Phuket. Why not?
Phuket Travel Blog› entry 78 of 113 › view all entries
November 6th, 2008 – by: afredrix
The busload of tourists crept its way south along the darkness of Thailand's bumpy roads.
To the delight of the bus driver and two other Thai people in the vicinity, there's also a 3-4 entree option buffet of unlabeled local cuisine. Curiosity and an empty stomach have lead to my intrepid tasting, on a number of occasions, of whichever entree most closely resembles chicken panang. Usually the bold venture is rewarded with unexpected satisfaction. Periodically, however, my caucasian intestines get a spicy Thai jolt that opts to linger on and kick it with my innards for days.
At 4:45 a.m. the bus pulled into a blackened gravel lot and shut off the engine. This unlikely setting was supposedly the Surat Thani bus station, but I much more appropriately reckoned it to be the spot where they dump unsuspecting and half-asleep tourists before robbing them blind and leaving them, or offing them and throwing the bodies into the water.
It was here, after a sunrise and couple hours of sitting around, that I had to leave the boys. John was off to reenergize his body with a healthy week at a remote island spa before effectively destroying it again at Ko Pha-Ngan's full moon debauchery fest. Karl was bussing south to Krabi or whichever local beach could provide the R&R necessary after our taxing week in Kanchan. And I was going to make my way to the peninsula of Phuket, just because.
As it turned out, the small-framed traveler John had inadvertently squished throughout the course of the bus ride (but made up for by offering his blanket) was a friendly English girl named Emma, who happened to be heading to Phuket as well.
I followed Emma all the way to a hostel in Phuket Town, and rewardingly so. Phuket Backpacker's is possibly the cleanest hostel I've ever set foot in, with free internet, comfortable couches and a wall of DVD and book options to extinguish any threat of boredom before it can materialize. On the down side, the 4-person dorm rooms were slightly larger than sardine cans and I was forced to cozy up with my backpack. Oh well. You can't win them all, I guess, and I am rather fond of that bag.
As far as Thailand cities go, Phuket is a nice alternative to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Things seem to move at a more reasonable pace and you can easily find yourself among natives and away from in-your-face vendors.
For the second day, our duo doubled in size as we added Emma's long lost Welsh friend, Ryan, and another hostel-dwelling backpacker named Toni. We tried out Karon Beach and were not disappointed. We remained conscious enough this time around to enjoy the water. Unrelenting heat drove us into the sea, and the sensation of a hundred tiny electric stings encouraged a retreat. It wasn't painful, per se, and definitely not enough of a deterrent to alternatively remain baking in the sun. But the cause of the peculiar prickling remains a mystery. Sea lice? Microscopic jellyfish? Investigative probing from invisible aliens of a far off land who use the Andaman Sea as a portal into our planet?? We all have our theories.
We finished our Phuket experience with dinner and drinks on a little side street in town. Then back to the sardine can, for a cozy night's sleep.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!