized, and in fact, not really having given to much thought as to where exactly we’d go. There were a few islands north of KL that sounded worth a visit, but by the time we got around to giving it any serious thought, we discovered that we’d missed all the busses. With only 10 mins left before we were due to check out of our hotel, Neil had his first useful idea since June - since it was too late to bus anywhere, maybe we could fly somewhere instead. I was sceptical, knowing that the Easyjet experience at home is that you have to book months in advance to get anything approaching a cheap fare, but things are different here, and within the hour, we were winging our way to the airport for our 30 quid flight to Phuket in Thailand.
On the move and without a lot of time to research each and every destination, we’ve been relying heavily on our guidebooks, but it can be hard
Spotted him running along the roadside.
to make the right choice. We’re not into partying all night, but we like a little bit of life, so when they say “busy”, do they mean a few restaurants, shops and bars, or do they mean actually mental? We soon found out that in the case of Patong Beach in Phuket, it means mental. Unbeknownst to us, Patong has a bit of a sleazy reputation (now why couldn’t the guidebook have just said that?!) and the main streets were utterly crazy - it felt like one big open air brothel, jam packed with go-go bars, ping pong shows, ladyboys, and thousands upon thousands of aesthetically challenged western men with pretty thai girls fawning all over them. Still, it was good for a bit of shocked people watching for a couple of nights, before heading to a much quieter part of the island. Karon beach still has plenty of places to eat and drink and so suited us much better - our hotel was set back from the main resort in the mountains and was a great place to chill out at night after exploring the island on our hired motorbike during the day. I have to say, though, we
both thought that Phuket didn’t have a lot to recommend it - it was far from the tropical paradise we were expecting, and while it was fine for us passing through on our travels, we’d have been hugely disappointed if we’d spent thousands coming here for a precious two week holiday from work, or god forbid, a once in a lifetime trip like a honeymoon.
There are lots of other beach destinations in Thailand, and I am sure some of them would have lived up to our expectations, but by the time we were due to leave Phuket, we’d started to give some serious thought to coming home, and so made our way to Bangkok on an overnight bus. We’d a shaky start here, there are so many hotels that it's hard to pick one, and our first two nights were spent in a bit of a dump. British Airways were also messing us around a bit trying to book our return flight, and so we felt we'd been left in limbo a bit. But, one change of hotel and ten phonecalls to BA later, our return flight is organised, leaving us free to make the most of every
Neil on a sangthaew
Like a pick up truck with two benches in the back. Our guidebook claims you can use these for 20p or so a go, but there doesn't seem to be any bargaining in Phuket, and we never paid less than 3 quid. I suppose that's tourist resorts for you.
last minute we have here! Bangkok is great - actually quite tame after the sights of Patong - and we've spent the last few days seeing as many of the sights as the heat and crazy traffic will allow, shopping at the fabulous markets, eating some of the best (and spiciest) food we've ever had, drinking cheap beer, and being massaged to within an inch of our lives.
We'll be very sad to leave, but can't wait to see you all on Thursday!!!!
There are more photos below