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Published: April 24th 2009
We are in Phuket now. We arrived a couple of days ago on a very rough sea. A lot of people were sick - Jack a little, but then he slept the bulk of the trip - maybe the horrible fumes knocked him out.
We love our hotel here. We spent the first afternoon here enjoying the place. Phi Phi was a gorgeous island, but they are known for not having great service and amenities - they don't need to I guess, people come no matter what because of the one of a kind scenery. We have pressure in the shower, we can put toilet paper down the loo and it can flush too, wow!!! We also love the smiling, friendly staff here and around Kata beach were we are staying. This hotel is like the Tamarind in Chiang Mai in many ways and is luxury and service all the way which we like.
We went to Patong beach our second day and hated the place - we will never go there again. It was full of scam artists, very rude people, people clinging onto our arms begging us to buy something, it was seedy and
way too expensive A can of coke from the mini bar in our room is 20 baht ( $1 NZ ), the same drink cost us 75 baht ($3.50 NZ ) in Patong. Unfortunately we needed to buy a drink for shelter as we experinced our first rain in Thailand - a major downpour. I found an ornament in the first shop we looked at that was the same as one I had purchased in Sampeng Lane in Chinatown at the begining of our trip
( the best place to shop ). I bought it for $20 NZ, this shop wanted $40 NZ. Mind you, the exact same piece at Brunei airport gift shop was selling for $200 NZ after they discounted it. So in that respect maybe Patong is not that bad.
Yesturday we went out into Phra Nang Bay on a boat tour around the islands. We had a blast, it was very professional and the crew were exceptional. It was looking very stormy at the beginning, but the weather really didn't ruin anything. Jack loved mucking around on the canoes learning how to work the paddle, especially around the mangrove roots within the caves. He did
very well. The staff all made a huge fuss of him. There were a few that were extra special that had water fights with him. He taught them how to blow under arm farts with a straw ( they were in fits of laughter at him with that ) and they taught him how to squirt people by letting air out of the canoes while people were on them ( perhaps that was not the brightest thing to do - we had visions of people sinking out at sea, including ourselves ).
Food on board was probably the best food we've had in Thailand and on the way back to port, some of the staff put on a show that included lip sinking and very good break dancing. We were on the party boat and it was a lot of fun. The other boat from the same company that arrived back at the same time as us didn't have any of that - but they did had Bob Marley's Thai son with a try hard rasta accent.
Ooops, I forgot to talk about what we saw on our trip. The islands were amazing!!!!!! At several we stopped and
transfered from our big boat onto the canoes. We had the same paddler all day and he would take us into barely there caves - until we were right in front of them, you couldn't see them. We had to lie completely flat to get in. At Panak island, the caves were 100 metres long and at the end you suddenly were in a hidden lagoon deep inside the island. These lagoons were orginally a huge cavern within the cave, but the roof has fallen in at some point. It was very hard to get photos as there was not enough light, lots of people and canoes getting in my way and a small space with huge cliffs that wouldn't fit into the frame - bugger, bugger, bugger, I wish I had a wide angle - very frustrating.
Next we went to Ko Hong island. This was my favourite as it had many pretty rooms ( Hong means room in Thai ). We went through cave after cave, each time coming out into an even more beautiful lagoon. I can't believe we got through some of the tight squeezes we did though.
And last but not least we
went to the massively famous James Bond island. It poured with rain for the 10 minutes before we arrived and the staff had to roll down the sides on the boat in a rush, but the sun came out just at the right time. It is a very impressive rock I must admit, but I wonder if it will fall over one day and what will the area do when they loose their number one tourist attraction. We had awhile here so I took a heap of photos of the rock of coarse and we explored the caves around there. The place wasn't crowded at all like I expected, we must have timed it well.
We have all been having hour long massages each night ( $10 NZ pp ) at the shop across the road from our hotel - they are sooooooooooooooo good!!!!!!!! Jack is fussed over there too. And also has the reception staff and security guard doting on him as well, and last night when we had our hotel drop us off at our favourite restaurant down town, about 4 staff members ran out calling Jack's name to give him hugs and show him to "HIS"
table. It was funny watching the looks on other patrons faces - Jack thought they might think he was famous. Be warned, he probably is going to come home with a very big head.
Today has been our last day here and it has rained on and off most of the day which has been great as it has forced us to stay at the hotel and relax and swim - we need a day to chill out before we attack Bangkok tomorrow - I can't wait.
Hope everyone is well. Mum we have been trying to send texts, maybe the storm here is hindering our efforts. Did you check that the castle was dry, if not can Dad pull it right out to check. Also can we please have your spaghetti for dinner when we get home with the whole family if everyone is available - we have presents!!!.
Love to all.
Viv, Tracy and Jack
PS: We have just got back from dinner and our massages. What a fuss was made of Jack. The people at the restaurant gave us a little elephant each and offered us free food and a place to
stay when we come back ( next month they kept telling us ), and the ladies at the massage salon gave Jack a t-shirt and one of the girls painted happy faces on Jack's toes in nail polish. The beaches here are no better than Hahei beach in NZ and we hated Patong, but the people in Kata that we have spent time with have been wonderful and made our stay super special.
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