Published: March 24th 2009March 24th 2009
Welcome to tsunami land!
Constant reminders of the tragedy everywhere.
I took a Mickey Mouse ride from Penang, Malaysia to Phuket, where things played out quite differently from promised. Well, at least I got dropped off at the "bus terminal" as promised, which was a good thing. As a lazy Lonely Planet slave I aimed to stay at the Thalang Guesthouse but they were fully booked and they sent me to the Old Town Hostel which is under the same management. It was a nice place with nice staff, cheap rooms and a comfy bed. However... there was one HUGE drawback: a wide opening in the wall beneath the ceiling facing the corridor. This was only covered by a mosquito net. So no privacy at all in an audio sense. Of course, only shared showers aswell. I thought this was too bad as I kind of liked the place but couldn't stand the noise.
Next day there was an opening at the Thalang so I moved in there. I got a quite cozy room with wooden floors and ceiling and my own bathroom *giving thumbs up*. But as I've mentioned before things are always rosey in the beginning and then things turn south. The cozy wooden floor/ceiling turned out to
Beach doggie. Not very representative picture I guess...
be a curse, especially when you have asshole neighbours (like I always have), as they amplified all the noise from above. So when inconsiderate fucks came home in the middle of the night dropping their keys and God knows what on the floor the noise was unbelieveable. In fact, my room was slightly shaking when the mouthbreathing lowlives where stomping around up there. Okay, so you always get the assholes and there's nothing the hotel can do about that but then the shower started acting up. It kept losing pressure and at the same time the heater was turned off. Of course, the heater wasn't a problem in this climate but the nearly non-existing water pressure was. I mentioned this to the staff a couple of times but got some half assed stories and confused replies. At one point they told me I had to tell them when I wanted to shower so they could turn something on. Well, that turned out to be complete bullshit so my last day, when again the shower wasn't working, I was told by the boss that I could walk over to the Old Town Hostel to take my shower there (!!!) Great! Why
Yeah, it's the most remote part of the beach.
am I paying more here??? So I showered in my bathroom instead, as the problem was an on-off thing and for half a minute it was on and I could quickly wash my hair before the shower turned lame again. It's not quite as hard to rinse the soap off your body as the shampoo out of your hair... Anyway, I then clenched my jaw and prepared for the inevitable battle I once again had to go through as I was going to ask for a refund and this NEVER works in South East Asia! But this was too much bullshit so I had to make a stand. Sigh... So once again I found myself politely trying to reason with someone to get me some justice. And it worked!!! Huh!?!? I only asked for the symbolic sum of 100 baht as I figured would be the difference from three days of staying at the Old Town with cheaper rooms and functioning showers. "No problem" they said and gave me the dough. Maybe they were releaved that I didn't ask for more but still, kudos to them for not giving me a hard time! While I'm at it, more plus and
Once again I manage to make a crowded beach look deserted.
minus notes: free breakfast, unfortunatley microscopic with two tiny slices of toast and a mini-cup of tea. The marmalade was da bomb though and sometimes they through in a small banana aswell... I saw a big rat running out of their kitchen... They had a really cute bitch (yes, dog) roaming the premises.
Time to move on to the real subject: the island. This time around I went on a beach quest, aiming to explore as many as I could. I really do have a weird way of approaching things... I started with the one I figured would be worst: Patong Beach. All the beaches are quite far from Phuket Town so I always had to take local transportation to get there. The only time I travelled by bus was to Patong, which is understandable as this is the main tourist and hippest beach. Actually, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Sure, you had lots of people coming up to you asking if you wanted to rent a jetski or buy weed but I thought it would be worse. The beach was quite big and tons of tourists were crammed under their parasols. I walked
More of the same...
the X amount of kilometers back and forth took a couple of dips and then I got bored. I wish the hot chick from the hostel hadn't left as I arrived at the beach... As a beach Patong was nice with powdery sand all the way into the surf. I wouldn't call it a "paradise beach" though.
Next day I started out earlier as I didn't have much time on Phuket Island and wanted to cram as much as possible into the experience. I got my ass on a sawngtheaw to Kata Beach, a smaller beach but still many tourists, more older ones than on Patong. Unfortunately there are WAY more older women (like senior citizens) wanting to flaunt their tits than good looking younger women. I even saw a pair of huge manboobs on this beach! Things didn't go to well this day. First of all I took a quick dip when I arrived before my walk along the beach. Well, you know how uncontrolable the snot gets when you're swimming? I of course know this too and always check my nose (and face) when getting back on land, but for some reason I managed to miss the
Kamala Beach again
Now, this would be a better view of a beach!
