Any experience is Thailand is a wonderful, humbling, and serendipitous adventure, and so far, my time in Phuket has not been anything but that.
Jazi and I left Sydney for a quick two day stop in Melbourne, and then after a flight and two days in Singapore, we were off again!
We’ve been exploring as much of Phuket as we can. The local buses, the temples, THE FOOD, the beaches, everything we can fit into our time here, and it hasn’t disappointed!
Upon arriving in Phuket, we took the airport bus into town for 100 baht. You can catch that by taking a left after exiting the international arrivals hall. It drops you off at Bus Stop 1 in Phuket town, which luckily was only a ten minute walk to our hostel. Jazi and I are staying at the 2w cafe and hostel, which is absolutely lovely. Our two other roomies (who left the day after) were incredibly sick with a stomach bug, and Jazi and I were just praying we wouldn’t catch it. Luckily for us, our immune systems were strong (and I’m sure staying in the room as little as possible helped). We also went out to the Sunday night market on Thalang Rd. We got these super interesting coconut balls of flesh that held the coconut water inside them, as well as other food, but nothing else! The beds at our hostel were comfy and we crashed as soon as our heads hit the pillow upon return.
The next day, Jazi and I headed out to Wat Chalong. We walked to the local bus station (near the wet market) and took the Chalong bus to the temple. It was beautiful! Everything was tiled wonderfully and although it is a giant tourist site, there were still people praying, which is always a poignant moment that I personally feel grounds you to whatever country you are in whilst also strengthening that ethereal connection you may or may not have to a religion.
My favorite spot in the temple is at the top of the main building, which has a stellar view of everything in the surrounding area, including the Big Buddha, our next stop. Our plan was to start walking towards the Buddha and catch the next tuk tuk that came along, but they wanted 1000 baht to go to the Budda, which we thought was only a short distance away.
We ended up walking about halfway up the mountain along the steepest road imaginable. We were exhausted and the 1 pm heat was beating down on our backs and we were dehydrated and honestly, pretty miserable. Luckily, some super super nice woman in a car asked us if we’d like a ride up to the Big Buddha. I can cross “hitchhiking” off of the “things I’d never done before Southeast Asia” list. On the way up (another 10 minute drive uphill!), we talked to her and her family, who had just gone to temple and we’re going near the Buddha for coffee. She said she saw us and was surprised we were trying to walk up to the site (since thats apparently not a thing) and decided to pick us up (she also said if we were boys, she’d make us walk). I was blown away by her kindness, going out of her way to drive us up a mountain.
The Buddha (biggest in Thailand!) was impressive, a beautifully white tiled figure that you can see from kilometers away. Jazi and I wandered around the top of the hill, took photos, sat down and wrote for a while, and then decided to head back down…. Which was the hardest part! There were no tuk tuks or cabs or anything up there! And the heat was so sweltering that Jazi felt light headed, so walking wasn’t an option. Another kind Thai came to the rescue and asked his friend, a shop owner at the Buddha, to ask her husband to drive us down for a small fee. The man was so nice and took us to the nearest tesco, instead of the bottom of the hill like he had agreed to, so we could catch a cab. Once again, I was so blown away by the kindness we had received.
Today, Jazi and I headed over to Patong beach, home of tourists, crude souvenirs, and the nightlife of Phuket. After a giant pancake, ice cream, and Thai tea breakfast, we took the bus over for 30 baht and laid out along the beach. I will never find Thailand’s beaches disappointing. The water was so refreshing and lovely that Jazi and I couldn’t help but swim around in it for hours. We also explored the crazy little town, which gave us many laughs, especially when a lady boy flashed up her dress in an alleyway (and wasn’t wearing anything else). The beaches in Patong were so lovely that Jazi and I decided to have another beach day tomorrow, although we aren’t sure where. Wherever we end up, I’m sure it’ll be another great day.