Published: November 21st 2007November 15th 2007
It was like looking into a mirror.
Arriving in Phuket after a very long bus journey we were greeted with many local taxi drivers fighting for our custom (as always)!! We had decided that we were going to stay in Phuket Town as the beaches were really expensive and the local bus to the beach had stopped for the night, so we politely declined and walked.
It ended up being a fairly intensive walking session which isn't that comfortable loaded with heavy backpacks! Something weird did happen though. As we headed along the road in the direction of the Guesthouses, a pickup truck passed by and out of the back of it, a monkey reached out and hit Gary over the arm. He turned around to speak as he thought that it was me, and found this cheeky monkey staring at him. There were a few tourists behind us who also found this quite amusing. He was left with a brown handprint on his t-shirt.
We seemed to have been walking for quite a while and we had not come apon any Guesthouses. Following some information from a few tourists, and realising that there was a lack of suitable accommodation, we ended up at the Guesthouse
where "The Beach" was filmed. The accommodation was exactly as it was in the film, however at this point we were both exhausted from the long journey and lack of food so we settled the bill and dumped our bags in the room before searching for some food.
Phuket Town looked like it was from a forgotten time and had maybe once been a tourist draw before the beaches nearby had been developed to accommodate the masses. We didn't really take to it at first as it was dirty, quite dilapidated and home to many a rat and cockroach. In the end though, we started to feel a bit sorry for it. The taxi drivers seem to keep their chins up though and many an offer came our way including one guy, who didn't really accept us turning down his taxi AND tuk-tuk offers, and ended up offering us a helicopter! We never saw a sign of it though.
As we headed out for food, we came apon the Crystal Inn which looked really nice from the outside, so Gary ventured in and enquired about the price, to our surprise it was within our price range (despite the
The water was amazing.
doubling of price due to high season) so we decided that the following morning we would check-in for our last 2 nights in Phuket.
The next day we checked in to the Crystal Inn, enjoyed a nice hot shower and then caught the locals bus to the beach resort of Patong. This is the most popular beach resort in Phuket and was very busy with tourists on holiday rather than backpacking which explained how they could afford the inflated prices for accommodation and food in the area, not to mention alcohol. We enjoyed the day relaxing on the beach as the water and sand were pretty much perfect and we later had a walk around some of the streets. Although the beach was really nice and and the water was clear, we were happy to return to Phuket town around tea time to get away from the package holiday tourists and the busy beach resort. A lot of the tourists were fine, but it was obvious that a lot were there just to drink themselves stupid. Apparantly we did the right thing by getting out of the area around tea time when we did, as we have heard numerous
The most appropriate t-shirt for Thailand, although someone who bought one said it had the opposite effect.
accounts since then of how sleezy the area gets after dark.
That night we found a nice cheap internet cafe with big leather reclining seats where we were able to catch up with emails and chill out with a smoothie!!
Our last day in Phuket we decided to head up the hill to get a view over the city. We were told that many locals use this route to exercise and that it would be likely that we would be greeted by completely wild, but friendly monkeys!! As we were walking up the hill in the exhausting heat, we heard strange noises coming from the trees and then a few monkeys appeared on the side of the road. At this point I became very aware the we were alone on the road and the monkeys were not scared of our pressence. Gary got very excited (I think he was hoping to meet up with his new found friend) and got a bit closer to take some pictures.
Before long a motor bike came past us and two locals got off with big bags of bananas, when all of a sudden we were surrounded by about 30 monkeys.
We found this funny as this is the wording they always use, but it loses the effect without the accent.
It was a bit intimidating to be honest but Gary was quite sure that they were friendly and got even closer. The locals realised that I was a bit unsure as was not in the thick of things, and they tried to assure me through broken english that it was ok to come closer. As I built up my confidence and got in the middle of the monkeys, one attacked the local lady who was feeding them, at that point I decided to observe from the outside as after all if the monkey could attack the hand that feeds, I didn't want to know what it would do to me if it got annoyed!! Satisfied with our photos we headed back to our hotel in attempt to hydrate ourselves again.
In the afternoon we decided to head to the Karon beach resort for a look around. It was extremely spread out,, but not as busy as Patong beach and refreshingly low key. The beach was again pretty amazing though and a lot more spacious than Patong. Following what seemed a very long walk along the beach front we headed for something to eat. We soon realised that food and
accommodation here was even more expensive than in Patong (which is saying something), but perhaps that was due to the lack of competition that was present in Patong.
We enjoyed another relaxing night and headed to bed early in anticipation for our trip to Phi Phi the following day.
There are more photos below