After a tedious 17 hour bus journey...probably just because it was the first one! We arrive in Phuket town! Both our loads and our pockets had been made lighter courtesy of the lovely Thai people...we were quite bitter for a few minutes as our bags had been robbed coming from Bangkok! There was nothing in them to take as we had been warned that this happens regularly on the buses but they still managed to help themselves to a book and a bed bug sheet! Wasn't that bad at all really!
We were brought to Surrathani where we had to change bus! We were taken in the back of a pickup to the next little office where we were told we had to pay an extra 600baht (12 pounds) to be taken to Phuket town...hidden costs! We bartered it down to 300 baht and were delighted we had done so when we arrived in Phuket as the taxis there are the most expensive in Thailand i would think! And the buses we knew nothing about at this stage! They made it out that if we didn't pay we would have been dropped in the middle of nowhere and would have had to pay a huge amount to get to the town!!! But they weren't kidding as we found out when some people on our bus were dropped off before the town! Needless to say we did feel a teeny bit cheated by the "hidden costs" although it is very normal for this to happen we now know!! It's funny how tight you get when working on a budget! And how funny the little things become :-)
We arrived in Phuket and it was roasting!! We were dropped outside a market and headed off laden down to find somewhere to stay! We just walked down the street and stumbled across Phuket backpacker hostel, which turned out to be pretty cool! Although at the time I think we would have stayed anywhere to get out of the serious heat for a few minutes J
Something that we didn't realise about Phuket... patong beach half an hour from Phuket town is really what people are talking about when they say they were in Phuket, Phuket town is in fact the hidden gem! Although it is not party central and there is no beach! On the first night we were wrecked and a little bit cranky to say the least! We went off on a little venture from our hostel only to find that everywhere was closed and in darkness!! At 10pm at night this was strange to us having gotten used to the 24hr awake Bangkok! We returned to the hostel via a 24hr 7/11 with some noodles chang beers and our valued deck of cards!
There was a great atmosphere in the hostel with a kitchen and a huge DVD library! We were very soon in great form with lots of company and settled in for chats and films with another beer chang in our hands and free wi fi so that we could ring home! This is another thing that is new since the last time that i was here! There is wi fi everywhere and there is no longer the need to go and find an internet cafe every few days! It is very handy but sad in a way too to see how fast things move!!
The next day in daylight when everything was open again we went for some proper exploring. It took about 2-3 hours to walk all around Phuket town, out to the harbor and all around the markets and shops. It's a bustling town but there is no hassle from anyone trying to get you to buy stuff like there is in Bangkok. It was a welcome break to be able to just stroll around uninterrupted. There weren't too many tourists here either, when we arrived at the harbor it was all locals having picnics and chilling out probably after a long day, a lot of kids from schools as well and dogs waiting for someone to leave food unattended! This really made us laugh as the dogs would literally steal the food from your hands if you were looking at something else! We weren't eating so instead had a little laugh watching the dogs doing it!!
We were delighted that we had found our lovely little hostel! Good value great company and in the heart of Phuket town! We soon discovered that for one pound the 2 of us could get the bus outside to patong beach! Which when we did we were delighted that we weren't staying there! To see the beach after the city for so long was gorgeous! Also the breeze from the sea was welcome to our humidity heads! A great way of letting off steam! Although patong is a major package-tourist location where you literally pay to walk onto the beach! And then you are hassled constantly in your deck chair! People asking you if you wanted massages or pedicures or tattoos or general begging or well-dressed people coming up and asking you to give to charity!! When we first arrived these 2 Australian guys came up to us and just started chatting! Asking us if we had been to some party and then where we were from! We thought that they were tourists just like ourselves! But then they started talking about how they worked for a promotions company that owned the hotel from the hangover 2! And that we could win an iPhone or 300 pounds if we just came with them to see the hotel!! I must have been daydreaming at this stage because i had stopped listening and then Gareth was like ah lads you had us going there for a minute but we are heading to the beach now!! Whatever scam they had going we were too hot to include it in our adventure! It was so hot in Patong that we seriously considered buying a little brolly for some portable shade! But we stayed going and took to the breeze on the beach instead!
The heat was unbelievable! It was too much to lie in the sun so we happily sat on the beach for a few hours under an umbrella until sunset and then went for some food! If we thought that patong was westernised before sundown it just got worse after! It felt like maybe we were in playes Del ingles!! Not Thailand! And to get a taxi back to Phuket town was expensive! (The buses had stopped) to get a taxi for an hour in Bangkok it is about a pound! To get a taxi from patong to Phuket town which is about half an hour it is 8 pounds!!
We were glad to get back to our little sanctuary and to our new little crowd of friends! We enjoyed more films beers and chats! And then booked our next destination koh phi phi! Which i think we were looking forward to the most as it is where they filmed the beach and is part of a national marine park and is not too inhabited at all!!