fact that I had a big booger plastered up on my nose. So with this thing drying in the sun I walked the entire beach and sat down by the end of the beach before I noticed it. Cute... Then after baking awhile I jumped in the sea again only to step on probably the only rock in the water and cut myself. Great! I spent a little too long time on the beach as I could feel a slight burn coming on, but there is no escape from the sun on these beaches, unless you want to pay for a parasol. So I got up and headed into Kata Town which was extremely touristy. I even found a Starbucks there and got my Coffee of the Week with whipped cream. My plan was to then go to Karon Beach, which is just north of Kata. Not too far to walk so I did. Here's where my stubborn stupidity comes in. Note that I already felt a bit burned and still I decide to go to another beach! On top of that I have vitiligo which is extremely sensitive to the sun. "Screw that!" I stuck my head in the
sand (no not literally...) and pressed on. Karon is almost as big as Patong so there were a couple (?) of kilometers of sand to walk along. The sun ran an all out attack on my poor skin and no sunblock in the world could help me as the sweat flushed it off in minutes. Karon felt like a bigger version of Kata beach these beaches look pretty much the same. Nice powdery sand and tons of people. These two beaches though, don't have the annoying onslaught of vendors and touts. Maybe a few, but none bothered me. A couple of hours passed, I think, and as I was walking away from the beach trying to catch a sawngtheaw back I felt the pain coming... I had sold my soul for some beach time and now Satan was collecting the debt, providing me with some serious burning sensation pretty much all over my body. How big of a moron can you be? How old am I? By the time I got back to the guesthouse I felt like I'd been swimming in a sea of flaming napalm and needless to say I didn't sleep much that night.
Singh Beach again
Note the water, aaahhhhh....
I lost an entire day of exploring because I really needed to stay out of the sun and I spent a lot of time in my room. What a blast when you're in sunny Phuket! Too bad I'd shipped my thin longsleeved shirts back home already... So when I ventured out to eat I tried to walk in the shade as much as possible. Ha ha, the irony when a moron is taught a lesson! Well at least I didn't have to pay another sawngtheaw fare to see Karon beach. <:-/
Next day I was sick of sitting in my self imposed prison and headed out to the beach again. The goal was to check out Kamala, Singh and Surin beaches. So in lack of a shirt I wrapped myself in my black lunghi* and headed for Kamala Beach. This beach wasn't very spectacular. Okay I guess, but just another beach. It was about the same size as Kata, maybe a little bit smaller. I didn't stay too long as there wasn't any spot where you could sit in the shade. I walked back to the road after encountering some big crabs in the bush(!) and headed for Singh
Conny imagining being shipwrecked.
Beach. The sun was beating down on me and I hid in my lunghi coocoon. When I got to the path leading down to the beach there was a steep climb down some stairs and then you had the small but very nice looking Singh Beach. This one was more "paradisey" than the other beaches and it had a spot with shade!!! The only drawback was that it was sort of a snorkler's beach with lots of rocks and shit in the water, but it was a beautiful spot. They had some vendors there aswell, so I figure a lot of rich tourists find their way here. Also, there's no public transportation directly to this beach so my plan was to start at Kamala and then get the sawngtheaw back from Surin Beach. However, I liked this beach and enjoyed sitting in the shade listening to music and just chillin' so time flew and I didn't have time for Surin, which is supposed to be a really nice spot. So I flagged down a very late sawngtheaw (the last one) and went back to Phuket Town. The driver was a real moron and I had the misfortune of riding with
Rawai "Beach" again
Here you can see the "marina".
him on both the trips. On the way back he did one of his million pointless stops, this time to buy a beer! He started drinking it and turned to me and laughed. "Oh, now you're drinking and driving? Nice. Nitwit!" I told him. Of course he only laughed in response, toothless old idiot.Back at the guesthouse I saw that the reptilic transformation had begun - this night the peeling started. I'd developed elephant skin on my forehead and nose that started comin off. Nice...
Next day was the last one I had for beach exploration so I decided to go to Rawai Beach on the eastern side of Phuket's southern tip and then walk over to Yanui and Nai Harn beaches on the west coast. I got off at Rawai and there wasn't much of a beach there, more like a small boat marina where a bunch of boats were pulled up on the sandy shore. So I didn't spend much time there but started the long walk across to the other side of the island. Again, wrapped like a Kåldolme** in my lunghi and sweating floods. It was a bit hard to find Yanui Beach as there,
as usual, weren't any signs. So I had to ask a bunch of people and do some backtracking. Seems like there's a great influx of Russian drug money (yes, I'm kidding... or..?) in the area as you could see signs in Russian, the funniest being one "for sale" sign clearly aimed at Russians. I finally found the beach and I guess it was a nice little beach but again - no shade! So I sat there for a short while resting up and then I headed for Nai Harn. This was quite the grueling walk, starting with a looong upphill stretch in the lovely midday sun. The road finally turned downwards when you had walked all the way up to the wind power station. After a while you could see Nai Harn Beach down below but the damn road kept going on and on, so when you finally came down you had to walk back on another little road to get to the beach. Just a long tedious walk (and I otherwise like walking). This was again a bigger beach but nothing spectacular. I walked all the way to the end of it and found a shady spot among the
Here I am, wrapped in my coocoon, walking to Nai Harn Beach.
rocks there. I had the last ocean dip there and of course it had to be a quick one as I didn't want to worsen my burns. So this idiot managed to hit eight beaches in four days and the scorecard would say that Singh was my favourite but Kata provided better swimming and was quieter than Patong. But if you want to go to the happening scene with booze, drugs and whores, by all means hit Patong and stay there aswell as I hear they have plenty of hos there and I thankfully didn't see a single hooker in Phuket Town! Tons and tons of Swedes though... Swedes everywhere. Swedes on billboards. Other billboards aimed at Swedes. Hmm, this is how Germans must feel when they are travelling...
*Indian monk sarong
**Swedish cabbage roll
There are more photos below