Published: May 6th 2009May 5th 2009
It's my Birthday 2052!!
Being in Thailand makes you 543 years older.......so the anti wrinkle cream out here is obviously working.
As we leave Krabi on our trip to fun filled Phuket, it’s with an excited,
“Will it have changed much? … Will that Irish bar still be there? … Will the hammock seller who pestered our Ceri for three and a half hours still have the same stock? …Will the lady boys still scare the shit out of you proudly showing their operation scars?”. When we eventually clamber into the crappiest little boneshaker of a minibus we’ve ever been on and set off, our conversation quickly changes to
“Oh my god!! …shit he just missed that!!!….I think we’re gonna die!!!”
as our half crazy, half blind driver negotiates his way northward through the traffic, we marvel at his overtaking skills as he accelerates to 120kph and sits 4 inches from the bumper of the car in front blasting his horn ….. Thankfully, the policeman driving the patrol car accepts defeat and pulls over to let us pass, but still ignores our muted cries for HELP! mouthed through the glass.
Three and a half hours later we wrench our nails out of the seat in front and collapse out and kiss the ground of Kata Yai, south west Phuket !! Kata
Not bad, a 5000 baht room for 900 .... result !!!
beach is 7 km south of Patong, where we had stayed ten years ago, it is described as a chic and sophisticated destination away from the hustle and bustle of the main package tourist haunts and the seedy night life of Bangla Rd. We were hoping for quiet and plush from The Sugar Palm Resort (we’d secured a superior room on a cheap special deal) we were not to be disappointed, on arrival we were welcomed with a cool glass of something exotic and then informed that we had been upgraded to a deluxe room free of charge….. Get in!!
Now when you have been travelling for several weeks with a backpack, there are two things you long for in life,
1. Someone to carry your bag to your room for you ….. We can scratch that one off as the porter whisks our overstuffed, smelly luggage away on his trolley, to deliver minutes later as we have collapsed on the king-size bed.
2. A nice juicy Shepherds pie and chips…. Well you can’t have everything can you????
As we emerge from our sumptuous surroundings (at least compared to our previous lodgings) to explore a bit we were pleased
that we were in the centre of everything, 100m to the beach, surrounded by restaurants and bars, but most importantly, 30m away from the 7 Eleven… could it get any better? After a couple of days of relaxing around the pool and beach we hired a scooter to make our way over to Phuket town, we were heading for the bus station to get tickets back to Krabi by local bus for our onward journey to Langkawi, Malaysia. As with all things in Phuket, transfer to Malaysia was very expensive (4 times the price we had been quoted in Krabi) one quick phone call to Bow, the owner of Chau Fa Guesthouse in Krabi and it was all sorted for us. As we we’re searching for the bus station in Phuket Town the heavens opened and a tropical downpour fell upon us forcing us to pull over to take shelter from the rain and try to figure out why we couldn’t find the bus station which was clearly marked on the map. As luck would have it, we had pulled over in front of a 7 Eleven and Bev, having the memory of an elephant, remembered that they sold rain
ponchos in the Krabi store…so maybe here too? 2 minutes later Bev is bouncing out of the shop waving 1 pink and 1 blue, what can only be described as huge condoms for us to keep dry under….. You’ll know what I mean when you see the picture!! We eventually found the bus station (just behind the bloody 7 Eleven) bought our tickets for our return trip in a couple of days, and headed off to make the most important purchase of the day….my birthday cake…. We had a lovely real cappuccino and a slice of white chocolate cake in a Black Canyon coffee shop….mmmmmmmm good birthday so far!!
