Published: December 1st 2010November 27th 2010
We arrived into Phuket international at 7.00pm after leaving behind a torrential down pour in Singapore where for a short while we didn't think our flight would take off at all. Anyway, we managed to negotiate our way out of the airport dodging the onslaught of various tour operators and taxi companies. We located the taxi rank and were soon on our way to Patong which would be our first point of call on our tour of Thailand. Patong is an area of Phuket which is probably the most tourity part, full of shops (where you can haggle endlessly for bargains), tasty restuarants, bars, clubs and more...we knew this before we arrived and were actually really loking forward to it.
We had booked a hotel online before we arrived and got a great deal, but when we arrived at the hotel we thought the driver had the wrong place - it was amazing! It had 2 huge swimming pools and the rooms were bugnalow style set around lovely gardens. We were shown to our room and after showering and changing we headed out to see what Patong had to offer. The first thing we noticd as we left the hotel
were the many Thai women shouting 'massage' at you as you walked past - every other building here is a massage shop, but proper masages, no funny stuff. At first glance it looked like massages were around £3 for an hour, which we thoughtwas a mistake, but no they are really this cheap! As we were walking down a main street we passed a shop which had a large fish tank in the window with loads of tiny fish in it, nibbling on a girls foot which she had dangling in the water. We had heard of this before we arrived and basically the fish nibble of the dead skin from your feet making them all soft - sounds gross but at £1.50 for 15 minutes we decided to give it a try. Vic put her feet in first and almost pulled them out straight away - the feeling of the fish on her feet was ticklish and really wierd, whereas Scott loved it, and the fish loved his feet, having a good old munch on the dead skin! Time up and our first strange thai experience later we carried on walking in search of somewhere for dinner.
had heard thai food is very reasonable and as it is our favourite we couldn't wait to sample it here. We passed a lot of restaurants all offering the same food, until we came to one which was quite big and had great decor and a live singer, so we went inside and sat down to order. Thai beer is only £1.20 a bottle usually, which Scott is v pleased about, and when we saw that Pad Thai and Green curry was around £3.50 each (Vics choice, while Scott had stir fried salt and pepper crab) we thought 'bargain'! Little did we know this was actually not cheap for Thailand, and we had picked one of the most 'expensive' places to eat in Patong, but by our standards the prices were still aamzing and the food was great, not the same could be said for the live singer though, whose Thai version of New York New York was somewhat different...
After stuffing ourselves with our first taste of thai in a while, we headed on down to the famous Bangla Rd, a street in Patong full of neon lit bars, go go shows and ping pong shows (we will
explain about these later!), some peoples idea of hell but if you are looking for a nigh out with cheap drinks this is the ideal place! One thing we noticed straight away in Patong is the number of old western men with young thai girls...we had heard of this but didn't belive how common it was until we saw it, and although it was gross (the men are obviously paying the girls to'escort' them amongst other things) its just how it is here so we got used to it after a while. There are bars dotted all along this street, and a couple of makret style complexes that house close to 100 bars in them, all with different music and girls shouting 'welcoooooome' loudly, making for a hextic scene but a fun one nonetheless. We had a drink here before deciding to call it a night, and strolled back to our lovely tranquil hotel.
The next morning we woke up to bright sunshine so headed out to relax by the pool. After 10 minutes we were both sweating and jumped in to cool down - the heat is ridiculous here, even compared to Aus, and you can't sit in
it for too long before getting in the water to cool off. We sunbathed fr a while until lunch time then went out to get some lunch (noodles for Vic and chilli beef for Scott, at a mere £1.25 each) and arrange what we were going to do for the next few days before heading up to Bangkok. We found a small tour agency and after talking through what we wanted, we booked a boat trip for the next day which would take us to the grogeous Phi Phi islands, followed by a ferry the day after to Krabi where we could explore other islands whilst staying there for a few days. We then headed back to our hotel to sit by another pool (this one had a swim up bar) until the sun went in. We then popped back out so that Vic could have a pedicure (£2) and Scott could get a massage which he had been looking forward to for ages. Scott said the massage was awesome and he felt very relaxed afterwards. An hour later, both pampered, we went back to our hotel to shower and change for the evening.
After eating at an 'expensive'
restaurant the night before we now had a better idea of prices so headed further down the street to find somewhere where we wanted to eat. On the walk donw the main street we turned off into some side streets to see what they ahd on offer, and ended up going down one street called Boy Street. This should have immediately given away what was in store here but we strolled down it, checking out the many lady boys (thai transvestites or sometimes just men wearing tons of make up with a handbag) and failing to spot the signs saying 'Boys Boys Boys' and 'gay friendly bar' before being stopped by a guy described above. In a very high pitched voice he said (directed at Scott) 'You wan boys, sexy boys, any boys?'. Vic then understood exactly where they were, while Scott responded politely with his standard answer to the many thai people who accost you as you walk the streets here (massage ladies, taxis, restaurant owners, shop keepers etc) without thinking and said - this made Vic laugh so much - 'Not right now thank you but maybe later'!!!
