01.05.2008 30 °C
We've been in Phuket for 2 nights now. Phuket is an island (which I didn't know before) and we're staying in Phuket Town in a hostel called Thalang Guesthouse. It's a nice place, we get breakfast included every morning of coffee/Tea, Toast (with marmalade) and a banana! We managed to get a boat from Phi Phi to Phuket which was direct however we were both slightly worse for wear from the preceding night as it had been a the night of the beach party. We decided to have a couple of drinks in the Irish bar then head to the Reggae Bar to see the Lady boys....They were supposed to be on at 10:30 but in true Thai style we had to wait an hour. I'm growing very cynical of the Thais and their cunning ways of getting you to stay longer and drink more and having to pay the lady boys for the photos we were practically forced to take after the show..then the inevitable "Now you tip me!" then 100 Baht wasn't enough....I think I had a rant about it to Clare who helpfully pointed out that things don't come for free...
Anyway, after the show had finished we got talking to a couple who had been sitting in front of us and whilst Clare discussed things with the girl, I talked football to the bored looking boyfriend! It was aound 1:30 that we decided to then make our way to the beach party...surprisingly the 'boring man' accosted us as we were heading for the bar and told us to come and dance with him and his other new friends. By the time we'd got our drinks and were finally getting to dance the music stopped playing....the party was over! Determined to have some fun we headed off in the direction of Hippies Bar which we were assured was open until 5am. We flip flopped for a good 10 minutes before finally finding the bar which appeared to be shut! However the TV was still on and it was the Man Utd vs Barcelona game but the bar was shut. We had to wait for these teenage boys to wander in with plastic bags filed with beer before we could get a drink (which was 100 Baht a can - you can pick the cans up from the 7-11 for 25 Baht) so after attempting to haggle (maths is apparently not my strong point when drunk haggling - I offered 75 Baht for two and was surprised by his rejection of this!). Anyway two beers later, the match was over and we decided we really should have been tucked up in bed a long time ago if we were getting a boat the next afternoon.
The boat journey was a joy...we both ended up on the deck as the constant rocking of the boat which usually resulted in Clare sleeping had actually made her (and me!) quite ill - "watch the horizon"
We landed in Phuket and got a taxi to the town where we stumbled across the first hostel listed in our Lonely Planet guide and decided it wasn't worth looking for the one I'd wanted to stay at (the On On Hotel where they filmed part of The Beach, room 38 I've been informed). We ended up with a triple room as they had nothing smaller but the price was reasonable compared to Phi Phi and the room was massive and clean.
The next day we decided that we had to visit Patong beach which is literally like some Spanish resort crossed with Brighton. The streets are lined with shops, bars and clubs. Selling novelty hats, T-shirts, silk and in the window of a pharmacy there were some 'Borat' style swimming trunks with added wings and horns (Google it if you have no idea what I'm talking about!).
We had a great day at the beach....there were rows and rows of sun loungers (which you had to pay 200 Baht for the day), parasailing, jet skis, surf boards and body boards. I immediately wanted to get a surf board however, Clare had to remind me that without lessons first I would simply drown. So I opted for a body board instead (200 Baht an hour) and spent most of the time battling with the massive waves that were crashing against the shore. I did catch a few big waves though and was thoroughly impressed with myself! Next time though I will have to wear a rash guard as my stomach got a battering from the waves I discovered when putting on after sun that evening (ouch!).
We caught a bus back to Phuket town around 5pm and visited a travel agent to see how we were going to get from Phuket to Chaing Mai. We decided upon a night bus (arriving at 6am!) as the plane tickets were quite expensive but either way we have to go via Bangkok again (our trip appears to be not very well organised!) but this happens to be a very good thing as we didn't realise that we need to sort out Vietnam visas before we get to the border and this can only be done in Cambodia or Bangkok in one day! Once we pick up our visas we will have to get another night bus up to Chaing Mai which will be quite tough two nights in a row (I'm sure I'll be a delightful traveling companion!!).