I was pretty jazzed about seeing my sister. We’re not super close but still get on a lot better now than we used to. Hanging out with her and D is always interesting. They are the epitome of opposites attract. You practically have to use a crow bar to get a conversation out of D but you’d swear my sister only breathes so she can keep talking. She never, ever shuts up. I think that’s why she and D work so well. He likes to listen and she likes to talk. All.the.time.
Phuket is somewhat of an Australian institution, especially for Western Australians. It is probably the most popular place to visit, perhaps only behind Bali, because is it cheap, both to get to and once you are actually there. It’s only a 7 hour flight to, which is about as long as it takes to get from one side of Oz to the other so why wouldn’t you go?
Here's why: it's horrible! I have never felt so uncomfortable being somewhere in my whole life. We got to Patong where we were staying and I almost went into shock. Neon signs, go go bars, people hawking things on the street and filth everywhere, hardly the picturesque beach get away I was expecting. It was even smellier than Bangkok (when I got back I was so happy to breathe in the air, which is hilarious because Bangkok air is still disgusting by any ones standard). And there were no Thai people. All the stand were run by Indians who are very aggressive (more on this later).
Our hotel was pretty nice compared to the places we usually stay but was still only just worth it for what we paid. We got it on special because it was the low season and they were renovating tho pool. Luckily my sisters hotel had three huge pools otherwise we would have died. We got free breakfast as well, which was pretty horrible and tasteless, which was sad because I love free breakfast. But ham sitting in a baine marie full of water was just not appealing. The best thing about the place in my mind were the photos they had of the lobby of the damage done by the Tsunami in 2004. The lobby was completely gutted. There were cars and giant logs and so many other bits of crazy junk. It's amazing how well everything has been rebuilt.
You might ask why it was a problem not having a swimming pool when we were surrounded by the beach. Well there are several reasons:
1. It is the off season so the weather is a little cooler and the water is really choppy;
2. You can't go near Patong Beach without being constantly harassed by people to hire jetskiis, cars and motorbikes, to get massages, hair platting and manicures and to go parasaling and on various diving tours and Elephant treks. It is so completely annoying;
3. The water is filthy.
We found one great beach on the other end of the island called Paradise Beach. It was a private beach so you paid 60 baht to stay there but it is worth it. We also found this great waterfall to swim in. We hired a little yellow jeep for a day and drove it around (the only truly nice day me and Mr A had). We went to gibbon reserve as well which was lovely. Gibbons are my favourite primate and this place was lovely. Not at all tacky. They take gibbons off people who have bought them illegally for pets, rehabilitate them and release them. You couldn't hold them or pat them which is unusual here. Then we walked up to the waterfall which was simply breathtaking. The water was so clear and cold and refreshing. There were all these Thai high school kids there wagging and smoking. It was so funny. Most of them were swimming in their uniforms. A couple of the kids were jumping off the rocks into this tiny little bit of water that was deeper than the rest. It was crazy. It was such a lovely way to cool off after a long day driving.
Sadly we had to go back to the real world. We went out that night to the main night life area. There are bars there for every nationality. Swedish, German, Arab and of course, English and Australian. If you like getting shitface drunk every night then I guess Phuket is for you. The drinks are pretty cheap. I didn't really like it. Too many drunk idiots! And people everywhere trying to get you to go to see ping pong shows (I have been in Bangkok, you only really need to see it once). They are really aggressive and wont leave you alone. There was also a guy with a very sick looking iguana who would sneak up behind you, put it on your shoulders, take a picture and then demand money. Gross. The only awesome thing were the Kathoey. They are at a whole new level in Phuket. They get dressed up in all their finest frippery and head out on the town. You can take photos with them for 20 baht. They are AMAZING.
The food is okay in Phuket. Western food is blah as usual*. But if you search around you can find some great Thai. If you like seafood (I don't) you can get it ridiculously cheap here. If you are sick of it there are all the usual fast food outlets around if you really feel the need (like my sister who had Maccas 5 times).
*side note: you are way more likely to get food poisoning for Western food than Thai. Trust me.
Now, to the Indians. When I first walked along Patong I thought "Where are all the Thai people?". All the hawkers almost are Indian and man are they aggressive. They are all smiles and trying to shake your hand. When they have got it they don't let go and try to lead/drag you into their store. You have to physically yank your hand away. The worst thing though is the Australian accents. You walk past and they go "G'day mate! Suit mate?". They know a little of almost every language apparently. There were so many Australians there because it's winter back home and it's also the off season so it's very very cheap. So people just assume you are Australian. The whole place was just jam packed with horrible bogans and their horrible accents. I just wanted to block my ears and run away. Australians behave horribly overseas, especially in a resort location like Phuket. It just sets a bad example for everyone else. I'm a firm believer in behaving the same way on holiday as you would at home. Being on a holiday does not give you the right to be disrespectful and behave like a trollop/jerk. I got so sick of the Indian hawkers that I started telling them I was from Uzbekistan and Lithuania (to which one guy replied "Oh Lithuania! Jiggy Jiggy sexy boobs." Nice). This made it a little more annoying.
My sister love it there but Mr A and I was so relieved to get back to Bangkok. I breathed in the comparatively sweet smelling air, walked down the street unmolested and paid only 10 baht for my roadside fruit instead of 50. It made my realise how wonderful BKK is and how much I'm going to miss it when I leave. It will be a very very sad day.
I would recommend not going to Phuket to anyone who'd listen. There are a million nicer places to go like Hua Hin and Krabbi. Think about it a little before you book a trip, that all I'm saying. Oh and whatever you do, don't go to Fantasea. If you have ever seen a stage show at any stage before in your life, you will not be impressed. And definitely don't get the buffet. It's gross.
Just for giggles, here's a photo of Mr A feeding an elephant :P.