Alright! Part 2 of the mini-series on Thailand - the hustler filled, tourist paradise of Phuket. I'm saving Bangkok and Ayutthaya for last partly because it was one of the coolest parts of the trip, but also because I have about a million pictures - too many to share in this post.
Getting from Phi Phi to Phuket was relatively easy. First, we took a two hour ferry ride to the port in Phuket, and then we took a 20 minute cab ride from there. Easy peasy. We stayed in Bodega Hostel, which I highly recommend. Seeing our room in Bodega was such a relief, considering the conditions of our stay in Koh Phi Phi. There were legitimate beds, air conditioning, and the room had a private bathroom. Heavenly!
After laying in said legitimate beds for a couple minutes.... hours... We decided to head to Patong Beach, which was about a ten minute walk from our hostel. I was not overly excited by Patong. The water was nice, and cleaner than the water in Phi Phi; however, the beach was incredibly crowded with tourists, which made it difficult to really relax and chill out. That night our hostel manager took us and some of the other guests to a little local Thai place where we drank Ya-dong (Thai rum) and sweet tea. This I loved, we had some great conversations and it was nice to see a more authentic side of Thailand.
The next day we got Thai massages, ate some froyo, and had a delicious meal by the beach. One of the most striking things to me about Phuket, and really Thailand in general is the level of hustle. Everywhere you go people 'encourage' you to check out their store, ride in their taxi, or even eat in their restaurant. It can be overwhelming at times, and eventually annoying; however, I kept trying to remind myself that the reason this hustle exists is because of people like me. Tourism is a HUGE industry in Thailand, if there were no tourists then there would no market for tourist goods and services.
After our meal by the beach we headed out to Bangla Road, one of the main nightlife areas in Phuket. Long story short... the nightlife in Thailand is intense, and honestly pretty sketchy. Prostitution is technically illegal, but highly tolerated. I saw several men walking around with girls who were clearly not with them for their sparkling personality. People on the street will offer you anything and everything - cocaine, Ping Pong shows, sex - you name it and someone on Bangla has it. So, if you're looking to get into some crazy situations, the potential is definitely there. If that is not your scene - I would avoid Bangla Road at night all together.
One of the many, many strip clubs.
Phuket was an interesting time. I'm glad I went because now I've seen what all the fuss is about, and I definitely had some unique experiences; however, when I return to Thailand I think I would rather hit up somewhere like Chang Mai or Koh Tao. Next up, our overnight train ride to Bangkok and exploring the old temples of Ayutthaya.
Enjoy the beautiful view!