Trip Start Aug 07, 2006
24Trip End Ongoing
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Temperature: 30 degC
Stuff up of the week - Getting killer sunburnt on day 1.
Phrase of the day: "Kay Ora" (Kia Ora) - From a dodgy suit salesman
Phuket is a very nice place. If any of you haven't heard of this place before then you probably should have. It's a 20km island that feels somewhere like it's a combination of the Gold Coast and Rarotonga, tropical yet slightly commercial. It also got flattened by the tsunami a couple of years ago and was all over the news. We have been staying at Karon Beach, on the Southwest side of the island. It is very quiet, with few markets and hardly any traffic. Patong Beach, just over the hill is where most backpackers go and the atmosphere over there is chaotic, but we feel like we're a world away
As you would have noticed from the step count we haven't done a lot since we got here. The sea is a lovely temperature for swimming and we have both enjoyed it immensely, as well as the hotel swimming pools. Jonny got badly sunburnt on the first day so has been taking it easy, but Liz have been putting some solid effort into her tan which is starting to look pretty good. The temperature here is pretty similar to Bangkok, but the humidity level is much lower and there is always a breeze coming in off the sea. Not a Wellington breeze though, it's actually quite pleasant.
A couple of days ago we went on the promised elephant ride. We started off on a seat strapped to the elephant's back, which rocked wildly from side to side every time it took a step. The elephant was a pretty slow walker and kept stopping to have a nibble or go the bathroom. The trek went up a very steep hill, with awesome view of the sea, into a patch of jungle at the top. We started hearing a loud grumbling noise that we thought might have been an animal in the bushes, but it turned out to be the elephant farting! Ew! We both got a chance to sit on the elephant's neck for photos, and Liz decided to stay there for the whole trip down the hill. It felt really rough, but soft at the same time
Yesterday we went on a cruise to Phi Phi Island. About 50km off the coast of Phuket, it's the place you picture when you think of Thai beaches. Perfect white sand, crystal clear waters and sheer limestone cliff dropping into the sea. The cruise included snorkelling, which we decided to try. Liz was in the water about 1 minute and started freaking out so we went to the beach instead.... Turns out it was a good choice as the beach was absolutely beautiful.
One thing that is becoming to be annoying in Thailand is the constant niggling and harassment by street vendors. It seems some locals view you as nothing more than a walking ATM machine. In Karon Beach, we have to walk past a whole heap of them every time you go to the main part of town. The ones that yell out "tuk tuk, tuk tuk" are ok, and easy to ignore, but those trying to flog off suits made of Thai silk and cheap tours are a bit harder to get away from. There is one wee man who found out we were form New Zealand and now every time we see him he yells out "Kay Ora, want a suit?" Jonny said he didn't have room in his bag for a suit and the man said "you buy suit from me, I buy you a bag!" Cheeky wee man! The funniest thing is that you walk past them on the way to a shop and say you're not interested and walk past them again five minutes later on your way home and they ask you again! Rather annoying, but at the end of the day they are just doing their job.
Well folks, we've got one more day here and we intend to do some more swimming and sunbathing. Hope the weather's warming up over there! Hehe.