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Published: December 8th 2016
So our time in Koh Samui was up and it was time to head on to another island. Alex had an old friend from his rugby club whom he wanted to visit so Phuket it was.
We decided to fly from Koh Samui and what a surprising treat it was. The airport had a tropical feel to it and unlimited free food, drink and WIFI! Being on a budget, another meal was sorted for practically free. We sat there for some time in our small tropical hut with the runway being metres away watching the tv with the funeral procession of the King who had recently passed. Many Thai's were travelling to Bangkok to pay their respects and there was a somewhat sombre mood in our tropical hut. We spoke to a girl from Israel whose flight to Bangkok was delayed and she said so many people she had spoken to saw the King as a Father and they were devastated. As expected due the increased amount of visitors her flight was delayed, we chatted some more and headed to our mini bus to board our plane. The worlds smallest plane with less than 64 seats on board,
two cabin crew and what can only be described as a ladder you would get up a bunk bed to get onto the plane! An hour and 40 minutes later and we were ready to land, a relatively pleasant flight with Bangkok Airways although every bump we encountered we felt but it was to be expected with such a small plane.
We landed in Phuket, the heat hit us again as we climbed down off our ladder on to the tarmac, Phuket's airport looked a lot more industrial compared to the quaint Koh Samui. We collected our huge backpacks and waited outside for our transfer. I had read up prior to leaving Phuket that the transfers at the airport are double the price so it is best to book in advance and baht counts so we got off the plane expecting our pick up to be smooth....an hour later, an hour of sweating, no thai phone to ring them and nobody there to pick us up. We finally got a guy on a desk to ring them, he spoke little English but was fluent in Thai so he was able to smooth things out and said "five minutes" and
when we asked him any more questions his response was the same "five minutes". To be fair, he was correct, five minutes later, our guy turned up, threw our bags in the back of his minibus and we were off. Ready for our bed, a 40 minute transfer was all we had to endure and then we would be there or so we thought... we drove for what felt like forever, passing many glowing signs and what can only be described as Blackpool on steroids... Patang. Thank goodness we passed there...surely we weren't far away...an hour had passed by...an hour is a long time in 35 degree heat with your driver constantly 'grozzing' (excuse my northern slang)
out of the window to which I kept having to nudge Alex as he muttered under his breath "dirty bastard". We saw the sign for Kata... only an hour and 40 minutes after departing from the airport... to which the guy turned around and in broken English and asked us if we knew where our accommodation was? Of course we didn't, we had never been here before, surely that was his job? So we drove at about 5MPH around Kata, up and down
roads hunting for our accommodation with our ever so accommodating driver and luckily Alex spotted our accommodation. For once, I was happy to grab my bag and carry it myself, with the amount of snot and 'groz' I had seen over the hour and 40 minutes, I did not want him touching my bag!
We arrived our accommodation, a hostel type place in Kata called Kata Bai D and what a lovely place it was. It is a hostel in that it has shared kitchen facilities but everybody has their own room and bathroom. There was a lovely lady on the desk who greeted us, we climbed the stairs with the backpacks to our room on the top floor and what a lovely room it was. We ventured down the road and found pretty much everywhere to be now shut, we found a small Thai restaurant who did us some Pad Thai to take away and we headed back to munch in bed. Over three hours after getting off the plane it was time to sleep.
We woke the next day to glorious sunshine and time to head to the surfers beach. The beach was about a 5-10
minute walk away and true to it's name the waves were huge and everybody was in there jumping the waves so we joined them. We had a fantastic day at the beach jumping waves and sunbathing. This is the life. We headed out that night in the hunt for street vendors but after discussions with locals, this only happens here once a week ...not like we had read on the internet so we were forced to head to a restaurant. The king had passed away and many businesses had closed as a sign of respect and the few that were open were chasing you down the street with menus in your face desperate to get some business, so we chose the one that didn't chase us down the street. The meal cost us double what we would normally pay but we had little choice, live and learn. We headed back as we were moving further south tomorrow and decided to visit 7/11 for some drinks to have back at our hostel. Well Phuket had different plans for us, the fridges with the alcohol in were chained shut with cardboard over them with a sign reading that no alcohol would be
served during the weekend. This was due to the mourning period for the kings death in addition to people of/in Thailand should not be shown to be enjoying themselves out of respect. Back for a quiet night in then!
We woke up early the next morning, found an Irish guy from our accommodation that was heading further south to Rawai, so our hostel suggested we share a taxi. The Irish guy had been to Thailand for an operation and was doing a bit of travelling before moving on. He told us that Phuket had changed a lot of the years, his line was "fu-ket won't be fuken back!'. We were stunned but couldn't help but laugh at his outspokenness. We arrived at our new accommodation, a nice room and bathroom with basic shared cooking facilities. We dumped our bags and headed out to the local seafood market, wasted on me but interesting to see. We walked along the pier where you can get the boats each morning to local islands such as Phi Phi. We grabbed a gorgeous banana roti (standard Thai street vendor desset) and the heavens opened. Everybody fled but for us northerners this rain reminded us
of home so we munched our pancake whilst walking in the rain.
Throughout the night, the rain did not stop, nor did the thunder or the lightening...oh this all seems too familiar. We tried to head out but we didn't get far before we turned back as the rain was comking down so fast and the roads were starting to flood. That night we visited Alex's friend Chris and his lovely girlfriend Meow, we had some authentic Thai food and far too much to drink. It was lovely to socialise with somebody from back home and get an insight into a Brit living in Thailand. It was also interesting to speak to some Thai people about the king and his death, something that is strictly forbidden in Thailand. If this is found out then you are instantly sentenced to 15 years in prison and then they do a trial. It was ridiculously late and we knew it was time to head back to our place. So off we went.
The rain, thunder and lighteneing continued again throughout the night and we were in no rush to surface the following day. Sadly Alex wasn't feeling too great (not alcohol
induced he assured me) so it became a hot chocolate, greys anatomy, catching up with our travel diaries kind of day. This seemed to be our routine for the next few days in Phuket, the weather was shocking, each time we tried to head out to get a boat trip to do some diving the heavens opened and the trips were cancelled. The majority of the restaurants and bars were closed due to the king passing away and the weather being so terrible. Although we hadn't envisaged being hermits in Phuket, sometimes it is nice to have those chill days as we haven't had one of those in nearly four weeks!
We decided to leave Phuket and head on to Chiang Mai, Thailand for some dry weather which would allow us to venture out of our room.
From Phuket, with love x
**A sad update to our blog, several months after visiting Chris in Phuket, we woke to the incredibly sad news whilst in Brisbane that Chris sadly took his own life. Alex and I were both shocked and very upset to hear the news. We knew that Chris was having some personal struggles and we hoped he would make it through. Unfortunately it all got too much for Chris. Please please do not ever suffer in silence and remember somebody will always listen! You are not alone! www.samaritans.org **
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