We've just had a great holiday from our holiday in Phuket, Thailand. We decided that we needed some sun and relaxation at the end of our travels, and Phuket certainly provided that. We stayed at Kata Beach, which is south of the notorious Patong Beach (the main tourist and party area) on Phuket, in a lovely hotel called the Peach Hill Hotel (incase you want to go!) which had 3 pools, two with swim-up bars, and a view of the sea - bliss!
We had a couple of very lazy days to start with - swimming in the pool, lunching at the pool bar, reading our books by the pool... it was too hot and humid to do much else. Mark had also been travelling north to Phuket and decided to try out the hotel we had booked, so he joined us in all this laziness. Our first night in Kata we set out to find dinner and found the town almost deserted - restaurants and bars empty of people, nobody in the shops - it was spooky. On asking someone whether it was normally that quiet at this time of year we discovered that although it's low season for
On our elephant trek
I think the marks on the elephant's head are from the hammer...
them at the moment, it should normally be busier, and that people were staying away because of the Tsumani. If you're thinking of going and are not sure whether to or not - go! It's a beautiful part of the world, the people are very friendly and 90% of businesses are up and running again - they just need the tourists back to help their economic regeneration.
After some lazy days, Graeme and I spent a morning elephant trekking (wow, what hard work that was, not!). I had been a bit dubious about elephant trekking and had asked the girl in STA in Melbourne (where we booked it) whether it was a reputable company, whether the elephants were looked after properly etc, and had been assured that it was fine. This turned out not to be the case. The elephants all looked a bit scabby and down trodden, the company called itself and 'Eco-nature' company, they elephant enclosure looked like it hadn't been cleaned in weeks, and the men working with the elephants all had hammers with sharp points on the ends that they used to hit the animals to get them to do respond... We weren't impressed, but
The hammer game in Patong
What fun after a few beers!
didn't really have time to look around till after our trek... and didn't discover about the pointy hammer till it was too late. We aren't recommending that trip to people.
On Wednesday the three of us took a boat trip to Phi Phi Island, where they filmed the film The Beach - stunning scenery, beautiful clear water and lovely beaches. We spent the whole day lazing on various beaches and snorkelling on the reefs around the islands - we even saw some clown fish (that's Nemo to those not in the know!).
Thursday was another day for film sets - Graeme and Mark were very excited to be visiting the island where The Man with the Golden Gun and Goldfinger were filmed; the island has a Thai name but is also known as James Bond Island - how original! Not having seen either of the films I was underwhelmed by the James Bond part, but again the scenery was stunning. We had a canoe trip round some spectacular limestone islands and a gorgeous Thai lunch on a floating village. All in all a great day!
The nightlife in Kata was somewhat quiet, so we headed out to
In the tuk tuk taxi
On our way to Patong
Patong Beach one night. We drank in a few quiet bars, then finally stumbled upon the busy streets, and what an eye-opener they were! Open air bars on both sides of the street, with tables and bar stools in the middle, and lady-boys pole dancing on the tables. Graeme and Mark were bombarded by prostitutes as we walked up the street, and we were shocked to discover that we were one of the few groups of white people out that didn't have a Thai girl with them. Yep, the sex trade is alive and well in Patong. We had a great evening people-watching and drinking the local beer, as well as partaking in a strange bar game that involves trying to hammer a nail into a block of wood with the narrow end of the hammer. Most amusing and very difficult after about 10 pints!
I could go on and on about the nightlife, the heat, the annoying tailors and street hawkers that try to get you to part with your money with every step, being mobbed on the beach by people selling all sorts of tat, and Graeme's ability to attract every street-seller within a 100 metre radius....
Not at it's best, since this photo was taken the morning we left, it was about to rain and the tide was in, hiding most of the beach, but believe me it was lovely.
but I won't! We left Mark in Phuket where he's having a few more days of sun and flew up to Bangkok this morning for the last stop of our trip. We can't believe we've been away a whole year and we'll be home in a few days... but we're looking forward to it now!
Till the next (and probably last) time
Jo and Graeme x
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