Had to change flights at Bangkok but got to Phuket late afternoon after sitting in front of the man with the worlds worst cough and trying not to scratch my wasp sting from Chiang Mai. Met Andy and Michelle at the Divers Inn, a decent budget place but not up to Andy's (AKA Five-Star-Freddie) standards despite its free brekkie and air con rooms.
We spent the first couple of days chilling, well if thats possible in near 100 degrees, on a big pale-sanded Karon Beach on comfortable sunloungers. My days passed reading Dick Francis, listening to my Ipod and taking lengthy strolls along the sands paddling in the warm clear sea. Gets tough this travelling lark you know.......! The beach was quite full, but would feel less so if they moved the sunloungers a bit - theres a massive expanse of sand nearer the sea but all the sunloungers are crammed at the back a bit close together. Also a pity there are no tavernas on the beach like Goa and Unawatuna, just basic huts.
For a couple of days we paid out a few quid for day passes at the 5* Kavorn Beach Resort Hotel which had a lovely pool area and made a nice change from the sands. Also played mini golf, which Andy won, in an attractive Jurassic setting.
We Island hopped - firstly a speedboat and snorkeling trip to Koh Khai Nui where we lept off the boat into the ocean to see loads of fish nicknamed Norwich or Newcastle (after football teams) because of there colour, and some corals. Then went to the nearby Koh Khai Nok island, an idyllic tiny island you could walk around in 2 minutes with just a handful of tiny shops on pale sands. We snorkelled again and hand fed the fish before the speedboat ride back.
A couple of days later we ventured over to Phi Phi Island by open-top boat. We stopped to canoe into Monkey Beach first - guess what inhabits that - and some snorkeling at Maya Bay where the film "The Beach" was filmed. The scenery was stunning, big grey rocks laced with greenery arising from the blue ocean, top stuff. We didnt actually do much on Phi Phi Island but it was a fantastic boat ride there sitting in the sun trying not to giggle at a lady who seemed intent on parking her chair in the most precarious positions, and a geezer wearing a bright blue silk shirt and big grey wooly socks with flip flops. I actually felt quite trendy next to him, no - really I did!
I thought I had a bargain at the legendary Thai Markets - I got a pair of smart Billabong shorts for about 3 quid, sadly the zip packed in after a couple of days so not much of a bargain after all. A true bargain was my 2 quid haircut, couldnt find a replacement mobile though.
We found the excellent Sanook Sports Bar in the evening and were treated as regulars after a while - pool table (I lost my hitherto unbeaten trip record to Andy), darts, FA Cup on TV and very cold Tiger beer. We also went to the Fantasea show one night, impressive variety production but could have lived without the Elephants doing acts which werent natural to the them at the end, they also had some good arcade games beforehand but my efforts in those fell under the "could do better" heading. The other evening venue was Patong - a neon lite nightspot, we found some good restaurants and the excellent Mollies Irish Bar with a live band every night.
Healthwise I'm fine, just fat - 82.3kg's on the baggage scales at the airport - it'll be red wine for me in Vietnam, but Bangkok first.