Revisiting Phuket

Trip Start Apr 23, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Jinta Andamon

Flag of Thailand  ,
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

We were returning to Phuket mainly because we had managed to get $50 tickets from Hong Kong and it was a logical gateway to Bangkok and onto Myanmar. We were also curious to revisit one of our favourite places in the least it was in 1996/97.

We had a late entry, arriving at 11pm Phuket time. Immigration was probably the quickest we've experienced and customs was almost none existent. We were through to arrivals and had sorted cash and transport to our accommodation well before midnight.

The guys from Jinta Andaman had waited up. Thank goodness we were there well before my ETA of 2am. By 12.30 we were sorted.

We had a big sleep in before setting out to find out where exactly we were staying.We had booked at Kata beach just south of Karon where we had previously stayed but having arrived in the dark we didn't really know what was around us. As it turned out, we were just a short walk from Restaurants, bars, shops etc and about 10 minutes from the beach. It was way hotter and humider than the Philippines had felt and we were gagging soon after setting out.

The beach was OK I guess. The sand appeared white and clean where you could see it beneath the mass of deck chairs, umbrellas and hot sticky bodies of every shade ranging from lily white, bright pink to leathery brown.The water was quite blue but obviously quite shallow for quite a distance and I just felt it would be soupy rather than refreshing. That fact was confirmed later in the week. When I heard someone proclaiming loudly that it was the best beach they'd seen in 15 years, I wanted to shout at them...."Get thee to Boracay!"

The street back from the beach was taken up entirely by Club Med. Apparently they'd been able to buy up land cheaply after the Tsunami. It was not all that attractive and meant that everyone else not staying there had a reasonably long hike around one side or the other to get to the sand and sea.

We spent a couple of great evenings at the Ric and Roll bar. Ric was an amiable American with a fantastic voice and a real talent with the guitar. He'd done a lot of touring as a back up singer, including with John Rowles on the east coast of Australia. The first night was a slow one. We met Sasha, a very talented 17yr old Swiss-Thai lad that Ric was encouraging to play. Drinks were reasonable and the music right up our alley...lots of Eagles, Seger and Marley. The second night was a lot more raucous. It was Ric's birthday and loads of his mates came to help him celebrate. Anyone with any musical talent was encouraged to get up and play and there was a hell of a lot of talent in the room.

We took a very long walk around to Karon Beach one day and managed to find where we had stayed in 1996. There were lots of new resorts but the whole place felt just a little bit shabby. When we finally succumbed to the Tuk Tuk mafia and headed over the hill to Patong we were blown away by just how much development there was. A huge shopping centre and more bars, restaurants, clubs and souvenir shops than you can shake a stick at. The beach was much the same as that at Kata and Karon and really didn't feel that inviting. 

The big plus with Thailand is always going to be the food. You just don't seem to be able to find a bad meal unless you try to order something western. Pad Thai, Tom Yum, all you can eat BBQ's....not going to get thin here.

Our room was fantastic. We had a view looking over next doors tropical garden and pool, heaps of space, a fridge, safe and it was kept spotlessly clean every day. Wifi in the room and none stop movies as well as about 70plus cable channels for when we simply needed a respite from the heat. All for about $30 a night and it was high season.

It had been an enjoyable stay but it was far removed from the tropical paradise we remembered. Next stop Koh Phi Phi...

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