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Lost in a big world


THAILAND | Sunday, 25 January 2009 | Views [1306] | Comments [1]

I was oringally planning on going to Ko Phi Phi on the way from Krabi to Phuket, but instead took a bus directly to Phuket. Now Phuket gets a bad rap on the backpacker circuit. Like bali, its a place where the highenmd resorts have taken over much of the best beaches and the main beach area (Patpong) is over developed. But Phuket is huge and diverse...
I got into the main town on Pucket (Phuket town which is not on the beach), and immediately started walking around with all my stuff looking for reapir shops, with various cabbie's harassing me  to get me to have them take me to a hotel on the beach. After visiting the Apple store, and 3 camera stores, no one thought they cought do anything. The apple store would open up my ipod for $30, but didn''t think it was saveable, so I didn't bother. Then I found a cheap hotel in town for 400 baht ($11) a night with AC and a slightly uncomfortable bed. The town was a decent place. There are a few scattered resturants, 2 large malls, lots of shops, street markets, and even a lot of people who don't speak english (the tourists usually head to the beach). I actually liked the town.
The next day I rented a motorbike with foot petal gears for 150 Baht ($4). Driving it was quite fun. I drove to Patpong which was over developed as expected. I then drove north past Kamala Beach to Surin beach. I love Surin beach. Everyone was friendly there. Overpriced resturants rent beach chairs and umbrella's very cheaply (some for 50 baht/day) to put you in there territory when it comes to selling drinks and food. But there is also some cheap food stalls. I drove up the cost a little farther to the next beach north of Surin, which was also very nice, and then came back to Surin beach, bought a grilled fish (70 Baht=$2) and a coconut (30 baht) and had a great lunch, and then rented a beach chair for 50 baht and enjoyed the day on the beach.
Later I drove back to Phuket town, stopped at the fancy mall and went to the movies (100 baht), filled up the tank with gas (40 baht) and drove back to my hotel. Not a bad day, especially considering my transportation and gas cost me only $5.50, and a hotel near the beach would have cost an $15 or so, and even more if I was someplace as nice as surin beach. Driving around on the motor bike was also fun, although a bit dangerous for someone like me not used to driving them.
The next day I went back to Surin beach, but this time by bus (30 baht). Someone from my hotel was on the same bus, so we hung out for the day. When it was time to go back, we went to the main road at 4:20 and was told my the cab dispatcher that the buses don't run after 4:30 (strange lie, given its 4:20). We didn't believe him and waited for a bus, which came at about 4:45. We then had dinner at a good place in phukettown.
The next day, I got up early and got a package 1 day trip to Koh Phi Phi. Actaully there are 2 Islands there, a developed one (Koh Phi Phi Don), and one where no development is allowed (Koh Phi Phi Leh). It is on the smaller one, that you find the stunning beach and lagoon featured in the movie "The Beach." Our boat did a quick loop around the smaller island, where there where many yahts docked in the various lagoons, and people snorkleling and so on. We also stopped for some snorkeling off the shore one the main beaches on Koh Phi Phi Don, had lunch on the beach when it started to rain hard. Finally we went back to the main tourist area, which was pretty developed. All, in all, a very nice island. But since it has a very mountainess interior, it looked like you need to keep hiering expensive boats to actually get around. I personally prefer Rai Leh Beach.
For my finaly day in Phuket, I rented a motor bike again. I first tried to kill myself because when I tried to give the bike some gas to get it started I sped off into the street. Luckily, no one was coming. The rest of the bike ride went smothly. I circumnavigated the Island. First I went to a Gibbon rehibilitation center in the north part of the Island. They only had a few Gibbons that you can see, since most of them they are trying to minimize human contact. Sadly, many Gibbon's in Thailand are trained to drink and smoke in bars to get money from tourists. Why do people keep doing these things to animals?
Anyway, I saw a few other nice and moderately quiet beaches as I drove around the Island. I also saw quite a few elephants (plenty of companies offer elephant rides) and even some elephant crossing signs. At the southern part of the island, there was an especially pretty spot (supposed to be great for sunsets), although the beach was not good for swimming. There was also a rather large buddha which you can see. And the 65 mile ride cost just over $1 worth of gas. I may need to get myself a motorbike!
Overall, I quite liked Phuket. But now it was time to go.




Enjoyed ur post on Phuket ...
You definately found the right spot at Surin Beach.
I spend 4 months of the year there,
Beautiful beach (in season), Dangerous in Monsoon season.
Good people living at Surin,
And if (I don't know why) u want to go "over the hill" to Patong, it is not far.

Melbourne : AUSTRALIA.

  Ian Jan 26, 2009 7:57 AM

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