We found a great little place to eat back
on the main road where Scott had lobster thermidor (pricey at £5...!) followed by sweet and sour beef, and Vic had a yellow curry and rice and a pad thai (£2 each). We then went out to a few bars along the Bangla Road for cocktails before deciding to see a ping pong show (when in Rome and all that!). A ping pong show consists of women dancing round on a stage with very few clothes on, popping items from their...you can guess im sure...anyway its as gross as it sounds but everyone has to see one when in Thailand! So we picked a bar with the nicest sign and went in, not to sure what to expect. At first there were several girls pole dancing on a stage (in bikinis surprisingly) to music and plenty of western men (of all ages not just old) sitting around the edges watching, adorned by at least one thai girl (sometimes two) who lavished attention on them which was again gross to see (do these guys actually think the girls are interested in them or are they aware they just want the money?!).
Then the stage cleared and someone announced it was
time for the ping pong show to begin. A middle aged woman (who could do with losing a good few pounds) came on stage and started wriggling around and dancing. Now the name 'ping pong show' comes from when they started they would just shoot out small ping pong balls. This has now escalated and they can now pop out a variety of items as we were about to see. When this woman started pulling out a string of fairy lights we both looked at each other and laughed (it was better than looking at her), she then moved on to something a bit more extreme, when she was holding a vase filled with water under her...and popped out three live goldfish into the water! We couldn't belive this and burst into fits of giggles, waiting to see what could come out next. Nothing would prepare us for this - a live budgie was then extracted from her and put in a small cage to prove it was real - this was gross! We had both seen enough by this point and got up to leave when we looked one last time and she was lying down, legs akimbo, with
3 lit cigarettes protruding from her!! You couldn't get us out of there fast enough after that, and we were thoroughly disgusted although it was something we said we would see in Thailand, but it won't be something we see again! We then went to a nightclub called Bananas for a while until we saw the time asnd decided to mak a move. We stopped for a quick pad thai on the way home at a street food stall before getting back to the hotel at gone 3am, not relsihing the thought of getting up at 7am the next morning for our boat trip.
The next morning we groggily got up and checked out of the hotel, storing our luggage which we would collect after our boat trip to the Phi Phi islands. We were picked up and taken to Phuket Town pier where the boats leave from, and put into groups for the day. We decided to sit at the front of the speed boat as it was outdoors and we thought we'd get a nice colour, but this was a mistake as the water was quite choppy so we got the brunt of the waves and spent
the hour it took to get to the first island being thrown around, not what we needed after the night before. Anyway we arrived safely to our first stop for the day, the famous Maya Beach, where the Leo Di Caprio film The Beach was filmed. On arrival we were dissapointed to see the number of crowds there were at the beach, but nothing this beautiful stays secret for long, so we found a quieter spot and took in the surrounds. This beach is like a small cove, with high cliffs on either side of the clear turquoise water, traditonal wood long tail boats and soft white sand - it was totally picturesque and beautiful and we could have spent longer there.
Back on the boat we went around the small Phi Phi Lei island (the smaller of the 2) and stopped for photos at Viking Cave and Monkey beach (which had no monkeys on it), before moving towards the main larger Phi Phi Don island where we stopped just off the beaches for some snorklelling in the warm clear waters. Not quite as good as the great barrier reef, but lovely all the same. Then it was time
for lunch which we would have on the main beach on Phi Phi Don. We pulled up to the shores and jumped off the boat, straigh away seeing why this spot has become so popular with tourits and travllers alike. The beach was amazing again, and behind it were small restaurants, bars and stalls selling all kinds of goods but with no shouting like in Patong, so it had a real chilled out vibe. The weather was also perfect for this trip with bright sunshine and blue skies, which made the setting all the more perfect. We had some lunch and looked around this part of the islands before going down to the beach to wait for the boat to come back. Scott sat on a wooden swing while we were waiting and was soon joined by 3 crazy thai ladies who took quite a shine to him!
We then were back on the boat towards our last destination of the day, Khai island. This island was in the middle of the ocean and you could walkj around it in 5 minutes it was so small, yet it was crammed with bars and shops. Amusingly most of the bar
staff were lady boys but really friendly, and they even took part in some live karaoke in the bars which was very amusing to us! However the sea around it was grgeous and typically warm and clear, so after chilling in our deck chairs for a while we cooled off in the water before sunbathing some more until our boat told us it was time to go. We sat inside the for the journey back to the pier and arrived back at our hotel just after 5pm after an amazing day on beautiful islands.
We had booked into a small guesthouse just down the road for our last night in Patong so got our luggage and went there, where we showered and went out for something to eat. As we were tired from the day (and lack of sleep the night before) we just wanted to eat and go to bed, so we walked down to the beach and found a small restaurant which had a special menu of chicken satay, red curry and rice for just £4. This was probably our best meal yet and we left 100% satisfied, actually quite sad to be leaving Patong but looking
forward to seeing some other islands from the Ao Nang area of Krabi where we would be staying for a few days...
There are more photos below