As we’ve already said Phuket is very expensive, actually it’s not expensive it’s a down right rip off of a place which is probably why it doesn’t attract too many backpackers. Not to be deterred by the extortionate taxi fare (£8 each way) we made our way northwards up the coast to Patong approximately 7KM’s away……told you it was extortionate!! This was Barry’s birthday night out so money wasn’t an issue, we intended on having a good night out and to hell with the cost….we could see the budget flying
Midday on my birthday...what the hell happened to the sunshine ???
out of the taxi window before we reached the main strip!! Patong for those that don’t know is a sprawling mass of bars, restaurants and shops which is fronted by a gorgeous sweeping bay and is overlooked by lush hills that are home to some very expensive and beautiful hotels, in other words, it’s a package tourists paradise. Patong was one of the worst hit areas during the Tsunami but to look at it now you wouldn’t realise it, it looks exactly the same as our last visit ten years ago and it’s obvious that millions has been spent getting the place back up and running. After a big steak dinner in a swanky restaurant on the beach road we dared to make our way to Soi Bangla home to some of Thailand’s seediest nightlife……we love it!!! Our old haunt “The Andaman Queen” was still in business and although it had changed its name it was exactly the same as we remembered. The area is home to around 30 small bars on two levels that is the stomping ground to Patongs famous lady boys, they are divas with a capital D and if you dare to even try to snap
Condoms on parade
The rain only lasted an hour, but Bev insisted we keep the condoms on...she's weird at times I tell ya !!
a photo of them they’ll be over at your table all heels clattering demanding money…..scary!!!! To be fair though some of these chicks with dicks would put most bonefide woman to shame, they have the silkiest shiniest hair, sexy skinny legs, tiny waists and luscious pouts, on the other hand some are downright beastly….think Desperate Dan in lycra and you’ll get the picture!! At the front of the area is a small stage where the ‘ladies’ display their dancing skills and if you get close enough you’ll catch sight of a Harley Street surgeons worst nightmare…..butchery carried out in back street rooms in exchange for Baht earned from unsuspecting European men. The girls are proud of their new body parts and happily flash them around for all to see; the ones that haven’t quite saved enough for the “Full Op” make do with flashing their boobs and pouting for the punters.
As well as the lady boys operating on the strip you catch sight of the bar girls who attach themselves to unsuspecting western men and extract as much money out of them by whatever means possible. We watched one young lad sitting with his bar girl buying round
My birthday cake
Whooppee !!! just waiting for my cappo
after round of expensive cocktails, he bought bracelets and overpriced cigarettes from the hawkers, paid £8 to have a Polaroid picture taken……..his bar girl is obviously on commission for all of this and you wonder how the poor lad could be so naive, in saying that you wonder how any of these guys can’t see that they’re being fleeced. The ones that go off arm in arm with the lady boys are the worst…….how you can’t spot an Adams apple and a six o’clock shadow is beyond us……even after copious amounts of alcohol surely you’d realise…….damn sure they realise when they get back to their hotel room….oh to be a fly on the wall!!!!
We had quite a few drinks and a good laugh and all in all Barry enjoyed his birthday. The waitress in the bar that we sat at kept on at us to buy her a drink (which of course we refused). They actually have a note printed on the bottom of the menu that says “Drink for barman / bargirl - 150 baht”…….150 baht (or £3) is equivalent to one of their cheaper cocktails…. “Sorry love you have no chance”. Eventually we got bored of
Soi Bangla and decided enough was enough and caught another expensive taxi back to the more civilised Kata Yai and our plush hotel.
On the last day of our stay in Phuket we kept hold of our scooter and went to finish the tour we had started the day before, round at the southernmost tip of the island we stumbled across a local fish market where they were selling the weirdest array of tropical fish, what we would have normally followed with our mask and snorkel firmly in place was being offered as tonight’s dinner!! The aim of our final part of this trek was to make it to the Big Buddha statue that now dominates one of the highest peaks on the island and while you can see it from most parts of the south coast, it is not the easiest thing to find. After driving round in circles for a while we had to get petrol and asked one of the taxi bike drivers how to get there, we’re so glad we did, the statue is impressive and the views from the top are some of the best you will get, at one point you can see
Busy old place !!
the west and the east coasts stretching down to the very tip of the island.
Over all we had a great 6 days in Phuket but both agree that it will be some time before we return, there is much more to Thailand that holds interest for us without the burgers, bangers and sex tourism.
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